My story and why I want to go back to church LONG - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-31-2010, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know where to start...a bit about myself...I went to Catholic school for 1st-8th grade. My mother has always said that if the public schools were better I would have went to PS instead, and she really doesn't feel that it did me any good . After my sister and I graduated, she started only going to church occasionally, and now I don't even think she goes apparently because of her work schedule and because our church now only offers Spanish mass So what I'm saying, is that while I was raised in a CS, I was not so much raised in a Catholic house.

I became pregnant with my 1st dd at 18. I married her father (no faith, no belief in Jesus) and our daughter was baptized because my mother arranged for it. I hate to say that life (and two more babies, one high-needs) got in the way and I found myself distanced from the church. We had arrangements for our second to be baptized, but at the time felt we couldn't handle the stress of actually taking her to church. He was actually very anti-church, but is the type of personality that lets the woman make the decisions (and still is, with his second wife). So without his support, I let life take over and I've been inside a church only a handful of times since my sister's 8th grade graduation. She's 23 now .

Fast forward to now. I am divorced from my first husband, and now after reading here at MDC I see that I was supposed to have my marriage annulled through the church (yes we were married in the church). I am now remarried to a non-practicing Jewish man. We have one two year old daughter together who celebrates holidays for both faiths (just not at a church or synagogue). We are strongly considering sending her to CS. He sees the benefit of a private school, stronger academics etc. His mother had considered sending him to CS when he was a child. I see the benefit of a "community", smaller class size, and straight K-8 (not four different schools, like the PS my older daughters attend), plus I love the ease of uniforms. Regardless of what my mother thinks about what I got out of PS, I feel that my problems are rooted in self-acceptance issues and had nothing to do with low morals. I sorely miss my childhood school (now shut down) and want something similar for my daughter.

So here I am, divorced from one man who wanted nothing to do with a church (I still remember his silence during prayers, or silence during a blessing at dinner), and remarried to a Jewish man who says we should go to church this Sunday for Easter and has no issues with our daughter attending CS. I have his support.

The problem is, I feel like I have done so much wrong since I stopped going to church, and I believe God is a forgiving God, yet I feel like I would be shunned. Like everything is stamped on my forehead. When I was married to my first husband, we tried bringing our daughters to church twice, and one time an usher asked if my ex-husband would like to pass around the collection basket, and another time we were asked if my daughter would like to bring up the offerings. I feel like they knew we were new, and tried to include us, but that didn't exactly work for us . We (I) wanted to observe, and enjoy, but not exactly "participate". I felt like we stuck out like sore thumbs. That really irked me at the time because I knew how my ex-husband felt, and it really discouraged me from going back. And it's part of the reason I'm still nervous about attending mass.

I guess my reasons for wanting to go back, is I've been feeling "ungrounded" and lost and I remember the peace of attending mass, and that once upon a time I did enjoy it. I feel like a chunk is missing from my life. It was there and now it isn't and there's a hole. And now considering CS for my daughter, I feel that I need to reacquaint myself with the church. I am working up the nerve to go to confession, but now I'm worried about this annulment. What exactly does that mean for me who is now remarried?

If you managed to get this far, thank you. This may actually be my first post at MDC, I'm not sure if I've ever posted here before but I registered awhile ago.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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i wish i could address some of your specific worries, but i can't - i really think you should share you concerns with a priest and i bet you will feel a lot better about beginning to attend mass again. i hear so much need in your post, and the things you want/need are out there for the taking - so talk with a priest about the beliefs you are holding about yourself, that are keeping you away from what you need. forgiveness, peace and connection are being offered to you, and you can make the choice to accept it.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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I could not read without posting.

Seriously, are you fearful of going to church because of things you think you've done that were wrong? Isn't this exactly why there is a church?

Why don't you start somewhere small, go to church this Easter, you don't need to do confession if you are not up for it. You can do that on another day. Just go be with the community. I can feel your need. Give yourself that gift. The rest will work itself out.

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Old 03-31-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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Start with Easter Sunday. Lots of people go that day that don't normally go, so you won't stand out.

If you're asked to participate in a way you don't want to, you can say "No thanks" with a smile. Unless the congregational culture is *really* insular and weird, that won't be a problem. My family is Catholic (I'm not). There is a huge range of devotional practice among Catholics. Some are super devout, and some just occasional church attenders. And you are definitely not the only person in the world who feels the way you do about having "fallen away".

