(Part 1 of 2)
I am in a place right now where fellowship isn’t exactly my strong suit. But it IS a work in progress. It’s not that I don’t want it and it’s not that I’m particularly trying to avoid it. Over the past few years, some major life events have happened. Some of them were good and some were bad, but each and every one of them hit me in such a way that my circle of fellowship was either skewed or completely wiped out.
And I am one that believes God orchestrates every move in our lives, bar none.
So, for me, it was a complete “180”, so to speak. I had to turn back completely to reexamine where my priorities should be. I will preface everything I’m going to say, however, by saying that everyone’s path is different. Your approach to fellowship may be, and probably is, a lot different than mine. Our experiences and support system often plays a crucial part in how we view fellowship in general, and that’s something I did not have much of, to be honest.
A Place of Reckoning
At one point, let’s say, about five or six years ago as of this writing, if you had asked me about fellowship, I would have told you I really had it going on! I was surrounded by “friends” and “family” that I could call on in a heartbeat! And I knew they’d be there if I needed them. I would have told you that sometimes, blood is NOT thicker than water, and that sometimes family will let you down faster than strangers will. I would have told you about the one thing my Daddy taught me, the thing he said was more important than anything else, and that was to NEVER TRUST ANYONE.
Let me give you just a bit of history on that, though. At that time, I was as far away from God as anyone could be. Oh, I praised Him with my lips, but I assure you, my heart was far from Him. And I certainly didn’t attend church. I was the bass player and front person for a very popular southern rock band and my “fellowship” was just as you might suppose it to be. My husband was also a key player in the band, lead guitar and vocals, and he was always right beside me. We drank, we partied, we believed YOLO (You Only Live Once) so TEAR IT UP!
And that’s just what we did.
THAT particular line of fellowship always wanted to be near us. The term “we’re with the band!” was shouted out proudly by those closest to us, those who “knew us” personally. It was cool, don’t you know? But, summing it all up in a nutshell, it was just another void I was trying to fill with just another facet of the flesh that the enemy assures us will satisfy.
It won’t. It didn’t. And looking back on it, I see what a bad example we set for our son.
There Is a Way That Seems Right…
Then one day, it all came crashing down, that whole house of cards. I won’t divulge the details, as it’s not particularly crucial to the rest of my post here today. Suffice it to say, however, that I lost everything that was dear to me in the scope of about two weeks.
It was the darkest time in my life. All that fellowship I mentioned earlier…didn’t mean a thing. No one wanted to come around because no one wanted to “take sides”. I mean, don’t get me wrong, under the circumstances, I certainly don’t blame them. But it really opened my eyes to what was wrong with ME.
After two failed suicide attempts, I was on the verge of yet another. I had contemplated everything, or so I thought, and sat alone, planning out the final episode of my sorry life. I reasoned how much better off everyone would be. I figured the bad examples I had set for my children would come to an end, and one day it would all be a thing of the past. Surely, therapy would get them through the bad times, right?
But it was then that God really started doing a work on my heart! Oh, I can’t thank Him enough for that day! For those trials! For the Truth that truly does MAKE US FREE!
A Very Present Help In Times of Trouble…
I began to talk with a precious handful of people that I had contact with through the internet. One was a friend I had met years ago through an online Christian ladies group, another was a cousin I had never laid eyes on in person, but had found through Facebook. These two, primarily, were my stronghold. And one sister. A blood sister, my baby sister. She had been where I was, so she knew. But she wasn’t a Christian.
Anyway, I had no one, other than the sister, physically present with me through this dark time. I had no friends. No church family. No one, really, to guide me in the right direction. At the time, I even had a job where the owner of the small, family-run establishment was a “professing” Christian…and yet she never once encouraged me with Scripture, never offered to pray with or for me, and never invited me to church.
Again, I don’t place blame. As I said earlier, I believe God orchestrates every move of our lives, and those around us, to bring us into the place He wants us to be. And for me, that was a place of understanding that HE is my all in all.
TammySD, editor and co-contributor here, to interject some points or questions to consider:
- Have WE individually or as a group, ever perhaps unknowingly been like the Professing Christian business owner who was around a dry thirsty soul and did NOT offer living waters of scripture or encouragement to refresh? Does our light shine? How can our light shine, except JESUS be the fuel, the lifeline?
- “I praised Him with my lips, but I assure you, my heart was far from Him.” Have you ever been there? How common is that?
- “Never trust anyone,” is the lesson that Stacey’s father wanted his kids to understand. Does God want us to be an untrustworthy people? Does this attitude of distrust represent HURT and DEFENSEiveness? Can we over look, and be loving to the hurting distrustful people?
- “…just another void I was trying to fill…” Have you ever done that? Many times when we give in to sin or any over indulgence, this is why.
- Does hitting a LOW in life, inspire gratitude when LOVE and GRACE and HEALING is found? Yes, I am reminded of the young woman who came in and washed Jesus’s feet with fine oil and her long hair.
- “Through the internet…” What power do we have to represent Christ and work for the kingdom, through the internet?
The powerful story you will read, if you follow to part 2, gives HOPE to all who are worried, hurting, or even doubting because of the wrong path a loved one has taken. There is always HOPE.
Read part 2 and celebrate HOPE, as Stacey shared what happened when she learned to put God and family first: I Had to Lay My Isaac Down
You are invited to read what other sisters at Telling Hearts wrote:
Jerusha Borden shares insight into the realities of church fellowship and also inspires is to take the time to get to know the stories around us:Fellowship Series: Life Group Changes Everything, Stories
Maryann Lorts emphasizes the need to understand and admit the need for fellowship:Fellowship: Accepting The Need
Rosie Williams beautifully explains the logic and purpose of fellowship to help you realize its precious value: Life is a journey…don’t travel alone.
Tammy SD summarizes the definition and speaks to being persistent in the pursuit of GOOD and WONDERFUL fellowship:Good Fellowship vs. Mediocre or Bad, Introduction to Telling Hearts Fellowship Series, 6/2018