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Open Doors and Saying Yes

Open Doors and Saying Yes

by Lillian Golden

I grew up in the church. 

As a stereotypical “PK” (pastor’s kid), when I say, “grew up,” I mean that I was born, raised and practically LIVED in the church. 

I was the kid who started drama in the kid’s wing on Sunday mornings, the kid who knew every nook and cranny of the church, and yes, the kid that stayed after service to finish off the grape juice used for communion that day. The church was almost more of a home to me than my actual house. We had a family there. And it was all so familiar to me.

During the fall of 2016, my dad stepped down from his position as Lead Pastor at our church. The occurrence of a very difficult and painful situation that year led my family to move across the country to Powhatan where my dad had started a completely different job. We attended several local churches here but found it difficult to get involved. I felt like we were all missing that family connection within the church community – and even with the Lord – that we had before we moved. 

In the fall of 2021, after trying six different youth groups over the course of four years, I had nearly given up when a friend invited me to check out Students at PCC. I still remember walking in the front doors on September 19th with my friend and our younger sisters who decided to tag along. As soon as we stepped into the building, we were greeted by two very enthusiastic leaders who introduced themselves as Lauren and Tanner.

That first night, I felt so welcomed into the church. Listening to the message, I felt as though it was written just for me. Small group time was built in a way that gave everyone a chance to speak if they wanted to or listen if they preferred. I remember going home that night feeling like I should go back the next week. 

Eventually, my friend and our sisters decided to stop going, but I continued to attend Students every Sunday evening alone. I enjoyed it so much that when I got my license, I started attending on Sunday mornings as well. 

Going to church on my own was difficult at first. I hardly knew anyone, and I’m an introvert so I don’t exactly know how to walk up to someone and start a conversation. For the first three months, Sunday morning would play out as follows: I would drive to the 10:00 service, arrive at 9:59, quickly walk straight into the Big Room and sit in the back corner during the service. When it was over, I would try to leave as quickly as possible to escape any awkward social interactions after the service.

This went on until about March when I took a job working at a local barn. Part of my schedule included working on Sunday mornings and evenings. Without thinking about how this would impact my spiritual life, I began the job and didn’t attend Students or Sunday services much at all until May. It was at that point that I realized that not going to church consistently had really impacted my mood and how I was treating others around me. 

I felt empty, like I was missing something.

I didn’t want to keep living like that so I decided to change my schedule and start attending church consistently again. It was really beneficial to be back on Sundays, and I began to feel fulfilled even though I was still running in and out of the building before and after the service.

June came around and with that came summer break, something I have a very unpopular opinion about. School – one of the only things I felt like I was good at – was over, and my friends were all off on vacation or at camps. I felt more loneliness and emptiness in those first two weeks of summer than I have felt in my whole life. I didn’t have a purpose.

I decided to reach out to my small group leader who met with me a few days later. He encouraged me to join the Dream Team at PCC by serving on the tech team. After explaining what that would look like, he told me to take time to think and pray about it. 

I didn’t know a single thing about running a camera or punching a light cue so at first, the idea of trying something brand new really alarmed me. Would anyone want me there? What if I messed up? What if I didn’t fit in? But then it occurred to me: I had been invited to do this – of course they would want me there! So I prayed about it, and then I did the unexpected…

I said yes. 

The first Sunday that I shadowed the tech booth, I was scared out of my skin, but I did it anyway. And when I got home that afternoon, I realized I had loved it. 

The following week I volunteered to do tech at Mega Camp. I still didn’t know what I was doing, but I did it anyway. I began meeting people, feeling involved, and loving simply being at the church more and more.

 It was like a firework had gone off. God left a door wide open for me and I decided to walk through it. After that, He began opening more and more doors, and for the first time ever, I was walking through them. 

As the summer went on, I continued serving nearly every Sunday, either behind a camera or running lights. I met more and more people and slowly, I became more comfortable with the environment and the people in it.

Serving became a huge part of my life.

I’m incredibly grateful I was given the opportunity and that I took it. If I hadn’t said yes, I can’t imagine where I would be. 

In August, I was invited to attend the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) at the Midlothian Campus with a bunch of people from PCC. Again, I immediately began overthinking all that could potentially go wrong. I’d never been to that campus – what if I got lost? Or sat in the wrong section? Or what if no one said anything to me? 

But again, I said yes. 

It was at that conference that I was told I was a leader. That was the first time I had ever heard anyone say that to me. As I watched videos of important business leaders and entrepreneurs, I realized that maybe I could do something important in this world. And guess what? Not only did people talk to me, but I was invited to sit with some people I knew from our church! For me, this experience was proof that God always overrides overthinking. 

After the GLS, I was asked to help with tech during Students in the evenings. This time, I immediately said yes without question. God had moved in me and given me the confidence and courage to continue to put myself out there. 

These last several months, I have continued serving on Sunday mornings, as well as every Sunday evening at Students. A few months ago I heard about the Edge program for 4th and 5th graders and decided to reach out and volunteer every other week. Not only do I get to continue growing in my own confidence and faith, but I get to help kids younger than me do the same. 

The only way I can explain the change that has happened in me over the course of this last year is by saying that God moved. That’s the only way to put it. I’ll never get over how He changed my life eight months ago. At the beginning of the summer, I saw myself as the quiet girl who no one noticed, someone who couldn’t make an impact or do something important. The thought of talking to people at church terrified me, let alone getting involved and serving. 

But as I look back on this last year, I can see that God wanted to show me that He had something incredible in store for me, something that I could never have predicted. 

He showed me that saying “yes” can change my life, no matter how scary it may seem in the moment. Saying yes is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done, but look where it got me! After all that’s changed in me because of simply saying yes, I’ll continue to do so because I know God has a plan bigger than anything I can see, and He’s using all my “yes’s” to create something incredible. 

Now I get to live each week looking forward to Sunday – a day that brings me joy, fulfillment, and so much more. PCC continues to be one of the most important things in my life, and as we enter 2023, I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me next. 

Categories: Faith  Relationships  

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Written by

Lillian Golden

Lillian is a recent graduate of Powhatan High School and is entering her freshman year at Gordon College in Massachusetts. She rides horses, loves PCC and the people in it beyond words, and praises the Lord every day for the ways He continuously works in her life.

Published February 1, 2023

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