My mother is a Deacon. She’s been one for quite sometime now. She would often ask me to attend church on certain days and I would begrudgingly go. I tried hard to like church and to have some sort of faith but I couldn’t do it. When I had gotten engaged, I tried again and the Pastor at the time made me feel so pressured to get married and have children quickly. He invited me to sit with other ‘planning’ couples and I was just so bothered by this that I told my mother. And it wasn’t just one letter. It was one after another because I hadn’t responded. She was very upset, because this wasn’t supposed to be the intention. Yet, it happened and I decided I wasn’t going to be forced to feel welcome in a church where the Pastor has made me feel so uncomfortable.
I don’t know if I was pregnant at the time, maybe it was early on or right before…but my mother told me that we had a new Pastor at her church. She told me that he was younger and that she knows that I’d really like him. My mother had never forced religion on me even if she had asked me to go to certain days – Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas Eve…I could do that. But not every Sunday, that was my rule. But here she was, telling me about the new Pastor and I promised her that I would go to church that following Sunday.
And that is when I decided it was time for me to figure out my faith and my walk with God.
This isn’t going to be preachy. Like I said above, your beliefs are yours and I will not judge nor try to sway you the other way. I didn’t like it being done to me and I would never put that on another person. Most people who knew me back when were a little confused to find out that I was becoming a member of Grove Reformed. “She’s into God all of a sudden?” “Since when is Marie religious?” So rather than ask questions like that, wouldn’t it make sense to ask, “What made you decide this was the direction you wanted to go in?” And you would find out that it had zero to do with anyone pressuring me and everything to do with knowing I was about to become a mother. That changed everything for me, and changed the way I looked at things.
Yes, the new Pastor had delivered a sermon that had me thinking, “He totally gets it!” and that’s where it pretty much originated – but make no mistake about it, I was walking gingerly. I was going to leave religion up to my husband, or let it be something my child does with one of his grandmothers. That was truly my intention but it didn’t last too long. I found myself regularly attending service, enjoying it, and taking a lot from the messages that the sermon was delivering. It was nice to also feel like I wasn’t being judged for prior beliefs and feelings. But I was being judged by others who didn’t believe, and others who knew the old way that I thought.
And that isn’t really fair, right? If I’m not judging them, why are they judging me?
Look. If you don’t believe in God, fine. You don’t have to. If you believe in God, fine. You don’t have to do that either. I don’t sit and preach religion, throw it in anyone’s face, or force anyone to attend church with me. It doesn’t change who I am just because I’m a member of a congregation and I believe in God. If you have your doubts about God and all things religion, don’t worry about what I will think of that. I only think it’s hypocritical if you’re out here getting ashes on Ash Wednesday and talking about giving something up for Lent when you haven’t set foot in a church in years nor practice any sort of religion. But hey, God doesn’t want me to judge and maybe I should check myself.
Just know that my walk in life is not yours. Yours is not mine. You believe what you believe, and I will do the same.