It feels strange to learn how to “do” church while your husband is in full time ministry. For some people it feels strange to “do” church at all and to others “doing church” feels like an old perfectly broken in baseball mitt.
For me it feels like I have the old cozy baseball mitt but my hand just hasn’t settled into those comfortable places yet.
“Doing” church is something I am still learning to do. And this is where God has me.
There was a time when I would try to settle into those comfy spots like a stepsister forcing her way into a glass slipper. Forcing my hand to make it touch every contour, nook, cranny and seam. I believed if I could just do it better or try to make it fit harder maybe then the doing of church would feel more comfortable.
And then there are times when I haven’t even felt like wearing the glove at all. I saw the glove and I knew my hand didn’t quite wear it well so I hid behind pride, behind shame and even behind the pointing the finger of blame.
The root of pride that I was just too different.
The trunk of shame from who I have been and what others have said about who I am.
And a branch of a pointing finger which bore the fruit of blaming others for a perfect glove which wasn’t quite snug enough.
And now I realize, ten years into being one with someone who is called to lead God’s people in God’s church, that doing church or learning to do church is simply a process. It is a constant unraveling of what you thought you knew from who God is calling you to be. Whether you have a brand new glove or your glove is cozy and your hand feels like it fits every cranny.
Everyone is in the process of learning how to love Jesus more and love their self less.
And God has me in the process of learning how to do church. A place where I know my hand isn’t quite settled into every cozy place and I am okay with that.
I don’t feel cozy in my glove when I sit in the front row on Easter Sunday and one of my handsomely dressed children is eating their boogers. My pride still has me finding my worth in how we look sitting there in the front row.
I don’t feel cozy in my glove when my husband doesn’t share a story just right from the pulpit and the expression on my face shows it. My perfectionist self reveals it’s rolling eyes and my wanting to control rears it’s ugly side.
I don’t feel cozy in my glove when we are adjusting to a service which is thirty minutes earlier and with four kids we seem to be walking into worship late and with wrinkly slacks almost every Sunday. The soil of acceptance and my need for others to see me as “shiny and freshly pressed” seeps into my pridefully drenched roots. Sometimes my heart finds it’s worth in freshly pressed pants.
It is only when I can undo what I have already wound up tightly, unravel what I thought I knew from what is true and start with feeding the roots of myself with faith and belief… this is where I can find freedom.
Dependent roots grounded in the gospel of truth which remind me that yes, I am different, but I am also uniquely knit together and wonderfully made, called specifically to be in the front row with booger eating children for a purpose I don’t quite know the meaning of yet.
A trunk of fresh bark, firm and strong by the Word and His power which reminds me that in Christ, I am a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come and I am more accepted and loved in Christ than I could have ever dared to dream of.
And branches that don’t bear fruit of blame and pointing fingers at others when I don’t feel like I fit in but instead bear fruit of love and service because I realize unraveling this idea of doing church is not at all about me, or anyone else around me. When I pull back the threads of pride I can see clearly that church is about God and calling people from all different backgrounds to love and serve Him, no matter how well the glove fits, in the name of Jesus.
When I recognize that my biggest discomfort about fitting in and “doing” church well actually has mostly to do with my pride (myself) when I point that branch back at me, it is there when I can wear my glove more comfortably.
Even though I haven’t quite completely grow into it yet.
It is there, when I unravel what I thought I knew about doing church from my pride and unbelief that I can be comfortable with just being in process.
It’s not about shoving like a stepsister. We all desperately want the glove to just fit better but instead we should be learning to be more comfortable in the places that don’t quite yet fit. This is where we find faith and belief. This is where we trust that God will grow us in the ways he needs us to grow, in His timing.
We are loved when our gloves don’t seem to fit, our kids eat boogers and we are running late with wrinkly pants.
I will grow into the coziness of the glove in God’s good and perfect timing. Being in process of doing anything is a good thing. God is good and He is at work, we need not shove. He is able to grow us into our gloves even without our shoving.
I am a pastor’s wife, learning to “do” church. I am in process and I am okay with that.