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How Faith Sustained Me in My Darkest Days

Throughout my life, church, and my relationship with God, has held different levels of engagement and importance. Growing up, I spent every Sunday morning in Sunday School, where I learned about Jesus and sang songs…songs I still remember today. As I got older, I sang in the children’s choir, played handbells, went away on weekend retreats, Summer Church Camps and attended many Youth Group meetings. I didn’t know any different at the time, and surely couldn’t comprehend the lasting impact those opportunities would have on my life. My parents were Christians, and my dad especially, would relate many life lessons back to bible stories and biblical references.

Once I was out of the house and on my own, church and my faith walk became a distant memory, and was quickly replaced by late nights, sleeping in, living in the moment and for what felt good.

In my mid-twenties, I met and married my husband, who was raised in a faith where attending church was more of a liturgical chore versus encouraging a relationship with God. It wasn’t until after our first child was born, that I found myself feeling the strong desire to find a church community. Realizing I would likely be carrying the responsibility of being our family’s spiritual leader and feeling nowhere near “qualified” or “equipped” to do so, I knew I needed to find a church with a strong children’s ministry. At that time, I think I was only trying to re-create my years in Sunday School, but still not fully appreciating “why” those years were important and formative.



During a contentious conversation one morning, they both chimed in with “Why do we need to go to church anyway?”.

Over the next several years, we attended a couple different churches, always with a strong children’s ministry being the key driving factor. Several years ago, as we were looking for a new church home, our children were older – in middle and high school – and they were much more vocal. At this stage, they were starting to push back on and complain about not being able to sleep in on “their” weekends. During a contentious conversation one morning, they both chimed in with “Why do we need to go to church anyway?”. Admittedly, if I had the conversation and opportunity to do over, I would handle it differently, but it was in that very moment, and what came out of my mouth next, that I finally understood how impactful those years growing up in church were in my life. Out of sheer frustration, I replied “While you guys know that I grew up with a verbally abusive mother, and that I lost my 17-year-old brother in a freak accident, you don’t know that I was abused by a neighbor, and physically assaulted by a boyfriend. It was in some of the darkest days of my life, where I felt most alone, that I always knew I could turn to and lean on God – that HE never failed me – no matter how far I ran from him. If I hadn’t grown up in church, and learned what it was to have a relationship with him, I honestly don’t know what I would have done in those times. THIS is why it’s so important to have a church community to be a part of.” That wasn’t one of my prouder parenting moments, but on the other hand, they didn’t push back any more about going to church (at least for a while).


If I hadn’t grown up in church, and learned what it was to have a relationship with him, I honestly don’t know what I would have done in those times.

As parents, we spend so much time wondering if we’re doing the right things for our kids, and frequently doubting ourselves. All these years, my prayer has been that the foundation would be built, and that when they find themselves in their darkest moments, they will know God is always there, waiting for them to just turn around. I’m proud to say our oldest, after spending time away from church and his faith walk, was recently Baptized and eagerly pursuing his relationship with God. As for our daughter, she’s in her “in between” stage, so I will continue to pray and be the best role model I can.

Keep up the good work, Mommas and Daddies – even when it’s hard – it’s still worth it!

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