I’ve never liked attending Sabbath School. As a child, the only joy I received from it was earning a sticker for my memory verse and seeing my friends in class. In college, Sabbath School quickly grew into a place where my classmates battled each other with their Bible knowledge against each other instead of delving into the word and learning. I quickly became turned away from attending altogether. A few months ago, I was approached by a fellow church member to help assist in teaching cradle roll. I was apprehensive and begrudgingly (without her knowing) agreed to help. You see, I was still trying to find my place in this church and thought this might be a place I could give back to God. Well, helping turned into teaching more than 1 Sabbath a month. Eventually, both co-teachers wouldn't teach anymore, even though I signed up to be a helper and not a leader.
About two Sabbaths ago, it was my turn to teach and I ended up coming an hour late since I forgot when Sabbath School started. I walked into the classroom which was full of students (a rare sight) and lo and behold, the two ex-teachers happened to be present as parents. I felt shame and embarrassment at that moment. I couldn’t look them in the eyes. I have never felt such shame being in the house of the Lord in my life. After some awkward exchanges and assigned Sabbaths, I retreated to hide in my car.
I have yet to find “my place” in this church that I’ve been attending since I’ve moved here two years ago. Used to being “his wife” instead of by my name, I sat in my car glaring at the church I have yet to feel at home with. But as I sit here typing this, I think, is it the church's responsibility to make me feel welcome, or is it my own?
I have created the place that I’m in now. I made myself his wife instead of me, the cradle roll teacher, the funny woman, the children’s story teller. I've held back, hiding from my church family who I really am. I should have found out when Sabbath school started, I should’ve reached out to them and be true to myself. And you know what, it’s not too late.
God is always ready for us to return to his arms. Some people realize that later in life, others feel they need to be “good enough” to call themselves Christians. But God will take us wherever we are in life. I’m tired of putting on a mask in church. Church isn’t a place where perfect people gather, it’s where people come to be healed. As I continue to struggle with my feelings and character, I glad I have God to give my doubts to so he may cleanse and heal me.