I was baptized when I was 10.
I went to church almost every Sunday.
I gave tithe with my family.
I prayed at every meal and devotions with my family.
Then when I was 15 my family left the church we were at, (we’d left my grandfather’s church 2 years before.)
We looked around for a church. We’ve tried several churches . . . Almost all of the churches within 50 miles. We’ve still yet to find a church in the past 2 years. I’m almost glad we haven’t found a church for several reasons.
- I never fit in at any of the several churches we went to. Either I was too young, too old, homeschooled, had no hobbies similar to the kids at the churches or otherwise.
I never had friends. Never met anyone that I really got to know. I would get uncomfortable at church with all of the people around that I didn’t know. I’d get stressed out, a headache, shaky, nervous, and sick to my stomach, I literally felt like I’d throw up.
This started happening almost every time we went to church. I got to the point I hated church. Just because I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there, that I shouldn’t be in any of the churches we went to. Twice I almost had panic attacks at church. I felt like an outsider.
- I wasn’t a Christian.
Well, I was a “Christian” offering only lip service to my Savior.
I didn’t pray unless I had to. Which was normally at meals, or devotions.
Never on my own.
For a while, I read books just to escape from real life.
(So, I suppose I was an outsider but I was never shown that I didn’t have to be.)
That’s when I saw that I was making bad choices. I wanted to change. But I was just drifting in sin — anger, bitterness, hatred, fear.
I then knew I couldn’t change myself. But had no idea what to do, until I was nearly 17. I had just started my blog. My first ever blog, I did book reviews. And for a sinner who was hiding from my problems I had the bright idea to match a Bible verse to my favorite characters in the books I reviewed.
Yeah, I know really smart of someone hiding from the truth.
Soon after I started praying and reading my Bible more as I blogged. I wanted to blog consistently and in doing so I had to search through the Bible for verses that fit characters in books.
Before I knew it I wanted to read my Bible. I’d never wanted to read my Bible before that but I’ve grown to thirst for it.
And now I’m a Christian.
But I’m not a Christian because of my church. Church made me not want to be a Christian. I only became a Christian after I left church.
Sure, I have a long way to go, but I’m closer to God now after not being in church consistently after nearly 3 years. I don’t think I ever would have grown to have faith in God if we kept going to church.
And it breaks my heart because that’s not how God made us.
He made us care for one another lifting each other up. He wants us to help each other in our walk with Him. Yet, I’ve rarely seen anyone do so in real life.
- The churches we went to didn’t like that my parents have 8 kids.
Which is directly the opposite of what they should think.
Of all the churches we’ve tried half of them didn’t like that my family all sat in the whole service. They would suggest that the little kids be taken back to the nursey. My siblings are polite kids . . . Most of the time. (But one pastor of a small church even went so far as to pause his sermon and ask my parents to take the kids to the back because they were being loud. FYI, the baby who wasn’t even half a year had giggled, and it was considered rude and loud. My mom was still teaching the baby to be quiet.)
That’s why I’m glad I don’t go to church anymore but I want to be able to go to a church that is really seen as a church, and not a social gathering. I’ve just felt like I’m not a follower of Christ, I’ve felt like I’m not worshipping the God of the universe. Church has always been a trial and yet I still want to find a church that I can worship my Savior in.