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My Church Family Was Here For Me - by Heidi Rayburn

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:23-25

Seven months ago my happy, oblivious world fell out from under me. My husband, an airman in the United States Air Force, chose to take his own life. There was no warning, no hint that his thinking was so darkened. And now I am a 35-year old widow with four young children. That reality still punches me in my gut and makes it difficult to catch my breath. I am still sorting through the day to day and grieving my loss, but our God is faithful and has walked every step alongside me. He guided me to every person that I needed to help me through this process and He did so through our church body.

Because my husband and I were plugged into our Growth Group, we were already known by many brothers and sisters in the Lord. I had a list of people I could (and did) call when everything came crashing down. My church family was here for me, literally. At my house, bringing meals, sitting and talking with me, crying with me, hugging and consoling me, taking care of my children. They embodied Romans 12:9-15.

Shortly afterward, our growth group leaders got me connected with Biblical counseling through our church. The two ladies who were assigned to counsel me have become more than counselors, they are like second mothers, carefully and wisely guiding me through scripture which fully covers any issue I have needed to work through. Biblical counseling is discipleship and it works. These two wonderful women also helped connect me with quite a few of the professionals in our church body who could help me with practical things.

Being a witness, firsthand, to the church body doing what it is designed to do, watching and receiving, has been such a blessing and ultimately a humbling lesson for me. I have attended churches my entire life, and accepted the Lord at a young age, but I have never seen a church wrap its arms around a wounded member in love and support the way that you have. In obedience to the Lord you have cared for, wept with and prayed with and for us.

I pray that this testimony is encouraging to those who are in regular, intimate fellowship to continue on in it and that it exhorts those who have not yet taken the step of joining a growth group to do so. We need to make ourselves visible, known and vulnerable to the fellow members of the body of Christ so that they are able to help us in time of need.

Thank you Faith Bible Church. Thank you for your obedience to the Lord, for handling and enacting His word carefully and rightly and teaching the body to do the same.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”— 2 Timothy 2:15