Find the 'gold' in your church family

Sitting in church on Sunday I had an overwhelming feeling of love. As I scanned the pews, I saw families sitting together, husbands with arms around wives, children snuggled against parents. Aunts holding nieces. Friends sharing smiles.

But this isn’t what brought my deep joy. As I looked around, I remembered kindnesses shown to me and others. I remembered the garden vegetables brought to my house when we first moved here, the chicken soup when I was sick, the above-and-beyond-expected book launch reception.

I remembered the words of comfort, the hand being squeezed, the notes of encouragement. I thought of how we, as a church family, rallied around a sick member, the spontaneous prayers, the offers to cook, clean, and drive to appointments.

I remembered the basket of car toys and snacks to entertain Nate when my son-in-law’s mother was ill and they had to make a sudden trip to Ohio with a toddler. I saw love, not the blaring in-my-face gushy kind that would soon burn out, but love soft and subtle -- steady.

I know without a doubt that I am surrounded by people who will be there for me when I need them. Are they perfect? No way. I get angry at times, teeth-gritting frustrated on occasion. But I love them.

They are my Godly family, the Christian brothers and sisters that behave just like my earthly family: full of imperfections but good-to-the-end, just like the coffee commercial.

My point? Love those in your church. Extend a hand or share a smile with those outside your usual group because together you are a family. When you have a need, someone will offer help, and it may not be the one you expect.

God gives us variety in our churches for a reason. Enjoy it. Look over the personality issues, the irritating habits of others, and the teeth-gritting frustrations. Beneath all of that may be a golden heart. There is a reason we have to work so hard to find gold. Should it be any less in our churches?

I hope this week brings unexpected peace and joy to your life. Regina

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