To continue from last night... I do not have more things to ramble about, really, but I do have an update on my life that I had hoped to get to last night but was unable. First, I want to mention that I am thankful I have removed external links to this blog. If I had not done so up until now, I would be doing so now. Even now I consider making this blog, somehow, more removed from the outside world. I enjoy being able to record my journey on here, along with my personal walk with Christ and struggles, with peace knowing that only a handful of people even happen upon these writings.
Over the last few years my Husband and I have felt ourselves slowly sliding backwards when it comes to our Christian faith and walk. In the last year, it has gotten worse for both of us. Since moving to Chicago we have focused on a church community that is quite a distance from our house, roughly 45 minutes. In the beginning it was not so difficult as that I only went to school 1-2 days a week and Brad worked overnight. In the last couple of years it has slowly become more difficult, with us both working 50+ hours weekly, to be involved with this community and to attend church regularly. Our desire for both has dwindled significantly and this became very obvious to us as we attempted to return to church after missing so much during the summer months.
When Brad was in the hospital, I did not attend church for months. The thought of having to drive 40 minutes and then to try and explain our circumstances to the church community was daunting to me. I didn't want to talk to anyone really...add to this the distance involved and it became all too easy to miss church each week. Because of our distance from our community, outside of a few visits early on from our Pastor, no one visited us during this time. Originally Brad wanted no visitors and many people did not know what we going through as that it was kept private. But in the later months, I felt very alone. Some of it was wanted as that I found a way to exist in the trauma. But, in many ways, I needed love and affection. I needed to be hugged and encouraged and loved. I don't blame my community at all, I never expressed these needs and I did not expect them to drive an hour to only visit for half that, only to drive an hour back. But this did injure my walk with Christ more than I could have imagined. I see now how much we need other believers, especially in our darkest moments.
As Brad and I attempted to return to church in the fall we realized how difficult the journey was and how disconnected we felt from the community. I regret that more people were not made aware of what happened with him. Despite knowing most people by name, we realized how surface level our friendships were with many. It was not their fault or ours; a deep relationship cannot be built by only seeing a person once every couple weeks for a few minutes on Sunday. We need more than this.
So we have decided to leave our church and find one that is in our local community, no more than 15 minutes from where we live, though we have already found some that are much closer. This is a big change for us, but it is a good change and one we are both excited about and feel a great deal of peace.
I regret a lot of things about this year. About things done and not done. But...I am thankful all the more for God's grace and love. As I mentioned last night, I believe good things are coming in 2013 and, for the first time in a long time, I feel a great deal of peace and excitement.
As I am writing this, I hope to keep this blog updated as more of a journal than as simple image updates or writings. It was originally created to be "my journey of learning to sing into the darkness". This is an expression adapted from an old hymn about singing in the darkness; singing praises to God during the dark moments of our lives. Singing when there is no reason to sing at all, but yet we are able to see His light and His beauty, and this is what makes us sing. And this singing is what lights up the darkness around us...