Okay, I admit it. I’m already a dismal failure at taking a photo each day. But you know what? That’s okay! I’m going to swap between the photo a day challenge over at Katie Evans Photography and the one at Fat Mum Slim. Depending on what the challenge for that day actually is. And if I remember!
On Sunday it was “my kids all dressed up for church”. They’re not all that dressed up, really. Church isn’t all that formal – and it was HOT! I made Stella’s dress (for Clare originally) and Clare’s is from Myer. They had an argument about what to wear that morning – Clare wanted to be “matching” and Stella didn’t. This was their compromise.
I originally hesitated to post this one, because it does make it pretty obvious that I do attend church, as do my kids (although I probably have mentioned the “church” word before). My Christian faith has been a fairly private and personal thing for me. For the non-Australians who read this blog, I possibly need to give you a little context. Australia is a highly secular nation. The majority of my friends and relatives – including my husband – don’t align themselves to any particular religion. Some disdain Christianity and other religions completely. So it is something that I have mostly kept to myself. Maybe I’ve been worried about what others might think of me!
I grew up going to the Uniting Church, a mainstream and progressive church that embraces pretty much everyone and has an active outreach role. We went to church and Sunday school, and I attended a secondary school affiliated with the Uniting Church for the last three years of my schooling. Once I was a young adult, I rarely attended church, although I always retained the faith that I had been introduced to as a child somewhere in the recesses of my mind and soul. Around twenty years passed before I found a new church community close to home (although I often attended with my Mum when I visited my parents, and both my daughters were baptised in my childhood church).
Church is important to me. I’ve been attending regularly for around a year and a half now (it happens to be a Baptist church but I have retained the more liberal views of my Uniting Church upbringing). My faith has sustained me through what have been a difficult couple of years, and I give thanks for that. It is important to me to introduce my daughters to the community of faith, no matter what religion they eventually choose to identify with. I don’t force them to attend church with me; it is their choice and they love coming along. Stella is especially thrilled that “she is a Sunday School girl now”.
Worshipping God with other Christians is important to me. Having my beliefs affirmed – and often challenged – makes me think a little more deeply about the person I am and the parent I am, and where I fit into the broader community. Many people say that you can be a Christian without going to church. You possibly can. That’s what I said for the past twenty years. And there are plenty of non-Christians who live according to what I consider to be Christian principles. But I find that going to church helps me to focus and to connect with a community who are accepting of and genuinely interested in my family. Our church community is surprisingly diverse in socioeconomic, cultural, and educational backgrounds, and along with that are different thoughts about God and Christianity and the Bible. But despite our differences, we have the same basic faith and are worshipping together.
My Christian faith is pretty simple, actually. I don’t know the Bible all that well. I just believe that God is Love, Jesus is the son of God, and everything else flows from that.
This is a deeply personal blog post for me, and is way more than I was originally intending to type. I’m not even sure whether I’ll press publish.