My faith is hard to write about, it is hard to talk about, but that doesn’t make it go away. My faith is built on a deep foundation laid before I was born. My family, both sides, have been raised in the Christian faith. My fathers’ side can be traced back to the 1700’s coming to America, from Scotland by way of Ireland, in search of religious freedom. This is a whole other post, but I do realize my struggle with faith is minor compared to people who would leave their home in search of a place who would allow them to worship in the place they wanted to. Grounded in faith, this is my revelation over the past two weeks, and why I stay in church for my kids.
Our church has started a women’s retreat, this was the 2nd year of the retreat. Last year I didn’t attend, due to a conflict in dates, but heard from lots of people who attended, that it was a great weekend with a balance of fellowship and deep connections. The thought of me going to this was tough for me, I was struggling to stay at my church, why would I take a weekend out of my life to spend away from my family with ladies from my church. Stick with me, spoiler – it is worth it.
My mom and I drove down, I need a wing man and she is a great wing man! She brings great snacks, but also was a great roommate for the weekend. I was hesitant about the whole weekend, how was I going to be honest and open with this group? They were some of the closest members to my struggles, why would I open up, no one wants to hear this. My story is not important, my focus is on my children and I need to put my head down and power through it. Our theme for the weekend was, “Our Story in our Faith Journey.” We worked through the sessions to come up with one story and how it has strengthened our faith journey. I kept coming back to the past year of my life in the church, my why. My faith blog post sums it up, right? I could just read this to the women at the retreat, that is my story.
I was closed off, but started praying, why am I not honest with the people who love me and have helped nurture my foundation in faith? Being in church is hard and staying in church is hard, but people don’t want to hear this, right? They want to hear other stories, but this is my story and my why. I realized as I was writing and talking to some of other women on the retreat my pull to this church and to being in church is based on my FOUNDATION. I grew up with these women, they taught me Sunday School, they watched me be confirmed, watched me grow up and supported me through the ups and downs of my life. They nurtured me and my faith, they were the body of Christ in living form to me, they showed me what living a faith journey was and is.
At the end of the sessions we were asked who wanted to share our stories, pretty sure I rolled my eyes and said no under my breath. But why am I saying NO, these women have seen me through worse, braces….high school drama….could it get worse? Being honest and open was what I was afraid of, did they want to hear my story and would it matter? Yes it matters, to me and they are a supportive network of women who want to help support me and my family. I shared my story, my why I am in church and my struggle to stay in this church. I was honest and vulnerable to a room of 25 women, it was hard for me, but I was not thinking about me, but my children. I want to stay in this church to create a strong foundation like the one I have in my faith journey, to raise my family in a strong supportive church with the hands and hearts that have loved me all these years. Yes, I struggle with some of the decisions, the human decisions that are made, but my savior is bigger than this and my children’s foundation in faith is more important to us than these things.
I left the weekend exhausted, but a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was honest with the people who love me and who love my children, was it hard, YES. Was it worth it, I hope so. I need people to know my story, to help me, but also to be a witness to others. Faith journeys are not measured in Hallmark cards, but in the ways we fall and then get back up to continue forward. I am beyond grateful for the women of our church and for the foundation of faith they have instilled in my life. I hope and pray that my children will have a similar story of knowing the strong foundation that is being laid in their lives.
“It is in the revealing of my fear that so often helps me release it.” – Unknown
Faith – one of my journal entries from the weekend.
F – Foundation
A – Acceptance
T – Theology