You Can Have Your Religion… I Will Just Take Jesus and My Church Family…

When I was younger my parents and I attended a Christian church. It was a very short time. I was baptized at the age of eight. Shortly after that my parents divorced and no longer attended church. My mom has claimed she was Catholic for as long as I can remember but never attended the Catholic Church.

My uncle which is my moms brother. He attended a Baptist church. My uncle is also eighteen years older than my mom. His wife was a Sunday School teacher at the Baptist Church they attended. Often I got to spend Saturday night (free childcare) with them and get to go to Sunday school class with my aunt and help her prepare her room before church started.

I remember my mom and uncle didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things. It was kinda disturbing how both of them would be holding a cigarette and a beer and tell each other they were going to hell if they don’t change their ways. My uncle like to go fishing with my grandparents a lot. My mom liked to use my grandparents for (free childcare) for me and my sister. Sometimes we had to go fishing with them. I noticed that my uncle never smoked around his wife. But smoked like chimney when he was with my grandparents. He hid a lot of things from his wife and child. I don’t remember a lot but he didn’t spend a lot of time with his one and only son.

I remember going to the Catholic Church a few times with my grandma. I remember asking a lot of questions during the church services. My grandma just took me to Christian church because she knew I was more familiar with being there. My grandma passed away and we attended her funeral service at the Catholic Church.

I remember asking my mom what they were doing waving these incense burning decorative boxes around grandmas casket. I either didn’t comprehend the answer my mom told me or I misunderstood. It was one of those answers you get when you are really supposed to be paying attention but this was my grandma and I was very close to her and couldn’t quite figure out why they would be burning her sins with incense?

I was recovering from a car accident I had my senior year of high school. My grandma came to live with us in my moms house. My grandpa would come visit every day and beg my grandma to come back home with him. My grandpa never went to church with my grandma. I am not sure if he ever went to church at all. My grandparents stayed married for over fifty years and cussed each other every other day, if not every day.

Before my grandpa passed away my mom made arrangements for him to go to a nursing home. That definitely helped with some of the tension in my moms house. The tension didn’t go away. My mom caused enough tension by herself with the characters she would bring home from the bar.

I may have met my husband in a bar when I was being my moms designated driver because she had lost her drivers license for getting too many DUI’s on her record. My husband and I didn’t have a lot of biblical “encouragement” from our families. I wouldn’t say we got where we are today by religion.

As my husband and I lived together for eight years before we actually started attending church on a regular basis. We seen this church being built as when we would come to get groceries. I would always say we should go to church there some day. Then we would just go on with our everyday routine.

Then it was one weekend that it was going to be Easter. I asked if we could go to one of the Easter services and we went. We felt welcomed and we went a couple Sundays after. I filled one of those communication cards out… not knowing that the minister made house visitations.

There we were in our house being “comfortable!” My husband had just opened a beer and I had just lit a cigarette. The minister knocks at the door and I tried to put my cigarette out so quickly and just knew he would tell us not to return back to church. Well I was proven wrong. I am very grateful that I was proven wrong. My husband was baptized within a year and we were married in the church.

My mom continued to let me know she was Catholic and my husband parents continued to let us know they were Lutheran. Which neither of them attended church of their religion beliefs they always bragged about. When the minister was marrying us… I was hyperventilating just knowing someone was going to explode at our wedding. Well the only real big explosion was that my husband’s brother tried to bring a keg of beer for the reception in the church. He was told that can not happen.

Looking back on all that we have gone through and where we are today… simply amazing me. I have to say I have lived through a lot of rejection with my own family that I do get a little worried about rejection if I think I maybe out staying my welcome. There is something about being apart of a church family that has helped me grow out of the past hurts and rejections and focus on what is more important. I will never comprehend what Jesus went through to go to the Cross and may never be able to repay the friendships that has gathered around us when our own families turned away from us… being part of a church family longer than we felt part of our own biological family and showed us how to become a family centered around Christ instead of ourselves is a family that God knew we needed all along.