Church? Faith?

I grew up in church. I went every Sunday. My grandparents took me.

My sister was baptized before I was. When I was 9 I followed in her footsteps and was baptized. Looking back, I don’t know that I really understood what the decision to do that made. I mean, I’m sure that I understood on some surface level at a child’s understanding, but I don’t think I fully grasped what it meant to ask Jesus into my life and accept him as my savior. I think I wound up changing churches not long after that happened. About seven years later I really started thinking about wanting to be baptized again. I never really talked about it with anyone because it was made into such a big deal and honestly couldn’t fathom trying to explain why I felt the need to do it again. I was at that second church for nearly 17 years – the last 10 were spent staying silent about wanting to be baptized again.

I don’t think there’s a short way to summarize why I’m sitting here talking about my faith and the church I’m at. It’s a “God thing” that I’m in the place that I am now. I feel so weird saying it, but my adoption – my daughter’s adoptive parents indirectly – played a role in it too. I remember finding their church online, watching some of the messages that adoptive dad had given, and feeling like I wanted to find somewhere like that for myself. Which led to me searching for a new church…

End of May 2019 I really started looking at different churches. I went to multiple churches, trying to find the right fit for me. It was not as long of a process as I thought it would’ve been. It only took me about six weeks. Sometimes I knew right when I walked into the church that it wasn’t the right place for me.

I remember walking into one church, a place that some friends of mine go, and thinking that it was too commercial. They had fountain drink machines in the atrium… I’m sorry, but if you think that’s necessary in your church then I questions what the purpose of your church is…

The church I decided to join was actually the very first church I went to when church shopping. Expectation Church. I was looking for a church that had more a contemporary worship service. I needed somewhere that had a larger group of people my own age. I craved a place that felt like home to me, rather than somewhere I had tried to “make” home for too long.

I started attending during their transition summer, between leaving the old building and moving into the new building, when they were meeting at the university. That’s when I met S+N, who lead the young adult eGroup, and really started meeting people my age. I kept coming back week after week. Then around the middle of September, I officially joined the church. When I did that, I also spoke with one of the pastors about wanting to be baptized again and explained my reasoning for it. He told me that he’d done it as well when he was growing up, so he saw absolutely no issue with my doing it. So I chose a date in November – three days before my birthday, and it wound up being the week before the church’s grand opening for the new building.

In October I started volunteering in eKids Jr (our preschool department) and met the pregnancy counselor I had worked with when I placed my daughter in 2014; however, I had realized she and I attended the same church in August. Months later, I can’t remember exactly when, I met other people from my adoption journey – the interim couple who had my daughter between hospital discharge and placement.

Then in January I started serving on the Production team. So I’m with a bunch of other people on all our tech stuff to make the worship experience look nice and run smoothly when we stream online.

After being in quarantine and watching church from home for just shy of 4 months, I’ve realized just how angry I’ve been with God. And the concept of church. Yes, a fairly big piece of that anger is from being a birthmom, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.

I’ve been struggling in trying to find ways to grow in my faith. I struggle with sitting down to read the bible. I purchased a bible study that goes through the whole thing, but I’m struggling to even get through more than the first three chapters of the first book. It’s a lot more difficult that I thought it would be.

I’ve watched so many videos on YouTube of people (okay, women) who are talking about their bible studies and morning devotions and prayer journals, and everything looks so idyllic. I know it takes discipline to create/develop this routine and stick with it. I just feel like things never worked for me because I don’t have the “right” things.

Growing up, church/faith wasn’t really a present topic or thing at home. I can’t recall ever really seeing my parents inside a church if it wasn’t for a performance or something big like that.

Stepping away from the church I’d been at for sixteen years took a long time to actually happen. Probably started thinking about it two or three years before I did anything about it. I was afraid of how people would react if I left the church. I’d been here so long and never voiced a desire to leave to anyone other than my mom. I’m an Enneagram 4, but I was afraid of leaving what was “comfortable” to do what was right for me.

Yes, it was worth it when I did leave somewhere I stayed out of habit. But that didn’t make it any less difficult.

