I was born into a Catholic family. I went through all of the normal Catholic traditions: baptism, confession, first communion, confirmation… I was even went to Catholic school and got married in the Catholic church. But I never really felt a part of anything. I went to church, received communion, listened to the message, and went home. It was cold, traditional, unfriendly… not what I was needing at that time. So, naturally, I stopped going.
When my daughter was born, Will and I talked about going back to church. I wanted her to know God… but the Catholic church wasn’t really what I wanted. When we decided to “try again” we chose a Lutheran church – it was familiar. We had been going for almost a year, had her baptised, and although I knew there should be more to church, I figured maybe this was it.
Well a few months after having her baptised, we were sitting in church listening to a sermon about how God gives us opportunities to be a good Christian… to help others. This was sort of a bone of contention for me, because at the time, I felt there were so many people around me who were looking for their ticket into heaven by going to church every weekend, not by doing good. I guess, at least for the congregation I was in at the time, this was very true. As we were leaving church that day, we were fussing with a two year old, so it took us a while to get out to the car. There was a large group of people ahead of us, walking to their own cars, and a vehicle came down the road in front of the church, made a very loud bang, and started smoking. The man pulled his car into the driveway of the church and stopped the car. I then watched every single car leave the lot without anyone asking them if they needed help. I was appalled! We had just been given a message to help others… how could everyone just drive by?! So with our two year old in tow, we stopped and we helped.
After that experience, I decided that organized religion must just not be for me. I could go through my life, pray to my God, be a good Christian, without the church. I mean, it was just a building, right?!? So we stopped going. I became incredibly reluctant to ever go back. I still prayed. I still helped others. I was still what I believed to be a good Christian. Just without the building. That was 8 years ago.
When I met Susan and Lon, and then Will and Christie, I started hearing about Christian Life. I figured if all of these great people were going to this church, it might not be so bad. So I braved it, and expected to be disappointed. Boy, was I wrong!!! The first day I was there, I knew this was something completely unlike anything I had ever experienced, and I just started soaking it in. The more I came to service, the more involved I wanted to be. I learned that those at Christian Life weren’t there just to get their ticket to heaven, these people were honest to God Christians!! It was like I finally found what I knew was out there but was always hidden from me.
I made a comment the day of Chesterfest that I was going to be with my Christian Life family. Someone responded and I explained that this is exactly what I feel when I am there. Christian Life is more than a building. It’s more than a Sunday service. It’s a family. And I am so fortunate to have found you all!