Not sure where to put this. I assume if this gets heated it will be moved to IF.
well this last Sunday we were procrastinating all morning and ended up getting to church 30 minutes late.
This has really become a habit. At our church we could arrive an hour late and literally not miss a single word of the sermon. In fact last week, we arrived before announcements/offering and we caught 2 of the worship songs and didn’t miss any of the sermon.
Worship at our church has always been a BIG production. Our church is a very modern built church, it is basically a big auditorium (even has basketball hoops inside) with a big platform (oh you’ll get it if you call it a stage, but that’s pretty much what it is. In fact our guest speaker last week commented on how he didn’t know who designed that church but they didn’t know what they were doing because he couldn’t even see us when he stood on the platform because of the bright spotlights shining on his face)
so the worship portion of the service REALLY bothers us (if you couldn’t tell) Hubby always procrastinates going to church because the music is way too loud (our son covers his ears and begs us to take him outside) and Hubby gets really tired of the christian aerobics (stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down etc.) but theologically this church is our best fit. So we end up coming late pretty much every time we go.
Well during last weeks service we had a guest speaker and he mentioned how he noticed that 75% of the congregation arrived late to the service. He began to speak about how disrespectful it was to the spirit of God to arrive so late.
and while i think its presumptuous to assume that one is ONLY in the presence of the Lord when you’re singing worship with the rest of the church, I do kind of see his point. I’m never late to anything else. Even when i’m not feeling well, i usually arrive early. Not like waiting for the doors to open like my MIL but i always try to be there at least 5 minutes early.
I guess things would be different if the worship portion of the service didn’t make us so uncomfortable. I’m cool with singing a few hymns (opening my heart for the Lord to speak to me) but its a totally different thing when each song is 20 minutes long (2 fast songs, 1 slow song, prayer, and then another song during offering, more if the spirit moves us, or worse, more if the worship leader decides that we are not moved enough)
I don’t know, i’m just thinking out loud right now…
So i grew up in a very different church, and i left it for a reason.
I do not believe in their theology, i do not believe in their teaching at all. I think they are wrong. And not just wrong, but wrong, iykwim.
so i got this letter yesterday from them. It wasn’t a personal letter at all. It was just a thing they send out monthly to the women in the church, but at the top there was a handwritten note from someone that I’ve never met that said
“Dear Sam-I hope you are doing well. You are greatly missed in [women's ministries]. We hope to see you soon”
and then she signed it and left her phone number.
This is getting to me, a lot more than i expected it to. First of all, i don’t know this woman. I know she does not miss me. Second, I’d never been to the women’s ministry. i left the church before I was an adult and never set foot in that room except to fetch my mother when church was over.
BUT, it’s getting to me. I left that church ten years ago and they’re still calling me. They’re not annoying about it, but they still try to keep in touch.
They remembered my name was Sam, and not Samantha. People who don’t know me call me Samantha. People at the church I go to now call me Samantha.
And what’s bothering me the most is that after i stopped doing the nursery at my church where i served for years, nobody ONCE called me. I don’t think that church even noticed i was gone. ouch. Or actually I think they did, because when i went back to church just six months later to attend a business meeting, i discovered that my name was not on the members list anymore. 6 months of inactivity after giving my time and money and effort and heart into that church for YEARS, and i was written off.
that is all kinds of messed up
so this stupid piece of paper has put so much turmoil into my heart, which is probably the entire purpose of it. I know its not the truth that they miss me any more than it is The Truth that they teach at their church but the words sound so nice in my ears. It would be nice to be missed somewhere.
I realized that I never posted about my horribly embarrassing “appreciation incident” that i had referenced to a few weeks ago. I posted it in my other blog, so I’m going to share it with you (whoever it is that reads my blog, LOL)
So without further ado, “i’d appreciate it if you didn’t appreciate me” (September 21st, 2008):
So last week Pastor Bob called me on the phone out of the blue. He hasn’t called me much in the past few years honestly although i had been apart of ministry because i tend to keep to myself. I find myself floundering for words whenever i speak to him. I have trouble speaking coherently to him because in my head, he is an authority figure and so usually my part in our conversations usually involve “yes pastor,” “I will,” “Thank you Pastor” and “I love you too, Pastor” Then the conversation ends, i hang up and I find myself roped into doing something that i didn’t plan on doing because i when he asks me things i don’t have the power to tell him no.
