Everyone has a story that is unique and special to them. Whether it’s the story of how you found the love of your life or how you found Jesus, they are all different. Here is Helene McMurray’s story:
“I was raised in a church that taught that we had to be perfect to earn God’s love and forgiveness. As a teen, I strove toward this ideal and sometimes felt like I was failing miserably but sometimes felt like I was getting pretty close to being perfect. Despite the sometimes hypocritical behavior of adults in my church, I really wanted to be “right”, “good” or at least “good enough” to be loved. As adult life dealt me setbacks and challenges, I struggled to understand why things were so hard. I was working myself into the ground, trying to do everything right, with very little tolerance for my quirks or flaws. When something didn’t work out as I imagined, I promised myself that next time I’d do it better, get it “right.”
I hit the wall when my mom died following a long battle with cancer. She was kinder, gentler and more Christ-like than almost anyone I have known. From my spiritual viewpoint at that time, I couldn’t make sense of her death. Shouldn’t her perfection have protected her somehow? I had no answers and left the church entirely.
Eight years later, my young daughter innocently asked, “What’s church?” Our neighbors had mentioned their church, Hope Church, to us, so we showed up for Easter services to show our kids what church is. Several years later, we are church members. Everything about Hope Church – its philosophy, its leaders and everyone we’ve met here – is so different from what I learned as a child or experienced at church before. My views on faith, love, and forgiveness have been transformed. At Hope, I’ve learned that God’s love doesn’t need to be earned, which has been transformative for me. I feel inspired to keep coming back to hear more, to read the Bible and learn more, to focus on real friends who are about love and kindness instead of accomplishment and judgment, and to teach our children a view on faith. I have begun to understand my mom’s life and death through the lens of God’s wanting our spiritual growth, which is not always a comfortable and easy road. Most importantly, I am continuously inspired to live this new-to-me, better way of understanding God and His love.”