Updated: Jan 19, 2019
It was a cold and grey Sunday morning in October of 2010 when I reluctantly walked through the doors of RKM. I remember the day as if it were yesterday because that day made a permanent impression on me whether I wanted to admit it at the time or not. You see, I was broken, wounded and had had my share of "christian community". I was done! Done with the hypocrisy, lack of love, people pleasing, the abuse and misuse of my ministry gifts and everything else that I experienced in the body of Christ that pierced my soul. My heart had grown cold and I was almost bitter; I vowed to never be hurt in a church again. Yet, here I was getting ready to walk into one.
Walking into RKM was not the plan for that day. I was supposed to be visiting a friend's church on the other side of town and somehow got misplaced and turned around. If anyone knows anything about me, they would tell you, I hate two things; one, not knowing where I am and two, being late. Here, I was both of those things. I was so angry and not in control of that situation at all. I wanted to turn the car around and retreat to the cocoon of safety which was my home, but I somehow knew I couldn't. I had to finish what I had started that morning. In the midst of my anger God was able to break through the noise inside my head and give me assurance that I was where I needed to be. Now, in the natural, that was hard to believe because I knew I was lost, but my spirit man was still connected to God and knew to follow. It is amazing to me how God will interrupt our plans to get us where He wants us and that is exactly what happened to me that morning.
I proceeded down the road, knowing it was a dead end. As I got closer to the end of the road, I saw a sign for a church; Royal Kingdom Ministries...Cereda and Daniel Rispress, Apostles. I recognized those names. You see, I was a member of a church they previously pastored. I am not quite sure how we lost track of each other, but we did and it had been years since I had seen or heard anything about them. I pulled into the parking lot and parked my car. I was filled with a plethora of emotions that ranged from excitement to fear. I was almost to the point of tears and really not knowing why, but I mustered up enough courage to get out of my car and to walk through the doors. I could feel my heart racing so fast and was almost lightheaded, but I kept going. I grabbed the handle of the door to the sanctuary and adjusted my face and controlled my breathing. Apostle Cereda was up speaking. The moment I saw her the memories of the love, acceptance and warmth that she extended to me in the past flooded my mind and I could feel a part of the coldness in my heart begin to melt. My breathing and heartbeat regulated as I walked towards a seat. I was trying to walk in unnoticed, but God had other plans. Apostle Cereda immediately recognized me and the first words out of her mouth were, "Welcome Home!" The words that she spoke to me from the pulpit rang deep within the recesses of my cold, hollowed, dead and unfeeling heart and I knew she was right. I was home. That day marked the beginning of my journey to wholeness.
I often wonder what would have happened if I would have turned my car around and gone home on that morning. What would have happened if I would not have listened to that still small voice prompting me to keep going? The Word of God tells us that His sheep know His voice and no other they will follow. I am so glad and grateful that I had the presence of mind, even in that dark time, to hear Him and follow. Two words changed the trajectory of my life that morning...WELCOME HOME!