I still feel awkward talking about living at home with my parents and not going to the same church, but a lot of people have made the comment that at least I’m still going to church. And while I understand where they’re coming from, it still hurts a little (and is a little offensive) that they (somehow) thought that if I left where I was then I would’ve just stopped going to church.

Regardless, I’m sitting here writing this and trying to figure out how I can best grow and further my faith journey – especially now that my church has opened back up and I’m able to sit there to hear the pastor’s message surrounded by people again.

Maybe I’ll do an update down the road so y’all aren’t sitting there clueless wondering what happened to me on this journey.

NaBloPoMo – Day 30

Make a list of 30 things that make you smile

  1. good books
  2. new episodes of my favorite show(s) on Netflix
  3. perfume
  4. LuLaRoe
  5. shea/cocoa butter
  6. cozy blankets
  7. hoodies
  8. coffee
  9. free stuff for hosting parties
  10. perfectly applying lipstick first try
  11. hugs
  12. birth control I don’t have to worry about daily
  13. catching up with friends
  14. seeing former teachers I really liked
  15. snuggling little tiny babies
  16. Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house
  17. The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime
  18. jeans that fit perfectly
  19. perfectly painted nails 
  20. putting feelings down on paper
  21. driving “back country” roads
  22. knee socks
  23. boots 
  24. music that fits the mood prefectly
  25. crawling into bed after a long day
  26. sweater/hoodie weather
  27. YouTube stationary hauls & posts on IG
  28. sentimental gifts
  29. getting new pictures of my daughter
  30. when I get to see my daughter

NaBloPoMo – Day 6

Write the words you need to hear


happy birthday to me


Just because what you are feeling is different, does not mean you are broken.

Everyone deals with things differently.

You are loved – even if you don’t feel like it.

Just because you don’t match societal beauty standards doesn’t mean that you aren’t beautiful.

No matter how weak you think you are, you are one of the strongest people I know.

Pull inspiration for your makeup and clothes from the shows you love to watch and what you think your favorite book characters look like – experiment.

 

The Never-Ending Struggles

This is a brand new blog for me. I have a couple others, but I need somewhere I can go when I’m feeling really down and need something to pick me back up.

I’ve said I was a Christian since the summer after third grade, when I was 9, and lately I haven’t really been feeling like it. To be honest, it’s been like that for a long time. Longer than I’d care to admit. I feel as though I’m drifting away from my church, but like I’m stuck there at the same time. Let me explain…

I always thought, when I was younger, that being a Christian was a really easy thing to do. You go to church on Sundays, you read the bible in class, you recite the verses you’re supposed to, and you sing the songs in service. However, as I grew up a little more, I realized that there’s more to it than that.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you what being a Christian means – because there could be all kinds of debates about that – and I’m honestly still trying to figure out what all it means to me. Because for twelve years, I’ve been a “Christian” but since I’m 21 now, I think it’s time that I become a Christian without the quotation marks.

I always grew up being told that good Christians don’t curse and they don’t wear anything inappropriate. But I’ve seen a lot of things in recent years that proves to me that what I was taught and believed growing up isn’t always true.

Sometimes the only way to release anger or frustration is to let out a few words that aren’t exactly welcomed in church or around small children. And appropriateness of clothes is different and has to be determined by each individual person. And in the end, I think it’s up to the person wearing the clothes to determine if they are or aren’t appropriate, and if they aren’t then the wearer needs to change or make the clothing appropriate.

My Christian walk has always been a little off. I’ll think I’m in the right place but I’m really several feet (but it feels like several miles) from where I should be and not sure how to get back over there. It’s like there’s this gigantic chasm I’m unable to get across and therefore can’t live my Christian life.

I’m working on getting better, but it’s not really happening. I don’t have any good, strong Christian friends around me or in my life at all. It’s not who I’ve been in the past, and it’s still not really who I am now. It probably won’t very truly be me, but I owe it to myself to at least try to get better, and that’s what this blog is hopefully gonna help me do.