A letter from Sam

Published 5:55 pm Sunday, February 19, 2023

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By Larry E. Davies

I asked church members to tell me stories of how God or our church impacted their lives. Samantha (Sam) Reed and her daughter Quinn are long time members. Sam also sings with our Praise team. She sent a letter that says so much about what a church should and could be.

A few weeks ago, you asked people to send a letter of what the church means to you. I immediately felt convicted but had no idea where to begin. Where do you start and how do you put into words that your life has been forever changed within the last two years of being within these walls?

My mom and stepdad started bringing me to church when I was in diapers. I grew up in this church and made great friends. I was involved in Vacation Bible School, youth group, you name it; I was part of it. Little did I know my parents and this church were creating in me a foundation of faith that would be the greatest gift I could ever receive.

During my college years and a young marriage, I drifted from my church. I discovered a passion for leading worship at another church, however, a divorce and becoming a single parent to a 6-month-old led to me being told that I was no longer welcome to be the face of worship. Because of my faith I did not turn my back on God, but I did wonder where I was supposed to be.

I received a call inviting me to join the worship team at my home church. I wasn’t sure how I’d make it work, having to bring Quinn to practices, but the church welcomed back not only me, but Quinn with open arms. The men on this team have become incredible figures for her to look up to. It felt like I was starting to find my place and it brought me so much joy to use my gift of song to help others experience God’s love through music.

Then came the invite to join a small group. Not going to lie, I put it off for a year. If you’re still reading this, take my advice and don’t wait as long as I did. I joined a group of people each Sunday and quickly realized they had taken Quinn and I in as one of their own. We became family. God’s timing is so, so good.

Right after joining the group, Quinn’s dad moved, and I became a full-time single parent. This group not only walked alongside us, they walked ahead of us; foreseeing challenges and making sure we would never be alone. They helped emotionally, financially, and in ways I didn’t know existed. Because of my small group, my life and Quinn’s, has been forever changed. For the first time since facing divorce and a 6-month-old baby, I realize that I have a village of 12 beautiful souls who will forever be walking through life with me. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Sam and Quinn are vivid examples of what it means to be part of a church family. Max Lucado writes: “At some point in life, God’s love must move from being a concept we wonder about to a conscious experience that transforms us. God’s love deserves better than a half-hearted acknowledgement!”

What the church does best will never make headlines. There is no news in a day-to-day habit of loving others the way God loves us. But there is a large population outside and inside our door that needs to see, feel, hear, taste and smell that kind of love. They need the kind of love Sam and Quinn experienced and what God’s church is ready to give.

If you would like to send Sam an email of encouragement: Samantha.Reed0607@gmail.com

If you are looking for a church home or have your own story of how a church impacted your life, send me an email at LarryDavies@PrayWithYou.org