When I was six years old, my mother  sat me down for one of those I-need-to-tell-you-something conversations. In my experience, these conversations were usually about my younger brother Bob, perhaps a discussion about the reason he needed a time out or a “serious-talking-to” by my dad. I loved these mom and daughter moments. They  fed my ego. Being a big sister to a mischievous little boy had distinct advantages.

This time, though, our discussion wasn’t about some behavior modification expected from my brother. I was the one who needed to make a change. My mother informed me, gently, that I had been mispronouncing a word. It was church, not turch, and she and my father had decided that I was old enough to say it correctly.

“Church?” I said. “It can’t be church. Everybody says turch.”

“No, Sue Ann,” my mother told me (with a great deal of patience), “only you say turch.” I was indignant. Surely my mother was wrong. To prove my point, I embarked upon an active campaign to survey my friends in the neighborhood. To my great consternation, I discovered that my mother was right. Even my little brother said church, sort of.

Rats.

It wasn’t easy, but eventually I broke the habit of saying turch and embraced church. Actually, I’ve embraced church ever since, the church as a body of believers — the church as a place for prayer and for worship and for fellowship. A place for comfort.

I am, however, very aware that some people, for a variety of reasons, are not at all comfortable in a church setting. Here’s the great news. Church attendance is not mandatory for believers. As a matter of fact, there’s a large group of people out there who fall into the category of “non-attending believer.” They believe, but they find their church in other places. Maybe in the woods, maybe on a lake, maybe through music or by reading the Bible.

I might wish that non-attending believers would find the same joy I do in church attendance, but isn’t it great that God is there for us no matter how — or where — we choose to reach out for Him? We have that assurance through the Bible itself. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you...(Matthew 7:7, King James Version) Note the lack of designation concerning location. Wherever you are, seek. Wherever you are, knock.

What a comfort to know that God loves and listens to all his children, those who don’t attend church and those who do. Even those who attend turch.

 

 

Sue Harrison

BIO: Novelist Sue Harrison is best known for her Alaska trilogies. Her novels, national and international bestsellers, have been published in more than 20 countries in 13 different languages. Her novel Mother Earth Father Sky was named by the American Library Association as a Best Books for Young Adults. Sue lives with her husband in Michigan, but has family here in Nebraska and love Nebraska's rich history. She is currently writing romantic suspense for the inspirational market. Catch up with Sue on her website and blog – www.sueharrison.com .