You might find reading the lives of the saints to be helpful. My parents do that regularly and sometimes share interesting ones with us. Many of the people that have been sainted by the Catholic church were horrendous, vile sinners before coming to Christ, or had left the Church and spent years in sin before returning. Actually, you could start with Paul, persecutor of Christians who became the apostle to the Gentiles. And that's an essential tenet of the Christian faith, that the blood of Christ cleanses us from *all* sin and that we are *all* sinners who need that cleansing, whether it shows on the outside or not.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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God loves you, and, I'm sure, anyway you can find to draw closer to and seek God is a good step. If going to church is your way of doing that, I don't see why or how anyone can find fault with you, least of all God. The first step, of course, is in your heart, and it sounds like you are already making it - realizing that God is always with you, always loving you, and wants to be a part of your and your family's life. =)

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Old 04-01-2010, 01:04 AM
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One step at a time. Try church this weekend and see how it feels. There will be lots of visitors from various other denominations, so you'll blend in. If it feels right, make an appointment to talk to the priest. Priests are usually very welcoming to a person in your situation.

If you lived near me, I'd invite you to come to church with us this weekend...my kids are so boisterous (they love chuch PASSIONATELY) that no one would notice your family!

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Old 04-03-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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Couldn't read without posting. #1... we are all sinners and we have no right to judge anybody. PERIOD.

I agree with the 'go to church on Easter Sunday to blend right on in' ...it's true. There are Sundays that the church ECHOS from lack of people. I *know* tomorrow will be packed even at 0700 Mass.

I was told here a while back to do what I felt comfortable with and DH can choose to follow or do his own thing. It is true. To force or beg doesn't work. Just pray for him. Everything is in God's time.

You know, I married #1 and (gasp) cheated when I found out that Dh was seen kissing a man after admitting to me in private that he was attracted to men..........we are all human. I made some horrible human choices to heal wounds in the human world. I am now deeply sorry and I have been forgiven and moved back to my faith. Sometimes it takes things really going "bonkers" for us to center up and get right with Jesus. It is a wake up call...we can press snooze or come home. Be kind to yourself...you are doing the right thing. I will pray for you.

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Old 04-04-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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Hey, did you make it to church today?

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Old 04-04-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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Have you checked out catholics come home http://www.catholicscomehome.org/

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Old 04-04-2010, 11:27 PM
 
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Our church was packed today. Normally there are whole rows empty. Today we had to search for enough seats for us.

I hope you got to go, and that you felt welcomed.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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Please just go. Don't think about doing it right. God's grace is abundant.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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I think that you have a lot on your plate right now. And I understand where you are coming from! I just converted and received the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. It has been quite a journey that is far from over. I had been away from any type of church for almost 18 years, I had become agnostic for awhile then a year ago I started attending church and now have converted to Catholicism. It has been a bumpy road and even felt impossible at times but to me it is proof that anything is possible with God.


I think that you can just start attending Mass and see where the Holy Spirit leads you. Be open in prayer with God and He will help you discern what you should do. From my understanding everyone is always welcome to attend Mass. When you feel up for it go and talk to the parish priest (which I know can be hard - it took me weeks to muster up the courage to talk to mine!)

Try not to feel like you have it all stamped out on your forehead, no one is there to judge you. I feel the same way too a lot of the time but there really is no need for it. It isn't fair to us to beat ourselves up for things that we can't help and can't change. The thing to keep in mind is that we live in an imperfect world with imperfect conditions. That is why we need Jesus to redeem us. We are all children of God who have His love and we are welcome in His Church. But it can feel hard sometimes to walk into that community where there are lots of people who were raised Catholic, married a Catholic and attend church with their children. Also keep in mind that we are all sinners every single person on this earth. The past is the past, we can move on from those things because each new day is a fresh start to come closer to God.

I feel uncomfortable because my dh is an atheist and he doesn't want the kids going to church with me. It is hard for me when people ask where my family is. Plus it is just so hard to put yourslef out there and hope to be accepted by new people - at least it is for me anyway. It sounds like your dh is supportive though - which is great!!!! I will say some prayers for you and pm me anytime if you want. I hoep that things work out for you. The important thing to keep in mind is that God is calling you and no matter what He will always love you and want to be in your life. God Bless.
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for your support . I did go to church on Easter and I'm very happy I did. My oldest daughter (14) went with me, and I think she may have enjoyed it also (after the "what am I going to wear?! drama). I wasn't made to feel uncomfortable and after 8 years in Catholic school--well, you never forget how to ride a bike . I plan on going back this Sunday, I just felt really good afterwards and there's no reason for me to not go. Thanks again!
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:51 PM
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Welcome home, Winterlights.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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