Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Why I sometimes hate church....

Hate church?  What?  What kind of post is this madness?

It's one that is personal to me - that's what kind of post this is.  It's not meant to offend anyone, it's not meant to point fingers, it's not one to gather up sympathy from people to say, "oh, poor Rebecca"... its just how I have felt lately.

Let me explain.

Y'all know I really do love church... really...

I mean, I better - I spent a lot of time invested in it.

But some times, I just really hate how it makes me feel.

& I don't mean the parts about that I'm a sinner.  I was raised Baptist.  I was told that my whole life, along with messages of fire & brimstone.  I'm used to that part of it.

Miley knows... before she went all twerk crazy

This past Sunday in our church, the message started off with our pastor talking about his children - how they are all different & individual.  It made for an excellent point on how we, as God's children, are all different & unique & each person needs to be handled according to their personality & what is expected of them.

OK - I get that message - I understand the point - I learned from it...

What I don't like is when the messages always go back to the "You know how your kids are"... "How many of your children do that?".... "Isn't parenting wonderful/hard/fantastic/stressful? (insert whatever word works for the message)

Its like all these people are shaking their heads around the room like a big 'Amen' happening, or some sort of secret hand shake between people that are in a special crowd.... & then there I am ... without children... sitting there trying to relate.  Trying to be a part of what everyone around me is agreeing with & slapping each other on the back for.

Everyone in church when the pastor talks about how hard parenting is

I know NOT having kids is the minority of the crowd in church & wouldn't expect messages NOT to have references to children.  I mean, the Bible did say, Be fruitful & multiply.  Some people take that very seriously. 
 
Hello Mrs. Duggar.

Heck - I even use examples all the time about being a Dog-Mom & how it relates to how God disciplines & relates to us.  I just don't need my belly rubbed as much as Harvey does.

But there also some people in that room at church who have to feel like I do...
& not even in my own church - but in churches everywhere...

There are some people in that room who struggled to have a child & just couldn't...
There are some people in that room who never found a spouse to have a family with...
There are some people in that room who lost a child & never saw their child grow up to have those 'parent' experiences...

& that's when church is hard & when I hate it.


Our church is doing a cool event that is focusing on marriage, & every promo I've seen about it has to do with marriages & family - how to keep marriages strong to benefit the family - which usually shows a crowd of kids piled in the back of a van.  A lot of showing how divorce effects children.

Does that mean my marriage isn't important because I don't have kids?

I actually asked our Family Minister - who is also my friend & knows my heart - "Is this going to be all questions about what you do for your children & how awesome your kids are, because then I can't be a part of it."

She told me that no, its focused on marriage - that it is putting the importance on marriage to the forefront... Awesome- then we're in
.... but then she ended saying something like, "... so if you do have a family, you're marriage is solid for having children"

There it is... again...

& I get it, she's the "Family" Minister who works with families that 99.9% have children...its what she's focused on.  And I do believe parents with children need to work on marriages to keep their families together... I know it deserves attention.  But again, its the place where Ricky & I feel like maybe we just don't fit in.

I hate when I feel like I don't fit in ... especially in church...

The worst is going to come this weekend.  An event I'm looking forward to because I love spending time with girlfriends, getting to know women of our church & getting to hear amazing speakers & worship in a large setting.... the Women of Joy conference is this weekend. 

Our church has over 20 women going...

But the one thing that always - ALWAYS - gets me at these events, there are always moments that are focused on children.  I mean, get thousands of women together & of course, they're going to talk about their children.  The speakers are going to talk about their children.  The stranger next to you will tell you about their children.

& when you meet new people from your church & they want to get to know you, every woman asks, "So, how many kids do you have?" ... EVERY.STINKING.TIME.

Its the go-to-question for women apparently.


So go to a place where there are thousands of women & yes, it will be the focus.

Luckily - the bigger focus is on God - that's why I go & what keeps me going back.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive about this whole thing, but I know I'm not alone.  I have other friends who struggled with infertility, with loss, with not being someone who fits in the mold of what a 'family' looks like.  & its not fun & its not comfortable & it makes you feel like an outsider...

& don't get me wrong.  I know I've said this before.  I am very very VERY blessed to have step daughters that I love dearly.  But when someone asks in church, "Do you have children?" - they don't want the back story of my husband's past relationships.  Not to mention, I always feel funny saying, "Yes" because I don't want to take anything away from their birth mothers who did raise them while Ricky & I were weekend parents.  A whole other topic.

& for the record, I am especially thankful for Julie who with no qualms lets me be a grandmother (or Nanny) to her boys... so while I don't immediately jump to saying yes, I have children, I do immediately jump to saying "I am a grandmother"...


