Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'Cause You Gotta have Faith

What a whirlwind weekend!  I feel so blessed, ever so apparent this time of year.  Only appropriate that I share a story with you this day.
A little girl in the 70's with three siblings, I was not raised in a church.  I was not given any religious education at home (unless you consider my mom's 2 favorite cuss phrases were Jesus Christ and God damn).  I didn't understand anything about religion at all, although we did have this really cool manger set up every year at Christmas that I would play with like a doll set.
I have one picture taken of me with my mom's handwriting on the back "Sunday School, 1978".  I have no memory of church or Sunday school, ever.  So I have no idea where that was taken.
And so it goes, my life journey with no religion.  When I married the first time I was married by a Mormon preacher outside since I had no church (nor did I want to be Mormon).  Sure, I listened to the words he spoke but wasn't really interested in understanding most of it. 
In my 20's, I remarried.  My father in law is a Baptist minister and he married hubs and I.  We had several sessions with him before we married that were quite lively.  I don't think I could possibly ever forget challenging him on the true meaning and intent of tithing.  Somehow, I still made it into the family!
Hubs and I went to church a bit in our 20's but nothing regular.  He had been in church his entire life and had a significant religious education but as many young people do he had moved away from the practice and ritual.  I certainly wasn't going to push the topic as I had no interest at all.
By my mid-20's though, my mom became ill.  The conversations started pretty slowly but ramped up significantly by the time I was 30.  She started to pray a lot.  She talked about God a lot.  She worried that she wasn't strong enough in her faith to be granted entrance to Heaven.  She became a God fearing Christian before my very eyes.  No, she didn't attend church.  I don't ever recall her owning a bible.  But she spoke to the Lord every single day... many times a day.  And she talked to me about it.
After 8 long years of trying to conceive, hubs and I learned of my pregnancy with the little guy.  In all definitions, it was a miracle.  Not that all of them aren't, by any means.  But it was pretty miraculous given our circumstances.  I started to wonder.
Coincidentally, Bubba had a friend and he and his family had a great church that they had invited us to many times.  One Easter Sunday during my pregnancy, we finally went to church.
Everything changed quickly.  We loved it, all of us.  Even Bubba.  So we joined.  I became confirmed in the Lutheran faith.  I was baptised, finally (at age 30) along with Bubba and the little guy.  Bubba completed three years of confirmation classes and became confirmed.  He went on to complete 4 years of private Lutheran high school education, learning more about being Lutheran and all other religions that I could even fathom.
Life became busy.  We built a house.  Bubba got married (by that same Baptist minister (and his Pop).  We gained Sassy and then of course, Nugget.  We shipped Bub off to the Navy (along with his fam).  We had two back surgeries.  And somehow, through all those miracles, we fell out of faith.
No excuses.  It just happened.
This Christmas season, little guy began asking me a lot of questions.  Who is Jesus?  I know it's his birthday, but why is he important?  What did he do?  Why do bad things still happen if he is our Savior?
Yep.. great questions.  So we did only what I know to do - we took him to church.  Candlelight Service, to be exact.

I have to say though that I was a bit intimidated.  I was pretty sure they were going to slap a visitor badge on our shirts, it's been so long since we've been there.  You wouldn't have known it though - they welcomed us as if we had never left.
But the biggest surprise?  Cooper's excitement.  His steady gaze at Pastor as he spoke.  He took in every single word uttered.  2 hours before church service he was jumping into the shower to get ready to go.  I honestly haven't seen him get that excited in a long time.  He was THRILLED.
In total shock and awe, I tried to soak in his reaction.  He loved every minute of the service.  I have never seen him sit so still and be so in tune with what someone else is saying (I sure hope he does that at school but I know better!)  He talked about the service off and on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  And much to my surprise, he has asked when we are going back.
I admit as the "unchurched" girl that didn't go to church regularly until I was 30, I do find solace and comfort in our church.  Our members are kind, comfortable, regular people just like us.  Both of our Pastors are fantastic, giving us energy in equal but different ways.  The only final thing we need to do is introduce ourselves (and Coop) to the new DCE (the one Bubba had has moved).
It is ironic that at little guy's age this is almost the same time we began taking Bubba to church.  I think God may be intervening somehow, gently reminding us our responsibility and duty to teach little guy. 
Hubs bought me a CD for Christmas and as I type this entry I am listening to a song that fits perfectly.  Kip Moore wrote it especially for me, I'm sure.  Lyrics are below and here is a link to the song if you want to hear it --->  Faith When I Fall.
Faith When I Fall
I know it's been a long time since the last time we talked
I know I've been a stranger and that's all my fault
And asking you for anything don't really seem right
But the winds of change are blowing so I'm begging you tonight

I know the rain is coming and it's sure gonna pour
I know there ain't no running from this kind of storm
It's gonna get harder and harder, they keep on pushing through
I'm gonna wanna quit, so I'll be counting on you

When the clouds start parting and the sun starts shining through
This time I wont forget, I wont forget about you


Give me love when I ain't got nobody
A little hope when I ain't got none at all
Give me love when I ain't got nobody
A little hope when I ain't got none at all
Give me light up ahead on a journey
Give me strength when I'm standing
And faith when I fall

Give me strength when I'm standing
And faith when I fall, yeah

Have a great Wednesday, friends!


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