I began going to a church that told me to sing but not too loud, to clap but not too hard, to obey the word of God but "just use it as a guideline". (I had been in several churches like this, on and off, throughout my life) I knew that since church started at 11:00 AM, we should be out after 2 hymns, a chorus and a 30 minute sermon and I'd be in line at the local buffet by 12:30. I was told "God is here" but I never felt Him. I was told I was making God SO happy because I came to church for an hour or so each Sunday morning; I was even called a good and faithful servant for simply doing that.
I felt frustrated. What was wrong with me? Why could I not be satisfied with this docile, dead drivel I was being taught? Why could I not be satisfied hearing about how much God loved me and what He was going to do for me? I felt there was so much more to God than I was being told then my husband took our oldest son down to KC, Mo to go to a church/Bible Training Center, and he came home changed - completely full of life, hope, excitement, joy...He talked about what he had experienced non-stop. It. drove. me. nuts!
A few months later we both made the almost-24-hour drive and I had a life changing encounter with the power and presence of God like none I had ever known. The moment we stepped on the property you could feel a difference in the atmosphere. It was excitement, hope, joy, peace and love all rolled up into this overwhelmingly real, tangible presence of God and I began to weep the moment I was there, knowing that this was what I was missing.
We made several more trips down, several great friends and hopeful plans to move down there- all the while attending a church that was teaching us a powerless God who exists only to make us happy, to save us and to make us feel good.
The trips down were far between as each trip we took down was on credit & we were getting closer and closer to bankruptcy. We would come back refreshed & renewed but would grow more weary, frustrated and exasperated as each day we were back came and went. October 2008 ws the last trip we have been able to make. We knew, if our marriage meant anything to us, we HAD to go & we had to make permanent changes - no matter the financial cost.
That trip opened our eyes on so many levels and it restored our marriage completely! We came back home with an underlying sense of turmoil. You see, the pastor of the church we attended was a very, very dear friend. We had emotional ties; we had made promises. We had commitments.
Our first service home something snapped inside both of us & we. were. done! We took our children home, went to a restaurant & went over both our thoughts. We decided to go to a new church in town (just a couple years old at the time) that was being pastored by a man we knew and had some what of a history with but this post is long enough for now so I think I will leave that part for another time.