Hey y’all! Thanks so much for reading this week’s Sunday Series post! I am a little nervous to share it with you, but I think that’s a good thing. Please remember that if you ever feel compelled to write a guest post, all it takes is shooting me an email! (There is a form on the homepage or seersuckersass(at)gmail(dot)com) If God is laying it on your heart, it means someone out there needs to hear your story!
Last weekend, I made the long trek to see my boyfriend. I spend the first part of my trip on little highways in tiny towns, and it allows me a lot of time to reflect. While thinking about what to put on my 24 Before 24 List, I contemplated adding “regularly going to church” as one of the items. I know that it may come to a shock to some of you that I don’t attend church, especially since I blog about my love for The Lord, but if you read my testimony, I hinted at how badly I had been hurt by my home church.
I grew up in the same church that my mom had attended her entire life. You can actually see the church from my papaw’s backyard. Even though my parents were divorced, my dad would still attend church with us on Sundays. My mom was a Sunday School teacher, and the kids loved her. If I was out of town, we would go to a church wherever we were visiting. My church honored that, and I had perfect church attendance up until my mom and stepdad starting having marital problems.
I was only twelve or thirteen, and yet I was old enough to understand what a messy situation it was. My stepdad began calling the preacher, slandering my mom’s name to cover his own butt. I went to church the week after things really got bad, looking for encouragement and looking forward to being in a safe place for a few hours. I will never forget when the female elders of the church would individually try to catch me alone and ask me questions about the situation. “Is your mom still married?” “Is your mom getting a divorce?” “What exactly happened?” “Who’s getting custody of your little brother?” Even at that age, I knew what they were doing. They were being nosy and trying to use a child to get answers. Never once did anyone ask about the well-being of myself, my mother, or my little brother. I responded with, “That’s my mom’s business, so you need to go ask my mom.”
My mom and stepdad worked things out around the same time that another couple at the church began having marital problems, so the attention then shifted to that family and off of us, and things were pretty quiet for our family. Until one day, I signed with an acting and modeling agency. One of the agreements was that I would travel two hours to the town of the agency every other Sunday for trainings. (The trainings were free, so my parents requested that I go through two sets of them since I was such a shy little thing.) My mom excitedly told members of the church that her baby girl was getting a chance to live her dreams!
With this good news though, came so much negativity. My mom was criticized for her parenting style. (Hey guys, I turned out just fine.) Members of the church made snide comments to me. I had to go to a counseling session with my preacher, who actually was semi-supportive. While his ultimate goal for me was to become a pastor (I’m afraid I might accidentally say a curse word at the pulpit… I know myself.) he supported me using my God given talents. He even saw to it that some more little skits using the youth as actors were added into services, and that made me so happy. Sadly, soon after our conversation, it was time for him to move on to another church. Eventually, I just stopped going to church. I felt like there was nothing there for me.
Back to the point, as I was driving, I realized that my behavior was actually worse than the behavior of those who had hurt me. I had been holding an almost eight year grudge against the members of my church. I had let the petty words of others hold me back from pursuing a relationship with Christ!
So I will indeed be adding “Regularly attend church” as one of the items on my list. I plan on taking the time to explore local churches, and also to explore online alternatives (great for weekends that I’m traveling.)
The moral of this post is that when you find yourself blaming others for the hurt in your heart, forgive them. Because holding that hate inside hurts you a lot more than it hurts them.