Monday, February 28, 2011

Renewal of Faith

Growing up my family always went to church.  We marched through the doors of Emmanuel Episcopal Church religiously every Sunday morning and occupied an entire pew with our clan of six.  We were also very much involved in church activities - choir, acolytes, Sunday school, youth group, organized sports, etc.  Church and God were an integral part of my childhood.  I began learning the lessons of God from a very early age.  I said prayers to God every night before I went to bed.  Even during high school when our church attendance began to dwindle (my parents gave up trying to drag us out of bed) I still had a strong faith in God and never questioned my relationship with Him.  I never had a reason to. 

When my brother passed away my faith in God crumbled.  I began questioning not only Him, but religion as a whole.  How could a kind, loving God let something so devastating happen to my family?  Why would he take away such a kind, loving person who was deserving of a better life and even more deserving of a chance to live that life?  "God has a plan for everyone" is what I learned long ago.  "He will take care of you and everyone you love."  So why is it that I'm still hurting?  Why is it that my mom must battle two wars?  Why is it that my family feels such disconnection?  All of these questions have been swirling around in my mind for the past year and a half and every day feels like the day that they are gonna break me.  You see, I still have not dealt with my brother's death.  I am one of those who bottles it all up inside and as the bottle begins to crack I allow my entire life to be affected.

I learned quickly that talking to someone does not help.  Death and losing someone you love is so much bigger than us and there is nothing another human being can offer me in terms of guidance.  I realized that the only way to find comfort for myself and for my brother is renewing my own faith in God and finding peace from within.

I went to church yesterday for the first time in over 10 years (with the exception of holidays).  I sat stiffly in the pew clutching Robert's leg.  Tears welled up in my eyes continuously throughout the service.  These were tears of joy for being there, tears of sadness for the memories that came pouring back and tears of fear for what I was trying to accomplish.  The pastor's sermon was sweet and simple and resonated deeply with me. He spoke about worry and anxiety; how they are both unnecessary and futile.  "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own (6:25-34).  It's kind of a "Don't worry, be happy" philosophy, but definitely one that I needed to hear and in that exact context - I guess Bobby McFerrin didn't quite get through to me.

I knew walking out that I made the right decision showing up.  I believe it's the right choice for me, our kids and our family.  I feel not only will I begin to deal with my own inner struggles, but it's also a learning experience for our kids so they are able to choose what is right for themselves in the future.  Robert and I both experienced church as children; now we want to experience it as adults.  Relationships change over time - even with God.


Kylie said...

Funny, when we started going to church 2 few years I had the same experience of welling up with tears during the sermons. It has been the best experience for us... Sunday, Mark and I taught Noah's Sunday school class if you can believe that. ha!

Clark Family Blog said...

Amanda- that's WONDERFUL for the whole family. I NEVER feel closer to Kyle, then when were sitting in church, with our 2 kids beside us ( Gena and Jaxson are 10,and 7 so we don't do children's church anymore, since they asked to attend church with us.) I hope your able to find the right church,and enjoy your renewed relationship with god.

Score said...

Hope it brings you peace. love you!