The fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, it is a reminder to be appreciative of the gift of freedom we so often take for granted and to be thankful that we weren't attacked by Alien forces and mankind's only hope depended on Will Smith. I love this country and what we stand for....even if Obama is my president and I am constantly reading obnoxious bumper stickers such as "My President is BLACK".
Fireworks, BBQ's, Flags and Margaritas are some one the many benefits of the celebration, but just like Christmas, my favorite thing is the music. One of the things I loved most about Prestonwood was their 4Th of July celebration. They have a tribute to the troops and the music is just fantastic. Mark, who was once a member of Prestonwood as well, and I were talking about how much we enjoyed the service and decided we would go together this past Sunday.
Returning to Prestonwood was a very surreal experience. This was the church I joined, reluctantly, when I married my now ex-husband. I have had so much resentment for that church. Feeling attacked and judged, I returned the favor by judging them harshly with biase. Walking into Prestonwood, I had a mixture of emotions and thoughts running through my head. Part of me felt ashamed; afraid that people would recognize me and think I had a lot of nerve showing up at the church I so strongly wanted no part of. I sat down in the pew with a negative attitude and a "woe is me" outlook. Making eye contact with the pastor who just shy of a year ago, told Mark that God would not honor any future relationship I would ever have and that I was unrepentant and guilty of destroying my marriage, stirred up all the anger that was still festered in my heart. I felt the tears swell in my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. I would not be weak, "they were the one who should pay; they are the ones who casted the stones", I thought to myself.
Settling into my seat in the pew, I prepared myself for an hour and 15 minutes of misery. I closed my eyes and pretended to pray, but all I was really doing was blocking out the images that surrounded me; the familiar faces in an all too similar setting. Looking around, I saw all the people who were once a vital part of my life and it stirred up memories of people I had long forgotten; "Thank you lady in the yellow jacket,four rows down, for my Pink Kitchen Aid Mixer you bought me at 1 of the 5wedding showers this church threw me".
The music began to play and I hesitantly stood up to join the 300 person choir in song and in that moment God pulled my heart strings. God met the one place I believed I couldn't ever find him be the one place where I did. The worship service and message was deeper and was more meaningful to me on a personal level than I had experienced in a long time.
God met me in my personal battlefield. He helped me let go and forgive people and situations I realized I hadn't let go of. As I left the service, I felt a new peace and a new appreciation for that church and the people who call it their home. Do I think that I will rejoin P-wood? No, but I do not feel ashamed to show my face there, nor do I feel a need to look down on the church for their faults. There will never be a perfect church, because there are no perfect people. Even if their outlook and perspective of me never change, it doesn't matter. I am only thankful that views have changed and that once again God has chipped away yet another buried sin in my life.