Monday, August 30, 2010


"I'm concerned."

Usually when the Boy Child is concerned, it's really hilarious. I know that makes me a bad mother, but it's true. Because he's always so serious about it and his concern is something like, "I don't know infant CPR!" or "The red in this pen doesn't exactly match real blood and it won't look authentic!" or whatever.

He's a funny kid. He doesn't mean to be always. But he's really funny.

"What does it mean when you know you love God, but you don't like church?"

So. You know. That wasn't exactly expected.

Knowing what to do isn't my strong point. Knowing what to say REALLY isn't my strong point. I was kind of at a loss right that second, so I told him that he wasn't a bad person and Jesus wasn't mad at him or anything, but I'd have to think about it and talk to him later.

He was cool with that. He accepts my failings as a mother rather graciously.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what he said and I realized something that is very hard for me to admit.

I really don't like church either. To be more exact, I really don't like the church we had been attending. For a whole lot of reasons.

None of them were dealbreakers for me, though. Annoyances, yes. I don't like being treated like I'm a huge freak because I have a job and I especially don't like being treated like I have a job because it's cute and I like to help Jason out like the good little wifey that he deserves. I don't like broad assumptions about anything. I don't like offering my talents and gifts and being told that's not what we need. We need you to do something that you consider soul-crushing and if you don't, then you aren't following God's will. I have serious doubts that God's will includes crushing my soul. I just really don't think he swings that way.

I could overlook it though, and did. I like the pastor and I believe his message. And that's what is important, right?

I talked to the kids, both of them, about what they felt were the issues and I got a really big earful. I won't go into the specifics, but they both had very valid reasons for being unhappy.

Then I talked to Jason who is, as I've mentioned before, a really huge fan of Jesus. I was very surprised to find that he was feeling similarly. He was concerned about the kids mostly, but also about what he was feeling and thinking when he was inside the church. It was troubling to him...just didn't feel right. And he was afraid to say anything because he didn't want to be one of those people who just leave for "no reason".

I don't either.

But I look at my kids, who are almost thirteen years old, and I know that unless I do something right now, they may always feel the way they do. I know that when I was around their age I was very involved in my church youth group...Jason was in his too. It was some of the best times of my life and I know Jason feels the same.

We really want that for our kids.

We asked the kids to talk to their friends and find out where they go to church (this is the South, you can totally do that). Yesterday we went to a different church for the first time. One with a really large, really fantastic program for kids the same age as the Boy and the Girl.

And as we walked to the car? The Boy said, "MOM! That was so awesome! I love this church! Can we come back here?"

I'm still struggling with this, mind you. I feel guilt for not being satisfied with good enough. I feel like maybe God is testing me. Maybe I'm not doing what I should be doing.

Or maybe God sent a little Boy to tell me it's time to move on.

I don't know.

Next week we'll go back, though. Because I really loved it too.


Sharon said...

First of all...God doesn't care WHERE you worship.

Secondly, anytime you have a kid who is enthusiastic about church? You're doing something right.

frannie said...

sorry, Chick. I don't meant to sound... I don't know what I will sound like, but I don't even understand part of that. Why would God be testing you to stay in a place that leaves you wanting more of him? Why would He not be happy for you to be somewhere that makes you happy? Wouldn't He want you to be happy? I know if I were a god, I would want my little chitlens to be happy and content and to love to come to my house and whatnot.

That other church is great for some people, but obviously, it isn't great for y'all. So, you find a place that is. And be happy with God.

I could be wrong though. I am a Buddhist! LOL

Heather {Desperately Seeking} said...

the hubs and i feel the same way about our church... however, the kids? LOVE the church. So we stay. For them.

Somewhere in the bible it alludes (or outright states) that God chooses your church for you and I believe that He can use Boy child to tell you that you're not where you're supposed to be.

we are at our church now because my son asked to go... because they had an air hockey table. he thought that was cool. ;)

Danielle said...

I think it is GREAT that you listened to your kids & tried a new church and made this decision as a family! I think it is GREAT that you found a church that you all liked (or at least 2 of your did). Now is it bad that I snorted laughed when I read "... who is, as I've mentioned before, a really huge fan of Jesus."

Jill said...

Well Sharon said it. God doesn't care if you worship at home in your skivvies or pray loudly being dipped in the saving blood of an ox on TV. Although, eww, ya know what I mean?

