I grew up in the church. I have very positive memories from vacation bible schools, youth groups, and mission trips (as an adult). One thing that I'm not proud to admit is that I gave up on my faith in God during my divorce. I struggled a LOT with understanding WHY my husband that I trusted, loved, and shared vows under God would deceive, lie, cheat, and ruin everything we had together. Knowing what I know now, I can see that my faith was so shallow that I viewed a lot of Christianity as black and white- you do "good," act "good," and you will be happy and breeze through life without a care. I can't take credit for any of the lessons I learned or faith I gained after my divorce. I owe those to God himself, and the help of a wonderful Christian counselor that I saw for over a year. And I am a work in progress. I still have a LOT of growing to do in my faith.
Aside from my ex's adultery, the way the people of the church treated me after that hurt. Instead of feeling comforted at church, I felt awkward and outcast. No one blamed me, obviously, but I think people just didn't know how to reach out. They didn't know what to say. So I quit church.
I since moved and have began attending church again. However, it's different, and up until now I've liked the difference. I chose the biggest church in town. I chose a church where no one would know me, where I could hear God's word, worship, and not feel awkward or different. I'm not ready for people to know how much I've been hurt or how much I struggle with faith. And at this church, it's easy to hide, and I still get exactly what I want- worship and a meaningful message.
Until the Cry Room. Squishy LOVES the music at the church. It's dark, there are neat lights, and the band plays. She has a great time, until the sermon starts. Then she does what every baby does- fidgets, fusses, and wants to play/sleep/eat (whatever, but NOT sit there). Thankfully, the church has a Cry Room where moms and dads can take their babies, but still see/hear the sermon (one way glass and sound system). I've met a few moms in there that have been nice. For the most part, I try not to talk too much, as I'm trying to listen to the sermon. However, last week I got such a bad taste in my mouth. Two moms were already in the Cry Room when we went in. And they gossiped the ENTIRE time. I tried to keep to myself and not be nosey and listen, but then I realized they were talking about church staff. UGH! And the gossip went on and on and ON. It was so bad that later when I read Sam's blog about the sermon, I had no memory of it at all. I left and had to examine why I am so bothered by this.
Okay, so we are all human. That is why we put our faith in GOD and HIS WORD, and not humans, because we are all sinners and flawed. After I got past that, I realized that deep down I DO want someone to reach out to me. I DO want something more meaningful when I go to church. And hearing that gossip reminded me of where I'd been and the hurt I'd felt. Conflict- the church that I was happily hiding in was making me mad b/c these hens were cackling gossip instead of reaching out to me. And I sort of felt like one of them should, considering she is the spouse of a church staff member.
Cue the possible new church. Wouldn't you know that my old minister and his family moved here and took a job at a local church? And I LOVE this family. In fact, if you read back to my blog when it first started, I helped train his wife for her first half marathon. I was all set to attend the possible new church this morning, but admittedly feeling a little nervous. My old minister had been the one to baptize my ex. He had been one of the counselor's we saw after my ex's first affair. He knows EVERYTHING. And vulnerability is so scary. I'm past the point of caring that people know about that. Heck, it was the talk of the entire town; so it's no secret now. It's the part of standing up and saying, yeah, I still struggle sometimes (and this person knows you so well that they can see it). And I was secretly THRILLED when Squishy went down for a big nap, causing us to miss church. Phew, one more week to get these demons in my head figured out.
And what does reaching out have to do with anything? We all want to be reached. Sometimes (like my church situation) you don't even know you want to be reached. This is an inner battle that I'm facing that I could use a hand with, but I was too stubborn to admit it. So I just hid. It applies to running, too!
Sometimes we look at workouts on paper and they seem kind of scary. And you if you haven't felt that, you are choosing training plans that are too easy! For this time of year, speed work and tempos are a little scary because of the heat. It takes real mental fortitude to gear up for one. Sam, Lizzie, and I rallied to nail our tempo workouts Wednesday morning. Why? Because we had each other. Because we reached out and gave each other a hand. Nothing feels better than to know that your running partners are struggling, too, and there's a non-verbal "I got your back" feeling during the workout. Sometimes you need someone to say, "Hey, you want to run/ workout together?" And it's SO much easier just having someone else there!
Reaching out is true for motherhood, too. Truth- I feel lonely in motherhood at times. I LOVE being a mom, and it's the most important thing to me, but sometimes it feels lonely. I don't have many friends with toddlers or babies, and our families aren't able to be very involved/helpful right now. And that's why I love The Little Gym. Even though it's just about an hour a week, it's a time where I get to be around other moms. Most of the time we are so busy with the babies that we don't really talk, but I get to see other moms interact with their children and often we share knowing glances or laughs. This also sounds silly, but I love Instagram for that reason! Instagram is where all my favorite moms are found. Seriously, I've found so much comfort in just knowing other moms are having some of the same challenges and joys and experiences.
In conclusion to this massive reflective post, since I realized this week that I DO want to be reached, that I NEED to be reached, I've been practicing reaching out more. I went and hung out with the new teacher at our school, and I stayed a few minutes after Little Gym this week and talked to one of the new moms. In faith, running, and motherhood, I am a work in progress. We all need to be reached in some way, yet we can all reach out to others.
Run Happy, friends!