Which is how i got myself into the mess that i was in this morning at church. He called last week to make sure that i would be in church this Sunday (because to be perfectly honest, ever since i haven’t been in charge of the nursery I’ve taken advantage of Sunday mornings to catch up on my sleep) Honestly i was a bit embarrassed that he noticed, which did not help at all with my problem with staying coherent when talking to him. He said that he appreciated what I’ve done for the church (Thank you, Pastor) And told me that he really hoped I would come church this Sunday (“I will, Pastor”) and that he would like to show his appreciation to me if i were to be there this Sunday (Thank You, Pastor.) He said that he looked forward to seeing me and to pass his love on to my family (“I love you too, Pastor”) and bob’s your uncle, I was roped into standing in front of a crowd of people and to be recognized for something that i only agreed to do because it was a way to serve God without having to interact with grown ups.
I’ve been thinking about it every day since then, kicking myself for not telling him no.
Today was the big day. I made myself a big breakfast so that I wouldn’t pass out on the way to the stage. I spent two hours picking out my outfit last night and Caleb’s outfit. I even told my husband what he was going to wear this morning. I hogged the bathroom putting on makeup that I never wear and I rushed around the house following after Caleb making sure that once i got him dressed, Caleb wouldn’t dirty his outfit. I ended up obsessing over small details so much that we made ourselves late to church. Great.
We sat in the very back. The butterflies in my stomach kept me from really focusing on anything that Pastor had to say in the morning. I couldn’t concentrate on the songs at all either. I tried to look up at the large TV screens in front of the church to read the words but they looked blurry and out of focus. I had broken my glasses weeks ago and still haven’t replaced them. We really shouldn’t have sat in the back.
Everytime Pastor would begin talking about something else my stomach would tighten and i worried that he would be calling me up on the stage soon. I sat there, regretting eating such a big breakfast (after all it would leave a bad impression if i ended up throwing up all over him) and wishing i Pastor would forget he ever wanted to appreciate me.
And then he started talking about wanting to appreciate two women who were involved in the childrens ministry and i knew that he wouldn’t forget. My palms started sweating and i briefly contemplated running out the back doors. They were only 15 feet away. So close, and yet, so far…
Luckily he called someone else was recognized before I was and i was able to see what to expect. He spoke a few words to her about how much he appreciated her and how important her work was, and how faithful she was, and then he gave her a small plaque, a large picture with a scripture on it and a small card of appreciation. Then it was my turn.
He said my name and my hand tightened on my husbands. He said that he wanted to appreciate two women, but by god, if i was going to get appreciated for hiding in the nursery, so was my husband. There was no way i was going up there alone. Luckily Pastor remembered my husband as well, and told him to come up. Ha, like he had a choice.
So up we went. I took special care as we walked up the stairs. I was wearing a long dress and i didn’t want to trip. That would be just like me, to have the spotlight shining down on me when things went wrong. I made it up there OK and then everything else became a blur.
Pastor spoke again about faithfulness and taking care of “the least of these” and Pastor Cynthia reminded me about how i was spoken to at a women’s ministry conference and its what pushed me to be involved in the nursery. I had forgotten about that. I hope nobody else noticed the dubious look i gave her as she began to the story.
Anyway, he read the plaque he gave me out to everyone and spoke to me again about how appreciative he was, and then he picked up the big picture to hand to me and….the frame broke into pieces spilling the picture onto the floor. Pastor tried to make a grab for it, but it just broke into more pieces. I just stood there in shock. I was mortified.
But to my credit i didn’t run and hide (I was already in front of everybody anyway, they would have seen where i went) I laughed. Luckily i wasn’t the only one, otherwise i would have looked like a jerk. Took us all a few minutes to regain our composure, although i kept my hand over my mouth for the rest of the time they spoke. He promised to fix it, or to return it or something. I don’t remember, it was just too funny. I couldn’t believe that had happened.
I think pastor said it best. “Here she was not even wanting to come up here and now nobody will ever forget it”
Hopefully they remember the picture and not me. LOL.
