We’ve all experienced loneliness at least once. It may be as simple as no one sitting with you at the lunch table. Or maybe you moved to a new town and don’t know anyone. It could be more complicated; you could be surrounded by people and feel this intense longing to belong!
During my teen years, I never really felt a sense of belonging. I attended a Baptist school, and didn’t agree with many of the strict regulations in place. However, I was far too conservative to hang with the “wild” bunch.
Having felt lonely for many years, I married the first guy who said “I love you.” Marriage didn’t fix my loneliness. I still did not belong. Depression struck me really hard in my mid-twenties. So many oppressive thoughts plagued me. Fighting these mental attacks was exhausting. My depression worsened in my early thirties. By this time I was divorced, financially struggling, and trying to rebuild my life.
For many years, my church attendance was sporadic at best. I dreaded attending church. I have known for many years that God loves me. I’ve had high morals since a teen, but for over 3 decades I didn’t have a good relationship with Christ. I avoided church because “religion” serves no purpose in my life. I’m completely against religious traditions and customs. I don’t want to act a certain way for the simple fact that Christians have always done it this way. I see no point in attending a church service just for brownie points. When we arrive at the pearly gates, God is not awarding gold stars and blue 1st place ribbons because we had perfect attendance in church!
I hit rock bottom in 2008. I grieved the loss of a romantic relationship as well as the loss of a loved one. There were many nights I lay in bed in the fetal position crying, balling uncontrollably asking God to please just take me home. I was so drained. I was so tired of battling these demons in my head. The voices telling me I would never amount to anything, no one loved me, I’m ugly, and so many other horrible lies that I believed. I was haunted day and night by these lies. I didn’t want to die; I just didn’t want to fight this exhausting battle anymore.
In the summer of 2011, I found a whole new life! I started attending a Word of Faith church. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. I no longer walk into a sanctuary, quietly sit down or stand as I sing old hymnals, and sit in a pew for 30 – 45 minutes while I try my best to stay awake during a sermon! Instead, I’m usually standing for the first 20 -30 minutes as the band plays and the congregation loudly rejoices with songs. We clap, jump, sway from side to side, and even lift our hands. Our sermons (or messages) are not quiet. My Pastor is humorous, passionate, direct, and lovingly in your face with the Word of God. I learned that I have power over these demons. When the voices start talking to me, I talk right back! Through the power in the name of Jesus, I rebuke these demons now. The demons have learned to leave me alone.
This last Sunday while in worship service, something dawned on me. I really enjoy attending church now. My church is like no other. We truly worship & praise Jesus and celebrate Him. This time of worship and celebration rejuvenates my soul! It is empowering. I am surrounded by 200 or more believers in Christ as we celebrate His never ending love and grace, we thank Him for His unconditional love, and praise Him for who He is. This time of worship can be pretty intense as I enter the throne room and have my alone time with Jesus. I realized that the reason attending church is so important is to renew our strength in these attacks from the dark side. In addition to loving on God, we receive love from God. We are refreshed. I still have my struggles just like everyone else, but I’m no longer alone. I fully rest in God. As it says in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
To all of you who are weary and brokenhearted, abandoned, hurt, rejected, and lonely; one thing remains, GOD! His love never fails, never gives up, and never runs out on us!