In the end, I walked out of church Sunday, with all the parents of all the cool kids in our church (I can say that because I work with a lot of those cool kids - & they are pretty darn cool) & I just remembered that I may not be like everyone else...

but Jesus wasn't like every one else.

We're all called to walk different paths.

I just wish it wasn't so lonely on that path sometimes

Not having children always leaves time for being a super hero

 

11 comments:

Robyn B said...

it is SO hard when it feels like you're in the minority & no one can relate. one thing i like about my pastor is that he gives examples of a few different things when he's making an analogy. he'll discuss something that single people can relate to, something that married people with no kids can relate to, and people married/divorced with kids can relate to. that way people without kids can still see an analogy in their own life to illustrate the point. i know kid analogies are the easiest to come up with, especially when the speaker has kids, but i appreciate that he gives thought to helping everyone in the room relate!

we are part of a new church plant in our city... and it seems like everyone in the group are young married people that are having kids left and right. and sometimes i feel like i have nothing to talk to them about because i don't have kids so i can't relate to 90% of what they say. but my husband reminded me that church is very diverse & even if we have nothing else in common with everyone, we do have Jesus/our faith in common with them. and we can build relationships on that!

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

Sister. I am right there with you.

While we have yet to find our "forever church", I find that this bubbles over into more than just church.

And what I hate? the look you get when you say, "No, we don't". They look at you like you grew a second head and then wonder, "what is wrong with you? Why aren't you making this happen?"

Or the people who finish your "No we don't" sentence with that one word: "...yet!" What about those who have chosen NOT to have kids?

While my situation for not having children is different than most, I think of my friend who struggled with infertility and wanted nothing more than to pee on a stick to see 2 pink lines. Or my friend who was diagnosed with cancer and told, "Sorry, you CANNOT conceive because it will kill you". Or the number of friends who have miscarried. Or had one child, and wanted more but couldn't. The list is endless!

So, my sweet friend, our canoes are paddling down the same river.

Ashley said...

I think this post is beautiful. Seriously, I think it's just fine to admit that this is something that makes you hate church and something that makes you uncomfortable. Thank you for sharing!

Cathy said...

I can totally relate. There was a time when I especially hated Mother's Day. All I could think about is what is wrong with me that God won't let me have kids, when that was all I ever wanted. I don't know why so many seem to be able to have babies with no problem and then they throw them away or abuse them or whatever. I still don't understand.

Eventually, the Lord did allow us to adopt our girls. I'm so thankful and feel satisfied.

But I still don't understand why. I can only accept that He is God and I'm not and I trust Him with that.

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this also. It is not an easy road.

Michael Rogers said...

I'm so sorry, Rebecca. Thank you for your heart and your truth. In my desire to show God as the Father, I went a pace too far. I promise I will consider you and all the others who may be in a similar position when I am preparing a message and preaching. Love you, sister, for opening my eyes.

Pastor Michael

holli said...

Wow how cool is that! Your pastor reads and commented on your blog post. I also relate with this post very much. I never could have kids and i do have 2 stepkids. I'm fortunate that rarely my pastor talks about kids but when he does i've learned to accept that i'm the minority. If your church event is called iMarriage, you and your husband should go. My husbamd and i went to ours that the church sponsored a month ago and we really enjoyed it.

The Bug said...

I can really relate too. Mike & I decided to it have kids & faced the same issues at church. One thing that helped is that we had a Sunday school class just for marrieds without kids. Then I joined an Episcopal church with a WIDE variety of people & that helped too.

The Bug said...

To NOT have kids... I hate typing on my phone :)

Kendwy Valdez said...

Wow! This was an eye opener! I can feel your emotions as I read through it. Being a pastor, I have to admit that I refer to parenting often in my sermons. It is so hard to see past your own nose sometimes.
I'm really sorry that this is the norm and that you feel alone.
I am glad you opened up about it. You always share thoughts in such a dignified manner.
You have definitely given me something to think about and consider as our church keeps growing and I continue to bing messages and address individuals. Most of all, just making changes in everyday life situations. We can become so inconsiderate of others and not even know it.
I've heard being a grandmother is better than being a mom so tell that to your friends. Lol

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I think I can imagine how you feel ... I'm feeling the same way at our church ... for entirely different reasons, but it's still not a feeling I like. There are other things going on, and this may well be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Praying for you, dear one.

The Lovely One said...

I love that your pastor commented!

I think this is only a problem if you regret the choices you've made. And it sounds like you're completely happy and at peace with your choices and with the awesome life you've made with your hubby!