30 Days of Stories: Day 1
To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’re telling 30 stories of God’s faithfulness in and through Fellowship North. You can read all the stories here.
When I came to Fellowship North three years ago, I was shrouded in darkness – a believer in Jesus Christ with no hope. Because I was distant from God, my faith had unraveled slowly although I was active in church. Outwardly, I appeared as a good Christian headed in the right direction. I was faithful, loyal, committed, and trustworthy in the body of Christ. Inwardly, I felt like an empty shell – void of feeling and emotion, cold and distant, lonely and isolated. I was tired, weary, exhausted, every action was laborious. I was drained, drained, and drained. I was trapped in an existence that I wanted to escape with no way out. I was desperate for someone…anyone…to see through the mask, pry into my heart, and ask “Are you OK?” Because, surely, I was not. I did not trust the God I loved because my circumstances and my life skewed my perception of Him. My prevailing thought was “If God is so kind, so loving, so gracious, then why am I so miserable?” I only loved God because it was my duty as a Christian.
Thankfully, that was not the end of my story. It was the new beginning. The revival of my heart and renewing of my mind happened within the first six months of being here at Fellowship North. God in His mercy ordered my steps to this church in this season of my life. It was here at Fellowship North that I began to feel again. I felt happiness, sadness, joy, empathy, love. I could actually feel again. It was here that the warmth of God’s love and grace pierced my heart with a gentle reminder that He loved me. Me? Yes, me, the cold, uncaring, broken, depressed, lonely, isolated man. I did not have to fix myself for Him to love me or accept me. He connected me with a radical group of broken men to help me bear my burdens. It was here that I met my wife who loved and accepted me.
Now I’m no longer isolated. I have a deep sense of belonging and purpose. I belong to a loving and kind body of Christ that impacts our community and the world. Life still gives me a few ups and downs, but I have an eternal hope. Jesus loves me and I love Him authentically. I am thankful for Fellowship North, the leadership, the staff, the volunteers, and the community of faith that gathers here. Praise the Lord for the great things He has done and will continue to do.
Although I’ve only been at Fellowship North for a little under three years, this loving band of believers has enriched my life. I’ve experienced the love of Christ and the church by the authenticity of genuine relationships, the freedom of transparency, and the commitment to triumph over tragedy. I met my wife Stacey here and we are the parents of three wonderful girls.
You can find Anthony online on Facebook, Twitter, or at anthonykvalley.com.