I've never known anything like it before. I've spent my life in church, and I have never been a part of something like this. See, there's this group of people that meets every week and their focus isn't on bettering themselves for the sake of feeling more spiritual. I don't even want to call it church, because that isn't what it feels like. Or what I am used to it feeling like. Each week I am challenged, but not to examine my life with a microscope and try to fix every single flaw. Instead I am thinking of how God can use my life, flawed as it may be, to better someone else's life. And I love that line of thinking. But it doesn't stop there. There is a level of comfort I feel with these people I have never experienced with church people. Oh, I've made plenty of friends in other churches. In the last church we were a part of I had made some friends I considered to be very close, and leaving that was a struggle. But even in those relationships, there was not a lot of honesty or unconditional love. People talked about each other all the time and I always wondered what they said about me when I wasn't around. Sometimes I left them feeling inadequate and second rate. But not here. I always come away glad to have been there, and anticipating the next time we are together. These people love me and my family. They know I am not perfect and they don't care, because they know they aren't perfect either. They correct my children, they help chase them...and not because they think they are brats or I am a bad mother, but because they want to help. Because they genuinely care. The only other people I know who do these things for me are family. Family. And I love them as though they were.
For anyone out there who has been hurt by church, unconditional love within a community of believers can be found. What a truly remarkable thing when people take off the masks, revealing the beautiful brokeness within, giving way to the heart of God.