GRACE, FORGIVENESS, AND ENCOURAGEMENT

Sunday, July 24, 2016

50 IS NOT OLD | GRACE, FORGIVENESS AND ENCOURAGEMENTI never know when I set down at the computer what I am going to write about. Even if I have an idea in my mind, it will sometimes change as the post evolves. But, I have had this subject on my mind for a few weeks, so I guess I will forge ahead.

I hated church as a child. There, I said it. We attended church every time the doors were opened, but I HATED it. I would fidget, squirm, look out the windows, and pass notes to my friends. I did everything but listen. None of that mattered though, because every Sunday, Sunday night, and Wednesday night we headed out the door. I attended a small church, there were probably only around 50 or so on a Sunday morning, and about half of those attended the night services. My grandmother only lived a little ways from the church, so we would go to her house after church for lunch. That part I did like!

I don’t know if it was just our church, or our preacher, but it sure seemed like all I heard when I was growing up was about Hell. fire and brimstone, not even a drop of water to quench your thirst. I know as an adult that all that is true, and I can understand the “scare you straight” approach to preaching. But, I hated it. I can remember thinking how can God be so wonderful, if He is making it so hard to be with Him? All I could envision was a camel trying to go through the actual eye of a needle. That is impossible!!! How was I ever going to be able to make it to Heaven, if that stupid camel had to go through the needle?

When we moved to Grundy, my children were 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. I had not been attending church, and it was eating at me. I guess some of the teachings I had heard as a child took root. Thanks,Β Mom! I was brand new to the area, and I had no idea what church to attend. I got out the phone book, and looked up churches. I found one that was just a couple miles away, so I drove by to see for sure where it was and what time the services where. I got the babies up and dressed that Sunday, and we headed off. I hate going to new places. I hate feeling uncomfortable and unsure. So, this was a huge step for me. Everybody was welcoming, and I actually saw Sandy (now a BFF) there with her children, so I felt more at ease.

Then came the preaching. Boy was I in for a shock! There was no fire and brimstone. No eye of the needle, no vengeful God. Instead there was Grace and Forgiveness. Instead there was welcoming and understanding. I left church feeling like I might actually have a chance, instead of feeling like I was the only sinner in the place and everyone was looking at me. I felt like everyone in the building was a sinner, and the Lord welcomed all of us to Him. I couldn’t believe how wonderful and encouraging church could be.

Do we encourage others to come to the Lord? I have never been vocal about my faith, I don’t like it when I feel someone is trying to ram something down my throat. I have subscribed to the philosophy that I want others to see Jesus shine through me. I know of several women I admire who fit that statement, so that is my goal. But I recently read about a gentlemen, who is now a preacher, who was never invited to church until he was in his late 20’s. He never knew about Christ or His teachings. How horrible would it have been if that one person had not taken the time to invite him to church? So, I declaring today to be “Friend Day.” I am inviting all of you to attend church with me. Even if you are not in Vansant, not in Virginia, or not in the United States, I am still inviting you to attend church. Reach out to someone you know, and invite them to come with you. It would be a shame, if no one had EVER invited them. Remember, fire and brimstone.

Have a blessed day!✝️

 

 

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39 Responses
  • Nancy
    July 24, 2016

    Thank you for this beautiful story!

  • Lisa
    July 24, 2016

    Very well written Tania. I grew up in church all my life. However, it has taken a couple storms in my life to draw me closer to God and I actually thank him for those storms. Enjoy your Sunday. ~Lisa~

  • Connie R.
    July 24, 2016

    Thank you for your honesty. I also have my mother to thank for my faith in God. I fussed all the way there. I don’t know later in my life how I would have got through without that faith. You speak from your heart. We love you for that.

  • Audrey
    July 24, 2016

    Excellent message. Thank God for our Mom’s who planted those early seeds in us! Mine did, too. Her Mom instilled that love in her. Mom is now in the hands of Jesus but many times I think of how that foundation changed my life, bringing me to where I am today. Definitely going to thank them for that one day.

    Have a great Sunday.

    • Tania
      July 24, 2016

      I believe kicking and screaming might have been a term my mother used. Lol!

  • Cathy McNeace
    July 24, 2016

    I enjoy your posts so much. Genuine, real and yes, your faith shines through in your blogs, and your attitude.

  • Charolette Kirby
    July 24, 2016

    Well said! God’s desire is for us to know Him, how much we are loved and that our true identity is only found through His Son. I love your blog. Have a blessed day.

  • Doreen Bednarski
    July 24, 2016

    The Lord shines through you every time you write a new post for the day. Never more to me than when Bertha and Sandy left you folding clothes at the garage sale and without a word, went shopping. I was angry for you. But, you forgave them and all was right again. I thought then, she is a bigger person than I. That spoke to me. Tania, you are so real and kind with all you do in your community and you always respond to those of us who reply to you. There shines the love of the Lord.

