As I prepared for college graduation, my professor shared one piece of advice that has drastically impacted my life. He said, “If you move, find a good church.” At the time, I didn’t think much about what he had said. My faith was in shambles and my relationship with the church was even worse. During college, my parents divorced and the gossip from some of the congregants at my church in Indiana left me bitter and unsure of the purpose of church altogether.
My Mustard Seed Faith
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
In all honesty, I had the smallest ounce of faith I could muster up for the big things God was going to do in my life. So after I graduated, I was ready for a change and was willing to give God’s plan a shot. The first change was moving to a big city, New York City. I didn’t stay there long but I did begin to experience God’s healing as He showed me what the church should actually be like: a family who accepts people just as they are.
I carried that idea with me to Denver, Colorado and was determined I was going to find it on my own. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it! I felt out of place in a group of married couples who seemed to want to connect with other married couples. I felt like I was lost in a sea of faces with no way to connect with those around me. I felt like all the sermons were the same and gave me nothing to begin to rebuild my faith on. I felt alone, unwanted, and completely lost.
Admitting I can’t do it all on my own.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
After only a few months in Denver, I was ready to leave. I was ready to run back to my family and admit defeat. My dad challenged me to try one more thing before making plans. He encouraged me to reach out to some friends he knew in Denver and to give their church a chance. I reluctantly typed out a message to his friends in tears. I shared with them my need to connect and they welcomed me with open arms.
A couple weeks later and I walked into the new church. I looked to my right and saw big windows. The windows reminded me of my childhood church in the Dominican Republic which immediately made me feel at home. Week after week, I attended the services. I gradually began to meet new people and became more connected. My attitude changed over the course of my first year. Instead of wanting to leave, I wanted to stay.
Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!
Today marks three years in Denver. I have gotten to see God provide for me in big ways and it’s been through His people that I’ve been able to see that. Now I get to work on staff for this church surrounded by amazing people. I have had the opportunity to find even more great churches here who take the mission of accepting people seriously. I have been able to heal my bitterness for the church while being in the church. God knew what I needed and brought me to it in the most delicate and loving way.
Being human means being designed to desire community. God led me on this journey of healing and I am so thankful for that. I need the church. I need people to speak truth and love into my life. Finding a good church means finding a support system, a place to connect, a place to do life together. We all need that.
If you’ve been burned by the church in any way, I promise there are good ones out there. God has one in mind for you and if you’re willing to give it one last try, He’ll lead you there.