More than a Survivor

56 years ago I was a “rose on the organ” at Central Free Church (now Hope CC west ) as this was how a good church family celebrated their new arrival. I attended Sunday School, memorized verses for Camp, was confirmed, baptized, and married there. And then I walked away. I never really connected to anyone and blamed everyone for it, when really it was my own insecurity and feelings of offense keeping me away.

Like many, I took family and community for granted. I was determined I could do it alone, just God and me and my Bible.

And we did OK. His word led me through my mother’s death, multiple miscarriages, and betrayal. It was my life-support when my husband died at 43. But it didn’t have to be so lonely or painful.

Recently an old friend said, “Sheryl, you are a survivor.” I wasn’t sure if I should feel admired or be offended. But it was simply a statement of fact. Like so many, God had led me through some stuff; some I take responsibility for and some was just painful life stuff. Growing up saved didn’t keep me from sin nor did it shield me from the sadness this life bears. But God never meant for me to go through any of it alone.

As powerful as his word and presence is to comfort, guide and give hope, it is the love and support of others in the body of Christ that God uses to give you real-time grace. Sharing each other’s burdens blesses us and honors God.

Community gives us an eternal belonging with people seeking the same humble purpose of reflecting Christ’s love and sharing the hope of his redemption. Through life I’d developed believer friendships outside of church, but here they are all together under one roof! (or in Hope’s case – two).

So my story is you can trust God to take you through it – all of it. He is as close as a whisper in your ear every moment of your life. His word is truly a “light unto your path.” Read it daily. But there is so much more He has given us. We are not meant to just survive. Choose to become involved, don’t believe Satan’s lies that no one will understand you or care about you.

Sheryl Warner

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Categories: Stories