Church on Sunday

Last Sunday I did not want to get out of bed.  We had stayed up WAY too late with friends the night before (getting home well after 1am), I was pretty overwhelmed with my To Do list, and really I just wanted some rest.

But I had a commitment.

Back in December I enthusiastically agreed to teach the second/third grade Sunday School class at our church.

This sounds run of the mill, but it’s actually a pretty big deal for me. It means I am committing myself to this church thing that I have avoided for so long.

My history with church and religion and faith are probably not so different than many people. I’ve brought it up here before how I was raised in a fairly strict household. Not negatively strict, but my parents definitely made their rules based on the Christian upbringings they had as well as how they felt guided by their faith. It was a loving home, and Church and God were a big part.

I started sort of questioning it all in high school, and definitely went through some heavy doubts through college. My doubts and distress over they religion I was raised in was most pronounced in the months and years after getting married. My faith was tested–and ultimately failed me–through a series of losses and personal tragedy.

Outside our Church almost nine years ago.

Outside our Church almost nine years ago.

After Charlie was born I felt a pull that I tried to ignore.

Going to church was a hassle I really didn’t want a part of. I felt like maybe I wanted some sort of guidance, so I started doing a daily devotion with hundreds of other women online.

Eddie's baptism in our church

Eddie’s baptism in our church

But it wasn’t enough. It was beautiful and I’m glad I did it, but something was still missing.

When school started up again, we made it a point to try to get to church each Sunday so Eddie could go to Sunday School, which he loved. Even when Cort and I didn’t go to church, we would still bring Eddie to Sunday School and then pick him up an hour later.

Even though in that moment of cuddly warmth in my bed when Cort would put his mouth near my ear and whisper, “church?” and I would say, “no,” I immediately felt remorse.

Charlie's baptism in our church

Charlie’s baptism in our church

It wasn’t really guilt so much as it was regret for my choice.

Something about church filled me each Sunday morning.

After a particularly long stretch of not going because of illness and a crazy fall, we learned that our church had found a new pastor. He was young (not much older than Cortney and myself) and I recognized his last name. After heading to church to check out the new pastor, I realized why his name was familiar; I had taught with his wife years ago in my current district, and she and I had attended a couple of the same grad classes while I was pursuing my Masters and she her PhD.

We immediately reconnected.

A week later our director of family ministries asked if I would like to be part of the Children In Worship program for the younger students. I agreed without thinking about it.  Then I worried about it for weeks.

Did I make the right choice? This would mean coming to church every Sunday. All of them. No more slacking; I had a commitment and an obligation. I had a job to do.

Did I even know what I was doing? Sure I know even the most obscure Bible stories from my years and years of Sunday School, Catechism, and Youth Group. I knew all the books of the Bible and I knew much of the historical aspects thanks to some Christianity classes I took in college and the way I devour each and every documentary on cable and PBS that has to do with religion.

But Children in Worship is based on the Church calendar, which I was not very familiar with. What if I made myself look dumb asking about Transfiguration Sunday and Epiphany?

Oh and I would have to show up every week.

Eddie singing in church for Christmas just over a year ago.

Eddie singing in church for Christmas just over a year ago.

I began thinking of ways to back out. Maybe I rushed into this. Maybe our family should just show up on our own terms for a while.

Then I found out that the Pastor’s Wife (not sure she wants to be named here, so this is how I’ll refer to her) and I were going to be co-teaching the 2nd and 3rd grade level–about four kids each week. I couldn’t let her down.

Something has happened to me over these past six or seven weeks.

I find myself looking forward to church and to the sermon. I can’t wait to chat with The Pastor’s Wife and to get the warm handshakes and hugs from the other members of the congregation. I feel awake on Sunday mornings before church, but even more so after. I get excited to see my “students” and hear their thoughts about that week’s story; second and third graders have a wonderfully free way of making connections without worry if they are “wrong”. I wish my twelfth graders did that.

Eddie and I have also started a new little Eddie/Mommy thing. Since we stay for Sunday School and Cortney and Charlie do not, Eddie and I have started driving separately so they don’t have to come back to get us. Last week we decided since we stayed longer, we got to go to Starbucks for a coffee (me) and a cake pop (him). We do a lot of chatting on that drive. It’s good. Really good.

I have never believed in coincidences no matter what my doubts. Coincidences just…they just aren’t a thing.

Being pulled back to church, finding an old friend, being able to “teach”, and spending time with Eddie has all just fallen into place. It’s like pieces of a puzzle…and puzzles don’t work because of coincidence. They work because they are created to work.

I still have so SO many questions and I am still so very young in this new faith, but I am glad I went with my heart on this. I feel like there is healing and comfort in this new journey. I don’t know if there will be hard answers, but I sort of don’t care. I’m learning that sometimes a feeling is an answer…even when there are no words to go with that answer.

I am glad that each week Cortney and Charlie and Eddie go on this new journey with me. I answer a lot of questions with “I don’t know” and I think that is Ok.

