Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Have a Confession. . .

I have a confession to make:  I haven't been to church in months.  Really, months.  Since Rain's wedding in July.  That's a very long time.
Why?

Lots of reasons, I think.  None of them good, none of them important enough to keep me from worshipping in fellowship with other believers.  I think.

Maybe it's just enough trouble within my heart and just enough difficulty getting there. I still haven't re-established a healthy communication with God; still not praying/talking with Him regularly; still not "in the Word" as we Christians like to say. . . I used to devour His Word.  Literally eat it up. 

I miss that.

I miss talking with Him and hearing from Him.
So, why am I resisting?  No clue.
I haven't stopped believing.  I know He's real.  I know He is good. I've walked with Him for twenty years. . .

Every Sunday, the kids ask if we're going to church. 
We don't go. 

It's always been difficult to go to church.  Well, not always.  Mostly since we moved to Colorado Springs, that's when the "difficult" started.  At that time, it was just me and Kelsey and Kris.  A young, firey white girl with two little bi-racial children (who were adorable!).  For years, I discounted the polite looks, the quiet exclusion from conversations, the sense that somehow my little family just didn't fit in. 

I found myself switching churches.  I'd never thought I'd be one of those.  After all, we have trouble relating in our families, why would a family of believers be any different?  But somehow, it was.  Somehow, my heart just couldn't take not mattering.  I was in Bible studies, in choirs, led children's worship with my trusty guitar, went on ladies retreats, joined small groups, led small groups. . .and still failed to make strong connections with anyone.

I was a single mother, going to the denomination's Bible College, working full time and taking classes full time, and still "ministering" in the church . . . and I never felt so alone.

It certainly didn't help when I bought a huge house out in the country and filled it up with handicapped children.  My enthusiasim and passion and belief carried us far - especially in making all the parts of the house and care for the children work - but even then, I couldn't truly connect to the Body.  When I approached the Pastor about someone from the fellowship helping with my special needs children in a Sunday school class (both for the children and for me, so I could attend services and not be sitting on the pavement outside holding an unruly child on my lap listening to the service over a speaker); his response was that if I felt there was a need, probably God was calling me to that.

Naively, I thought well, okay, and started a Special Needs Children's Sunday School class.  So, not only did I get to care for my kids 24/7 at home, I got to take care of them and other kids on Sundays, too.  And, I now had the extra job of finding helpers for the class.  Wow.

But, I don't want to go into all this here.  I mention it to say that I'm pretty sure that a huge part of why I am not going to church today is that, while I've found a Pastor I respect, and going to his church completely satisfies my heart - I am still very aware that my special child (now only Kameron), is a little different (well, alot) and doesn't fit into any nice age group of Sunday School children.  With his mental and physical delays, he's better suited for a first or second-graders class than his chronological fourth grade one.

In short, he takes more effort.  And, even in our large church with all it's many many ministries, there doesn't seem to be anyone who wants to take on this little child, even for a few hours on Sunday.  And it breaks my heart - again.

He benefits so much from God's Word and from the music - he memorizes scripture like crazy, and he's the first one to ask if he can pray for you if you have a problem.

But, he is different.  He is in a wheelchair and talks funny and is in diapers. He can have inappropriate behaviors (like throwing the playdough around and laughing like a lunatic).  He isn't an easy child, I know this.

But doesn't he matter to God?  Of course he does.
Shouldn't he matter to a body of believers? Of course he should.

He is the least of these; one of those Jesus spent time with while here.  Kameron matters greatly.

I have to say that I hate writing this.  I feel like I'm being horribly disloyal and expecting too much and that the problem must be mine, not anyone else's.  Like if I really want to go to church with my handicapped son, I should go - full speed ahead and damn the consequences.

But the zeal and fervor that kept me plowing ahead like that for so many, many years is pretty much gone, now.  I am tired.  I am tired of fighting to be included - heck, not even included, just to get in the door (there's no handicapped access to the children's ministry).  I'm tired of cheerfully smiling at the pretty young couples with their beautiful children who all quietly step back a few paces and try not to look like they're checking us out.  I get it all the time out in public, twenty years of it.

It hurts too much to see it in church, too.

And so, another Sunday is spent at home.  And I hurt.  I hurt for Kameron, I hurt for Kobi and for me.

At some level, I hurt for those missing out on getting to know Kameron, too.  He is a very special little boy.  He deserves that love and acceptance.  But, I'm just too tired to fight for it right now.

5 comments:

  1. So...speaking of confessions. I didn't go to church for almost 4 years because of Donovan. Sure we tried a few times. One time on Easter Sunday we went to a church and kept him with us in the sanctuary. We sat in the "stroller parking" section of the church and parked his wheelchair. It was towards the back of the sanctuary and we figured it would be okay. Towards the end of the service we were asked to take Donovan outside because he was making too much noise. We never went back there. Its difficult when you have a child who is 10 years old but mentally 1 and wears diapers. People I guess just aren't comfortable with that. I have to remind myself that although my eyes have been opened because I have Donovan's other peoples haven't, they just aren't comfortable. It is sad though because the one place where you want to feel accepted is church. We are currently going to a church where Donovan goes to the nursery which works for him because that is where he is at mentally. But I know that those days are numbered. He can't still go to the nursery when he is 20 and his uncontrollable laughter and funny noises make it disrupting in the sanctuary. There is a need for churches for special needs families and I will continue to pray that with acceptance they will be start to pop up. Until then, I keep my faith and remind myself that God chose me to be the parent of Donovan for a reason...because He knew I could handle it and He also knew that we needed Donovan as much as he needed us. I won't try to say anything to make it better because there is nothing to be said. It just sucks, but just know that you aren't alone.

    Hiedi

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  2. Hey sweetie - how is it like God to have us hook up right after I post that? I hate not going - feel like a hypocrite, but I can't go by myself and leave him home...

    I'd love to meet your little man sometime!

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  3. That is sad that you cannot find an accepting church. You would like ours I think, no one minds a bit of noise here, and we have wheelchair access ramps because I few past members (who moved out of town) used to be in wheel chairs.

    I hope that you find the place you are looking for!

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  4. My heart goes out to you Kathy as I'm reading this. I know how it feels for me when I've not be able to connect; and it's an aching alone-ness.

    You and "Jay-n-Heidi" bring up a very relevant need in churches today for Sunday school classes for special needs folks. When I was in my 20s & 30s I worked with developmentally disabled adults and adored working with that population. The large church I grew up in had a Sunday school class for developmentally disabled adults but they did not have anything for children. I remember this one family that had a very low functioning developmentally delayed daughter; she was so cute. Several of us in the high school and college department volunteered to watch her on Sundays so the family could go to the service and relax; she was a very, very active little girl. I went away to college and heard that as the people who had volunteered left or got involved in other things, no new volunteers stepped up; so that family did not have anyone to watch their daughter. The thing is, when you have a special needs child they typically require so much energy that you especially need to time just to be able to sit and reflect during the service.

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  5. You are right, Tracy - the big issue for me has always been a decision between attending church as a family, with everyone getting some sort of spiritual instruction/time in worship, or finding someone to watch my "special" kids while I go to church by myself...not something I am willing to do.

    But God is faithful. I know something will work out eventually!

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