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I’ve grown up in the evangelical church.  I married a man who is a pastor.  I have 36 years of Sundays under my belt.  I’ve only been committed to two churches my whole life-the one I grew up in, that my family attended for generations…and the one I met my husband at, and where he is a pastor.

I have sat through sermons that bored me and sermons that changed me.  I’ve been a part of communal worship that left me dry, and worship that left me in awe.  I’ve seen positive leadership, I’ve seen passive leadership.  I have loved my local church, and I have hated it.  I remember telling my husband one time that I can understand why people want to love Jesus, but stay away because they don’t want to be a part of a church.

I’ve seen people come and go from each church I’ve belonged to, talked with other believers who have gone from church to church, and here’s what I know… They will all admit that there is not one single perfect church.  And even though we all know it, why are we still looking for it?

The newness wears off or relationships change.  The excitement just isn’t there anymore, you know?  You’re experiencing some new developments in your faith and you just don’t think you can jive with what’s happening where you are.  I get it.  I prayed in different seasons that God would give my husband another calling, that we would be able to move from where we are.  But you know what God had the audacity to say to me?

“Bring what you want to where you are.”

I was not ok with this.  On so many levels, I was not ok with this.  I struggled with this.  We live in a world of instant gratification.  This idea of me having to put some work in was not what I wanted to hear.  But this was confirmed when my husband said, “Hey, I’ve been open to God’s leading and I’ve been praying, but we’re really not supposed to be anywhere else.”

And now, a few years later, I’m beginning to see the beauty of remaining committed.  We go through seasons in our marriages where we have to do hard work, see things through, love through the ugly times.  On the other side, when both parties are working towards the same goal, there is usually some beautiful reconciliation.

This has been my experience with local church, too.  I have grown more tender towards this strange community.  Wherever you are, I encourage you to find your own community.  I encourage you to see it through the hard times, and celebrate the beauty.

May we see it for what it is, but love it for what it can be.