Monday, February 6, 2012

Going to church

I used to love going to church. It was the perfect bookend to the week. I loved the singing. I loved seeing my friends that I often only saw there. I loved the worship of my Lord. I loved how the kids went to Sunday School. I loved it all. 
Now I prepare myself for church. I think, ok, this week I can do it emotionally. This week I can look at the people I love as they smile at each other and often at me. This week I can sing without the tears washing down my face.
Every week I am surprised by the sadness that overwhelms me there. I sit in my chair and hold one of my sons and I cry, I cry for the little girl that is not there with us. Every week I am surprised by how much the sweetness of one of the little babies at church stabs me in the heart. Every week I am surprised by how I can't look my friends in the eye or talk about baby things with them, like I used to.
Every week I think I have a handle on it and every week I am surprised by the intensity of my grief in church.
This past Sunday my husband said maybe I should stay home from church for awhile. Part of me is thrilled. Avoid the horribleness of being in church with all those people. Part of me is so sad that something I loved so much is now something I would rather avoid. 

*Just to be clear. I am still standing on the solid rock of Jesus, despite it`s just the actual going to church that is so hard...among so many hard things.


  1. I'm so sorry that the comfort of church is not there for you now. I don't know how your loss has affected your relationship with God, but I never thought that I would struggle so much with faith.

    I wish that I had something helpful to say. I hope that someday, your joy and comfort in church is deep again, and that attending is not so painful. Perhaps your husband is right, and that it just takes some time.

    Much love to you and your family xoxoxo

    1. Dear Suzanne,
      Thank you for your comment and for caring.I am still standing on the rock of Jesus....all else is sinking sand. This is the truest it's ever been in my life. I don't know what it is about church...I think mostly it's just being around so many people. During the course of the week I usually just interact with 1 or 2 people at a time. I don't know what I would do if I had to go to work.

  2. Hello,

    I am a Christian and we lost our son, Caleb at 17 months old, in August of 2008.

    Our church was the most supportive church that we could have ever asked for...for example Caleb died on a Wednesday and on Sunday our youngest (living) son said that he didn't want to go to church so we all decided to stay home. About a half an hour after our church would have started a caravan of cars and people drove down our street and turned into our yard. The whole church came to our home to grieve and cry and worship the Lord together.

    I explain that because that is just one of the many things that the church and the people in the church supported us by doing after Caleb died. That being said, the enemy tries to attack us where he knows that we are "strong" or where we can find comfort.

    I have found it difficult, even with huge support from everyone there, to enter church without sadness. It has been over three years and it has gotten softer, but is still difficult at times.

    Church is a place where we have many memories of our little ones with us and, like you said, other children that would be our children's ages are still attending church and that is a painful reminder.

    If it wasn't for my husband who has continued to encourage our family to go to church every week, I would have stopped going I think.

    Looking back though I can see the healing that does take place as we go through difficult circumstances and face them head on...tears and emotions and all. I just cried two days ago at church about Caleb. I don't care like I used to about what people think. Until you have lost a child, it is difficult to realize the emptiness.

    I wouldn't blame you from taking a break from church (not that you need anyone's approval), but be careful not to avoid church for a long time. God does have the church set up as a support for believers and you don't want to be away from it for long. It is easy to get lost in grief, at least it is for me.

    I also looked to the Christian examples around me, when Caleb died, of others who had lost a child and it encouraged me to see that they were still attending church and participating even though their beloved child had died.

    Like I said before, if it was up to me, I would have probably stopped going to church. In retrospect I am glad that I didn't because I am one of those people who would be content to stay home and be alone in my grief and I would have a more difficult time going back.

    Praying for you and your grief journey,
    With love and Hope,

  3. Anella, I read this psalm today after reading your post on church. It made me think of you.

    "These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

    Why are you so downcast, o my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

    My soul is downcast within me, therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon - from mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep, in the sound of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

    By day the Lord directs his Love, at night his song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life.

    I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" My bones suffer mortal agony, as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

    Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, For I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

    Love, Erin

  4. Anella....I found church hard at first too. For me it was partly because there is something about going to church that is revealing and raw. Something about worshiping God that touches me right in the deepest place of my heart. It brings out the best and worst in me and I guess it's just really revealing and it's hard to be "that" vulnerable in front of lots of people.
    I think too that sometimes it's just hard because it's hard to know what to say to everyone. It's emotionally draining. But I would also encourage you to keep going. Even though it's super hard, I think you will find that it will help you to heal. You have to get through that super hard before it begins to get better.
    I'm gonna put you on my calendar so I can remember to pray for you on Sunday mornings. You can DO this. Keep clinging hard to your Abba Daddy!