That’s the day I walked back into the church. The hymnal was different, the service, not as traditional as I had grown up with, but wonderful all the same. The whispers had become the Holy Spirit talking in His normal voice asking me to come back. I did. I have been happier since that day.
Several events led to my decision to go back to church. I found myself often saying to my children; “You need a dose of Jesus in your life.” This usually occurred after I had to referee some serious sibling rivalry battles. I also tried to sing some Sunday School songs to my daughter Casey, 2, and had forgotten many of the words. Hmm, what a shock. Last Easter season, Good Friday I think, I talked with my cousin, who regularly attends the same denomination church in her town a state away, about favorite hymns at Easter. I realized that one of the big things I missed was the hymns. They had always made me feel warmer inside. Then I read about a well known author and her struggles with her conscience that ultimately resulted in her announcement to leave organized religion. She stressed that she had not forgotten her Christianity; she just didn’t want to be a part of the church any longer. I am not of the same organized religion as this author, but I realized that I had essentially done the same thing. I left the church, the worship services. In my case though, I need that service, not because I had lost my faith, that has always been unshakeable, firmly rooted in Him. I need that chance to sing and worship with others, to feel Him beside me in a different way. That day, I felt Him there. He was right beside me.
After that first service, I found myself singing all through the house. I sang so much that my Casey, started mimicking me. She sang La la lula at the top of her lungs. I had been singing This Is the Feast, which includes several Halleluiahs. My heart soared. It was really warm inside. I felt peace. I knew that I had done the right thing. The whispers were now a part of my joy.
My daughters and I have been attending church for almost 3 months. Occasionally my second son reluctantly tags along. My older daughter, Holly, is also taking confirmation classes. Holly and I joined the choir just before Thanksgiving. I hadn’t sung since high school, but I felt another whisper in my heart. So I swallowed some butterflies and joined. That was the second best decision I had made in a long while. We practiced 3 songs to sing at the Christmas Eve candlelight service. One evening, we also went caroling to some of the shut in members. As I stood there singing the old familiar hymns, the joy on the peoples’ faces made my heart flip flop.
After talking to the pastor, I joined the congregation. He asked why there was such a huge gap in my attendance. Of course, I had no good excuse, so I told him that I just hadn’t felt like it. I guess I just felt that there would never be a church to compare with the one I loved so much. The stunningly gorgeous one in Detroit, Michigan. As far as I know, the building still stands and I think there are still services but many things changed. I have been searching for another church just like that one. Now I know that church was always there, it was in my heart the whole time. I plan to continue to attend church, I need to. I need to feel that joy in my heart.