That’ll teach him for trying to appreciate me!
So when i used to do the nursery there was this little boy named Sam (coolest name EVER). He was adorable, but every time they brought him to church he would scream bloody murder. As soon as they started dressing him for church in the morning he would cry. If they got in the car ANY day of the week and it seemed like they were heading in the direction of church, he would cry.
I just held him most of the time, because (while this is not true for all kids) as soon as his parents left the room, he would begin to calm down and he would stop crying in less than five minutes and go about his day.
It broke my heart that he cried though. I mean, what did i do to this poor kid that he hated coming to see me so much.
Then a couple years ago, on mothers day he came to me and brought me a gift. His mother said that they were in the store buying presents for all the teachers and he insisted that they get a present for me too. I was touched. I really really didn’t think he liked me, at all. That was the first day that he didn’t cry to be dropped off.
I don’t know exactly how it happened, but over the coarse of a few months after that, he stopped crying when it was time to come to church, and in fact began to look forward to it. Kids are strange. But Sam soon became my favorite because he was just the sweetest tempered little boy i’ve ever met and he seemed to like me. It melted my heart. The first time he graduated to the bigger kids class, i cried. I’d never cried when any of the other kids left me. But Sam was special because i worked so hard on building a relationship with him and i really really loved that boy.
Well i hadn’t seen him in a long time. In fact, i hadn’t been to church in a while, but we went on sunday and when we went to pick up Caleb from the playground after church, I felt a tugging at the back of my shirt and there stood my little Sam. He smiled shyly at me and asked me “do you remember me?” My throat got all tight, because i’m a girl and can’t help it. I told him: “Of coarse i remember you, Sam” and his smile grew bigger. “I used to be really little,” he told me and i agreed with him and told him that he used to be “this big” and that he was now “THIS big” he had definantly grown. He smiled wider and just stood there smiling at me for a minute. Then Caleb called my attention away from little Sam and he used to opertunity to go and climb the playstructure again. He smiled at me from the top and then went to chase the other children.
That just made my entire week.
I think i’m a terrible person. I kept thinking about writing a vampire story about Jesus. it would explain the whole raising from the dead on the third day thing. And it sure changes a lot of the old hymns. So many of them are about “the blood”
“theres is a fountain whose streams flow from emmanuals veins…”
“Power, power, wonder working power in the blood of the lamb…”
“O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow;
no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus”
oh yeah, i’m going to hell…
But on a completely seperate note, don’t i clean up well? I wore this the other day to caleb’s OT appointment. I felt like i was in costume all day, but people seemed to perceive me differently when i was dressed like a grown up. I will be experimenting with this at a later time…
That is the Wolfwood cross, by the way. An incredible piece of nerdy memorabilia from the anime Trigun. Wolfwood’s cross is basically a carrying case with tons of guns in it. I figured very few people would recognize it so they wouldn’t be offended, and those who did recognize it would only think i was cool. I might make some new nerdy friends.
I’m sort of ashamed to admit its the first time I’ve been in church in months. Ever since that “appreciation incident”
I’m not sure exactly what i’ve told you, but our pastor left the church after a scandal about him misusing church funds and leaving us in debt. This couple from Washington came by today and we voted the guy in as a new pastor today. His name is Ed. I forgot his last name already, but i’ll have a while to figure it out. I read his resume and I liked him, he seems very open. Something keeps nagging at me, telling me that i NEED to meet his wife. That we’d totally hang out. I haven’t even said hello to her, and yet i’m so sure we’ll get along.
Anyway, we voted in a new pastor today. Or the church did.
We were members. We took the class and became members years ago. And then…when they did roll call right before the vote, they didn’t’ call our names.
I’m not incredibly offended, just shocked. Sure we haven’t been to church in a few months, but crap. We served in the church nursery for YEARS up until a few months ago, and suddenly we’re not members. I know they got to keep the list updated and all that after so many people left the church, but…you think they would call and ask before just deleting our names off the members list.
’cause I built my life around you
but time makes bolder
children get older
I’m getting older too…”
-Landslide, Dixie Chicks
So they weren’t the first ones to sing those words, but I like the way they harmonize.
