Because it's all about that Grace 'bout that Grace...

Yeah I came up with that title all by myself ;-) And as I'm sitting here I'm pretty sure I will finish rewriting the rest of the song as soon as I'm done posting this!

What, you may ask, has inspired me to post with such a title? Well, I was driving today and thinking about many blessings I have in my life. And no, not just because it's November when everyone suddenly becomes thankful for 30 days. I go to a church called Centerville Grace Church. And they have really helped me this past year. How so? Why, let me share =)

If you have read a little of my story, you know that I have had many hills and valleys in my spiritual walk over the past 10 years or so. Many things have happened that were very hurtful but also strengthening to my spiritual beliefs. What I started realizing this year is how I have developed some major trust issues with people who identify as Christians and "church" in general.

I came to Centerville Grace a little over 2 years ago. I definitely had a wall of protection up against myself. I walked in wanting to find a good little church that was theologically sound and family oriented for what would soon become my little family. I became engaged shortly after we started attending, and that's when I became really nervous. We asked one of the pastors there to marry us, and of course, he asked that we go through a few sit downs with him to talk about some things (pre-marital counseling). I was so nervous of being judged for the fact that I was divorced. I didn't want to talk about it, and I didn't want anyone to judge my fiancé either....BUT....guess what happened? Nothing. We talked, he asked questions, I uncomfortably blushed (for no legitimate reason)and answered them...and we moved on!

I continued to attend, but with this feeling in the back of my mind that someone in the church would find something to judge me or correct me on - my clothes, my outspoken beliefs....nothing logical of course, just anything that might allow me to feel anxiety.

I started developing friendships within the church, and as I grew close to a few people, I kept thinking to myself "Kylene what is your problem? These people are proving over and over again how much they love you. They know about your past, they accept you, they are true friends, and you really need to work on this." But I just felt like some day a ball would drop and I wouldn't be "accepted.".

A few things happened this year to change that. Or at least begin healing. The first thing that really made significant impression on me was when my husband got offered a job. It was a really really good offer, and we were seriously considering it.  We would still be in state, but about 4 hours away. There was the potential to move up in his career and move to "bigger" "better" cities in the next few years because of that. But we were torn. My family lives here, and we had begun to really root ourselves as a family unit. We had also started developing relationships in church. We were worried about moving our son away from his grandparents because they are so involved in his life and so we shared with the same pastor that married us, our concerns. He prayed on it and eventually shot us an e-mail with his thoughts. It happened to be sent the same day we were looking at houses we could potentially live in. That's how serious this was! He lovingly presented his thoughts on what we should consider for our family, and let us know our relationship wouldn't be hurt no matter what we decided. He mentioned things we were already considering, but presented them from an outside perspective. Obviously, we didn't accept the job. :-) And I noticed something. I wasn't offended that he offered us advice. I didn't feel like he was judging, or pushing, or butting in where he didn't belong, I felt like he was being a really good friend. One that I could trust, and one that cared enough to have a conversation. p.s. his wife is amazing too!

A girlfriend of mine at church really started opening up to me about her life and struggles, and I found out that we have more in  common than I ever thought we might. I am so glad now that she introduced herself to me. Believe it or not, I'm kind of an introvert! Her friendship has really helped me through several things this past year knowing that she is ok with me shooting her an e-mail and asking her to pray for me or my family.

Finally, in the past few months some pretty deep, scary, difficult things have happened in my family and I didn't really know what to do. I turned again to that same pastor/friend. And guess what - he was on it! He was praying, offering advice, replying to my questions, and generally following up to see how things were going.

These are the types of things I feel like I can never repay. I am so truly thankful to have come to such an amazing church and met such wonderful people. God is really at work in me through them. Someone referred to the church as a bunch of misfits - no one is perfect. And I love that thought. A bunch of misfits who somehow fit together....because it's all about that Grace. ;-)