We are all in this together.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. I am glad for you that you have found your way back to something that means so much to you.
    I believe in things falling into place too.
    Alison recently posted…The Land of the LivingMy Profile

  2. I. Love. This. It’s amazing what making that commitment draws out in us, doesn’t it? Church every Sunday sounds so daunting, until it just becomes a part of what you do. I’m so happy that you are doing it, and I believe that it’s no accident, either. I love how you said the puzzle pieces work “because they were created to work.”

    I always had an ambivalent relationship with church, until we found our church home. Now I can’t imagine it not being a part of our family life.
    Andrea recently posted…Choosing to Be An OlympianMy Profile

  3. I know just what you mean. I know of so many stories where people say “yes” to an invitation to church, only to inwardly ask themselves, “Why in the world did I agree? I don’t do church!” I’m sure God has a plan for you, and it sounds like his plan includes lots of love and warm hugs and handshakes. 😀

    (grinning)

    I do understand the battle it is to remain faithful, however. I know this is no small thing.

    Love you
    Lady Jennie recently posted…The One Jesus LovesMy Profile

  4. There is something about Second Reformed that Phung and I were drawn too as well. It took us all of 10 years to find a Church we were both comfortable in. I am so thankful you guys made this choice…and Eddie is such a joy to have in class 🙂

  5. I think just like a lot of other things, “church” has a lot to do with the people we connect with. I’m so glad your new pastor seemed to be just what you needed to reconnect.
    Kerstin recently posted…Bundt Cake – German StyleMy Profile

  6. Kris Arnoldink says

    I am so happy for you!!! God works in mysterious ways…..I have no doubts that he will use your experiences for the greater good.

  7. I miss church immensely. I haven’t been since… Christmas? Maybe once since? We’ve have reasons most Sundays for not attending (although, perhaps “Olympic Gold Medal hockey game” is not the most noble of reasons). I NEED to get back. I feel the pull, but I also feel the pull of bed on Sunday mornings.

    I promise to go next Sunday. Promise.
    Laura recently posted…When Katie Asked AwayMy Profile

  8. Like you I believe, but having a church home seems to be an impossiblity for me around this area. I am so glad you found a church home though.. I wish I could find someplace to call home..
    Southern Angel recently posted…When the past wanders in for a spellMy Profile

  9. Clearly going to church and reconnecting with your faith means a lot to you, but heck yeah, it’s okay to question. I honestly don’t know where I stand when it comes to God and religion. I want to believe but I struggle with it. Daily. It’s a lovely concept and I truly admire those who accept it without falter.

    I look forward to hearing more about your journey.
    Tonya recently posted…Show & TellMy Profile

  10. I know this. I go and I feel good. I get busy and tired and stop going and tell myself I’m okay, but I know I’m not, and I know what I need, but I always fight going back. Like something a little kid would do. 😉
    Jennifer recently posted…Ground Beef Recipes that Make Easy Weeknight MealsMy Profile

  11. Katie, in my faith we don’t worry about faith. Sounds funny, no? In Judaism we learn that G-d is more interested in what we do than what we believe – cause G-d doesn’t need us to believe. G-d needs us to do. Keep doing, my friend. It will come back to bless you.

  12. Kelsey Posma says

    my heart swells with love about this post, my friend. i am so so thankful for the distance you have come, and will continue to be praying! there isn’t anything more fabulous than growing spiritually with a good friend!! love to you!!

  13. One of the biggest blessings in my whole week, occurs within the tiny walled space of my Sunday school class. And I have the movers and shakers: ages 4 and 5! Boy, it is tough sometimes each week, but I am forever amazed at how tiny hearts can grasp the love and works of a Big God.

    and that’s not to say that I don’t have Sundays when I wake up tired and it seems like it’s just too much effort. Especially if my husband is working and I am on my own with 3 of my kids PLUS my class. It’s easy to think it isn’t worth it. but it is totally worth it because those 3 kids are also on the journey with me.
    If I don’t show God to be worth the effort – how would they ever learn?
    Rorybore recently posted…Monday’s Music Moves Me: The Writer’s PlaylistMy Profile

  14. I love this!!!!! And I think “I don’t know” is a great answer to A LOT of questions! A lot of things we WILL not know on this earth. xoxo
    anna whiston-donaldson recently posted…Broad StrokesMy Profile

  15. I know how much you’ve struggled in the past few months, and I’m so glad you’re finding your way again and feeling hopeful and healed.

  16. God is good and I’m so happy you are finding your way back to him. Blessings.

  17. Wow, I love what Deborah said. She’s so dang wise. 😉

    I had some of the same doubts as you at a younger age, about faith and mine in particular. I think all of us go through that to some extent and I believe God is expecting it. He knows our humanity.

    I’m so glad that you feel better about your decision to do this and that it is fulfilling you in ways you maybe could not imagine.
    Elaine A. recently posted…Happy AND Proud #HappyMamasMy Profile

  18. So glad you have found your way back! I grew up in the church also, but there have been times when it was not as much a part of my life as it is now. I teach my kids’ Sunday School classes as well. I as hesitant because, even though I was raised with religion in my life, I am by no means a Bible scholar. However, I think I have learned just as much or more than the kids over the last few years. 🙂
    Lisa recently posted…What Sports Taught Me About MotherhoodMy Profile