First of all, I want to say that I have nothing but encouragement and positive comments and messages after my last post When Church is Hard. I wrote that in a moment of raw, honest pain, but there is something (several days later) I would like to follow up on.
That post was about my feelings, and about me feeling fake, not about others being fake. To me, a huge part of the struggle on Sunday mornings is not feeling like I have the energy to go and smile and act like things are normal at home. One of the most important things I’ve learned this year is, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. After being thoroughly checked over by the doctor, we can only conclude that my chronic fatigue is caused by stress.
And yes, the church should be somewhere where we can share our pain and struggles, but when I said, “I can hardly spill my dirty laundry, my anguish, my struggles, to some poor church member who shakes my hand and says, ‘how are you?'” I was referring to the three minutes of meet and greet during the service.
I belong to a small group in our church that is comprised of adoptive families. I am honest in that group and feel no judgment whatsoever. I have a group text with two other adoptive moms (from my church) where we share our worst moments and moments of hope, as well.
Last year we had someone slip a couple of gift cards into our church mailbox. The year before a family from church (who sadly, no longer attend) slipped us a note saying they felt led to help adoptive and foster families. In the card was a check to help with back-to-school expenses.
Over the past eight years, we have attended our church has given us gift cards on occasion and when we took Apollo to Texas for heart surgery in 2012, we requested that people come out to the house in the afternoons and stay with our kids from when they got off the bus until bedtime. And they did.
So please know, this post was shared from my perspective, about my struggles. One idea I wanted to express was that me not attending church does not mean I have lost (or am losing) my faith. It simply means I am struggling with the expectations of others. I hope that came across in my last post, and if not, here it is now.
Also, I used to be that mom who judged other parents by their unruly children. If I have learned anything in the past sixteen years of raising kids with special needs, it not to judge other parents, to be the one to give an encouraging smile, and always keep my sense of humor.
And remember, Jesus has your back.
In that case, I have a book suggestion for you. One that I think any mother of girls should read anyway.
“Compared to Her” by Sophie de Witt. She does a marvellous job of calling women out on their propensity to compare themselves to others in so many ways. And offers some helpful alternative ways of thinking. So so helpful. I’m due to read it again methinks.
This hit the nail on the head for my hurting mama’s heart. Thank you for your commiseration through writing about your experiences.