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  • Writer's pictureMyranda

My Journey To Church

I felt pulled to share this story...mostly for myself. This has been a long journey and is in no way close to being over. I want to preface this that I am not pushing anything. I not going to share anything other than my own experiences. I respect that everyone has their own preferences so I hope that anyone who reads this will respect that this is my own. When I was little (like 4), I was sent to Sunday school. My parents didn't go to church but they sent my sister and me. I remember going to the basement classroom and then there was a special viewing room for the small kids that we played in during the service. There was this small speaker up at the corner of the big window that looked into the church. I remember seeing the pews and people but that's the extent of my memory. I think I was in a Christmas play or something at the church but when I was in 1st grade we moved and that was the end of going to church...for awhile.

Until I went to middle school, I don't really remember my friends talking about going to church. It was my friends in middle school and high school that really talked about going to church. When I was in 8th grade, I don't remember how we found out about it, but there was a place called The Aqua Barn that started something called Friday Night Hang Out. They had two time blocks. If I remember correctly, the first block was for 7th and 8th graders and the second block was for 9th and 10th graders. They had so many fun activities and I didn't even know that it was affiliated with a church. They had small basket ball tournaments, one of those inflatable walls with the Velcro and you put on a suit and you jump and get stuck, one of those trampolines with the bungee harness so you could jump high and do flips, and my favorite was the coffee cart. Iced caramel lattes, yep...multiples...every Friday night while hanging out with my friends.

About halfway through our block, we would get called into the auditorium and the pastor would speak. I don't remember what he every said but it was always pretty short and then we went back to our activities! It wasn't until later in life that I realized that it was a church program. Regardless it was so much fun but when I got into high school, the excitement of Friday Night Hangout fizzled and my friends and I stopped going...even though I remember really wanting to keep going.

Fast forward to the summer/fall of 2002. I was in boot camp August to October. We were told that there were a few different services offered on base and if anyone had a different religious affiliation and wanted to attend services to let their CC (Company Commander) know and they would supply the transportation information to the recruit. I was looking forward to that time to relax, write letters home and to friends. It was after the first week that I had to go to a Sunday service. Yes...I said HAD TO GO. I signed up to sing in the choir. What wasn't told to us when signing up was that by singing in the choir, we were required to attend a service. I sang on Wednesday evenings and went to services on Sundays...couldn't tell you anything about the services. I was being told to go...I know I had the choice. I could have dropped out of the choir so I wouldn't have to go to church but I enjoyed getting to talk to other recruits during choir so I went.

Now most of my adult life I have had some struggles. My ex husband was super excited when he found out that I had gone to a Lutheran church for Sunday school because that was the church he grew up in (even though he stopped when he moved out to go to college and join the military). We never went. A lot of my friends that I had during my first marriage went to church and every so often I had wanted to ask if I could go to church with them but I never did. Mostly because I didn't know what to expect and because of my spotty past, I feared being judged. A completely unfounded fear because none of my friends ever judged least not to my face.

Over the years I downloaded the free Bible app and struggled to read the Bible. I always tried the King James version but I couldn't understand what I was reading and would delete the app. I even took a Bible from a hotel room once and still never cracked it open and ended up donating it or leaving it with my ex when we divorced. While my husband and I were dating, I tried again to read the Bible. I've always wanted to read it because I wanted to know the stories. I've heard some of them but I wanted to understand them. Again, I had tried to read the King James version because I didn't know that there are so many other versions available. We moved from the west coast to the east coast and while my husband, boyfriend at the time, was on leave before reporting to his new unit, we spend a day with a mutual friend. This is the friend that introduced us about 10 years earlier (before either of us had gotten married and divorced our first spouses).

It was getting later in the day and we started talking about dinner plans. What I didn't expect was making a stop for a church service. I actually got very angry because I was getting hangry. I am a very open minded person and had this stop been discussed ahead of time, I would have planned for snacks and might remember the actual service. Instead, I remember multiple times wanting to get up and walk out. I wanted to ask for the keys and sit in the car so I could watch Netflix on my phone until they were done. I had zero desire to be there and I was uncomfortable in the chair and just felt my blood boiling the entire time we were there. That was the last time I was in a church of any kind. That was the summer of 2015. This has gotten very long and I have a lot more to talk about but I think I'll save that for another post! Stay tuned!

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