i went to church and didn't hate it

6:45 AM

Hola readers!

I went to church last Sunday and didn't hate it. 

I probably should back up and explain what that means for me.

My dad is a pastor. I don't talk about that too much because for me it was just a part of life -- it wasn't something I wanted to hide, but we had a pastor in the family and that was completely every day for me.
I don't remember a time I wasn't involved in church. Being there nearly every Sunday is ingrained in living. We moved to our current home for the very reason that we felt called to plant a church in our area. Every decision my family made usually involved our church, from rather we could take a long vacation or not because "who would preach back home?" to hosting families at our house and meeting in our living room.
That was nearly fifteen years ago.
A lot has changed.
A lot.
Our church has been one of my greatest joys. The people that came have become my family. I don't know what life is like without them.

We were never a big church, no more than thirty at the most, but we had each other and our faith and that was enough. There were chili cook offs and Christmas plays, Christmas caroling and the time the guys cooked breakfast for the women... and lots and lots of dreaming of what would come.
A lot has changed.
So much.
We have slowly made the choice, for now, to find a new church, for my dad to stop preaching full time, for us to try something new. The choice has been painful. We have fought the change every step of the way. I feel a bit betrayed by God sometimes because we had this plan when we moved here, to start a church, to buy a building and to make a difference in our community with that said church.
But things don't work out like we plan. We don't have control. We're just pieces in a greater plan.
I rejected the idea of trying other churches, and I think I'm fighting a bit of judgement on the Church as a whole. We have become consumers, there for entertainment, and when the Church doesn't deliver, we walk away. We have to plan how to keep people, how to fill seats, how much money can we get to the pastor, etc, etc, etc.
We lose the vision of what is church -- a bunch of traitors and misfits and brokens gathering together to meet with a God who accepts us for who we are and is willing to change us from the inside out (if we let Him). Church should be a judge-free accepting zone that is about lifting up something higher than ourselves.
It's not what can we give the people
but what we can give to God.
And that is giving Him our lives and simply stepping up and saying, "God, use me. I am tripping here. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not religious. I have a lot of crap. Can you use me anyway?"

My family has tried probably up to six churches in the last couple of months, ones of different values, meeting places, and denominations. The experience has left me a little overwhelmed. If you struggle in going to church, I know why.
I'm not judging.
It's really, really, really, hard to get up each morning and meet with strangers.
Really hard.
I no longer wonder why people would prefer to stay home than attend a church service . There's so much pressure on you when attending a new place. You don't know what to expect, what people are thinking, and whether or not you will accept each other or even get along.
But last Sunday I made the choice with my sister to attend a church thirty minutes away that we'd briefly attended back in 2005 after moving here with our family.
And something happened.
I didn't hate it.
I enjoyed myself.
For the first time in a long time.
I don't know what life has in store. I feel this is just a season. My dad is still a pastor -- he lives and breaths preaching in people's lives. But for now, I think we have to let go. It's hard.
I'm writing this post to try and make sense how this craziness. We never imagined finding ourselves in this place. You don't imagine dissolving what you worked hard on. But here we are, doing it anyway, and I know it breaks our hearts.

This is a season I am in with church. I don't know where you are at. Maybe you've grown up in church or maybe you don't remember the last time you attended. Either way, I know you understand what it feels like to let go of something you love and not understand why you must, that you understand the change of seasons and the pain that bears in that.
You probably understand what it's like to have something so much part of your identity that you feel lost without it. My siblings and I discussed what it's like to attend church and have to find ways to be a part of it. We are no longer the PKs, but now the congregation getting up each Sunday morning, going into the service, sitting down, and having to make the choice of whether or not we will get involved.
We can basically go in choosing not to say a word to anyone, to sit in the background. That is unlike the platform you feel you are standing on as a pastor's kid -- even as adults. You always have the label and it can continue to define you.
I remember a time I hated being the pastor's kid because everyone thought I had to act and be a certain way...and now I just want to go back.
But we keep moving because every season has a beginning and an end. I truly feel my dad is supposed to continue in ministry. I cannot see him happy doing anything else.
This is only the beginning, a turn in the chapter, and I honestly cannot wait to see what the next will bring.

You Might Also Like

12 of your thoughts

  1. Wow. This was a beautifully written and heartfelt post. I love the courage and realness of it, and can relate so well to how heavy and hard change can be- especially when it comes to going to church or not going to church and the changes that happen in that realm.

    I rejoice with you that you found that this time, when you went to church, you didn't hate it. And I'll be praying and hoping that you will see good come out of the season that you and your family are currently in.


    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement!!! There are a lot of changes but God is good in it all. XOXO
      Thank you for reading!

  2. Hi, Kara. My name is Beth. We don't know each other, but this passed through my feed on Goodreads and I just wanted to say I appreciate your honesty on this subject. I can't pretend to know what it's like to be a PK, but I understand your struggle in trying to find a church to attend. My family went to the same church from the time I was born until sometime when I was in late elementary or early middle school. We left when the old pastor retired and the new one decided to take that church in a direction we and many of the other congregants felt was unbiblical, and therefore ended up "floating" between churches for a while. It is indeed hard to walk into a church and try to worship with people you don't know. Some places had really nice people and biblical messages, but my parents didn't care for the style of worship, while other places had the style of worship they liked but we could feel the people staring at us while simultaneously pretending to ignore us like they were wondering who the unrighteous heretics were who decided to darken their doorway this week. (I wish I was joking, but that happened once! The ushers wouldn't even help us find a seat, they just stared at us.) We became members of one church thinking it was nice only to leave a little later when the majority of other members voted to unceremoniously kick the pastor to the curb because they didn't like his personality even though he was a kind, albeit soft spoken man who was preaching what the Bible says. We finally found a church we love, though, that stands firm on the gospel and also has people in it we get along with in spite of all our flaws. It truly was a struggle to find it, but through God's grace we did, and I'm so glad to hear that maybe you've found a church you can love too. I'll be praying for you and your family as you go through this time of transition. <3

    1. Thank you for sharing your own story, Beth! I appreciate your honesty. We each have our own church struggles -- I am so glad you stopped by!

  3. I enjoyed reading this. I hope you journey brings you ever closer to God. ;)


  4. I prefer smaller churches to big ones. I went with a friend consistently last and found myself enjoying it more too.

    1. Smaller churches as well as big churches each have benefits but I've been in a tiny church all my life.
      It's been a change for sure!

  5. thank you for sharing this part of yourself. you're wonderful. you're not alone in what you're feeling. so many people are walking this road with you.
    thank you for your honesty and authenticity.
    hold tight and keep your courage.

    1. I am seeing that I'm not alone the longer I walk this road. Even after writing this post I've had comments and messages thanking me and readers sharing their own stories.
      Thank you so much for your comment and encouragement!

  6. I relate to this a lot! I've struggled for a long time with having a church, what church I should go too, and it doesn't seem like there is an end in sight. <3 I wouldn't wish this struggle on you, but I am glad I can relate to it. If you want to talk (I don't promise to have advice XD) I'm here! :)


Comments make me smile, lift my spirits and give me the motivation to continue writing. In return I'll comment on your blog, because you're awesome and deserve it.