I took my fear to church today,
It sat there in the pew,
It tickled all across my spine,
It tore my heart in two,
So many breaths I had to hold
And tears that still broke through…
I felt the whisper of my Lord say,
“It’s okay, there’s room.”
I took my pain to church today,
The hurt I’ve tried to hide,
And no one seemed to disapprove
When it sat on my other side.
My trembling hands were kindly grasped,
I was greeted with gentle smiles,
While I wrestled with the message
Of a hope beyond our trials.
I took my doubt to church today,
And it whispered in my ears,
“Remember I’m the only one
To stay close all these years.”
But another whispered, “Liar!
She has always known I’m near.
Just because she can’t see answers now,
Doesn’t mean I’ve disappeared.”
I took my love to church today
And I offered it up to God.
It looks a little weathered now,
It’s weak and bruised and lost.
While they spoke about the empty tomb
My broken heart still fought
To hope my love would be redeemed,
To hold one precious thought,
And there it was around me,
That thought I yearned to find:
I knew a Love that never ceased
To say, “This is my child.
I will always hold her near Me,
Make her gifts and burdens Mine.
There is always room for all of her.
She doesn’t have to hide.”
I took a lot to church today…
But there was room there in the pew
To sit where God could speak to me
Through many others who
Also had more visitors
Than those there in plain view,
When it hurts, we keep believing
God is up to something new.
The Easter story has room enough
For pain and impossible odds,
Miracles, betrayal, fear,
And a crucified Son of God,
The waiting and the in-between,
A tomb with rolled-away rock,
And a risen Saviour calling our name,
For nothing’s ever too far gone.
My life has recently been in a seemingly perpetual season of Holy Saturday: waiting in the unknown, grieving and change, anxiety and uncertainty. Today, Easter Sunday, I struggled to celebrate the hope and joy of Easter. I have hope this season will pass, but right now it is still difficult, it is still too freshly present and messy to celebrate that hope some days. I cried through most of the church service, my broken heart feeling a bit out of tune with all of the happiness of those around me. I felt my soul lingering in the spirit of Holy Saturday where I was not alone in my waiting and tears. I love that I have a church where that was acceptable, a body of Christians with compassion and grace enough to hold my space of conflicted sorrow sacred alongside their own variety of emotions. I love that I have a church that acknowledges that the beauty of a Risen Christ can bring us to tears in the best of times, and life is rarely “the best of times”.
Had I been attending one of my previous churches, though they were full of lovely people, I wouldn’t have felt that space sacred enough for my vulnerability and honesty. I’d have stayed in bed under my quilt. I have been blessed to find a church family who is willing to walk alongside each other. Though it was painful and I was tempted every few minutes to leave, I stayed and let God speak hope and beauty into my despair in ways that I did not have to unfold just then. God spoke in ways that would bloom as I carried their echoes throughout the rest of my day. I’ll even hazard a guess that they will continue to unfurl and spill fragrant praise for many days to come, even if I’m still crying Holy Saturday tears for a while yet. Isn’t that the glorious truth of a God who meets us where we are, even in our humanity? There is room enough for us to come fully unedited before our Creator.