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when i was a child growing up, my parents never raised us in any one religion. we were never baptised. my mom always said for us to find our own faith. it sounds kind of bad, but it actually was great because i chose to find my own religion and i chose to be baptised at 16yrs old. when i was young, there was a Christian church near my grandma's house that always held bible camp and children's services and i always begged my grandma to take me. and she always did.
my family is very religiously diverse. my grandparents are jewish, great grandparents were catholic, mother is methodist, aunt is evangilistic, father was athiest.
when i was 15 i ended up at a Luthern church where spiritually i flourished. i felt so good and at home there, and had a great relationship with the pastor. there i was baptised and confirmed. i taught sunday school music, VBS, and sang in the choir. it was a small country church and although i was the youngest in the choir (by about 30 years) i still loved it and grew attached to the congregation. i sang on almost every holiday and never missed a church service, even if that meant going alone (which i did frequently). i actually looked forward to church every week. i always felt it was a refreshing way to start my week right.
although spiritually i felt in the right place, mentally my life was a mess. i was sexually abused as a child from ages 6-16 and it was having a terrible affect on me. i developed a severe eating disorder, would self mutilate, and also was extremly promiscuous. i felt like i lived two lives, one where i was head cheerleader, co dance captain and a top member of the school choir, and was very active in my church, and another where i had a lot of dark issues. but no matter what, i always turned back to God.
when i was 19, i ended up pregnant by my boyfriend (we are now married). but suddenly, it was almost like i was shunned by the church. they no longer asked me to sing for services, and turned me away from teaching music to the children. i found out later that people had gone to the church counsel, worried about the impression i would make on the kids as a young unwed teenage mother. although nobody ever said i was officially 'banned' from the church, they definitly made me feel like it through their actions. eventually i stopped going. the church became divided over me and the pastor ended up leaving, as well as one of the organists. i felt so guilty that my unplanned blessing was causing so much chaos.
DH and his family are catholic, so we started attending his church, but it didn't feel right. the only way i could describe it is like a shirt that you want to wear, but it doesn't fit you right and makes you uncomfortable and self concious. plus his church is enormous! so many people during each service. so we didn't go there very long either.
since losing my third son last month, it threw into the light what i am missing. i'm missing that spiritual atomesphere where i feel welcome. my boss and his wife are Luthern and go to one of the larger Luthern churches where i live and have been continously encouraging me to come along. and i really want to. but it's been so long, and i'm so nervous to go.
i just need help getting back to where i was spiritually!!
Hey there! I haven't been around JMs in a long time, but just dropped in and saw your post. I'm so sorry for all that you've been through. I think most people have a time in their lives, at least once, when they don't feel very close to God any more. Dealing with a messy church rift definitely doesn't help. The good news is, He still loves you and will always welcome you back.
Give your boss's church a try - it's always easier for me to go to a new place when I know someone that's there. But don't feel like you *have* to stay because it's your boss's church if you don't feel like it's the one for you. I visited churches for months when we were looking for a new one - my husband refused to come with me to visit them, so I was plenty uncomfortable - but I KNEW when I got to the right one. So just go - no commitments to the church, just visit - and see what happens.
I'm so sorry for everything you've endured, both at home and at church. It's so hard to bounce back from that.
Try your boss's church. It really can't hurt and I'm sure your boss won't be offended if you decide not to continue attending. Try other churches in your area, too. I'd also pray about it. God will open the door for you and make it clear which church He would like you to be at.
Mom to a 2 year old baby girl, 2 week old baby boy, and one in Heaven.
In loving memory of our angel baby, with us for 4 weeks. Baby went to be with God July 24th, 2009.
I'm sorry for the suffering you've endured. I also was a victim of abuse as a child. And while The Lord has spared me of pre-marital pregnancy, I am no stranger to child loss.
I have some things to say which will probably sound hard. But I say them in love and I genuinely hope that you (and anyone else reading this who need it) will give it thought and take it to heart.
Getting baptized and confirmed does not make you a christian. Just like a wedding ceremony is not a marriage. A marriage is a relationship, a wedding is a display. I'm not saying that being baptized is meaningless. Just that the relationship with God is much more important.
It is wonderful that you are seeking Christ in your suffering. You are headed in the right direction. As the prodigal who realized that he would starve if he didn't return to his father and decided to go home. Your Heavenly Father is waiting to run to you and embrace you and rejoice that his beloved child is home.
But I want you to know what it means to return. Mankind has an innate understanding that we don't measure up to God, that we aren't as good as we ought to be. And so we see all these religions popping up trying to teach us how to become good enough to bridge the gap. But the gap cannot be bridged from our end.
When god sent his Son to come and live the perfect life that we cannot, and die in our place, then raised him confirming his claim to divinity, it was God bridging the gap for us.
If you are serious about accepting Gods love and redemption, and submitting yourself to his authority, you should find a church that teaches Biblically sound doctrine and commit to becoming part of the community of believers there.
I personally am not a Catholic. I find the teaching regarding Mary the mother of Christ to be heretical (against what the Bible says). And I believe that praying to people other than God is idolatrous. But I believe it is possible to be Catholic and be a saved child of God.
Lutheran theology is closer to the truth. As would be Baptist. But that's really beside the point. The point is that you should be more concerned about your relationship with God, whether your church teaches what the Bible teaches, and becoming a part of the community of believers (in that order) than about what the church looks like or what kind of music they play or whether the members are weird.
A good book to look at, if you're a reader, is "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. It will really help you to keep going in the right direction I think.