It's one that is personal to me - that's what kind of post this is. It's not meant to offend anyone, it's not meant to point fingers, it's not one to gather up sympathy from people to say, "oh, poor Rebecca"... its just how I have felt lately.
Let me explain.
Y'all know I really do love church... really...
I mean, I better - I spent a lot of time invested in it.
But some times, I just really hate how it makes me feel.
& I don't mean the parts about that I'm a sinner. I was raised Baptist. I was told that my whole life, along with messages of fire & brimstone. I'm used to that part of it.
|Miley knows... before she went all twerk crazy|
This past Sunday in our church, the message started off with our pastor talking about his children - how they are all different & individual. It made for an excellent point on how we, as God's children, are all different & unique & each person needs to be handled according to their personality & what is expected of them.
OK - I get that message - I understand the point - I learned from it...
What I don't like is when the messages always go back to the "You know how your kids are"... "How many of your children do that?".... "Isn't parenting wonderful/hard/fantastic/stressful? (insert whatever word works for the message)
Its like all these people are shaking their heads around the room like a big 'Amen' happening, or some sort of secret hand shake between people that are in a special crowd.... & then there I am ... without children... sitting there trying to relate. Trying to be a part of what everyone around me is agreeing with & slapping each other on the back for.
|Everyone in church when the pastor talks about how hard parenting is|
I know NOT having kids is the minority of the crowd in church & wouldn't expect messages NOT to have references to children. I mean, the Bible did say, Be fruitful & multiply. Some people take that very seriously.
Hello Mrs. Duggar.
Heck - I even use examples all the time about being a Dog-Mom & how it relates to how God disciplines & relates to us. I just don't need my belly rubbed as much as Harvey does.
But there also some people in that room at church who have to feel like I do...
& not even in my own church - but in churches everywhere...
There are some people in that room who struggled to have a child & just couldn't...
There are some people in that room who never found a spouse to have a family with...
There are some people in that room who lost a child & never saw their child grow up to have those 'parent' experiences...
& that's when church is hard & when I hate it.
Our church is doing a cool event that is focusing on marriage, & every promo I've seen about it has to do with marriages & family - how to keep marriages strong to benefit the family - which usually shows a crowd of kids piled in the back of a van. A lot of showing how divorce effects children.
Does that mean my marriage isn't important because I don't have kids?
I actually asked our Family Minister - who is also my friend & knows my heart - "Is this going to be all questions about what you do for your children & how awesome your kids are, because then I can't be a part of it."
She told me that no, its focused on marriage - that it is putting the importance on marriage to the forefront... Awesome- then we're in
.... but then she ended saying something like, "... so if you do have a family, you're marriage is solid for having children"
There it is... again...
& I get it, she's the "Family" Minister who works with families that 99.9% have children...its what she's focused on. And I do believe parents with children need to work on marriages to keep their families together... I know it deserves attention. But again, its the place where Ricky & I feel like maybe we just don't fit in.
I hate when I feel like I don't fit in ... especially in church...
The worst is going to come this weekend. An event I'm looking forward to because I love spending time with girlfriends, getting to know women of our church & getting to hear amazing speakers & worship in a large setting.... the Women of Joy conference is this weekend.
Our church has over 20 women going...
But the one thing that always - ALWAYS - gets me at these events, there are always moments that are focused on children. I mean, get thousands of women together & of course, they're going to talk about their children. The speakers are going to talk about their children. The stranger next to you will tell you about their children.
& when you meet new people from your church & they want to get to know you, every woman asks, "So, how many kids do you have?" ... EVERY.STINKING.TIME.
Its the go-to-question for women apparently.
So go to a place where there are thousands of women & yes, it will be the focus.
Luckily - the bigger focus is on God - that's why I go & what keeps me going back.
Maybe I'm being too sensitive about this whole thing, but I know I'm not alone. I have other friends who struggled with infertility, with loss, with not being someone who fits in the mold of what a 'family' looks like. & its not fun & its not comfortable & it makes you feel like an outsider...
& don't get me wrong. I know I've said this before. I am very very VERY blessed to have step daughters that I love dearly. But when someone asks in church, "Do you have children?" - they don't want the back story of my husband's past relationships. Not to mention, I always feel funny saying, "Yes" because I don't want to take anything away from their birth mothers who did raise them while Ricky & I were weekend parents. A whole other topic.
& for the record, I am especially thankful for Julie who with no qualms lets me be a grandmother (or Nanny) to her boys... so while I don't immediately jump to saying yes, I have children, I do immediately jump to saying "I am a grandmother"...
In the end, I walked out of church Sunday, with all the parents of all the cool kids in our church (I can say that because I work with a lot of those cool kids - & they are pretty darn cool) & I just remembered that I may not be like everyone else...
but Jesus wasn't like every one else.
We're all called to walk different paths.
I just wish it wasn't so lonely on that path sometimes
|Not having children always leaves time for being a super hero|