When I first left the LDS church I was broken. I was sad, scared and lonely. Sure I had friends outside of the church, but those outside didn’t fully understand the inner workings of the church to really know what I was leaving behind. That and I didn’t know what I was going to, so there was this fear of the unknown.
I stayed away from attending any church for about a year. I wasn’t sure what it was going to look like when I went to something new and I was still sorting out what I believed and what was true for me. I had help along the way; kind friends who took me under their wing and let me just process my grief. Eventually I started attending a non-denominational christian church that my friends attended and that was a big step. A little while after that, they invited me to attend their “life” group.
I wasn’t sure what to expect that first night. I was kind of on my own again as Frank was still attending the LDS church and wasn’t sure what he was going to do as far as making a change. I went with Ali and Brian that first night and met six or so really nice couples. They were working through a study as a group and I just sort of picked up where they were. At the end of the night, the lead couple asked for any prayer requests. Most in the group offered up a need of their own or a need on behalf of someone they knew to be struggling. This was totally new to me. What happened next sent chills down my spine and tears to my eyes. They began to actively pray over the requests out loud, each voicing a prayer as they were prompted by the Spirit to do so. I’d never experienced anything quite like that.
Over time these strangers became my friends. We shared group each week on Tuesday nights and occasionally went to dinner or did some other fun activity together. Slowly, I began to peel back the onion a bit sharing parts of my story; even the hardest parts. And eventually Frank joined our gatherings.
When we made the decision to move, I have to admit, the thought of leaving this church I had come to love and heal in and this wonderful group of friends was quite a blow. They had taken me in when I was broken, helped patch my wounds and embraced the person I had become rising out of those ashes.
I am thankful for Facebook for so many reasons, but one of the top ones is that it has kept me in touch with these people, this cherished group of friends I have. When I visit Denver I always try to join them on group night. I am thankful to still have these connections.
After landing here in the South and finding a new church home, I am finally ready to connect with a new group and family. Frank and I have found a life group here that will restart in January. We’re excited to continue our journey and offer support and to receive support when needed.
It doesn’t matter who you are, or if it’s through church or not, we all need to find our peeps, our tribe, our connections. Today, I am feeling especially thankful for mine.