By: Cindy Lundhagen
(A continuation from 3 March) So here I was left wondering why God was reaching out to me. Wondering what, if anything, I was to make of “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”. I had no clue so I asked God to show me. It wasn’t like I was asking Him to prove Himself to me (He already had). I was simply asking Him to help me figure it out. Knowing myself, as the idiot I mostly am, I might have it all right there in front of me and still miss it. So I asked Him to make it obvious. If there was something God wanted from me, I just needed clarity and I would do it… Then I went back to my normal life routine but with a new willingness to be open to possibilities. And I continued with my commitment of reading God’s story…though now I was hungry for more…and sometimes read two chapters per day.
Approximately six months later, I was driving my daughter and her friends to Ashley Ridge High School in the morning as usual…when I noticed a billboard. The billboard simply read “Ashley Ridge Church” and pretty much nothing else…at least that I can recall. It was a simple message and I’m all about simplicity. For the next several weeks as I drove the kids to school I felt like I was being pulled towards this billboard. It just would not leave me alone…and frankly it was becoming annoying. Maybe, just maybe, this was supposed to be something. If so, God didn’t just give me a sign…He made it big and simple (for the idiot)…and apparently with magnetism…so I wouldn’t, couldn’t miss it. Looking back, I know now that my God (and yours) has a great sense of humor. Or maybe He just knew that I truly am such an idiot that a billboard was deemed necessary…whichever and whatever…it really matters not…at this point.
Anyway, I finally couldn’t take it anymore so I decided to look up this Ashley Ridge Church on the internet in an attempt to put it all behind me (to find closure with the darn billboard so I could drive past it in peace). As I am sure I alluded to before, I had absolutely no desire or interest in going to a church. I hadn’t been inside a church for anything other than official events (weddings, funerals, etc) since before my parents got divorced…when I was pretty young…and now I was pretty old. I thought there is no way I am going to get all dressed up on Sunday mornings to go sit with a bunch of church people who probably won’t accept someone like me…with my track record and issues. I didn’t want to listen to some preacher lecture me on the wrong doings of my life and my need “to get right with God” and my likely destination of the fiery abyss. My older sister joined a convent (for a time) and became a nun after leaving home. In my mind she simply left one form of prison for another. I could not discern where church might be of any value. I wanted NOTHING to do with church.
But I owed an immense debt of gratitude to God, so on the off-chance that He was trying to show me something, I would at least investigate. And I was surprised by my initial findings. The website said the church was relatively new and the service was currently being held in the high school. It said “come as you are”. The things conveyed as their vision and core values did not offend me but rather resonated with me: (1) We need God (2) We need each other (3) The world needs us…and life is just done BetterTogether (though I think this piece actually came about a little later). And then I found the podcasts of the sermons. I randomly clicked on one and listened. I was captivated…and eventually moved (remember I am stubborn and rebellious by nature)…
More to come with the next continuation…
Cindy Lundhagen — Summerville, SC