Tuesday, January 26, 2016

When Church Is ....

The subject of this post is, when church is hard EASY!

As parents of kids with special needs and medical issues, church has proven to be hard over the last 8+ years. Even the best intentioned people can make something that should be simple (church attendance) a huge chore or impossible. Let me share some of the things we have faced over the years. 
  • A Sunday School teacher who wouldn't keep our sons in the classroom until we picked them up even though one was prone to elopement and I was 100% willing to leave from my class a few minutes early in order to be at the door the second her class was done. This left my kids wandering the hallways and me running in a panic to make sure I caught up with them. 
  • A nursery assistant director who insisted our son HAD to have his bottle while sitting in a moving swing. He has SPD and would get ill swinging in the best situation, but with food in his mouth ... yeah. 
  • A children's area at a major mega church just for kids with special needs not grasping food restrictions (even though many kids had them) and just letting my child go into a full force meltdown over not being able to have a snack like everyone else (he had what I sent and didn't understand) instead of just trying to help him through it or paging me to come help him through it. It ended up with turned over furniture while these "highly trained" helpers just made it worse and worse when he just needed help working through it as he didn't understand. 
  • No one wanting to really be your friend in church or caring to get to know you because you couldn't be a core member. You might have to miss some Sundays because one of your children had their fatigue hit so hard getting from the bed to the sofa was too much for them. You can't teach Sunday school (and you don't take your kids anyway because of the issues above) because you know you aren't reliable and that's not fair to commit to something you can't do. Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. 
We had taken a nose dive in our attendance because of these issues and feeling shut out from even small churches that have a very set idea of what church members should do and be. We want to do those things, we can't at this point in our lives. Then we got a pastor who, as we identified it, didn't bring the meat, only watered down skim milk, and church was too hard. It shouldn't have been, but it was. It was a chore to even think about getting dressed for church, much less actually doing it. 

So, we didn't. We just stopped. But we yearned so much for it. We wanted it for our kids. We needed it for us. We missed it and our lives were not better for not going. 

We started to look around and just couldn't find a church that would love us, allow us to love them, and also really walked what the Bible taught. 

That's when my mother-in-law stepped in. Oddly enough, she's not a church goer (though she's a believer, she was hurt by the church as a kid/teen and won't really go back). But she told us about a church someone she knew attended. We finally got around to trying it. WOW!! I mean, knock your socks off wow! 

It was a tiny church, and I mean 5 - 6 cars in the lot during Sunday school hour. But the pastor is on fire for God. We felt loved the second we walked into the sanctuary. We heard and sang uplifting music to worship our Savior. The sermon was incredible and very Biblical without apology but stemming from love. We walked out that first service and our younger son looked at us and said, "I loved that church, can we start going there." Wow. I looked over at the end of the service and saw my two sons holding hands as we had our closing prayer. HOLDING HANDS. 

We decided to try them again. We opted for night service because you really see who the core of the church is that way. Almost everyone who was in morning service was in evening service. That says a lot to me. I got to hear about how they serve together regularly. Every other week they serve the community. They have more unscheduled things they do as well as needs arise. They believe in meeting a need before it's requested with a humble servant's heart modeled after Christ when He washed the disciples feet. 

My husband and I did have concerns about the typical stuff that comes with our special circumstances with our kids. He asked me to call the pastor to talk to him about it since I really knew their issues best. I called him yesterday morning and expected to leave him a message since he has a full time job outside of being a pastor. He answered the phone and gave me his undivided attention. I explained where we were coming from and told him not only did I want to introduce our family on a deeper level, but I wanted to see what he felt about our family joining the church knowing, ahead of time, what our situation was. He did not hesitate to tell me how welcome we were, how they were there to help every member deepen their faith in Christ no matter their need. He said guilt would never be thrown at us if we couldn't come due to the kid's issues. He said they were there to love us, help us grow, hold us up to God's standards, and to serve our family as brothers and sisters in Christ. You could tell he meant it, it wasn't just a sell job. 

So, this Sunday, we will be seeking membership with this church. We are so excited. I haven't been excited about church in years. This church seems to make it easy to come together as the body of Christ to worship and learn about our God. 


  1. We lived in our home for 10 years, visiting churches. We had a great one in our prior home of Arizona, but couldn't find a duplicate. 2 years ago, our new neighbor wanted to visit a church 2 miles away. We went with her and we have been going ever since. The pastors are amazing and the congregation very welcoming. It's hard to find a right fit for everyone. So glad you finally did. :)

    1. It is. You would think our requirements would be easy to fill. Teach from the word, don't water it down, love our family even though we need to miss sometimes or can't do it all like others can. I mean, we live in the south so I get that food is a huge deal, but we even got looked at sideways if we couldn't eat the meals the church had together (um, hello, tube fed child and multiple food allergies and intolerances - really?). But, I guess those are hard in some cases. I am glad you found a church home as well.



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