Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Support in the Aisle

Support...


Support. "To bear all or part of the weight of; hold up" (English Oxford Dictionary).


I belong to a private group on Facebook. In this group are women from all ages,  stages, and walks of life. Most, if not all of these women are believers.  There is a code that is honored within the group that makes this a safe place, a place that welcomes honest and open sharing. In this group…bringing the broken bits of your life out into the open equates to just putting it in writing in a post. Not all share the hard things in their lives, those things that cause pain and regret. But some do. And the amazing thing is…when they do…there is an outpouring of love, sometimes tough love, but always…always support. 

These women have been known to offer prayer, moral support, open their homes, meet for a cup of coffee, and even contribute money when needed. They love each other and desire nothing more than for the woman struggling to be healed and restored to a right relationship with God and others. Each one of us knows that we are all capable of falling into the same traps and lies of the enemy. It is only by God’s grace, not our own goodness, that we have escaped some of the snares of the enemy.  

For these women, there is an open invitation to come and ask for support at any time. Let them know in a post and they will respond. Because these women operate as a body of Christ followers, they represent a small portion of the church. And for me, I have come to see this act of ‘putting it out there’ in a post equivalent to walking down the aisle at church.   

The Aisle…


In a church service, the opportunity to walk down the aisle happens toward the end of the service at the time of invitation. The invitation is given to ask for prayer, or to accept Christ as Lord and Savior, or for just admitting our brokenness. And that makes us feel vulnerable. Can we trust others with our mess? 

 So often we think of that aisle as the 'walk of shame' and so are reluctant to step out and let people know we have failed in some way. Or that we have a need. We are afraid of judgment. 

But the truth is the aisle is our opportunity to step out and step up...to walk the path of forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and freedom. As we step out into that aisle, we are accepting the love and support of fellow believers to help us move beyond the conviction of our sin, beyond our present circumstances. It now becomes their responsibility pull us into the fold of loving fellowship, to love us where we are, to look beyond our past and to honor us for who God created us to be...who we are becoming. And yes, to help hold us accountable. 



If we as the church, choose to view the aisle in any other way, then we are choosing to walk as the Pharisees did. They were so afraid to let go of the ‘letter of the law’, sitting in judgment on any who would dare break one iota of their rules and regulations, that they missed Christ, their Messiah. Rules had replaced relationship...and they missed the most important relationship of their lives. 

So let's not give that aisle the designation: walk of shame. Instead, let's look at is as a passage...on the way to freedom. 

Passage...


The definition of the word aisle in the English Oxford dictionary is this: 
A passage between rows of seats in a building such as a church or theatre, an aircraft, or train. 

 So the aisle is not the final destination but operates as a passage. The word Passage is defined several ways in the English Oxford dictionary: 

The action or process of moving through or past somewhere on the way from one place to another. The action or process of moving forward. The right to pass through somewhere.


So maybe shame, regret, need or grief gave you a nudge, but you are still reluctant to step out into that aisle. Just remember the aisle is merely a passage, a passage you have every right to step into. I believe with every fiber of my being that Jesus walks right beside you when you step out and walk forward. 

Keep this in mind. A passage is not just for leaving things behind. It is for going forward into a life of purpose and adventure. 

So step out and move forward, pass through to forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and freedom. And if the church, will be the church you will find the love and support you will need for the journey at the end of that aisle






 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel!  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
                                    2 Cor. 1:3-4(MSG) 








#FiveMinuteFriday credit: Kate Motaung
Please keep reading:
I'm joining Kate Motaung and the lovely writers of Five Minute Friday. Each Friday Kate gives us a word prompt and we write for Five Minutes flat...it's a free write. I will say that I broke all the rules on this post. I'm posting on Monday and yes, I did write for much more than the designated time limit. 

But the word for this week was 'support' and it just happens to fit in with the message that God had whispered to me on Sunday morning.  

I was singing on the worship team and as the intro music began for the invitation, I heard God say to me, "there is someone who needs to know that there is no shame in stepping into the aisle". I hesitated and missed my chance. There I was with a mic in my hand and I hesitated...the singing began. I couldn't shake the words that I had heard. After reading a post from one of my sister's in my FB group asking for prayer and sharing a very difficult struggle, I knew I needed to share the message here. 

I'm praying that God gets this message to the person who needs to know that she is loved and that stepping into the aisle is stepping into the arms of Jesus. 

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. I'm so glad I was your FMF neighbour this week. 😊 I regretted the other week not stepping out for prayer which I so needed because I was scared of the "judgements" from other people. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

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    1. Lynne, thank you so much for stopping by. I am so happy that this has been an encouragement to you! I'm happy to pray for you! Blessings!

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  2. Oh Gay what an absolutely wonderful message. Sometimes it is so hard taking that step forward. I pray that someone here will see how welcome they are to step forward.

    Have a blessed and wonderful week.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! I'm so glad you stopped by. Blessings!

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blessings,
Gay