In a nutshell, I believe:
That Jesus Christ loved us so much He willingly gave up His life on the cross so our sins could be forgiven.
That the Bible is God’s holy inspired word written to teach us how to live.
In one God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
In heaven and hell.
I cannot imagine living this life without knowing Jesus, my savior, who loves me so much that he died for me! He died for all of us! Jesus is not only my savior. He is my help. He is my rock. He is my hope. And someday soon when we all get to heaven, we will see Him face to face! All our earthly troubles will at last come to an end!!!
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
I also believe:
That homeschooling and unschooling are excellent educational alternatives to public and private institutional schools, if done so without extreme isolation, coercive persuasion, or religious thought control.
In gentle, positive, peaceful, respectful, and non-violent parenting methods.
In treating everyone with love, acceptance, and respect regardless of their race, religion, skin color, social class, abilities, disabilities, convictions, opinions, choices, lifestyle, sexual preference, or sexual identity.
With all that being said, now I’ll tell you why I don’t go to church anymore!
I have chosen to no longer attend church! I know some of you may be thinking, “She doesn’t go to church? She must not really be a Christian!” Well, I hate to disappoint you, but I can assure you that I am a follower of Jesus. I love Jesus! I couldn’t survive without Him!! I believe that He suffered and died on the cross and then rose again so I and others who choose to believe in Him could live in heaven with Him forever!
I am also reasonably certain that some of you are thinking I may be skipping church because I am angry at God for letting my daughter suffer with brain cancer and disabilities. Once again, you can rest assured, I didn’t quit attending church because I’m mad at God. Although honestly, I must confess, ever since Bethany was diagnosed with a brain tumor I have had periods of being both mad at God and at other Christians from time to time!
I don’t go to church anymore because doing so is just too difficult for me. My own disability (debilitating hip arthritis and spinal stenosis) makes me tired and in pain! It’s really hard for me to physically sit, stand, or walk for any length of time. It’s also really hard to physically handle my daughter’s seizures and meltdowns anywhere other than at home.
When Bethany gets angry she gets aggressive and doesn’t care who she may hurt while in a rage. Bethany thinks she has exclusive rights to sprawl out on the couch in the church foyer. The battle over that couch became overwhelming for me. Obviously I couldn’t allow my daughter to push, kick, or hit others because they dared to sit on “HER” couch in the church foyer!!
While sitting on the couch in the church foyer every Sunday, I quickly found myself feeling obligated to help and control all the little children who were running around unsupervised during services. Yet, in so doing I was leaving Bethany unattended for short moments of time, when for example, I helped a little one in the bathroom. Because of Bethany’s uncontrolled and unpredictable seizure disorder, those brief absences were placing Bethany in possible danger.
Some of you may be wondering why I don’t take turns attending church with my other family members or why we don’t just leave her at home with a sitter while the rest of us go to church. Well, first of all I don’t mind being the one who stays home- all the time. My husband is a very social creature and thrives on being part of a group. Socializing and being part of a group is not important to me, so I have chosen to be the one who stays home with her. I don’t want my husband or children to miss out on anything so I can go! Neither do I want to give my other children any reason to resent having a sister like Bethany.
As for getting someone to sit with Bethany at home while the rest of us go…It’s simply not an option. There isn’t anyone available for that. Respite workers are hard to come by and most do not want to work Sundays. We don’t have any extended family members nearby that could help either. And anyway, I couldn’t go to church and leave Bethany at home! I just couldn’t!
I am also becoming increasingly aware of the fact that I’m not at all sure I really believe in the “Institutional” church any longer! It seems to me that the money being spent on programs and building maintenance could be put to much better use, like helping the poor, disabled, shut-ins, widows, and orphans!
“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” (1 John 2:17).
Bethany and I will remain at home on Sundays where we are content learning about Jesus, praying, reading the Bible and doing Bible studies.
*Update : As of 1/27/17 none of us has attended an institutional church for a couple of years now. It’s just too hard, depressing, and anxiety inducing to try any longer. Finding a church in our rural area that values, respects, and/or is equipped to minister to individuals with disabilities has eluded us. We will not attend a church that does not value our daughter!