Two of Mom’s three dogs are “rescues,” that is that she got them from the pound instead of from breeders. Rescues tend to be mixed breeds, and if not adopted, they will be euthanized. In many ways, I can relate to rescues because I feel more like a mutt than a pedigreed purebred. And like the dogs, I was under the sentence of death, but Jesus rescued me.
All my life I’ve felt like a misfit. I didn’t know precisely what to call that feeling until I moved to Italy. As a foreigner in Italy, I finally understood this misfit feeling to be feeling foreign. Yes, all my life I’ve felt foreign in my own country, and even among my own family. Peter Wagner in his amazing book, Your Spiritual Gifts can Help Your Church Grow, points out that this is a sign of a missionary gift and calling.
I moved to Asheville over a year ago, but in truth I have spent very little time living here. During this time I have visited a few churches to which I had been invited, but mostly attending Mom’s church and going to Bible studies and services here in the retirement community.
The first church that I was invited to (the day after moving day) was the church next door. It is a small, very friendly church and the worship style is chandelier-swinging—which I love. I like worship that is uninhibited and free because then I know that the people behind me (I prefer sitting down front) aren’t shocked by my uninhibited show of love for my Lord. I have visited some churches where I have gotten comments about the freedom of my worship. One pair of teenage girls once told me, “Wow! You just don’t care!” That could be taken a number of ways, but I prefer to take it as a compliment.
Most of the time I live in Italy. And because of my traveling lifestyle, even when I’m in the US, I haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities to attend this church or get to know its people. Until now, that is! Before going to the conference in Dallas, I attended a Sunday evening service (before Thanksgiving) in which each of us was asked to share what we are thankful to God for. In hearing about what they were thankful for, I learned that almost everybody there was a rescue like me—rescued first by others in the church, and then by Jesus. Many of them are misfits like me.
The associate pastor told me that the church’s mission is to help those people who have been wounded by bad church experiences. Certainly there are a lot of those, not just in Asheville, but all over the US. It certainly is good to know that there is a place where misfits can fit together and all of us can be rescued—by each other and by the Lord. I love my misfit church! God is good!