ohblahdi’s Weblog

{November 26, 2010}   hello sandals

My journey at Sandals has been a bumpy one–Mr. Toad if you will. Church for me has been an experience. Just breathing, I guess you can say is an experience. Vague circles is what we Christians do when trying to explain things. Now I find myself generalizing to make myself feel better about what I might find myself explaining…about church. This bumpy, wild ride may cause some turbulence. Turbulence may cause some shaking. Shaking may cause some clarity.
As a young girl I found myself exuberant and excited about the gospel. I would walk up and down the street exclaiming the glory of Christ’s ability to save us all and take us to heaven to live with him forever. This heaven is what I dreamed of. It was the place of rest, peace, and joy. This heaven was an escape of the darkness and frightening life I lived in. As I grew older, I grew braver. I did not want to share my Christ’s ability to save with the lost; I wanted to share it with those who made me feel trapped and unloved. I wanted to share it with the people in my church. I knew that my Christ, his love, and his heaven did not match theirs. I could find any verse in the Bible by just hearing a few words. I had the book of Hebrews memorized. I knew what I believed, and I knew why. I was an unusual 15 year old. Sadly, I was ostracized and punished for my outspoken ways. I was not accepted, understood, or loved in the agape fashion. Later, as an adult, I found myself in leadership at the church. I ran the finances, the worship team, the youth group, taught Wednesday night services and directed the children’s ministry along with some youth camps. Here, people felt uncomfortable with my place in the church. They wanted me for everything except real relationship. After ten years of faithful service, that church fell apart and my family and I were lost without the church family we grew to be a part of. As lacking as it was, it was family.
We tried to find new churches. We liked some; We were totally weirded out by others. We found one and attended for two years. We even joined the worship team. This turned on us. They tried to fire the only friends we made and hire us to replace them. We left and eventually landed in my old stinky college gym on Sunday mornings. Visions of aerobics danced in my head. On top of this feeling of abandonment and loss, which are my two biggest fears, I am terrified of large churches. Sandals was not for me. Preaching-great. Worship-can’t beat Carlos. People-too darn many. The reject buzzer is blaring. Ok. Well, we tried other churches. I am tired of fast food. Sandal’s is Disneyland without the rides. I am completely overwhelmed. You think Matt has ADD? Welcome to my life. Too much is going on, that lady is walking up the bleachers, the guy in front of me is massaging his wife, somebody’s phone went off and my foot itches.
Then, I can’t really seem to find a place where I fit. I can’t leave the church. My family is fed (that’s Christianese btw for happy) here, my husband likes the church, and don’t I have to like submit or something under his leadership? What the heck am I going to do? Well, submit I guess. I guess. Yeah, I said it. So, I go to some functions. Food, don’t fit in. Give blood, no one talks while giving blood. Beach trip, everyone’s busy with their own stuff and sand is everywhere. The marshmallows were good. Married Couple Getaway, good for a few weeks and kind of made a few friends. Nothing deep. Darn it. Tried to get on the worship team. Sucks that singers are a dime a dozen. Husband made it. Crash.
This caused more turbulence in my life than I ever expected. This challenged my purpose, my needs, my pride, my well everything. For so long, since I was thirteen years old, I was valued for my ability to not only sing, but to lead worship. On top of that, I led worship alongside my husband for ten years. To see him up on stage brought in so much pain and bitterness in my life that I couldn’t think straight. It felt like he was up there with his new family while I watched in the shadows hidden in my car like a stalking ex-wife. Pain. He took it that his worship brought me anger. He actually felt guilty to play his guitar. How could I ever let something this stupid control and hurt so many? I love to hear him play worship. I just felt so detached and frustrated. Here I was at church for the first time with no connections, no relationship and no ministry. I felt so hollow.
You know what is really ridiculous? I am a grown up now. I am not a five year old who throws fits right? So why am I stamping my feet crying at God? Didn’t I realize that my ministry is my career? How many times have I told people how blessed I am to teach thug teenagers at Moval? I minister on a daily basis in a very overwhelming and sometimes scary place. I deal with drug addiction, abandonment, depression, poverty, sicknesses, selfish and upset kids every single day. I don’t even have time to take care of my own family sometimes due to this job. How did I think I was going to squeeze in worship practice? Embarrassing is what that was.
Well, I guess that doesn’t really tell you the place where my journey is now with Sandals. You said you wanted real right? I don’t know where I am at right now at Sandals. I am a blogger. That is a start right? I am ministering at church. I see a cross on a beautiful mountain just behind a big ugly building. I see a lot of people who have similar goals for Christ. They don’t make me feel bad or stupid. They are afraid to open up. They are comfortable with what they have. I see some amazing artists which speaks to my soul. How I have longed to see art become a part of the church. I see the church move and breathe. I see a humble leader who knows that Sandals needs to know itself. I see myself right here Sandals church. Disneyland can be nice if I let it. This is me, holding out my hand to touch your shoulder. This is me connecting to Sandals church. Hello.


Thanks for sharing this! It was an excellent posting about struggles with a church community. And I can associate with that with regard to Sandals, but in a slightly different way. Here’s to journeying together in struggles!

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