for most people who know me, that statement probably comes as a bit of a surprise. most people know that I’m a christian. I am a church-going type. stuff like that. I guess the assumption would be (at least among those that are also believers) that if I didn’t ‘know’ God, then I probably wouldn’t consider myself a christian OR waste my time by going to church. those who are not believers probably don’t understand what there is to ‘know’.
but here’s the deal. in all honesty, I don’t really get it. I feel like I should, though. I’m like the poster child for christianity, at least the lutheran version.
I was born (well, adopted) into a christian home. my parents, my grandparents (on both sides), and in most cases, further generations than that, were christians. I’ve gone to church since birth. I was baptized, I went to sunday school, I went to a parochial school, I went through confirmation class and was confirmed, I attended (and even brought friends to) youth group in high school, I went to christian concerts…
and then I went to college and I kind of put it all on the shelf for awhile because I felt the need to rebel against my parents’ expectations and standards.
eventually, I came around again. I sort of unintentionally found myself at a bible school, wound up married to youth director. I taught preschoolers bible stories as my job. we had kids, took them to church, became the next generation of church-going christians in both of our families.
see? poster child.
I was concerned about my own college rebellion, and wanted to try to prevent that sort of thing in my own kids (since I have a lot of regrets about how I lived my life, not to mention, lasting consequences, from that time). so I read books, and blogs, and articles on how to raise godly children. I gleaned a lot of useful information, most of which was foreign to me, and I attempted to implement it and in my family. not only that, I spent good amounts of time reading my bible and contemplating what God intended for me to be as the wife, as the mother, as the daughter, as the friend, etc. I tried to incorporate that into my own life, sometimes with much vigor. maybe I felt like I was trying to somehow make up for the way I had previously lived and guilt I still hung onto over that.
the problem was that my family didn’t respond to it like was described in the books. they were not obedient. they were not asking me to pray with them. they were not sitting in corners, quietly reading their bibles on their own. they were not avoiding the temptations of the world, resisting material desires, wanting to spend their time bonding as a family, or shunning the worldly things which I felt to be detrimental. they were still groaning and fidgeting when we would try to implement family bible time.
it was a battle.
a battle I was fighting… alone.
I would try to get my husband on board, attempting to share with him this or that idea from one of a thousand books that I had read and he hadn’t. sometimes I tried to get him to read the books. that did not work.
and so, I would give up.
and then I would freak out at the impending demise of my children’s morality and start all over again, only with them fighting harder this time, because they knew I gave up last time.
time and time again, I would fail.
my children became less religious, not more so.
now don’t go thinking that the only reason I want my children to embrace christianity for themselves is so they can stay out of trouble. sure, that would be awesome. but the fact is, I want to see them in heaven and I want to know that they will raise my grandchildren as christians. staying out of trouble would be a bonus, not only for their own lives, but for this mommy’s heart. I know that they will encounter plenty of trouble in their lives and relationships. avoiding that which is brought on by living contrary to God’s design just adds more.
I totally sound like I know what I’m talking about, huh?
in some regard, I do. I’m well-versed, as far as the christian life goes.
but here is the thing, and what I realize now, is the reason all of my attempts at “christianizing” my family failed:
I, myself, am lacking the foundation.
I am trying to use the instructions for building the building, without having a foundation. obviously, that building is doomed to fall, no matter how closely I follow the instructions.
while I do, in fact, claim Jesus as my savior, I am not now, nor have I ever been, overtaken by his love and grace.
I want that. I just don’t know how to ‘get it’.
I know, I know… I can hear everyone screaming, “you don’t have to DO anything!!!” “Jesus has done it all!”
etc. etc. etc.
I get that. in theory. in reality, I don’t know how to make that make sense to me.
major personality flaw there… I have a major inability to accept ANYTHING which does not make sense.
seriously. there are books I have refused to read or movies I have refused to watch or songs that drive me batty, because their TITLES don’t make sense to me.
and so I am lacking.
my faith sucks.
my family may or may not grow up to be the next generation of christians… warming a pew once a week is no longer enough to ensure that. maybe it never was, but our culture is no longer a culture that supports or even tolerates christian values.
all because it doesn’t make sense to me.
I try to wrap my head around it.
I even pray for the joy, the passion, the whatever it is that truly makes one a christian, claimed by the love of Jesus…
but concept of prayer makes even less sense to me, and so, even as I pray, I don’t have the faith that my prayer is real, because I know I pray in doubt.
so there you have it. poster child.
I’m not looking for advice here. I actually would prefer that you not comment. I’m putting it out there to admit that I don’t get it.
in church, we are not encouraged to admit that we don’t get it. we are not encouraged to ask the REALLY TOUGH questions. and therefore, we never get them answered.
so maybe I’m putting this out there, just so you won’t feel alone, or like a total heathen, if you, also, don’t get it. if you do, know that I envy you.
but I do. I want to know God. not just in a superficial way. not just in ‘how to be a good person’ way. not just in a ‘how to raise godly kids’ kind of way. not even just in a ‘I’m going to heaven’ way.
to really, really know God.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.