By Taylor Bush
As a young adult in college, I find myself moving very frequently. Each year I travel from my university to my home town and sometimes even to a new city for summer vacation. I have found that every time I change locations it takes some time to find where I fit in and who I will spend my time with. My faith, however, makes that search much easier. I can always count on finding a church community that shares the same faith in God that I have. The churches I find represent a group of people who welcome me in and offer me kindness. Churches represent caring people who believe in God and have been taught to love. This gives me a feeling of comfort and belonging when I travel. It is easy to pass by a church and think about the services that are held there each Sunday, but too often we overlook the believers who fill them. Churches offer more than a place of worship. They offer a community of people and a hope of finding a place I belong.
Being a part of a church community helps me grow my faith alongside other people my age. My faith has been the foundation upon which I have built many of my friendships. We watch each other experience exciting times of having strong, undeniable relationships with God. We also watch each other experience tough times in life when it is hard to remember to trust in God. Through it all, those friends and I have offered each other prayers of support and encouragement. Our relationships are stronger because they are built on uplifting one another. With these friends I do not have to worry about what I look like or what I am wearing. These friends have seen me at my lowest points and have helped bring me back up to my highest. Our faith has taught us to have a certain respect for one another that many friendships never experience. I am thankful that my church community brought me those friendships and hope every person can build those types of relationships.
Perhaps the most important thing that being in a church community has brought me is certainty. I am certain that I will always have a support system. I will have a church family who accepts me no matter what my circumstances may be. They accept me because Jesus taught them to. He helped the sick and the sinners, and no matter where I fall, I am certain that my church family will offer me that same kindness.
I am also certain that God has a plan for my life. On the days that I lose sight of what kind of person I want to be or what career I am meant to pursue, I go to my church family for support and to God in prayer. They both remind me that the plans I make for myself may not necessarily be the plans God has for my life. However, I know that I have been given a purpose:. God gives me life and a reason to live it, and that encourages me to continue trusting. My faith in God’s plan and timing makes me certain of my future. Beyond the life God has given me on Earth, I am sure of the life God promises me in heaven. It is so common to fear death, but with faith I find peace in the idea of death. My church community has taught me to live in joy and peace because we have nothing to fear. It is comforting to think of life continuing on forever rather than ending with death. Each day I spend at church is a celebration of life on earth and the promise of a life after earth. My faith has brought me certainty that life should be joyous and that I should trust in my church community, God’s plan for me, and my future in heaven.
Being a part of a church community has shaped who I am. From a young age, I have grown in ways that have made me better as a person and have helped me enjoy life to the fullest, build lasting friendships, and feel spiritually satisfied thanks to my faith. My hope is that others will experience the love and support that comes with being a part of this family of faith. I am certain that being a member of a church community changes lives.
Taylor Bush was raised in Bainbridge, Georgia. She is now a junior at the University of Georgia in Athens studying Health Promotions with a hope to attend graduate school to become a physician's assistant after graduation. Taylor works at the student recreation center as a fitness monitor and teaches kickboxing classes. She also enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with friends.