    • Tania
      July 24, 2016

      I couldn’t stay mad at those two, I love them way too much!!! Thanks for taking the time to comment, I try to answer as much as I can. I was running a little late tonight, I have been on babysitting duty today. Believe me, there is no time for looking at the blog when little Miss Hurricane Emersyn comes to visit. Lol!

  • Allison
    July 24, 2016

    What a great word! Our world needs Jesus like never before!

  • janniefaye54
    July 24, 2016

    I didn’t have a lot of church in my young years. I’ve now been in my home church for over 20 years. God, and my church family, have carried me through a cancer scare, the loss of my husband and so much more. I am blessed.

    • Tania
      July 24, 2016

      I am so glad that you have had a church family to lean on. Sometimes people have no idea how much they can mean to you.

  • Joanne
    July 24, 2016

    This was a joy to read today😊 Thank you.

  • Mary
    July 24, 2016

    Inviting and welcoming others….you never know how a little kindness can impact others. I thought I was strong in my faith when I moved to my present community. But the church I went to made it clear newcomers were welcome only to the extent they had money or power. I’m outgoing, love people and enjoy change and variety. But no matter what I tried, including acceptance and patience (as best I was able to practice) I and other newbies were ignored. And yes, I tried other churches here with similar results. After 14 years in my community, I stopped attending church and miss it terribly. However, the pain of attending outweighs the benefits.

    I now attend church in another community and am planning to relocate. It is wrong of me to have stopped attending and church is about God not whether we are welcomed by others. However for me that sense of community is critical. Just one welcoming person would have made all the difference.

    Love your Sunday posts. They remain my favorites. Thanks for all the time and work you put into your blog. I appreciate it.

    • Tania
      July 24, 2016

      It is amazing to me how people who call them selves Christians, can be anything but Christian. I am glad you continued to look search for the church who would make you welcome. That might have been the Lord’s plan for you all along.

  • Linda
    July 24, 2016

    This is a wonderful message for us all. My parents planted the seed when I was young, and it has given me joy, strength, grace and love ever since. I pray that others will see Christ in me. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and if you do not know him, I pray you will ask him in your life.

  • Kim
    July 24, 2016

    Such a wonderful testimony from the heart. God Bless you! Love reading your post on FB & love your outfits! Totally my style!

  • FunkyForty
    July 24, 2016

    Hello Tania,
    Nice message – we don’t go to church that often but my daughter and I did have a super special experience once when we visited the Vatican in Rome – it was quite amazing. We had visited the Coliseum the day before and somehow were not feeling that fab and then visited the Vatican. Amazingly leaving there with totally lifted spirits…we couldn’t explain it but I guess some things don’t need explaining right.
    These days Sundays tend to be the day when I think most about my Dad who passed away in 2014 – I still miss him soooo much.
    Have a lovely Sunday!
    Yvonne xx

  • grammygoodwill
    July 24, 2016

    This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing how you feel. Finding a new church is hard. We attended a church for almost 30 years before we moved to Roanoke. First we visited the closest church – twice – and no one spoke to us. Then, I looked up a church in the phone book and we went there for 8 years before moving to a neighboring county. Once again, we visited two churches. We liked them both, but we chose the once that is 5 minutes from our house. The minister is an amazing preacher. We heard another great sermon this morning.
    Enjoy your day.

    • Tania
      July 24, 2016

      I am so glad you found the perfect fit, and it was close to home.πŸ˜‡

  • Sandy
    July 24, 2016

    Boy that BFF pops up everywhere! But WHY did I not invite you to church with me???? I can’t answer that, but I do invite you to go to church functions with me now! Maybe doing better? Good post Girl!!!

    • Tania
      July 24, 2016

      We probably were not BFF’s then. You know how shy I am when it comes to meeting new people. Even getting me to go to church cook outs, etc. is like pulling teeth. Maybe one of these days. πŸ™‚

  • Ruth Hamel
    July 24, 2016

    Thank you for using your platform to share your faith as well as your fashion.