Life is changing once again. For one thing, I’ve enrolled Caleb back into school. He’s going to be going 2 days a week to a special speech preschool. Then he’s still got OT once a week.
Oh and Hubby and I just celebrated our 6th annerversary. God, I love that man. I am a very blessed woman.
Ah and church. I haven’t been but twice sinse i stepped down from leadership. Things happened there. Not with me, but involving my family none-the-less. My Pastor stepped down. The church is in a huge amount of debt, and according to those in the know, its his fault. He had been misusing church funds.
I hate to even blog about that because it sounds like gossip, but it does have an affect on me personally. I put a lot of time and effort into that church, not to mention my own money that was misused. In turn, i feel misused. I feel alienated. Its hard to think about all those things going on while i was there, things that i had been completely oblivious to. I loved Bob Barker, or I loved the man he presented himself as. It turns out they aren’t the same person.
We haven’t really attended in years, because before we left, we had been hiding in the nursery. Our own little fortress of solitude in the back of the church where nobody would bother us. I think we may be looking for another church. Husband is loyal though, to our church if not our pastor. it is the place we both got saved. Well, it has the name of the place we got saved. Its no longer that place either physically or figuratively. Its just the name that is the same.
Personally things have been changing for me. I’m finally going to get my drivers licence. Yeah, I know. I’m a grown woman, you can’t understand how someone can live so long without it. I don’t really know either. Everything i needed was within walking distance in the small town that I live in. I didn’t really need a car, but a couple times a week, and I always had volunteers to take me wherever I wanted to go. it wasn’t a neccessity. It still isn’t, but i’m getting it none the less. Taking hold of a little more independance.
Also theres school. Caleb’s in school. I always told my friends that i would go to school when caleb was in school himself. I never really meant it though. I don’t want a career. I dont. I don’t mind getting a job or anything, but i’m a mom, and thats my main purpose in life. I didn’t see the point in paying for college if i wasn’t planning on having a career. We’re tight on money enough. Praise the Lord, we don’t have college loans to pay off. And yet…I kind of miss school. I like learning. I like having a set schedule. I’ve been flirting with the idea of getting a job somewhere as well, but i don’t think i’m ready to do anything full time yet, so I’m not going down that route. But school…i love the idea. Taking some writing classes, some english lit, etc. Maybe some computer classes…
Its sort of the plan now. I’m going to be looking for scholerships and grants this year, and next fall, i’m going to be enrolling in college. Me and Amber might take a few classes together, but we’ll see.
My story is dragging. I decided i wan’t happy with it and started re-writing it. Lately i’ve decided that i’d never get anything finished if i go back and pick at my work. I’m going to finish my story through to the end, and then I’m going to re-write it. Simultaniously working on the first and second draft was too exausting and i was getting nothing done.
Also my personal work is becoming more formed. Its got gypsies and pirates and ghosts in it. Its fun to think of, although the plot isn’t exactly crystal clear yet. Its going to be fun to write. I blame most of my story line on reading Treasure Island and The Scarlett Letter in the same week, LOL. Its got a little A Winters Tale and a little Tom Sawyer in it as well. Acclectic but fun.
oh and i’m reading more classics. Jane Eyre, The Scarlett Letter, The Giver, Treasure Island, Tome Sawyer, Gullivers Travels, Little Women. Along with The Poisonwood Bible, Memoirs of a Geisha. Thrift Stores are awesome places to pick up old books.
I’ve got quite a collection now and cant wait to get into it. Right now, i’m reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Next I might read White Fang, but i’m not quite sure yet. We’ll see.
I’m feeling more independant
So after i posted about stepping down from my position at church. My friend told me that she wanted to do it. She read my entire post and still wanted to do it, it must mean that she was meant to do it. We talked about it, and i gave her some time to think it over and pray about it and she still wanted to move forward. I was completely surprised, i thought it would be SO much harder to find someone else, and that it would be months before i would actually get to leave (because i didn’t think Pastor could find a replacement)
The hardest part was calling Pastor to let him know. I felt like i was going to pass out, but i was unable to get a hold of him on the phone, i left him a message. He surprised me when he called me back the next day. I told him everything that i was thinking about and that i had found a replacement. He seemed open, and told me to keep him updated.
