Church most commonly refers to:
- Christian Church, body of Christians
- Church (building), is a building used for religious worship service
- Church service, a formalized period of Christian communal worship
I grew up in an old time Southern Baptist Church, with revivals, Sunday School followed by Church and Sunday evening Church. It was an offering plate passed, invitation at the end of every service, sometime Bible beating service every week. Then when I got married we joined a very conservative (legalistic) church and fell into the Bob Jones set of living and rules. Of course in the 80’s things were different than they are today. I think this gave our family a good base of faith however this would never be the church for me today.
When we moved to Arizona, we attended a few churches before settling on one we thought could be our home church for many years. This was when we became heavily involved with the Awana ministry at the state level and our view of the local churches began to change. During our time with the Ministry Team we experienced 2 of our “church abuses” that personally attacked our family and our values. At this point we began to question the local established church body.
Fast forward to cancer and Heather’s death, we did not belong to a church family at the time. There were several friends and work friends that came along side to help us out, however the biggest support came from our neighbors. We had lots of people praying all around the world for Heather and our family. The few pastors that we came in contact with would give us the chosen lines of “God won’t give us more than we can handle,” or “ let your worries and fears go, as God has them.” These are USELESS comments. While I do know both of these things, it was not helpful when the doctors and nurses were bagging Heather for over an hour when she collapsed her lungs, or the night I crawled next to Heather and held her while she died.
My faith and trust in God did not waver or falter in any way. My head knows that God is in control, God knows my fears and God has a plan, but my human heart doesn’t feel that way. My human mother’s heart is broken, hurt, bruised and shattered. I have held the position that I love God but I don’t like Him much, which is okay. Just as a child does not like the parent they got in trouble with, it is okay that me, as the child, that I am not in like with God, my father. I was reminded of this earlier this week by a grieving mother who is preparing to have her second daughter died from the same cancer as the first one died from 7 yrs ago.
Personally, I don’t feel comfortable going to church, any church, now. I feel that Christian leaders are some of the most judgmental people on the planet and no matter “how good or spiritual’ I am, they will find my life unacceptable. They will also say the idiotic statements that I will not tolerate being said to me any longer. Most of the people in leadership have head knowledge about the death of a child and not the actual life experience of the event that changes you forever. I stand by the fact I had no clue and told a friend some of the stupid things that have been said to me when her daughter died. I was ignorant as to the pain of having a child died. Until I lived thru it I did not know how different this type of grief is.
It has been said that I am outspoken and I have no filter, well, I don’t and I refuse to apologize for that. I have chosen not to put up with strangers who tell me dumb things about something they have no clue about. I tell people everywhere about my Heather and that she died. It is my journey of life I have been given and I will not hide her or her death. I should not have to hid my journey because it makes people uncomfortable. If it makes you feel that sad imagine how hard it is living it forever.
I may not go to church but I promise you that my faith is beyond words strong in God and Heaven, as I would not be able to survive if I didn’t know that I will see Heather again one day. Grieving mothers face judgment everyday for not being able “to get over it” and live again. The last place we should face discrimination would be church, however, many Christians have no clue how to minister or help a grieving mother.
Grieving mothers have a hard enough time just getting up and going about their day and some days are better than others, just because they are. We have no reason why today is a down day, other than it is because our child died. Please have patience with us and help us by having no judgment as we are doing the best we can.
Photo: Heather’s casket being loaded into the hearse to be taken away for cremation. This says it all…