What I Learned About Clubs
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
When I was five years old, I joined the Brownies club at school. I learned a lot of things in Brownies. We played Farmer in the Dell, and I learned that I hated being the cheese. Who wants to stand alone? I learned that I was named after my grandmother – Barbara Nina – because we did a club meeting about names. I’m not sure why I’d never realized it before, but I clearly remember the day Mom explained it to me. I also declared that my daughter too would be named after her grandma! I learned Stranger Danger and my mom and I developed a Secret Password so that no one could fool me into thinking they were there to pick me up for my parents. I still remember the password – but I’m not telling you! I learned that tent camping trips in May resulted in FREEZING all night long and that my mom was willing to freeze to death if it meant I was a little warmer. Being a Kindergarten Brownie was a blast.
That was the only year we participated in a program like Brownies. I think my mom was a busy gal and she didn’t get along particularly well with the leaders of our local group. We weren’t a Christian family and so I didn’t spend time in a church group, either. Pretty much, as a latchkey kid, I had my run of the neighborhood, school, and dance classes. Fun times. I really did need that Stranger Danger teaching!
When I was eighteen, I gave my life to Jesus. Unfortunately, I also took it back several times, deciding that I knew way better than He did how to create a happy and fulfilling life. He was patient with me, thankfully. In my mid-twenties, I gave it back to Him for the last time and declared a war on my control-freakish tendencies. I’m still in that particular battle, but now I know that Jesus has my back and my front and all sides, so I’ll win eventually.
In giving my life to Jesus, I discovered the best club in the world! CHURCH! The people I met at my first church provided a tangible feel to grace. They forgave, gave second chances, and just loved me, in spite of my setbacks and slow growth. I learned a lot at that church – first and foremost, who Jesus is and that He loves me, always and immeasurably. I also learned to raise my hands in worship, that preschoolers are way fun to sing with, and that I can never learn enough of the Bible to truly understand God. I keep trying though. Because I want to know God.
The thing about church that I love the most is that it’s a club that isn’t exclusive. You love Jesus and have devoted your life to Him? GREAT! Come to church and grow more. You gave up on Jesus long ago and you just don’t know what you believe anymore? GREAT! Come to church and see what maybe you missed before. You don’t even know who Jesus is? GREAT! Come to church and find out. You can’t stand Christians? You are sick of the rules of Christianity? You think church is a waste of time? GREAT! Come to church and ask questions, find out about grace, see what the God of the universe has for you.
Just like when I was a Brownie and learned that I hated being the cheese, I’ve learned that I hate standing alone as an adult. Just like when I attended that first church and I learned that I was hungry for grace, I’ve learned that I’m just as hungry to give grace. Just like in my mid-twenties when I realized that I wasn’t the best at carrying out decisions for my life, I’ve learned that handing that control to Jesus was the best decision I could have ever made.
Being a part of church has changed my life in more ways than I could count – and I’ve learned that I’m still that little girl who is proud of her name (both the one I received from my grandmother, and the one I received from God – Beloved Daughter), who knows the password to avoid danger (Jesus, help me! I’ll tell you that one.), and who is thankful for a church family that has always been willing to put themselves out to help me to feel loved.
How about you? What has church done for you? Or are you in that category that is still questioning? Please know that questions are welcomed by the God who has the answers. All you need to do is ask.
P.S. I did name two of my daughters after their grandmothers! I’m not a stickler for too many traditions, but that was one I couldn’t pass up.