  • Brenda
    July 24, 2016

    Well said, and encouraging πŸ™‚

  • Aly
    July 24, 2016

    Same here…3x/week whether I needed it or not. Ha! Did your preacher “hack” while preaching? If ours didn’t, it wasn’t a good message. I am thankful for my Christian heritage; however, it was soooo legalistic…Christian School, only dresses, pantyhose, KJV, and rules, rules, and more rules.
    Over the past 25 years of marriage, my husband and I have found a much different way of worship! Thank the Lord for different churches to meet all needs. The hard job is finding the best fit for your family. Y’all get out and look though. If the first one sucks (yes, I said sucks), try a another! And another and another, if that what it takes. The internet is an amazing way to listen to messages and “weed out the duds”. God will never give up on you…don’t easily give up on Him.
    Love you, Tania. I read your blog daily and often wish I knew you in real life. We’d have a hoot. – Have a fabulous Sunday! ~Aly~

    • Tania
      July 24, 2016

      This made me smile all the way through:) On days that I don’t feel well, or if I accidentally over sleep, I too head to the internet for my “church.” I will start with Beth Moore (she is always my go-to) and then branch out from there.

  • Naomi
    July 24, 2016

    Your heart is always in the right place Tania.😘

  • Jan
    July 24, 2016

    I just got back to church in the past couple of years, after a very long alienation for a variety of reasons. When i moved from TN to CT I knew I had to branch out to find friends and keep active. I was so lucky that my son and his family had been attending a church in their town so, of course, that’s where I started my search. It was a different denomination from what I had last attended several years ago but that made no matter. This church and its members have changed my life (I know that sounds cheesy but it’s so) and I couldn’t be happier and more content and I’ve never felt more supported . The best part is that in the summer they have an 8:00 a.m. service at a local beach. Now this is what I call CHURCH. It is so peaceful there at that time of day and the only “adornment” is a plain wooden cross that is stuck in the sand. We have great music from a key board, guitar and whatever else shows up on a given Sunday and a mini choir of 4 or 5 people. We all bring our blankets or chairs, dress VERY casually and wear our sunscreen and/or hats. I don’t know about other women, but I don’t wear a speck of make up. Woo Hoo. I look out over the Long Island Sound that is like glass and think that this must be what that the crowds following Jesus must have seen as they looked out over the Sea of Galilee. Fabulous. Of course when it rains we move back inside but so far that has only happened once since the middle of June. I’ll be sad to move back inside permanently after Labor Day.

    • Tania
      July 24, 2016

      I think I need to visit you!!! This sounds like a little slice of heaven.

  • Linda Thompson
    July 24, 2016

    I felt the exact way about church growing up.. So thankful I now know about grace & forgiveness PTL!! Thanks for sharing I enjoyed it so much .

  • Steph W
    July 24, 2016

    Awesome blog!! Thank you for sharing your heart and your love for the gospel.
    Steph

  • Susan
    July 25, 2016

    How many shoes do you have? How many should an average gal have?

  • Debbie Ashburn
    July 25, 2016

    What you describe was so like how I was raised. Although our church was loving and caring, it was also very strict, as in no pants, no makeup, no cutting hair. By hey have changed a lot since those days. But I felt the same you did, I didn’t hate church but I felt like I couldn’t live up to the standards. Now I go to a church that preaches grace and security and it is balm to my soul. Thanks for sharing your experience! 😘

  • Laura Peyton
    July 25, 2016

    My childhood experience was similar! I can totally relate to the fear & intimidation. I was left scared & empty. But as an adult sought out love, compassion & fellowship with much better results. My goal was to not terrorize the children & it worked! They all enjoyed church, youth activities & now have memberships in churches of their choices!
    Enjoy your blog everyday! You are fabulous! Keep up the great work!

  • Gigi Howard
    July 25, 2016

    Thank you for this Tania, my personal childhood memories are the exact opposite. My mother took us to a wonderful church. I got married at 21 and neither of us were attending church. Four years later we wanted to find a church home. My husband liked the third church we attended but it was nothing but about Satan and sin. I felt awful that our children were being scared to death. After 17 years of marriage I had to make a life changing decision. I never wanted to be divorced but I did it anyway. I felt so horrible and felt like I was going to Hell. That year was 1999 I went to counseling abd swore I would never get married again!
    Now my children are grown and told me they were glad I got divorced. I’m remarried and we attend church and I have learned I’m not going to Hell! Thanks for your story. ❀️

    • Tania
      July 25, 2016

      Thank you for sharing Gigi. It is hard to tell of your struggles, even though everyone has them. I am so glad you have found someone special and have learned to accept God’s forgives and grace.

  • SARAH
    July 25, 2016

    Beautifully written, Tania. I believe our actions speak louder than words and often we can run people away from Christ rather than into His arms. None of us are perfect – but we are forgiven if we seek Him. God Bless! xoxo

  • Sheri
    July 25, 2016

    Love this post and love the song. Thanks!

  • Charlcy Green
    July 26, 2016

    Tania, thank you for being brave, stepping out of your comfort zone! Thank you for listening to your Mama’s voice, heeding God’s call & taking your babies to church & thank you for posting this! Have a blessed day, my new friend!

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