All God’s Children
I was once the child who was made to feel that I did not belong.
As a young girl, I spent a summer vacation with my mother’s relatives. While staying with my aunt and her family, I felt lucky to get a small part in their church play. I loved practicing “my one line” with my new friends from the youth group.
One day, as I was washing my hands, two mothers who were helping with the play rehearsals came into the restroom. Walking towards me, both of them chimed in with a friendly, “Oh, hi there!”
One of the nice ladies asked, “Are you new in our church? We’ve never seen you before.”
“No, I’m just visiting, I got to fly all by myself from California,” I bragged feeling very big at that moment.
“You must really miss your parents; that’s far away,” the concerned women remarked.
“Ya, kind of, but I’m having so much fun with my cousins. I’ve never been in a play before,” I said proudly.
One of the women handed me a paper towel, as she asked, “Not even in your church?”
Looking down I said, “I don’t go to church.”
She assured me in a motherly tone of voice that I was doing a great job in the play and that my parents would be very proud of me.
That night, my aunt got a call from one of those “nice ladies” saying I couldn’t be in the play because I wasn’t a member of their church. As I recall, my aunt was rather upset after she got off the phone. When she shared her thoughts with the youth leaders, I did get to perform in my first play that summer. But it didn’t mean nearly as much to me after the woman brought down my carefree spirit, like a kite falling from the sky. Even as a child, I knew that the adults’ painted smiles hid the fact that the church was bending its rules for me. It made me feel singled out and uncomfortable.
From my own unfortunate childhood experiences, I have felt judged and punished for being raised with no religious upbringing. I wonder if “all God’s children” applies to everyone, or if being accepted comes with invisible strings attached. As we draw new people into our churches, I pray that we will share His love sincerely, and with sensitive, caring hearts. I want to still dream with the faith of a young girl and ease the pain for all the children this world that don’t feel like they belong.
Thank you for me making me welcome as a part of the Blog Carnival. http://su.pr/7Xj49l This week’s theme is Church. Please go to Bridget Chumbley’s site to read other blog entries and/or to join.