I have a thing about community. It is something I crave, yet long to share…
To the Woman Sitting Alone at Church Today,
You’re on my heart. The service has concluded and we’ve all continued our Sundays, but I carry you with me. I’ve never seen you at church here before, but I wonder what the journey was like that brought you here. I’m not just thinking of the time it took for you to get ready and drive over, but the journey to decide that you would give it a chance. I wonder of your story and your faith. Is it strong and confident, withstanding today’s storms? Or is it fragile and still tucked away, like a beautiful bloom still deep within its bud?
You are seen. I could tell I caught you by surprise when I greeted you today. I just wanted you to know that you are so welcome here, we are so happy to see you, and hope that you find this to be a place where you can be yourself, take deep breaths, and allow the Spirit to unlock all that you’ve kept so tightly stored away. You walked with quiet determination to your seat, sitting apart from others, close to the door, not stopping to chat. I wanted to sit next to you, to let you know you have a friend to be by your side if you welcomed it, but I feared it would be too soon. I wonder if you sat close to the door so you could make a quiet getaway at a moment’s notice, in case it all became too much. I hoped you would sit, rest, and stay awhile.
You are seen. In that time where the congregation was invited to pray together, you gently raised your hand. While I was too far away and there were others more nearby to pray with you, I pray for you now. What courage it takes to step into a place unfamiliar, what courage it takes to be vulnerable, to let others know you need help, strength, support, guidance…whatever it was that your heart is longing for that prompted you to raise your hand this morning. As we concluded our prayers together, we returned to our seats, and I sat down as the Pastor continued, catching a glimpse of you wiping tears from your eyes. I lift up whatever is causing those tears to fall, and pray that you feel the love and assurance, from The One who counts each of your tears, and holds them in His hands. I don’t know how strongly you feel His presence, but know that He is with you, He always has been, and He’s not going to let go.
You are seen. When church was concluding and we all got up from our seats, ready to catch up with each other before we departed for our Sundays, you quietly slipped away. I understand. Sometimes we don’t want to chat or mingle, or invite others in. Sometimes, it’s all we can do just to find our seat, and then get up again to step back into the world. I hope before you left, that you took with you a standing invitation that always welcomes you back. While I think drawing attention to yourself was the last thing you wanted, I hope that as you left today, you felt warmth, that you were noticed and welcomed, and that you felt valued and loved by The One who pursues you and knows every quiet seat you take.
You are seen and you’ve come to the right place. Jesus is in the ministry of healing, restoring, welcoming. Whether it is a man who is hidden in a tree just to capture a glimpse, or a woman hidden by a crowd, reaching out in faith just to touch the fringe of His clothes for healing, they are seen, just as you are. I hope you know that and find strength and peace in that.
I’m praying for you. I pray you felt connected today, and that you will come back. I pray today gave you a glimpse of hope and light amidst whatever brought a tear to your eye. I pray you felt welcomed, that all of you is welcomed, including the story that has been written so far that brought you here. I pray that you know that we were never created to do this thing called life alone. Sometimes the only way we make it through each chapter, is because we took someone’s hand who helped us navigate the challenging path before us, following the Ultimate Trail Guide. I pray your courage continues to step out in faith, and for the days where that feels impossible, know that you are carried by The One who walks with you.
I pray our paths cross again, and until that time, you’re on my heart. I pray for your beautiful faith and story to bloom, and if you ever need some encouraging and supportive Kleenex, I’ve got a box full. I pray for an uplifting Sunday, and a lovely week ahead.
Your sister in Christ,