So much simpler than i thought it would be. I’m glad for it, but i keep thinking the other shoe will drop soon, its so much easier than i thought it would be. I guess its just more proof that this is what God wants me to do. Everything is just coming together perfectly. Praise God!
So i’ve been running the nursery for a few years, i was super excited about it, i had all these ideas for what i wanted the nursery to be, and i made them happen, but still it hasn’t all turned out as well as i planned. For one thing i kind of fail at the whole talking to people thing. Being assertive with adults in general actually. And well, basically its been me and my husband in the nursery every week for the past 3 years. I could count on my fingers all the times i’ve been able to attend a sunday morning service in the last 3 years.
I’m just feeling so disconnected from everyone at church. The only time i see anybody from church is when they come to drop off their kids, or to pick them up, and always they have somewhere else to go, i don’t have time to really get to know people. I have a hard time talking with people about helping me, because i don’t know them well enough to trust them in there. And when i do step out of my comfort zone to ask people to help, they MIGHT do it once, if I’m lucky twice, and then they almost disappear. I’m just feeling like I’m out of my element.
I hate that when i walk into the front doors of the church to find someone to help me in the nursery, or to find a parent, or to actually attend a service, the ushers ask me if its my first time attending My name is in the bulletins you’re handing out! No, this is not my first time! I still want to be involved, but not every single week for years at a time. I haven’t been able to wake up on a Sunday morning and just decide to fall back asleep. I hate that actually attending church had to involve so much planning and coercion.
I’m really good at managing things, but as for leading the ministry, and taking charge, i just can’t. Its NOT what i’m good at. And i tried to step beyond what i’m comfortable with and lead this to where it should go, but honestly, the church is too big for my little plans. The nursery is set up for something great, i just know it is, but i’m not going to be the one leading it there. Its just not my mission to get it there.
Even Hubby came to me the other day and told me that we needed to talk about the nursery. he says he doesn’t want to be there anymore. He is just so worn down from it. I started doing it on my own 3 years ago, but the church has grown and i’ve needed more hands in there. I’ve tried to get other people to help, but as i said before, i kind of failed. 95% of the time, hubby is there to help me. And he never signed up for this. But he doesn’t feel right leaving me alone with all those kids, when he knows i need help. So he’s stayed with me. He’s been feeling just as isolated in there as i have, and he said he can’t do it anymore, there needs to be someone else in there with me, but i know i can’t get the help on my own. We both prayed about it and slept on it, and on Sunday morning, i knew that i needed to step down. I planned on calling our Pastor up later this week and explaining it to him.
And on a more personal level, i find it hard to move forward in my personal life. A few months back my SIL asked me to watch her baby during the day while she’s at work. I prayed about it and got a very specific message that i wasn’t supposed to tell her yes. I was specifically told that i was done being a nanny, that my son is getting older and i need to focus on him. And i know that this was God because SO many wonderful things have happened because of that decision. I’m now going to be homeschooling my son, and my SIL is now staying home with her baby instead of working full time. Well anyway, when i told her this, she specifically asked me “what about the nursery” and i was confused because i didn’t even think of that as part of what was being said to me. But i see it now. I can’t really move forward to accept where i am in life, if my entire job description is thinking about babies
Yesterday morning, a man came up and introduced himself to me. He said that he was the new Christian education directer. He asked me if i was running the nursery, and i told him i was, but then he asked me if was going to be the one doing it every week. My heart just started pounding and i told him that no, i wasn’t going to be doing it anymore. I explained that i still wanted to be a teacher, but not every week. I talked to him a bit about how i felt i needed to get connected into the church body, and he just nodded his head and told me that everyone needs to get fed. I gave him my name and number so he could contact me, and i told him i would talk to pastor about it later.
And so now i need to call pastor. I know that this is what i’m supposed to be doing but it is just ALL SO SCARY So I need prayer that i use all those wonderful words that God gave me to use and that i am able to be assertive. The very thought of calling the man who is always so very busy and going through his own personal crisis at the moment to tell him that i can no longer help him the way i always have makes me feel like my knees are going to give out from underneath me