3.02.2012

Conversation #142: The Forgotten God in my life

I'm a Christian.  I think that has been fairly evident on my blog, but if not, now you know.

I grew up going to church, and I loved my church and the people in it.  I came to really understand and know Christ back in August of 2009 while at church camp in Colorado, but then satan went to work on me and I slowly started losing my fire.  I didn't lose my belief, and I talked to God often, but something just always seemed like it was missing.  I wasn't quite there or something.  I just thought I wasn't one of those people God talked to and went on living my life.  More on this later.

I went to a Christian university, but I quickly realized it wasn't much like my church where I grew up (I don't really want to mention the specific church/school I grew up going to because I really love my home church and the issues I found with my church can happen at any church, it is not denominational specific, some may be more prone to legalism, but it can happen anywhere).  It felt like a place full of hypocrites, and I don't mean to offend anyone who went there if you even know what I'm talking about, and I definitely don't think every person there was a hypocrite.  I just didn't like it, and so I transferred to a school that was almost a polar opposite.  That is really a story for another day, but weirdly I did find God at that Christian school, but not because of amazing atmosphere I was surrounded by.  Rather, I felt like I had to search and cling to God so hard while I was there because it would have been easy to lose Him in the tradition and rules and show (sorry, I felt like going to church was a social event, not a time for me to be free to worship).  Anyway, like I said - I left. 

I ended up a school where you had to choose to make Christ part of your life, and I loved being surrounded by people at Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) because they felt alive.  They had many other more exciting/fun things to do by society's standard, but they chose to be there.  However, the fact that I transferred schools during the middle of my freshman year (which I don't recommend) just made me be this weird hybrid of a person that never really fit in, sadly.  However, I went to small group and kept trying to feel God in ways I had before, but again just accepting that maybe I wasn't meant to.

My husband and I got married young (we were 20 and in the middle of college) and we found a church close to school, and it was the same sort of church I grew up in so I felt comfortable there, and my husband enjoyed himself so we decided to make it home.  We met a lot of nice people that first Sunday, and that is a huge thing for me when looking for churches (and of course Biblical doctrine, but I already knew the doctrine - we always look at that online first before even visiting a church). The husband didn't grow up in the same church as me, but he loved me and liked the people we met the first day so he was okay with going there, because now I realize that God knew I wasn't ready for something different.

We met some really great people at the church, and LOVED our campus minister.  He was such an important person in our lives and marriage, and I wish we could have stayed in college and his ministry forever!  However, we also longed for marriage support so we joined the newly marrieds class.  Everyone was sweet, but let's face the facts, we were at least 7 years younger than everyone else, much poorer (which is a weird thing to worry about) and just kind of out of place again.  You know, typing this makes me think that maybe I  will just always be in a weird out of place place.  Anywho, we went through three generations of our class in the 5 years we were there, and we still left as some of the youngest people in that class.  It was just a weird situation.

The husband had long commented on the fact that there didn't seem to be joy in our church, especially during singing, but I told him it was just different.  And it was.  This denomination (although it is actually nondenominational, no governing body, but I couldn't think of a better word) doesn't use instruments during worship, but I happen to love that, but others don't.  However, it was a longing in my heart that ultimately pushed us to move churches, not the husband. 

I didn't want to ever be a church hopper, and I know that no church is perfect, but we took about a 6 month break from our church before deciding to leave (we had been there for 5 years and had been very involved) and no one called or even emailed to see if we were ok.   I really thought we could have died and none of them would have ever known.  That just wasn't a church family experience I was used to or longed for.  Also, we again found ourselves in weird middle place within our last young marrieds group.  There was one side that grew up in the church, had a lot of money (we went to church in a very wealthy neighborhood because it was by our school), and bought starter homes that might be our third home!  Then there was the other side who were more liberal, kind of into the post modernism/pre-emergent church movement, and grew up with quite the family tradition in the church of christ (we called them insiders), and we weren't that either.  We never felt like we could really connect to anyone.

It seemed like our church had a lot of guilt over being white and wealthy, to tell you the truth.  They actually had a "diversity sunday" where an African-American guest preacher would come and speak and a gospel choir would join worship.  Sorry, but that seems way more offensive and weird to me than just being a mostly white church the rest of the time.  The husband and I are just not going to feel guilty over things we can't change or what God has blessed us with (I think you just have to look at what you do with that) and so again we felt like this just wasn't the place for us.  We are all different for many reasons than just skin color, and frankly, I don't know why we as a society keep harping on this fact.  Again, this is a different story for a different day, but we are all children of God so why don't we just act like it?  I know, because we live in a fallen world, but that is just how I feel.  Seriously, this is something I could go on forever about, but I won't here.  Maybe another day...

Okay, all of these things lead us to start looking at new churches, especially ones closer to home because we had moved after we graduated college.  Since this has gotten so long, I guess it might be good to take a break and write more tomorrow.  If you read this, you are awesome!  This post might be more cathartic for me than for enjoyment, but now you know more about me and it really does lead up to this whole journey I'm on right now.

2 comments:

Faith said...

I love this post, and can empathise with you on just about every point! I finally started attending reformed baptist churches in recent years, and my husband and I love it!

Gail said...

Hi Jessica! I loved reading your post and I feel like in a lot of ways Matthew and I have a very similar story. We took about a year break from church several years ago and did a home church with my sis and bro in law 'til God led us to get back into community and be a part of DBC...which we love! Church can be frustrating, right? Thankfully, God is so faithful and is working on each one of us individually within our corporate communities.

Hugs,
Gail