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We Attended Church for the First Time Ever as a Family

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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