So for those of you that know, I went to a gathering for some of the ladies at my church. A good portion of the time spent was focused on getting to know each other outside of church, a wonderful idea I might add. But something I had to get off my chest, when it comes to belonging at a church, there was a time I felt I didn't belong, even at my church...Let me explain.
My Father was still in the household, and I felt obligated to go on Christmas Eve and Easter as a teenager, but otherwise, I was almost banished from church, I felt like, there were families that always greeted me, asking why I wasn't in Sunday School, or the youth groups, and to be honest, I never knew why, other than it didn't fit into my Father's plans...I had to go directly home, get a letter grade on my behavior at church, and then a second, unofficial sermon, one that pointed out what my father disagreed with...Gee, what 16-17 year-old wouldn't want that???
As a child, we didn't have a church in Ames, and if we went, my dad, sometimes had to drag me and my bicycle up hills quite literally, as I was about to drop, from exhaustion, it felt like...Yes Mom and Brother took the air-conditioned car, I had to bike, with my Father. I was baptized at my Mother's Lutheran church in Des Moines as a baby, and for some reason, had negative views of physically going to church growing up.
It wasn't until my Sophomore year of college, while living on campus, and literally, down some steps and across the street, and down a hill, that I started going to the church, on my own there, went to the college age meetings, and had my preconceived notions bout why those groups were created, that offended some, and I was once again, a baptized Lutheran, feeling shunned.
Fast Forward a few years, I was out of school, my parents had separated, and I was going to church,my current church, when I wasn't saving the other half of the week from utter chaos at work...I got bold and after a time & talent sermon, decided to give the parish choir a try. I was welcomed in, as you'll know my joining choirs, was where I most often laid down the groundwork for friendships. These developed, and then I was asked to join the youth board, and I wan't even a full fledged member of the church in my own right, after that I was selected to be a district YWR, and I'd never even gone through Confirmation, so Pastor quickly got me through adult Confirmation, and then maybe a month later I was the only YWR from the Boone Zone at the district convention, where I worshiped, fellowshiped, and got a standing ovation for my performance as "Nervous Nell, I've stayed active in the choir, when my schedule allows, and am trying to get back into working with the youth and education realms, where as a child/teenager, I was lacking in my spiritual growth...Do I feel like I belong now? Of course, and it's not that I ever felt shunned by the congregation from coming, but more not allowed by my Father...