the chair has been pulled out for me.

Church today was extra special. We met off site as our building is going through some renovations.

Last Sunday was the last time we’d meet in the sanctuary as it was, and the staff had planned something for us. Without knowing any of this, I woke up with a strong resolve to make sure I was there that day.

With all the family events lately, and three little ones, I don’t make it down on Sundays to attend in person as often as I’d like (thank God for online broadcasts of the message, am I right?). But I just knew I needed to be there last Sunday – and I’m so glad I listened to that feeling.

God knew exactly what I needed to breathe life into my bones and encourage me, and reminded me exactly why He brought me back to this place.

When we entered the sanctuary, the carpet around the altar had been torn up, leaving the concrete exposed. Our pastor invited each of us to write verses and “speak” God’s word over our building’s renovations, and in doing so, it’s future. I know this was for the church as a whole, but this was just as much for me.

Writing my life verse on that cement, putting my heart out on that floor, just solidifies that this is my home. This is where I belong. And God invites me quietly and gently to accept that and grow my roots here.

Being that I live about 30 minutes from church, it’s hard. Like I said, getting everyone up as ready on Sunday mornings can feel like more than I can do some weeks. But that’s just an excuse.

I met Jesus for the first time here. I’m a member of this body. This is my church family. This is the place I have been called and allowed to serve.

This is my home.

But more than that, this is so meaningful and moving to me because of who I am, and what I’ve been. I’ve been rejected from church before – twice. Two other churches turned their faces from me when they learned the truth about me – that I’m a sinner.

When I came to the leadership at Cornerstone, I was heard and I was seen. And I was welcomed with an embrace. I was shown grace and love unlike I’d experienced in the other church bodies I’d been a part of in recent years. It was like Jesus.

And like Jesus welcomed the sinners and tax collectors to dine at His table, these people have invited me to inscribe my life verse, the verse that God has written on my heart for my life and my part in the greater ministry of Christ – which motivates and fuels the role I play at the church in my small group.

This is just more confirmation for me that Jesus has and is pulling out the chair for me. Not only at the feast in heaven in the company of my enemies, but here and now, at the table that is my church home.

And that moves me to my core.

This is not something I take lightly. And I look forward to reengaging with this invitation from the Lord, taking seriously, not only my role as a small group leader, but also as a member of the family.

As an introvert, a busy person (with family events and such), and a mom of 3 little ones, this is no small feat. But I know my God is with me, in the big things and the little things, in that thing and in this thing. And I know this invitation will only serve to grow me and draw me into closer relationship with Jesus – and I’m not going to argue with that at all.

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