I starting coming to First Christian Edmond right after I had my second kiddo (who’s now 11). I really wasn’t sure what I was doing “in church” since I had never attended on any regular basis, not even as a child. I was here because I just couldn’t say “no” to my mother-in-law, who wanted me to “try it out.” I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not attending church – I actually felt like I was missing out on sleeping in, relaxing, and chilling on a Sunday morning.
Being very unsure and cautious toward anything religious, especially church, I started coming to Sunday school once or twice a month; eventually even trying out a few worship services here and there. Always sneaking in and sneaking back out again, with no real contact or connection made with anyone.
One random Sunday, a year or two past my first “ninja-Sunday-school-visit,” I was sitting in a pew, just minding my own business. I distinctly remember Chris was preaching that morning and while I don’t remember the topic, I’m sure it was an engaging sermon. During his sermon, Chris was gesturing with his hands out, as he does on occasion, and he pointed right at me. We made eye contact. I swear Chris was talking right to me. I remember the impact it had. I was frozen in place, suddenly realizing someone was making a connection I was there – in church – present and accounted for. Oh no! They found me! Now they know I’m here!
Now I’m sure Chris didn’t actually see me – much less focus in on me. However, that feeling of connection stayed with me for weeks after. I began to feel a pull, a need, a desire to go to church more. I began to notice a sneaky twinge of guilt when I didn’t go to church each Sunday. When I did go to church, I noticed how others suddenly made eye contact with me; how everyone smiled and started to say “hi!” as I passed by them. How did everyone know that I had been “pointed out” in church? It was freaky, slightly annoying, and yet, oddly comforting. It was the beginnings of the #fccfamily vibe - before hashtags were even a “thing” - growing on me, taking hold of my heart in a way I didn’t realize was even missing. It was the beginning of my connection to my church home and my church family.
Wow! What a difference it has made in my world! Now, more than 11 years later - I work here; I go to church here; I bring my family here; I pray for my church and my family regularly; I lead a small group of awesome youth girls; my boys (all three of them!) volunteer to play music, read scripture, and participate in church activities. Although I no longer get to sleep in on a Sunday morning, I have something I am more grateful for - I am fully connected to this church family…to MY family. What a blessing! #fccfamily
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12 NRSV
Think about your first “connection moment” with God. Where were you? What made it memorable?
Help me to pause and reflect on you. Help me to be still and focus. Help me to remember the moment that you reached out and made a connection to me. Grant me the peace of knowing you have always been with me. Comfort me with your presence, grace and love.
Posted on Mon, March 7, 2016
by Heather Portillo