Solitary in the Sanctuary

Recently I began the search for a new home church. My husband and I moved after being in the same community for 25 years and our new city offers many, many churches to choose from. Certainly, the list can be narrowed quite quickly since not all these churches are Bible believing, solid Christian organizations. Still, there are a few that are and so now I visit them, pray and ask God for guidance in making the right choice.

This is one of those decisions that is more challenging when you are unequally yoked since I can’t lean on my husband’s discernment and direction. More so, sitting alone in a new congregation means I literally know no one.

I look around at the congregants and count the number of women sitting alone or with their children. There are nine. At least that is the number I can clearly see around me. But then the lady sitting in front and to the right of me moves over so that her husband can sit.

Now there are eight.

I wonder why these women are sitting alone in church. Are they like me and are married to a man who does not believe in the saving grace of Jesus? Perhaps there are some unmarried women or there is a widow or two. The lady right in front of me seems likely as I spy a ring on her aged finger. Then there is a lady behind me with her three children. She reminds me of me about fifteen years ago. Oh, but not this time, her husband has come to sit down next to her.

Now there are seven.

I wonder if the seven women plus however many more that I can’t see across the expansive sanctuary feel the same as I do. Sometimes it is a hard emotion to explain, but it’s a deep sadness that there is no one to share the joy of the Lord with intermingled with the reality of potentially lost eternity for someone I love so much.

This is the perfect opportunity to feel sorry for myself, but what if this time I don’t want to? I try to grab some gratitude thoughts. “Lord, thank you that there are so many families worshiping together. Thank you, God, that the music is so beautiful. Thank you that each one of these couples can share their faith with each other.”

Now the service is over. I begin slowly making my way out the door of the sanctuary. There are so many more people here in the city than in my previous church, hundreds more. I stand in the foyer trying to look like I might be waiting for someone, but I’m really scanning the faces – maybe I know someone, anyone. Nope not today. It seems everyone has their people and they chat and laugh, maybe make plans for lunch before leaving. More gratitude… “Lord, thank you for so many seemingly joyful people. Thank you ahead of time that maybe I’ll get to know a few. Thank you that I have a warm car outside.”

And there it is, another week ending. Maybe next week I’ll see a familiar face in this church or the next on the list.

If you can relate to any of this, please reach out to me and the “Unequally Yoked” community @one2onechristianlifecoach. I care and would love to know more of your story.

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