“Isn’t this a church day?
Shouldn’t we be at church?”
These are the words my 5 yr old was whispering to her 3yr old brother as I acted like I was still asleep (don’t judge…I know you do it too…lol). It’s so funny how a child can get to the root of it all with such innocence. Her two simple questions and observation that something was missing from this day was like a light bulb going off above my head. Yes, it was a church day. Yes, we should be at church but instead Momma was home, hiding from her fears, worries and embarrassment.
Embarrassment for being the wife who is always at church alone. First during deployments, then when work was all there was and now simply because. You see, my Husband is a believer but not a church goer. He has scars that have never healed and the church building is not a place you will see him in often. So instead it is me you see sitting in the pew. The girl born and raised on the altar who marches her team of Kiddies to church every Sunday and sits – alone. The wife, woman and mother who sits there each week praying that one day it can be her whole family and not just her and her kiddies. I don’t even think I allowed myself to realize this was an issue for me until recently. I just went because that was/is was I am supposed to do. Still, this feeling of being alone may be the root of so many different things.
I’ve been attending this church faithfully for nearly 6 years. In between living in Hawaii, this is the church we’ve called home with the exception of signing those membership papers. Our names are not on the roll and we have never taken those few steps down that center aisle to formally become a part – to join. Each time the church doors are opened and the Pastor gives the invitation my heart says go but my fears and perhaps a little bit of my pride says I don’t wanna go alone.
You see I’ve never joined a church before. I was pretty much born into my home church. That is the only church I’ve ever had my name down as a member for. My grandmother helped build it (seriously, she helped build the altar…lol). So when I was born I belonged. I grew up there, I was saved there… it was my foundation. It’s as if I was automatically a member. I never had to make a choice between there and anywhere else. Yes, when I turned 18 I went through the motions of becoming a member but it was simply formality. My whole family was the church and the church was my family.
This time it’s different.
The only family I have now are my Hubby, my Kiddies and myself. I have aunts who attend but this being a larger church we never seem to be there for the same service. My hubby attends only when the kids beg him or if something special is happening. Otherwise I’m alone. ‘Til now I don’t think I ever let myself really think about it. When The Teenager was here I had someone to talk to, reflect on the service and the sermon with. Now that he’s in school it’s just me and my littles – let’s face it chatting about the day’s message usually ends up in less deep revelation and more talking about crayons and what they sang in Sunday school.
So every time I tell myself ‘the next time we will join’ that next time comes and I become ashamed of walking up there not as a family but as that woman with her kids. I tell myself I’ll wait – maybe he’ll start to come and we can join then. Maybe I can avoid the whispers and mumblings about ‘I wonder where her husband is. She has a ring. Has anyone ever seen him?’ The painful and at times hurtful thing is sometimes they aren’t always whispers. Sometimes I hear and other times I am even asked directly. I am always quick with my pre-made replies: He works. He was tired. He is military. He comes when he can.
Yet when I walk away, when I get home, that’s when the discouragement sets in. I become down on myself. I don’t want to go at all. I start skipping days…weeks. I don’t place a lot of value on the actual going. I believe your relationship is with God not a building yet I know not going isn’t the example of a wife who wants to draw her husband. Instead with the discouragement, I begin to take on his habits. I stay home. I’ll go next week. We need time together. It’s just another day. I choose to shelter myself in the safety and comfort behind my closed doors. Then I begin to notice that I’ve stop moving forward, stopped growing.
Things need to change…
So today my daughter’s words rang in my ears. They echo there even now as I type this post. What is the root of it all…? The why behind my not going and more so my not joining? I still don’t want to join alone but I don’t want to simply attend anymore either. I want my ministry to have a place of rebirth and for that I need a covering a leadership that will support me. I want to be a part of something not simply an onlooker or spectator.
To do this I need to move forward and know that God will be there beside me as he always has been. I need to trust the promises I’ve heard in my late night prayers that he will bring my family together. One day, whether in my timing or not my Husband will be there but until that time comes I still need to be the woman and follower that I know God has called me to be.
There may still be days when my fear, embarrassment and pride get the best of me but I’m praying the strength to overcome and get past it. For myself but for my family as well.
Have you ever allowed fear, embarrassment or pride to hold you back from a decision?
How do you move beyond yourself to make new steps in your life?
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