Every Sunday our family has had the same routine for three years: wake up, have breakfast, change from our yogurt soaked pajamas (mama included), grab a coffee to go and head to church. Church when I was growing up was a Roman Catholic service, lunch as a family and homework before school on Monday. I even went to Catholic School my entire life— I’m talking grey polyester skirt, white polo and knee socks. **Solidarity to all other Catholic School Survivors**
When I met my husband, I was floundering in every way possible. Together we leaned on each other and I can say successfully saved one another from the beginning. The biggest thing that I was struggling with was the ever famous Catholic guilt because I had lost my belief. I realize now that I was more angry, frustrated and deeply betrayed by something I wholeheartedly believed in. The cliche “If God really cared about us, then why do we have to suffer” thought was ever present and screaming at me for years before I met my husband. It wasn’t until we got engaged that the discussion of faith reappeared.
My husband had a different experience than me growing up as far as religion was concerned. He said he considered himself Methodist but that his immediate family never consistently went to service. He had however always seemed to gravitate towards people of faith because he agreed with the values that they lived by daily. When you are in a serious commitment such as an engagement, it is always best to talk about the big topics; you know the ones you should never bring up at the holidays or any social gatherings: family, religion and politics. It is when we were discussing our future family early in our engagement, that we knew we wanted to be a united front when it came to our beliefs. Thankfully, we were both on the same page as far as Catholicism but were open to exploring new religions.
That led to many different eclectic church services including Methodist, Baptist and even Mormon. Being in the armed forces makes you fortunate enough to be surrounded by many different types of people and we were open to searching for what we wanted our family faith to be. Ironically, it wasn’t until our station at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas that we both discovered a religious community we agreed on. (Thanks to a dear work friend) A non- denominational Christian mega church. The “Mega” part of it wasn’t too appealing to me but the message was aligned with our values and it gave us another community to lean on. From there, every station we have been to we have found a modern Christian church community which has seemed to provide us with exactly what we needed.
These crazy coincidences continue to happen throughout my life.
Every Sunday, I sketch during the pastor’s sermon. (I don’t think they call themselves “pastors.” They are like hipster pastors if you want a visual) Usually it is a reflection of what I am struggling with or what line has spoken to me in the hour and a half we are there. The above photo is the most recent sketch from last week. Seeing as it is currently 3:30 A.M. on a Sunday morning, I have yet to go to church, so the sketch above is from last week. Last week I was terrified that I would need surgery on my hand, that because of that surgery I wouldn’t be able to keep creating signs for my business, that I wouldn’t be able to take notes for grad school beginning in November, and that everything I enjoy doing currently that keeps me sane would be on hold.
As we stepped into worship, the song You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music was being sung. The new series starting was all about going into battle and staying strong when the world seems to be dragging you down. These crazy coincidences continue to happen throughout my life. A friend from our Life Group in Oklahoma once told me that there are not “crazy coincidences” but rather God moving through our lives. That was a wonderful concept that I hope to one day fully believe. All I know, is that I needed to hear that message last Sunday. I needed to feel something, to have direction and peace. It’s days like last Sunday, that bring me that much closer to truly believing in a higher power. It’s not something that can be taught or forced upon you but something you just feel throughout you body, mind and soul. A feeling so strong that you cannot help but think there may just be something to this religion thing.