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Church – What’s in it for Me?

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024 | Uncategorized | No Comments

By Claire Moxim

My husband and I moved to East Tennessee 25 years ago from New England.  Although not retired yet, we looked forward to this move as a brand-new beginning for the rest of our lives.  Brand new beginnings aren’t always what we think they’re going to be when we start the journey.  Our journey brought with it the best (or worst) of all ourselves, our plans, and a sudden detour.

I left a church in Connecticut that had been a home to me for over 15 years.  So many things had happened to me while I lived and worshipped with that congregation.  My young daughter became a widow, my son left for college, both my parents died, and I had to learn coping skills that did not include dependency on alcohol, food, or people.

Most of my life had been spent wrapped and coddled by family, friends, and good luck.  I didn’t have any coping skills for dealing with the harsh realities that life often tosses at us.  Where do you turn when you just don’t know how to do it?  Yes, there’s professional counseling and advice from well-meaning friends, but at the end of the day, there you are – alone.  For way too long a time, I tried to run and hide and pretend that I actually was able to handle reality by myself.  Solitary prayer and a solo relationship with the Lord just wasn’t all of the solution, and I sunk deeper, wondering where God was in all that mess.

My church family reached out to me and loved me when I couldn’t love myself.  They never judged or smothered, only showed compassion, friendship, and God’s love.  I still had to make my own mistakes, but that’s how we learn, whether it’s English, Math or Life.  The biggest thing that I learned was that we are not meant to live our lives alone.  Belonging is being a part of a group where we are nurtured and can continue to learn and grow.  Together we weather the storms of life and the joys that come with the rainbow.

My husband died sixteen years ago – not an event we ever thought our brand-new beginning would take us to so quickly.  I was so blessed to be surrounded by a loving Christian community.  I was able to take a fork at the crossroads of my life with confidence that no matter what lay ahead, I was not alone.  Today my church family at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Tellico Village is one of the most important gifts I’ve ever received, and we are such a gift to each other.

And there’s the Big Revelation …. it’s not all about what I get. As a member of a caring church community, I’ve learned that fulfillment can be found in knowing that I too have gifts to bring and share.  I’ve discovered a joy that cannot be found in the loneliness of any mind-numbing substitute that I might try to use to get by.  God works through his people, my family  – What a blessing!

Claire Moxim lives in the Kahite neighborhood of Tellico Village with her two rescue dogs and a grandson.  She is active in UT’s H.A.B.I.T. (Human Animal Bond in Tennessee) program and has visited schools weekly with her RUFF READER dogs, Wally and Alice.  Alice currently visits residents at NHC Holston Hills.  Claire serves on the board of the Good Shepherd Center in Madisonville and is an active member of Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Tellico Village.

Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church
143 Chota Center
Loudon, TN
(across from the POA office)
Phone: 865-816-4756

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