This is a guest post from Lindsay, blogger behind Uplifting Anchor. I’m honored to be able to share it with you guys and I know you’ll be challenged and encouraged by it!
“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” – Psalm 113:3
As a military family, change is under our feet at all times. We all find different ways to cast down our anchor and withstand the waves that rock us. As you move forward in the challenge and joy that can be military life, it’s important to identify those anchors and hold steady to them. It may not look like what you are used to, but you can build a sense of what keeps you grounded anywhere you are.
I was once devotedly spiritual, and then I let that part of me wither on the vine. My excuses were that life was too heavy. I was partially angry at God for some of the trials we’d endured, and also I felt trampled in trying to find a church that met an array of expectations I had.
We moved around overseas and went places where Christianity was not even the main religion. This challenged my idea of faith. I had let mine falter due to a lack of concrete walls and pulpit. I found myself without in-person minister, hymn, congregation, or any traditional sense of “church.” I gave up the effort to find a church altogether. I lived in this defeat of not finding, and then eventually not seeking.
It was a time of loss and confusion and I was there for a reason. I was there to learn that no matter where I am, I can continue my relationship with God. He is with me wherever I go. Although community, ministry, and a real structured building can help produce the feeling of church and represent that place of prayer- it is within me that my faith must be cultivated and tended to. You may find yourself in this place as well during your military journey.
What do you do when there’s no church nearby?
You get really creative and listen to how God speaks to you! We are now in an age where we can seek and find a lot of support, but we have to be willing to piece it together. We have to be willing to do the work within ourselves.
Here are 3 ways to tend to your faith without a church nearby:
- Get online
There are wonderful resources out there to support you in your faith. Perhaps a church you once attended or one a friend can recommend is posting their sermons online. You can click and watch from the comfort of your own home. You can gather a few close friends and bible study together, online! What about podcasts? Or is there a simple app for that? There are hundreds of ways to keep growing and keep tending. The community is out there, even if they are not with you in person
- Discover how your spirit best feels tended to.
If you cannot find an in-person church that feels good, then how does your spirit feel rested and cared for instead? Where is your time for Him, how can you have that wherever you are? It could be as simple as listening to a Christian music channel online that breathes a little life back into your day. Read your Bible and go back to the basics. If music isn’t your thing, what about a daily devotional? What about gathering your own family around the table for prayer and discussion?
- Branch out and build where you are.
If you are feeling unsupported or lost in your faith, or just looking to connect, there’s someone else that may be feeling the same way just around the bend. Could you start your own small group? Is it possible to bring that to a community that needs it just like you?
May we keep finding ways to praise Him as we move ourselves and our families around this globe. May we find comfort knowing that in every move, He does stay steady. If we lose our way, if we lose our faith, we can find our way back. Sometimes it takes just a bit more than a building- having the courage to change up the picture of the tradition we’re familiar with to get us there.
Have you ever felt disconnected from your faith or struggled to stay strong without a faith community nearby? What things have helped you?