Tag Archives: god

To Remember

16 May

So many times, I just file away certificates or awards that the kids get. I’ve seen ideas on pinterest about cool ways to display kids’ art so that it doesn’t stay hidden, piled in boxes in closets for years. I’ve framed a few of my favorites and always struggle with what to toss and what to preserve. The words on this certificate made it easy for me though. Cherish.

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I don’t know if Nia will always feel or think as she does now about God and/or religion and that’s ok. I still don’t always know if what I’m feeling or the religion I choose to participate in is “right.” I try to be ever-learning, open-minded and respectful to the thoughts and beliefs of others and that’s what I hope for Nia. To have someone write this about our 9-year-old is something to remember though and gives me hope that she will always be a thoughtful student to others.

Wanted: Child-Friendly Church

29 May

Is there any Catholic church out there that actually genuinely welcomes children?

I just read a new announcement concerning children on our church’s website and it left me really downhearted.  It is basically a list of rules our church wants parents and children to follow.  While I understand the need to have rules because many people are rude and don’t respect property or clean up after themselves, it still makes me feel like our children are not wanted there.

It would certainly not be the first time.  I recently wrote about my concerns with having Nate in church, but before that, I experienced the feeling at two different Savannah churches.  One when Nia was an infant and she had started to get a little fussy.  I was already sitting in the last row and was about to get up to take her outside when an usher came up to me and told me that I would be more comfortable in the nursery, oh yeah, and you’re not allowed to have food (Cheerios to help keep Nia occupied) in church either.  The next experience happened this past winter.  Andrew, Nia, Nate and I went to church with Anna Marie, Ella and Maggie.  We were there early and sat in the back of the church at the end of the pew for easy escape.  An older man chose to sit directly in front of us even though he saw we had 4 small children.  Of course they are going to make noise.  They are children.  Two of them are toddlers.  If the noise level even hinted that it was going to be distracting, we’d take the culprit outside.  That wasn’t good enough for the man in front of us.  Just as Andrew was getting up to leave with Nate, the man turned around and said, “You know, there’s a cry room for children like yours.”

We were so disgusted.  Andrew replied, “Yes, I know sir” and got up and walked into the standing-room-only cry room where he was about to go anyway to calm Nate.  When Andrew got back to the pew, he and the man exchanged some words which led to the man asking Andrew if he wanted to “step outside.”  What?!  Not only was that crazy because the man was like 70 and walked with a cane, but as Andrew said to him, “Are you serious?  We are in church!  You’re ridiculous.”

Shouldn’t church be the one place you can receive compassion and acceptance?  Shouldn’t it be where people offer a helping hand or a sympathetic smile not a sigh of annoyance or a look of disdain?   Shouldn’t it compel people to offer even the smallest act of kindness like letting a car pull out in front of you in the church parking lot?

All I want is to worship and feel like I’m part of a community.  To feel welcomed and loved, not scolded and filled with resentment and discouragement.  Here we are, trying to raise our children to follow a religious path and to be loving, patient and accepting as we’re told to be by the Bible, but we keep hitting roadblocks.  I thought church is supposed to help clear the road, not set up the obstacles.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I’m expecting too much out of church. I just know what I feel and need.  All I can do is pray for the grace and strength to not let those obstacles push us off the path.  I believe all that matters is that we keep God present in our lives and keep trying to do the right thing – no matter how many bumps we hit. After all, that’s the way it should be, right?

Can I Get an Amen?

12 Mar

I’ve never been an ultra-religious person.  I believe in God.  I believe in Jesus. I had weekly religious education classes as part of the Catholic faith but I was young and didn’t pay much attention. (Did I ever mention that Andrew and I grew up in the same church?   I mean, how was I supposed to pay attention to anything when I knew I might see him?)  Also, I’ve missed more Sunday masses than I’ve attended and now even when I’m there I’m not really there. It’s not because I don’t want to be (I actually really want to be), it’s because I’m a mom and moms with kids in church just don’t get to pay much attention to what’s being prayed about or preached.  So wouldn’t it figure?  Now that I want to learn and want to be there, I really can’t.

It’s something that has really been weighing on me because right now I’m experiencing a true need to be taught about God and Jesus and benefit from the guidance and strength offered through the Bible.  But now I dread even going because Nate is a maniac in church and understandably so.  He’s two years old and we’re trying to make him whisper and not act like a caged animal for roughly an hour – even when we’re in the “cry room.”  (And yes, we’ve tried every trick in the book to help him through the hour.  Snacks, toys, crayons, blankey.  Nothing works.)  Trying to teach him how to act in church (or just to be quiet) while trying to walk away from mass with something inspiring or encouraging is nearly impossible. I end up leaving frustrated and disappointed that I didn’t get anything out it.

Amazingly, I’ve found something that is uplifting me but it’s not through our church.  I never thought I would say this and truly believe it but it seems God has lead me to what I needed.  Each Wednesday, I take Nia to a nondenominational Bible school for children at a local Baptist Church.  (One of her friends invited her to it.)  Because she is so young, I am supposed to stay on the church grounds while she’s in the 90 minute school.  At first, this was awful to me.  I thought, what am I going to do during that time?  I don’t think they have have free wireless internet.  I don’t really want to just sit in the hallway and lurk while I read or book or something.  That’s when the extremely friendly director of the Bible school guided me to a room with a sign that read “Ladies Bible Study.”

Just those words intimidated me.  What business did I have entering that room?  I’m only vaguely familiar with some of the “big” Bible stories and I was certainly not one of those ladies.  They are all in the same Baptist club right?  Will they all hiss at the Catholic and hold up the Bible if I cross the threshold?

Never could I have been more ignorant.  They were so wonderful and welcoming and at the end of that study I knew I was meant to walk in that room. It’s helping me in so many ways and I’m learning things about the Bible that I never knew before and I’ve also just realized, while writing this, that I shouldn’t rely on my Sunday morning church service alone to inspire me. Inspiration and guidance is all around me everyday.  In my family, in the Bible, in my friends, in good deeds…

From now on, I will walk into church with a light heart knowing that my healthy, happy little boy is going to want to play and I am more than likely not going to hear a word of what is being said. As long as we are not bothering anyone else, I will do better to not let it bother me.  I will use the time there to thank God for His ways and show my faith to Him with my family. Maybe I’ll even get a prayer or two in as well. (For Nate to be quieter could be one of them!)

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