I loved our small youth group at our home church. If we could rebuild it for Keeley, I'd do it. We are searching for a church right now. We went to this 200 + person church off and on for a year before we moved to the new house. It was nice. Matt didn't trust taking K to the nursery. We went to the small town church in our new small town, and he let her go 1/2 way through the first service, and took her right away the second time. We both got to listen to the whole service. She was fine, and we both like this other church better. What can I say? The big church had a LOT more to offer, but for now, a smaller church is what we really need. It feels better to us. It's homier. So, we will go. 2 or 3 people remembered our daughter's name. Asked if she was in the nursery--and we missed a Sunday in between visiting a friend.

If the new church feeds your soul and makes you closer to God, then GO!


Your kids are about the age where church lost me because I "hated church". I stopped going at 15 and never really went back. Two days a week at church for 13 years, then 2 years at Sunday mornings only then I quit cold turkey because I "hated" it. I am almost 43 now. It is really hard to go back. You made the right choice to talk about it then try something new. (I am also from the South, by the way, but live near the West coast now).


Your kids are about the age where church lost me because I "hated church". I stopped going at 15 and never really went back. Two days a week at church for 13 years, then 2 years at Sunday mornings only then I quit cold turkey because I "hated" it. I am almost 43 now. It is really hard to go back. You made the right choice to talk about it then try something new. (I am also from the South, by the way, but live near the West coast now).

Erin said...

Personally? I don't believe God lives in a building, or cares if you go to church even. Worship doesn't happen in a specific place or at a specific time (at least I don't think so). I think it happens every moment of your life that you choose to walk the "good path." But that's my agnostic two cents so probably most people will want to chase me away for this comment ;)

Madame Queen said...

OMG, as someone who loves their church like it's the best thing since sliced bread, I think loving your church is THE most important thing. I don't think God is testing you. He was telling you to find a church where you are ALL happy. Your church is supposed to be your community, your family of faith.

I'm happy you found a church you like! And that everybody likes!

Cecelia said...

I'm going to pile it on like the rest. Church youth group? Seriously awesome. And God? He'll accept your worship from anywhere. Go somewhere where you're cared for, and where your family is nurtured, and where you can give back too.

Ms. Maggie said...

I am always amazed (and impressed) at the relationship you have with your kids. My parents wouldn't have made a democratic decision about anything, much less church. I think you are doing exactly the right thing and should feel no guilt about it what so ever. Isn't the point of even going to church supposed to be spiritual uplifting? I don't know, I am with Erin in the agnostic/secularist column.

We grew up in the church and were heavily involved until both of us decided to leave in our late 20's. That is what was right for us, disagreeing on as much of the rhetoric as we did. I don't think you can be unhappy at your home church, it kinda defeats the purpose.

Oh, and this makes me think of "I love Jesus, but I drink a little."

Elizabeth said...

The fact that you ALL had concerns or uneasiness about where you currently attend? I think that's a sign!

Elizabeth said...

What WOULD Jesus do? Well, Jesus never went to a Christian church, but I think he attended a bunch of different synagogues in different cities. And later told Peter "wherever two or three of you are gathered together in my name, there I am also." So here or there, God is present. And if giving your kids a positive experience of church in their youth is important to you, then by all means - embrace the new! Just my two cents :-)

moroccojade said...

Switch! No doubt about it. You need to go to a new church.

I wish it would be *my* church that you guys could switch to, to be completely honest. (I was really funny and inspiring and great yesterday. Really! I was! ;) But I do understand that it's a pretty long flight to get here.

But still. Steph?

Switch. Try that other one again next week. See if you all love it all over again. If you do? Then don't look back. If you don't? Keep looking. xo

Tarasview said...

ok- as a pastor's wife I so totally love that you aren't one of those people who just leave for no reason... because honestly? They hurt our feelings on a regular basis.

AND as a pastor's wife I so love that you are finding a place that fits your family. Don't feel guilty about that!! It is a GOOD thing.

Feel free to write your pastor a little note saying- we think you are fabulous but we feel like we need a church with a great youth group (or something like that). Every pastor appreciates knowing WHY someone leaves their church and perhaps it will give him some ideas on how to grow his own church a bit more.

And on the off chance that he DOESN'T understand and is all mad and insulted- don't feel like you have to defend yourselves. It's ok. Honestly!!

Go to your new church, enjoy it, get involved and be thankful that Jesus speaks through kids too :)

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

"Out of the mouths of babes."

I swear, Stephanie, I have learned more about Jesus and God and honesty from my three little ones than from a lifetime of church. Roll with it, babe.