Last Sunday, Pastor Greg taught on the importance of journeying together, part of Calvary’s Mission: We will pursue and respond to Jesus as we journey together. He asked me to share about my own experience on this topic, part of which I have included below. Click here if you’d like to listen to his teaching or to what I shared on Sunday in full.
- How long have you been a part of our community here at Calvary?
I first came to Calvary in October or November of 2014, so almost 3 years. It feels like I’ve been attending Calvary for a lot longer than that considering how at home I feel here.
- Claire, you had a period of time in your life where you had the experience of journeying alone. What was that like for you, and why did you then come to Calvary initially?
Well, to make a long story short, in 2014, I found myself alone to pick up the pieces of a broken marriage. I was completely shell shocked. This wasn’t part of my plan. This wasn’t how things were supposed to happen. I didn’t know what to do, where to turn, how to do much more than simply exist. And hurt. Looking back, I now realize that I had a choice: I could become bitter, angry, isolated, and ultimately self-destruct; or I could turn to Jesus; and, despite all the pain, frustration, and unanswered questions, I ran full tilt into Him.
I hadn’t been going to church for probably 5 years at that time, and someone challenged me on that point. So, with no idea how to ‘go to church’, I found myself at Calvary that next Sunday. Those weeks and months are a blur, but I remember feeling a sense of acceptance and belonging at Calvary almost immediately. In time, I learned that there had been a lot of people praying for me before they had even met me. I would receive text messages from women sharing words for me from Jesus—those women shared His words with me in the moments of my journey when they were most needed.
I am still amazed by the way God works. God knew what I needed even before I did, and he didn’t waste any time in showing me how much He loved me through the love and care of the people here.
- How would you say that being a part of this faith community and journeying with others, even outside of Calvary, has enriched your life?
During that time in my life, although I decided to cling to Jesus, I was still so fragile and vulnerable. I needed people around me to speak words of truth, healing, and hope, because I didn’t always see those things for myself. Having people praying for me, rooting for me, and sharing beautiful words that Jesus put on their heart for me all had a huge impact on my faith and really gave me courage and confidence, especially at a time when it was easy to doubt. There are times when you don’t really know if how you are dealing with a situation is the ‘right’ way; but, when others come alongside you and speak to those things in a positive and hope-filled way, it is very affirming and comforting. That’s what I needed, and that’s what I found here at Calvary.
- What’s YOUR dream for this idea of “journeying together” alongside others in your walk with Christ?
My hope is that we wouldn’t all have to experience a deep pain or sorrow before we can appreciate the people we have around us, or truly experience the deep, wide, hope-filled love and grace Jesus offers us.
I also see ‘journeying together’ as an invitation to practice vulnerability. We all go through hard things, and it’s tempting to close ourselves off and act like everything is fine. But when we share our hurt, pain, and burdens with others, we take a step toward Jesus.
Just like the real ‘Calvary’, there is room for everyone here. I want everyone to be able to experience authentic community. I want people to feel safe, significant, and cared for, so that we can all step out in faith toward the things we are called to, whether that is something within the church or just in life. The best part is that we are not alone in it, but we are called to literally journey together and help each other to thrive.
Thanks for the opportunity to share,