On Comforting The Spiritually Homeless-A Contemplation

{By Tammy Hendricksmeyer}

 

“We’re all just walking each other home.” ― Ram Dass

 

I watched the comment thread of folks who love their traditional church share about the good things offered for them. And I cheered them on with a bit of nostalgia, I did. So many churches have molded me, helped me spiritually grow, pushed me outside my comfort zones, and all of them good for changing me. Every last, single one of them—agents of change.

 

These days things are less known for me. In the past, I was sure there was an absolute right way. I stood my ground and drew lines in the sand. Many times those lines changed from denomination to non-denomination to organic and back again. Each with a bit of learning that widened the boundaries of how big my God is in our blips of eternity.

 

Copy of DSC_0539

 

Just when I thought I was ready to re-enter, to wade back to some sort of familiar, I’m finding it difficult. Recently I’ve visited various places and told myself it does not really matter you know? Things like agreeing 1,000% on doctrine and teaching. Christ is central and I try to keep Him much in the forefront, always, because the little ankle biters? They seem so small in comparison. And really they are, in light of Heaven and eternity.

 

If there is one thing I know for sure, it is Jesus, Him crucified and Lord of my life. But here I am again in another season of having to stay close to home. Each day is up for grabs, sand slipping through fingers as my plans fall way to the needs of others. And I’m ok with that. Loved ones are here for only so long before they’re gone so when the needs arise, you rise with them.

 

I live on a farm, miles removed from big city folk. Our roads twist and bump on narrow strips of black asphalt forcing you to slow down while gripping tight on the steering wheel. Along the roads are sightings of goats, Holsteins, or Roadrunners. I live smack dab in the center of cattle and poultry country, where lakes abound and rolling hills surprise you with stunning hilltop sunsets. We live in the heart of what was once a thriving dairy business. But since the economic downturn, many rolled up shop and left.

 

Fellowship is intentional and deliberate here. It is an arduous task, but a rewarding one. I do not forsake the fellowship, but my idea of fellowship is less about the program or service and more about the relationship, to include our personal one with Christ. And of course with each other.

 

I do not fear for the church. For those who talk about leaving, I do not fear for them. I trust them with God. I have known spiritual wildernesses but those were very much unlike my prodigal days where I walked away, although not entirely, from God. Just mostly in the ways that mattered.

 

But this other thing is different. I’ve talked with many and it is not a leaving of God, at all. Nor is it a forsaking of fellowship. God is still very much on their minds. Some just gather differently now, but they still gather, and some continue breaking bread, holding to the Apostles teaching and to Jesus. I’m comforted by a God who does not leave us as orphans.

 

It’s been over six years of being on this remote farm, of plunging to the depths of my soul and finding a barrenness landscape that only the Spirit can fill with life. I’ve grown in this wild terrain that is God. He’s invaded and moved into my every day, my every hour, my all in all. It’s a place I have grown up inside and outside of institutions, beyond the torn curtain, to grab hold His hem. This is a place where I go deep in the Spirit, the worship so sweet and powerful that my former ways only scrape the surface anymore.

 

But that’s on the good days. I’ve also known the deserts and the frozen tundra’s too.

 

It’s a land of intense seasons. Each one deeply felt from beginning to end.

 

I have wished that I could rewind and go back. That I could un-do the knowing. But then I look at my relationship with God, deeper and richer, more inter-dependent on His teaching and schooling, that it whets my appetite for more, even as I type. Why would I ever want to go back to what I once knew?

 

Ignorance is bliss. But I can’t un-know it now.

 

Yet, where is it safe to share such things?

 

Simply, I love my people, His people. I love us despite where we worship because we have God in common and that can be stronger than our differences, if we let it. There are brothers and sisters in Christ near to my heart because we are family, by the Spirit of things.

 

And I have my own mind and a spirit always seeking for more Truth on the matter of matters. It is an insatiable thirst that can drive me mad with its insisting persisting in the best of ways. Together we can thirst, we can go for more and spur each other on toward the Prize, right?

