‘TWEEN GOD AND ME (A “Churchless” Church Lady)

holy spirit

All my life I have belonged to some group of Christians who gathered together to fellowship with each other and worship God.  Most people I’m sure would call me “churchy.”  Since first joining a church at ten years of age, I have been on the roll of seven different churches (that covers a period of 72 years).  I do not change easily.  Every move has entailed great emotional upheaval.  My “pigweeds” story told of one such move.

Today I am writing of another time that I changed churches—I left a place I loved because I knew God was ready for me to go even though I had no idea of where I would go.  How did I know?  God didn’t tell me with words.  I don’t know what to call this – a dream, a vision, a memory – I don’t know.  It was a different form of God communicating with me. It had never happened before and it has not happened since.

I enjoyed my time at my church; I was deeply involved with Sunday School, church board, and Children’s ministry.  I spent a lot of time through the week putting up bulletin boards and in other ways decorating the hall and the rooms and doing what needed to be done.

One day when working in the children’s department, I was walking down the hall, I looked into a room and it seemed that I was seeing a memory from my past.  This feeling lasted for a few minutes. Everything I looked at seemed to be something from my past.  I’m not sure how to describe how I knew what it meant, but I did know it was all over for me.  I told the pastor.  He asked where I was going.  When I told him I didn’t know, he responded that he could believe it more easily if I knew where I was going.  I agreed, however, I  knew I was going but still didn’t know when.  That happened in October.  In December when the quarter ended, I knew it was time to go. I turned in financial records and quit my obligations there.

I was lost—a church lady without a church!  A song kept running in my head and out my mouth. 😀  A Bill Gaither song, “I will go on, My past I leave behind me.  I gladly take His mercy and His love.  He is joy and He is peace, He is strength and sweet release.  I know He is and I am His, I will go on.”  

The next couple of months were pretty awful.  I hated not belonging.  I went here and there, hinting to pastors that I needed a place to belong.  I couldn’t believe that there was so little interest in having me come.  After all, I cost nothing!  😀  One lady in a church invited me to go with her, but no pastor invited me.  I finally went to a church nearby that seemed like the obvious place to go, but, to my shame, I was holding a grudge against that church because some people from my home church from many years before went there to start that church, and I was pouting about that for all those years.  I went, I got involved, I loved—I found “home” again.  I loved those people and they loved me.  To my God who does all things well, I thank you.

By the way that is the church that I had to be pried away from.  The one I told about in my “Pigweed” story.



About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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14 Responses to ‘TWEEN GOD AND ME (A “Churchless” Church Lady)

  1. The church is a living organism not an organization. We may have to leave one organization to find another but we always belong to the church. God does move us about sometimes, to help us grow.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Joy, you are right of course. That knowledge is especially essential to people who are not free to met together in places of worship. They are still a part of Jesus’s church. And it is important for people like me who meets regularly with groups of people at places we call church, that we know we can be at that place regularly and still not be a part of Jesus’s church. But I do like being a part of a local church congregation, and I’ve never been very good at moving on to new places. However, I must give God credit for knowing what I needed when I’ve been moved by him. And I believe it has been good for others also.

      • I am the same.:0) Being a shut-in this winter taught me how important the local church experience is but it also, taught me that the church is also, available in believers online. We gravitate to one another.

        • oneta hayes says:

          Yes, there are many beautiful things that come over the air in many forms. I generally do not take time to listen, but they must be very important to some people.

  2. calensariel says:

    I know those feelings of uprooting so well. When our small conservative church we belonged to closed down and we moved to a more liberal denomination (and stayed at that church because they had a choir!), it took me a full ten years to settle in. It’s like leaving family behind, isn’t it…

    • oneta hayes says:

      Calen, are you aware of Psalm 68:6 that says “God sets the lonely in families (NIv)?” Isn’t that lovely for those of us who see our churches in that way?

  3. dawnlizjones says:

    I’ve had similar experiences of God showing me things–it’s wonderful how creative and artistic He has, and that He still communicate to us today (not in place of the Bible, but in ways that make it come alive to me, etc.) Thanks for a beautiful story!

    • oneta hayes says:

      I wanted to tell of these two instances because of the vast difference in the way God made known to me what his will was. As I tell of other “God speaks” kinds of things I hope I make it clear that any of these things has to come through the filter of the Bible. As you said, he can certainly be creative and still be within the boundary of scriptures. Was it Elijah who said God didn’t answer in the mountain, or in the wind, but in a still small voice?: He must have been a bit boggled at the variety of God’s dealings with him.

  4. Faye says:

    The church is not a building, a denomination was never intended to be an organisation by Jesus Christ and certainly was never meant to be a business. Kingdom on the earth. May my Kingdom Come and My will be done on this earth as it is in Heaven. shows clearly now in 2016 that one Kingdom , one Lord, . Its all about us the people. We ALL are church. Blessings and thanks for the beautiful story! I truly relate but mine was more an inter-denominational journey He led me on.

    • oneta hayes says:

      It is a bit hard to talk about the church because of the various meanings. But as I was using the word I was talking about a local congregation of people. I believe very much that that is a worthy institution for promotion of God’s kingdom on earth; especially in free societies where we can minister freely in outreach programs to missions, for education, for evangelism, to jails, hospitals, and many other programs. I understand the urge of Christians in countries where they have to worship “underground” in order to be together. I value your input, and believe in your joy and love for the Lord.

  5. shoreacres says:

    It’s interesting to compare perspectives as I read here. When you spoke of joining a church at age ten, my first thought was, “But we enter the church through Baptism.” That’s the Lutheran in me coming out, of course. the good news is that we may change congregations from time to time (or even switch denominations) but we’re still a part of the Church — the whole people of God.

    I must confess that Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character on Saturday Night Live was one of my favorites. Especially in the beginning, Carvey did a wonderful job of making fun without being nasty. That’s a lost art! We need a little more humor about serious matters today, and a little less let’s-all-be-offended.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Linda, I’m so glad you took me a bit lightly. That was my intention by calling myself the Church Lady. It is true, however, that I am quite “churchy” and God almost has to light dynamite under me to make me move. I wanted to tell these two stories because of the different way He made his will known to me. I guess you could say we “joined the church” – speaking of the local congregation – by statement. Most often the Pastor would ask something like, “Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord, you believe you are saved because he died for you, etc.” I’m sure I would have said yes; therefore I was considered a member of that church. I would have become a member of Christ’s eternal church at the time I recognized my need and my acceptance of Him as my Lord. That is the Church you and I are a part of even if we never meet here. (This makes me think I might be eating an elephant; you know – a bit at a time.) I still have stories though; I’m not through.

  6. judyjourneys says:

    About this time last year, I knew it was time for me to leave a church where I had been active for ten years. I did not know where I would go, but I knew inside me that I had needs that were not going to be fulfilled there. In December I changed the denomination I had joined when I was eleven years old. It has liturgy as a part of its worship–something, I realized, my soul had been craving. Another thing, I had taught women in Sunday school for fifty years and thought I could never be happy without continuing that. To my surprise and delight, I am quite content to be a listener and contributor without teaching. Added bonus: I think I am the youngest in my class and only one of two who do not wearing a hearing aid.

  7. Dawn Marie says:

    I love meeting people who are “churchy!” They are often the most authentic people I’ve known & often the most patient with me as I strive & struggle to be with them in God’s Kingdom one day! There we will all be ONE BIG church family!! Hugs for your courage to hear His voice to go where He leads you.

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