Q: I would love to know how adult children who grew up in mis-matched homes feel about all of the things we deal with. (Going to church and activities only with mom, not being able to pray/sing/share at home when Dad's around, worrying that Dad is not going to Heaven, etc.) I would also like to know how to answer my daughter's constant questions about those same topics.
So, I decided to call my daughter, Caitie, age 22 who now lives in Indiana. I asked her these questions and here is her response. She gave me permission to share.
I asked Caitie: So how do you feel now that you are an adult and can look back upon your childhood, about going to church?
A: Mom, many of my perceptions and answers are specific to our individuality and family dynamic. (She’s a Com major, grin.) Because I have a great relationship with my father, I’ve never felt stifled about faith. I didn’t feel shame and, so I didn’t need to make intentional decisions to hide my faith. I do know and understand that is something that other kids have to walk through. And it must be very challenging.
I did feel a weird pressure to attend church. Dad would only go to church when I went to church. When I didn’t go (once in a while in high school when she was in a play, etc.) I would feel personally responsible to attend. I felt pressure to create some magical family ideal, all of us sitting together as a family, in church. I felt responsible to you, Mom to make you happy.
ME: I said to Caitie, you know that we have discussed this before and I have asked forgiveness for issues or events that made you feel responsible when you weren’t. And I also appreciate your love and heart for doing that for me, even if it was not a perfect situation.
Caitie: When I went away to college, that was when I began to attend church for myself. And I knew it was for me. I loved my church. And I’m still searching for a good one now in my new location.
ME: Caitie, finding church, as an adult, it is also true of families with two believing spouses. Many kids raised in church go because it’s their parents church. They move away and then they attend church for themselves. (Inset note from ME, Lynn. This is one reason we fight, insist, and work diligently to take our children to church. It’s important and it sticks when they are older.)
Caitie: Yes, that’s true.
ME: Caitie, don’t give up on church. The enemy does this to so many people. It’s difficult to find the right church and you must try out several, sometimes many, before you find the right one. And it’s exhausting to keep visiting churches. The devil knows this and will influence you to go to every “wrong” church so that you simply give up and stop attending. DON’T GIVE UP.
Caitie: I won’t.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6
Next week I’ll share more of my daughter’s responses. I hope this encourages all of you who are raising your children in faith.
Next question: Do you worry about your Dad’s salvation?