Religion and faith is such a personal thing, I don’t usually write about it. I’ve found it can spark debate, hurt feelings and sometimes offend people. I never want to offend anyone. I once wrote about how I discussed faith and church with my son and I felt uncomfortable writing about something so personal. At the time I wasn’t sure why I felt this way. Looking back I realize it was because I was personally not sure what my faith was or where I was heading spiritually.
I grew up not going to church regularly. My mom was a teen mother and I spent a lot of time with my grandparents on the weekend because my mother was working. Depending on which set of grandparents I was with would determine where I would go to Sunday school. My dad’s parents were Presbyterian and my mother’s parents were Lutheran. When I was with my grandparents I would always attend Sunday school and during the summer bible camp. My memories are very vague but I remember signing, Jesus Loves Me. I guess if that’s all I remember it is a good thing to remember!
When I met my husband and we decided to get married, his faith was very important to him. He grew up going to church each Sunday and he went to a Catholic school. It felt appropriate to follow his lead and so I took classes, converted to be Catholic and signed my life away making promises to do this or that according to the Catholic faith. Not against my WILL mind you. I wanted to do this and willingly participated and was even excited. I was going to have what I never had growing up or so I thought.
I can honestly say, it never felt right but I tried. I tried going to church and even went alone several times. I baked pies for different groups and attempted to feel welcomed and like I belonged. The sense of community for me was missing. In the end, we stopped going to church. My promises and my how I wanted and fully intended to raise my family changed.
Frankly this bothered me and it bothered me for years. It caused arguments between my husband and I. My children’s God parents asked questions and I had no answers. When I talked to my son about religion I realized I wasn’t doing him any favors by not giving him a church to go to and a community to learn with and celebrate with. This caused me sleepless nights and discussions with my husband about finding a new church. I can understand his reluctance, he grew up knowing one thing and it was comfortable to him. I did not have that.
My sister encouraged me to find a church for myself. She said that faith and spirituality was personal and I should seek it for myself and the family will follow. It was great advice but I seemed paralyzed by fear, afraid to enter a church on my own and observe. Afraid of making my husband upset. Afraid of what our friends and my children’s God parents would think. I had so much fear. What would people think?
Then one evening I prayed and I prayed. I did this over and over just asking for guidance and courage. Courage to get up one Sunday and go. This related to me talking about it for over a year but with no action. And then one Sunday I did it. I got up, I got ready and kissed my kids and husband and said I was going to church.
They were dumbfounded.
It was a scary experience but I felt as though I was welcomed the moment I walked into the church. I’ll save the continuation of this story and my experience for the next post but I am so happy I woke up that one Sunday and made the choice to go to church.
Have you ever faced anything like this?