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Becoming a Christian Again

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I am a Christian. I’ve always been a Christian, from as early as I can remember. When I was a child, we went to church every Sunday without fail. Usually, it was just my mom and my brother and me; my father seemed to give up on God as his bipolar disease grew stronger. Later in life, he found his way back to church, but I wouldn’t consider him a Christian. To me, as I explained to my eleven-year-old son, a Christian is someone who does right by people, no matter what the situation. You thank God for the good things, pray for strength in handling the bad things, and do whatever you believe Jesus would want you to do. So many people go to church every Sunday, religiously (pardon the pun), but then are abusive, demeaning, or downright rotten the other six days of the week.

Since we moved to New Jersey from Florida, we haven’t been going to church. I read the Bible sporadically and am interested in religions other than Christianity. We regularly attended church in Florida. It was a good fit: my husband knew the priest for a long time, his parents attended the same church, and the congregation was open and friendly. When we tried out a few churches in New Jersey, we were met with stares and scarcely a nice word. Then I found a church not ten minutes from our house and went to a ham-and-oyster dinner for takeouts. The people I spoke to were friendly and welcoming. It was a good fit.

But my husband works every third weekend, and up until last spring, he worked the day shift and my social anxiety disorder wouldn’t let me go alone without him. But something has changed within me now. I want to attend church; I want my son to experience religion and what it feels like to belong to a congregation. The church we have chosen has a very active youth group, and choirs for kids and teenagers. My son loves to sing, and so do I. It’s something we could do together. I also think my husband was much more upbeat when we regularly attended church. He seems in a funk right now and I’m determined to get him out of it. So next weekend, we’re going to services. This particular church has a service on Saturday night, which is rare for an Episcopal church, and it means my husband could go to mass before going to work on Saturday night if necessary.

We gave my son his first bible when he was two. We read him stories until he was able to read himself. He read it through at least three times. When things were particularly bad in my life, it was my four-year-old son who took my hand and said, “Don’t worry, Mommy, God will help you’. Now he doesn’t even remember the Lord’s Prayer. I knew all the prayers, by heart, when I was his age. I’d like him to learn more about the church and become Confirmed. I explained to him that when he was Baptised, at seven months, he was Baptised as a Christian. Confirmation means you become an Episcopalian. We talked about Communion. I was surprised he remembered what that meant and what the wafer and wine meant. I told him he could attend regular mass, or join Sunday school, along with other kids his age. He’s chosen to attend regular Mass right now, but that’s his shyness. I think he’ll make friends there and want to attend Sunday school.

So what got me back into being a Christian? It has a lot to do with Tim Tebow, the quarterback of the University of Florida Gators. He’s an outstanding quarterback, but he’s also an unashamed Christian. His father, Bob, runs a missionary in the Philippines, and you can go on missionaries with his group. I was an RN before I became disabled from Lupus and Fibromyalgia, but as the years go by, I’m beginning to feel better and would like to go on a mission as a nurse. My son wants to go too, but he has to be fifteen to go. So we have four years to decide, and to save our money for the trip. And we have to attend Bible study, as there are a lot of parts of the Bible I haven’t read, or don’t understand. I have several Bibles in the house and one is a teaching Bible. That’s the one I’ll use to learn what the Bible actually teaches.

My husband is a bit skeptical about all of this, but I know once we start going to church again, he’ll believe that I mean what I said, and am determined to do what I want to do. And that’s to serve God as a Christian. A real Christian.

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