Growing up I never considered myself very religious. I guess I believed in God and Jesus. We celebrated all the Christian holidays, but we never went to church. I think my parents both had not so great experiences with their churches growing up. My mom remembers the church bothering my grandfather for money when he had 5 children and a wife at home to feed. My parents wanted my brother an I to be able to make our own decision about what we believed in.
When I was 16 I begun attending an Episcopal Church with a friend from high school. I listened to the messages and felt so welcomed by the whole parish, so I continued to go. Every Saturday I would sleep at my friend's house and Sunday morning we'd head to church. After a rather traumatic breakup in high school, my friend who I attended church with invited me to something called "Happening". Happening is a weekend retreat at a church. Its pretty much run by teens for other teens. Where teens share their experiences with faith. There are all sorts of activities all weekend. More then I could ever explain. But after that weekend, everything just clicked. I felt like I knew that Jesus was my savior and that I needed to listen to God's word and pray and give thanks. I decided to get baptized in the Episcopal church when I was 16. My parents came and supported me while I stood on the alter on Palm Sunday and was baptized.
I wish I could say that I have been a good Christian since that day, but I would be lying. The friendship between my fiend and I had changed and I was no longer going to church with them, or with anyone. I still talked to God, but mostly when I was in trouble and was hoping He'd help me find a way out. I didn't go to church unless someone was getting married, baptized, or had past away. Until very, very recently.
Fast forward to today. Today we have recently joined our local Episcopal Church and attend every Sunday. They have a nursery where Mason goes to "school" and Doug an I are able to go to the service in peace. As he gets a bit older we will have him come with us, but now, it would be a waste. And as he gets even older, if he decides he does not want to attend our church, then I will not force him.
But I'm getting off track and the whole purpose of this post was to be about PRAYER.
Prayer is an amazing thing. If you haven't tried it, go ahead give it a shot! But I will tell you from personal experience as a young adult that you can just pray for things you want. God isn't just going to help you with the lottery, or not get caught sneaking out by your parents. That is not how it works. Now I have only been back to church for a very short time, and I am NO expert (though I intend to take come bible classes and further my very limited knowledge), but when I pray the first think I do is give thanks. How can I not? I am such a blessed person, sure I have my drama and bad days. Sure we have months where we aren't sure how on earth we are going to pay all the bills this month, but over all, we are healthy and happy, and so are our loved ones. So I always thank God for all the wonderful things in my life. Then I pray for the people who need it the most. Whether that be my sister in law's brand new baby girl who was in the NICU for 2 weeks, or someone like Stellan who I do not personally know, but I read his mother's blog and he has affected me in such a way, I can't explain. I pray for other babies who's blogs I read are stuck in terrible situations. I pray for my friends & family who are in tough situations at the moment. I pray for the safety of my husband and his coworkers who work in a dangerous field. I pray for my son. And then at the very end I pray for myself. I pray God will continue to fill me with the need and desire to attend church, that he will help me be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister,and friend I can be, that he will get rid of the unnecessary drama in our lives.
I've seen the power of prayer work. I've seen thousand of people pray for a baby who is just hanging on by a thread and miraculously that baby get better. I've seen hearts healed and drama ended.
I don't want to sound like my way is the only way, it sure it not. I don't think it matters if you go to church necessarily, I think what matters is you are thankful for what is provided for you and you want the best for others and you put both before yourself.
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