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We Attended Church for the First Time Ever as a Family

By Lori Garcia |

My husband and I are no strangers to church.

I attended a private Christian school from K through 6th grade where I had an opportunity to learn scripture and develop a personal connection with God. My husband was raised Catholic and attended mass every Sunday.

While we never attended church as a married couple, we always agreed it was nearly impossible to give birth to beautiful babies and deny the existence of something greater. Even still, aside from occasional prayers of gratitude during times of high highs and prayers for comfort during times of low lows, God may have held a place in our hearts, but He never held a place in our home.

Last week as I was driving with my kids in the car, I passed by a church when Boy Wonder said, “Mom, every time I pass by a church I feel bad.”

“Feel bad? Why do you feel bad?” I asked. “Because I feel like we should be going, Mom. I feel like I should be worshiping God,” he tells me. Um, whoa.

We were never the parents who made a conscious decision not to attend church. We weren’t holding off on church for a reason. As important as I’ve ever considered religion to be for my family, we had never managed to go.

Sure, every now and then I prayed with my kids. I even read them stories from the Children’s Bible. Sometimes we even said grace before dinner. But was that enough? Were they receiving the same benefits of the church that my husband and I received growing up? The answer was no, and this truth deeply saddened me.

Why weren’t we going to church? Was it laziness? Or was it about something more? Was it the fear of being classified as “church people”, for whatever that meant? In truth, maybe a little.

When my husband came to me the following day —completely unaware of Boy Wonder’s church admission — and suggested we attend Sunday service, I realized it was time. I felt it. My husband felt it. Even my eldest child felt it. There was a reason we needed to attend church as a family. The skeptic inside has a hard time even admitting as much, but I believe in my heart that we were being called to attend.

Yesterday was the first time in our 13 years of marriage and nearly 10 years of parenting that we got dressed on a Sunday morning and attended church.

I’d never sit behind my computer and tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t be doing for their families. All I can do is share what I’m doing for mine, and church is now one of those things.

I know my family needs church. I’ve known it for a long time. We don’t need church because things are bad. We don’t even need church because we feel guilty. We need church because it makes our hearts feel full and connected.

I know as a mother I’ll always think I could have done better, tried harder, and sacrificed more, but as my family walked out of church holding hands like an idealistic family paper chain, for a moment I felt like I’d done enough. And all because I felt connected.

Does church play a role in your family?

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About Lori Garcia

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Lori Garcia

Lori Garcia is a writer and mother of two living and loving in Southern California. When she's not fussing with her bangs, you can find her shaking her groove thing on her personal blog, Mommyfriend where she almost never combines true tales of motherhood and mayhem with her degree in child development. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lori's latest posts →

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16 thoughts on “We Attended Church for the First Time Ever as a Family

  1. Michele says:

    Great! Hopefully you found a church with an engaging youth program for your kids. Have a blessed week

  2. mommyfriend says:

    Hi Michele, they have a wonderful children’s ministry we are very excited about! Thank you for your comment!

  3. Patsy says:

    That’s awesome Lori. I grew up going to church every Sunday. Kyle and I have worshipped together since we started dating. It’s a great thing for marriage to do that. Now we attend and serve as a family. It’s not about needing church, but needing Jesus and keeping Him center of your life.

  4. goddess says:

    Well, as a pagan, our “church” is all of outdoors! So yes, each day we try to honor the 5 elements; air, fire, water. earth and spirit. We also make note of the animals that may be sent to us with messages. and we try to have a fire on each of the sabbats ( during the year), and take a walk on each esbat (full moon).
    The 2 younger still do go to PSR at the local Catholic School, albeit it unwillingly, LOL. But they will complete the last of the initiation sacraments (Confirmation) and then they swill be done with that. It’s up to them if they want to attend that church. Once I fully realized my path, I pretty much quit going to that church.
    My husband is a lapsed Catholic/agnostic, though open to paganism. 2 of my kids are questioning agnostics and the youngest is pretty much pagan.

  5. dadcamp says:

    Hell would have to freeze over before I ever brought my kids to church. Of course hell would have to exist for that to happen, so .. um .. yeah, there’s that.
    Churches are great for building community and a spirit of giving, but beyond that it’s nothing but a brainwashing of morality that, too often, spills into intolerance and hate.
    Think about all the wars that are waged in the world. What’s the underlying reason? My god is better than your god.
    No thanks.

  6. Mamarific says:

    I think it’s wonderful that your family has found a church. I find it to be the most fulfilling hour of my family’s week!

  7. Valeri says:

    All of your children’s needs should be addressed. If your child needs to go to church I don’t see how that is any different than any other need. We are all, hopefully, raising “whole people”. Not just piano players, swimmers, students, philanthropists, worshipers, etc. our kids need to be confident and able to regulate emotions and process information. They should be able to navigate the world in our absence, so that when we launch them out of the nest they are ready.

    My 3 kids all went to parochial school until 3 years ago. One by one they questioned their faith and choose to attend other schools. They are happier now, because their needs have been addressed and met. Which is the whole point of providing for our children; giving our children what we want and ignoring their needs doesn’t work well for anyone.

    My children’s father and I are divorced. He refuses to accept our middle child’s refusal to go to church, and it has cost him his relationship with that child.
    ,

  8. mommyfriend says:

    Valeri, what an absolutely practical approach to parenting you have. You’ve given me a lot to thing about there. Thank you for that pearl of wisdom.

  9. Lisa (history major) says:

    DadCamp, a closer examination of history shows that religious beliefs have not been the cause of the vast majority of wars; that’s a popular but highly simplified take. Cultural and ethnic divides and political (and other) greed have been the culprits.

  10. Karen says:

    Bravo to Boy Wonder for the ability to articulate such deep thoughts! And bravo to you guys for stepping out in ways that you feel are best for your family! Yep, we go too and find that it helps us as a family. There are the occasional Sat. nights when I nudge hubby and whisper that maybe we’ll skip church and sleep in, and when little girl is saying her nightly prayers, she always thanks God for the soon-coming opportunity to worship Him in church…and guilty mom realizes just what they are getting from it and sets the alarm clock. Out of the mouths of babes!

  11. Emily B. says:

    Great post! I’ve always felt that religion (whatever it may be) is the glue that holds a family together. I think it’s important to introduce your children to a structured belief system, an practicing it together really does a lot for the family unit. Keep it up and keep us posted!

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