The past two years or so since we've moved, we have been looking for a 'family' church. It sounds like this task of finding a new church to call home should be an easy task, no?
It wasn't an easy task at all.
Robert and i were raised in very different religious homes as children. Robert was raised strict Baptist and i was raised Catholic; the two of those religions mix like oil and water, you know. While Robert had joined the Methodist church many years ago, i was still hanging on to my Catholic faith by a thread. The Methodist ideology is what drew Robert to that faith and i understood that but wasn't sure if i was a good fit with it. The important thing to me was that the two of us attend church; so, if it meant i would go to a Methodist church, so be it.
Que the dramatic music here...
I totally underestimated how i felt towards the religion i had grown up with...as much as i did not like many of the things of the Catholic church (i hated how women could not be 'called' to preach, i hated their ideology on birth control, hated their stance/how they acted when they went into other countries who were not Catholic, and hated the entire issues of abuse done by priest), i did love the ceremony and rituals of the church. I loved saying the rosary as a time with God. I loved how we honored Mary, Jesus' mother. I loved the Saints. I agreed with their stance on abortion. But the one thing that hurt me the most in my faith was how the Catholic Church viewed divorce.
I had previously been married and divorced. I was not married in the Catholic Church, but i felt that God would help me bring my first husband towards Him and the church. I continued to attend mass on my own often during my first marriage, but felt odd, as if i shouldn't be there. And then 12 years into that marriage, came the divorce i didn't want. The church, where i always went for comfort, didn't seem as welcoming to me after my divorce. I felt that i had committed a horrible sin, divorcing my first husband, when in truth, i had done everything i knew to do to save that marriage. It was not a healthy marriage and i knew that. There was physical abuse that i did my best to hide. There was infidelity on my first husband's part not once, or twice, but three times. My first husband had serious issues that i thought i could help him overcome. I prayed as hard as i knew how to pray, begging for God to help me save that marriage and my first husband.
God didn't help me save that marriage. Or my husband.
But He did help me save me. And He helped me understand that if someone wants to be saved, that someone must come to Him on their own; not being dragged by a spouse.
And i was grateful that He saved me. So very grateful...because i was angry at God a lot at that time. I was angry that i didn't feel at home at my church. I was angry that God didn't fix what "I" wanted him to fix and how i wanted Him to fix it. And i was angry because during that difficult first marriage, i didn't "feel" God present in my life. "Where was He?", i remember thinking to myself. Did He forget me? Was He angry at me? Why did it feel like He had deserted me when i truly needed Him the most?
Thankfully, God gives us what we "need" and not what we "want".
God was there with me during my first marriage. I see that now, looking back.
And, God gave me Robert.
And then, God gave us Emma.
It became apparent to me after becoming a wife and mother, that the church i wanted to attend and the church that would be a fit for my little family was different. Robert had no interest in attending a Catholic Church. My daughter was flourishing in a Baptist run Mother's Day Out program. I had to do what was best for them...so, the 'search' continued.
...and continued some more as i secretly hoped that i could "change" Robert's mind in what kind of church "we" both wanted to be members of and to call 'home'.
And then, a few weeks ago, we attended Matt's memorial service at Christ Church.
I had no idea where this Christ Church was. I was stunned to find out that i have driven by it many, many times and not noticed the church, hidden in the trees.
It was an amazing memorial service for Matt. It was a church that i felt instantly at ease in. I remember thinking, "I would like to hear more from this Father Dan".
Yeah. I know. It's "Pastor" Dan Scott, not "Father" Dan Scott.
We were invited back by Matt's parents.
At the first
mass service, i noticed that there are bongo drums at Christ Church. And electric guitars. And a trumpet. And a sax. And a piano. And lots of other musical things that are not in a Catholic Church and that have never been seen in a Catholic Church. And there was no "holy water" to speak of to bless myself with...
But the choir at Christ Church?
It was the most wonderful, amazing, and unbelievable choir i have ever heard.
And i knew, i knew, that this church would be our home.
This church is a perfect fit for Robert and Emma. It is so important to me and Robert that we find a church that Emma can grow up in and be a part in. In fact, Emma will be attending pre-school at Christ Church starting in September. I see her growing up in this church and our family attending it for many, many years to come.
The other amazing thing?
It's a perfect fit for me, too...which is more than i had hoped for. I felt welcomed by the staff, the Pastor, the Preschool director and the other folks who attend. I didn't expect this church to work for me, to be a place where i could fit. But i am so thankful that it's worked out this way.
I'm beginning to think that somehow, someway, all churches/religions are 'related' in one way or another. I've always thought that all religions, at their base, started in the same place/same stream thought. I get a lot of flack for thinking this, but i still think this. Churches/Religion seem to have more in common than not, you know...
Maybe it would be a good thing if we all remembered that when dealing with each other.
Friday, August 26, 2011
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 8:10 AM