True confession: I love my church.  Those of you who know me well know that I have church issues, and it’s actually a little scary for me to utter these words out loud.  But it’s true. 

All my life, I’ve heard people talk about their “church homes” and I remember the exact moment when I understood what they meant.  It was Sunday morning and I was visiting a friend’s church (sometimes I like to worship incognito).  The folks were friendly.  The music was good.  The testimonies were powerful.  But I knew I wasn’t home.  And I wanted to be.

Home is time and space to heal from too many years spent in the harsh spotlight of ministry.

Home is deep friendship refined by fire—living overwhelming joy and heartwrenching sorrow and knowing that you are not alone.

Home is words of life spoken in desert moments, words of wisdom spoken in hours of confusion, words of affirmation spoken when you thought no one was watching and an occasional kick in the pants.

Home is choosing to value relationships even when we disagree.

Home is bringing it all—telling the truth about the questions, the anger and all the glorious, horrendous messiness of life.

Home is being able to look different without feeling conspicuous.

Home is stooping to meet my daughter’s eyes, telling her with your words and actions that she is loved and wanted here.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m the first to admit that church—any church—is just a whole bunch of broken people in the process of being redeemed.  When all that brokenness comes together in one place, it gets messy (can I get a witness?).  We fail.  We hurt each other.  We are too quick to judge and too slow to extend grace.

But the truth is that my church feels like home partly because it’s comfortable and familiar.  And do you know how something becomes comfortable and familiar?  You do it.  You commit.  You jump the heck in there and get your hands dirty and carry on together in the brokenness and the messiness and the redemption.  It’s not always pretty or easy or fun (though, to be honest, sometimes it is all of those things too).  But if you hang in there, you just might find out that you’re home.

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