When people talk about religion or God you usually shy away. Well most do. And I used to. It was too much for me to handle. I used to argue with my mother that the Bible was simply a history book. That men had written it, so how did she know it was really God’s word and not one of those men using it as a way to advance themselves. And she would hang her head in despair. My poor mother. I have put her through some stuff (more on that later).
My Grandmother was a devout Seventh-Day Adventist. I would go and spend weeks with her and my Grandad in the summer. I loved how we would go to church and I would get to play with all the kids. And I especially loved going to Vacation Bible School. But, I do remember that it irritated me that she wouldn’t let me watch Saturday morning cartoons. Something that was always allowed at home. And I didn’t understand a lot of the rules that came with Sabbath. Not until I was older.
Mom grew up in the Methodist church. But due to her having to work every weekend, church just wasn’t a part of my childhood, unless I was at Grandma and Grandad’s. Oh, I knew we believed in God but I had never heard about what it meant to have a relationship with Him, let alone live for Him. And as a kid I tried out several religions. I went to the Catholic church with my sister, a Methodist church, the LDS church and the Assembly of God church. But not a one of them filled the void, that as an adult, I know was there.
After I became and adult and had my oldest daughter, my void seemed to be getting bigger. And God was screaming my name. I was going through some very troubling times. We were struggling in every way we could struggle and I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. It just didn’t exist. I saw nothing.
And that’s when God got all up in my face. HA HA
I was doing my externship and he put someone in my path. After several days of work, and having few people speak to me, this woman asked me to go to lunch with her. She seemed nice enough and I had to eat, so why not? We started to discuss food and she made a comment that she didn’t eat pork. Well having had a grandmother who was Adventist I asked her if she was SDA. She said she was. This was my opening. My heart was listening and she began to tell me about her church. But it’s when she involved my daughter that I really listened.
Our oldest was about to start Kindergarten and I was terrified to put her into our towns public school. Our last name had a reputation, and not a good one. I was worried she would be judged by her name and hence shunned. When this angel told me that the local SDA church had a school, I was all ears. She invited me out to a little program they were having and I gladly accepted. And it was lovely. The school was small, affordable and my child could learn about God. how great was this? So, her next step was, of course, asking me if I wanted to come to church with her family. Oddly enough, I did.
And Jesus came to me that Sabbath Day.
As I stood in that church for the first time. Hearing a sermon that was clearly meant just for me. Singing songs I had never heard before but that spoke to my heart, I cried. And cried. And cried. I felt my Grandmother’s presence, like she approved. I know now that I was feeling my Heavenly Father’s arms wrapped around me telling me I had come home. I had never felt so wonderful or complete.
But Grandma would most definately approve.
I proceeded to sign my eldest up for school and to attend church. I remember what she said when I told her we wer going that first time. She asked me if someone had died. I said “No”, she says “Well is someone getting married?” again, “No, but now I know for sure that we need to go!”
What had I done? She was 5 years old and had no clue that church was for something other than weddings and funerals! This was tragic! And we did what every good “Born again” Christian does. We were all in baby. 100%. No pork here. No shellfish. No TV on Sabbath. No, no, no, no, no. There was a lot of that. And my husband was NOT impressed.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that all the “No’s” weren’t necessary. Not everyone gave up everything. That’s not what this church was about. And I would learn that. I would meet the most amazing people here. I have made the best friends in the world through both this church and school.
I struggle to keep Jesus in my life. I sin just like everyone else. And frequently. I can cuss like a trucker and have impure thoughts. I would love to smack stupid people with a chair. But I don’t. (That’s the best part!)
I still listen to my rock and roll and 80’s music. I still eat the unclean foods (I know, bad bad bad) I still watch tv and go to lunch and shop on Sabbath. And my soul isn’t damned.
That’s not what it’s about.
It’s about a relationship. Not rules.
I have found my place at my church. And though I struggle I know it’s the right place. It’s the right people. It’s the right time.