During the Thanksgiving holiday, our family lost a dear member.
We expected it, but yet, we didn't. We'd so hoped he'd hold on through the holidays, but cancer doesn't follow any rules, and doesn't care about one's wishes.
Needless to say, it was a very bittersweet week.
In the midst of heartache, stress, and mourning, God showed up. I'd catch glimpses of Him working good out of the bad situation. Some of the glimpses came from small things that worked out for the best. Other glimpses came from His children and my church family.
The day of the funeral
I walked up to the little table that held my brother-in-law's remains, pictures, a few memorabilia that signified his life. My heart was heavy with sadness. He was too young. Our loss felt like a gaping hole.
I looked at the few flower arrangements surrounding the table. We'd had to schedule the memorial service quickly. Most of us were only up visiting for the week and needed to return home.
One large bouquet caught my eyes and as I glanced at the card, a huge smile erupted as my heart filled with joy. The card, from my home church, let my husband and I know that we were loved and they were praying for us during this difficult time.
I turned to my husband, who'd also spotted the card. "They certainly represented, didn't they?" I laughed. It was a huge bouquet. Beautiful in that dark room with its somber music. The gesture moved him, too. It let us know that we weren't alone in this.
They'd been praying for our brother over the past few months. They'd asked for updates. They cared and carried this burden with us.
Why Church Is Important
However you might feel about the church, or whatever experiences you might have had- good and bad, the Bible encourages us to gather together with like-minded believers.
A church family is a shelter from the world. A church family will help hold you up when you're having trouble standing on your own.
Sure, there will be conflicts, hurt feelings, and annoyances. We're all human. But we're humans who are trying to walk out our journey home to God. Since we're all heading for the same place, shouldn't we make that trip together?
I was thinking about this the other day, which is the reason I'm writing this post. For those who've read my stories and commented that my characters show kindness... It's because I've been shown kindness by my church family. They know me and love me anyway. Well, most of them. Ha! Again, we're all human, right?
My strong belief in the Lord was built in the church.
My view of life being a journey comes from my walk with fellow believers.
My stories about small communities, Provinces, fantasy towns, comes from growing up in such an extended family community. I grew up in the church.
The church so much a part of who I am, it's inevitable that it will somehow, in some way, end up in my stories.
WE WEREN'T MEANT TO STAND ALONE
Mr. Castle and I are always encouraging people to find a church home to join with. Especially those who we see struggling alone. Sometimes you have to try a few out before you find that that fits like a warm, knitted glove. You know? Don't give up trying.
God is all about relationship. With Him, and with each other. When a bloom is plucked from the vine, it dies. A finger is useless when severed from the hand. All these pictures in the Bible are meant to show us the great need to be part of a whole.
I've seen it time and again. And that is why I want to go to church.
I love this song featured in the video below and wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it.
Jackie Castle is an author, artist and dreamer. She lives in Texas with her husband, two grown children and her dog, Banjo. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences.