The day we quit church

Fingers_playing_guitar

Four years ago, Shawn and I were driving home from church. Our four kids, still very small and all in car seats, were in the back seat hungry and very tired. Shawn and I were equally as tired and hungry. It had been a very long and frustrating morning. Waking up four small children early for church, dressing all four, feeding all four breakfast…none of which wanted anything that I had served them….complaining, whining, crying, screaming….We finally arrive at church. The church we were attending at the time didn’t have a nursery, so Shawn and I took turns taking our 18 month old twins out of service. Every little fuss or shrill laughter from them echoed wildly through out the stained-glass church.

We were tired. We were tired of the fight.

So, on our way home from church that frustrating Sunday, we decided we would quit church. It just wasn’t worth the pain and struggle.

We came home from church and I remember asking Shawn, “What’s the point of even going? I don’t get it anyway.” He was at the same point. We had both grown up in church all our lives, and this one day, we were BOTH ready to simply call it quits. The thought of Sunday’s NOT getting up, racing to get kids dressed and make an 8am service time were pleasant, and a complete contrast to the drudge we felt on any given Sunday morning.

This was a very low point in our faith as a couple. We had never felt further away from God.

Shawn and I were both raised in traditional churches, and we have fond memories of learning and growing in our faith. Raising four young children, we wanted to provide them that same kind of faith growth and depth of understanding. Despite our efforts to connect at many different churches over a number of years, we couldn’t find other parents like us, AND have a place for our children to grow in faith and relationship with Jesus. There were many situations of having one or the other, but never both.

We felt very alone, as parents. So alone.

I am very thankful….and I truly believe it was a “God pulling us up from the mud” moment….that Shawn suggested that we stop looking for more of the same and just look for a church were our family could worship and feel like we belong.

We started going to the church we attend now in May of 2011. From the very first phone call to find out about service times all the way to last Sunday— It feels like home!

In February 2013, our Worship Pastor heard that I played guitar. He asked me if I’d be interested in playing with the group. I said “yes,” and the rest is history.

The funny thing was, when he asked me to join the group, I was still in that “faith slump.” I remember back to the first few months of playing on Sunday morning, playing at the back of the stage, just out of the lights, thinking, “if the people here really find out that I’m struggling in my faith….if they really find out that I live, daily, in shame from my past…..if they really find out who I am….I will be asked to leave.”

I knew very little about grace at that point. I didn’t understand grace from other people, and I certainly had no grace for myself.

As the months went on, I practiced the guitar more and more. I would sing the songs, with my guitar, in my living room. I was practicing—-but I was actually worshiping at the same time.

Ephesians 5:19 says, “Be filled with the Spirit of God. Sing songs from your heart to Christ.”

Practicing became my new drug, and I was very quickly addicted to playing more and more. There was a flutter in my heart whenever I would pick up my guitar to play….a quickening of the Spirit. If I was having a bad day, practicing the songs for Sunday morning would quickly change my mood around. If my kids were arguing, guitar music quickly distracted them. It became a habit that I craved!

We were pulled from that “faith slump” through God’s amazing grace. “He lifts up the fallen.” (Psalm 146:8 msg)

I am thankful we didn’t quit, because God didn’t quit on us.

Following the path,
Kelly

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

9 thoughts on “The day we quit church

  1. Being this transparent will resonate with so many people, Kelly. Thank you for being willing to put it out there for others. I pray this will be a springboard that someone else needs to ask God to pull them out of the mud. And I know this story isn’t finished… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BrandyH

    Thank you Kelly! When we lived in MA I quit going to church for a time for similar reasons. When we moved back to TX I struggled with feeling worry about “if anyone knew about my shameful past I’d be asked to leave” however, like you, God led us to a church where we feel like and are family. Where we can share our struggles and be real with one another without fear of reprisal. I feel God’s grace there and it’s helping me to give myself grace for my past. His love is amazing.

    Like

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