 

Jesus went into the streets. He went into synagogues too. But mostly it was in the streets or the highways, the sea-sides or the boat rides, the graveyards or mountain tops, under the stars or under roofs, with one or two or among the throngs. He comes to us, each, just as we are. He comes to change the inside, out. He gives us Hope and a Home. Both here and the here-after.

 

Together, you and I, we are the ironing sharpening iron. We make the rough edges smooth and sharpen them for the things that need cut from our lives. We can be extensions of grace and Love too. We can go beyond our how-to’s, our walls, our various places of divide, and we can just worship Jesus, as He is and is to come. We can do that. We can give glory where His is due and lift our arms in praise. And there are times that we can be the spiritually homeless who need a place to rest and to call their own.

 

But if we love Jesus, then we are families already. So maybe it is only a matter of “just walking each other home,” because it is one, solitary heartbeat away. And if the Comforter is here, then home has already come and it simply becomes a matter of us stepping in.

 

“Jesus answered, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’” John 14:23 HCSB

________________________________________________

 

My PhotoTammy has discovered writing is the rawest, scariest, frustratingly glorious, rewarding, and essential way to process life. She’s a renaissance woman who’s scattered pigeons at Notre Dame, swam the coral reefs of Okinawa, scaled fortresses in Nuremburg, and viewed the Eiffel Tower safely from the ground, and occasionally drives an old John Deere tractor in tim-buck-two. She’s a fighter for others to see their redemptive purpose, beauty, worth, and connection to a supernatural God. She’s the Founder and Curator for Outside The City Gates where she’s also a Co-Conspirator with a team of other writers. Her faith journey is found on her personal blog, or connect with her on  Facebook and Twitter.

 

Advertisements

15 Comments on “On Comforting The Spiritually Homeless-A Contemplation

  1. This is very encouraging, Tammy! It reminds me of the quote by Corre Ten Boom, “Nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom.”

  2. This is beautiful, Tammy. Truly. I hear and appreciate your heart. Thank you for letting us in and giving me much to chew on this week. I want the thirst you have now and I’m starting to finally feel it for the first time in a while…praise Him for that. ❤

  3. Tammy, Thank you for this. I have blogged often about my long time away from the weekly gathering of the local church. My health has made it mostly impossible. During these years the larger Body of Christ became dear to me. Believers near and far wrapped me in love, prayed for my family and I, encouraged us in our faith and provided for us financially. I grew up entrenched in church. My parents are in ministry. I’ve seen the dark underbelly of messy churches and experienced spiritual abuse and ugly splits. I find myself longing to return to corporate worship but terrified of what I might find there. I have learned so much of Jesus “outside the city gates.” I look forward to joining in this place you’ve created here.

    • Monica, my family have also been entrenched in ministry. I too, relate with you on that point. And then there have been long durations of caretaking sick family members which kept me from traveling far from home for any length of time. So there’s that too. And spiritual abuse is so real and damaging that I hope people remain innocent and unscathed as to never know the depths of that kind of healing. But for those that have, well. It is messy. But one thing remains, love. Always, love. Love for our spiritual families.

  4. Yes. I’m not looking to leave the Church. I’m needing to leave the church….. and to leave all those years I confused a building with being the Body. Waiting for God to move us. Will there be another place? I do not know. But I do know that the Temple I’ve been guided to seek has not been built by human hands. Bless it Tammy.

    • Loretta, I’m nodding here, because you said exactly what I’ve been saying these past months: this difference between leaving the Church and the church. I need the Church. I’m needing, at least for now, to leave the church. Thank you for articulating this.

  5. I feel this down deep in my kindred heart! And this: “Ignorance is bliss. But I can’t un-know it now.” I feel this about so many things now!

  6. I’m captured by this, too, Tammy – “this wild terrain that is God” – and I hope never to leave the wildness again for domestication, however that may look in different landscapes of life. Thank you for these beautiful words of your journey.

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: