Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's Time for a Church Break

It seems odd, doesn't it? I need comfort. And going to church is supposed to provide that for me. I'm supposed to find solace and support at the place where I'm most likely to feel closest to God.

And maybe that's part of the problem - being in the place where I feel closest to God. The place where I feel most vulnerable because it's where I can most feel God's presence and open up.

But honestly, it's been a loooong while since I've felt close to God. So, it's not just that.

The children at our church seem to almost be there on purpose to made me feel more sad - make me feel more deeply what I don't have. There seems to be a focus at our church right now on growing the congregation with young families, so even when there are just a couple of toddlers in the entire place, we still have a children's sermon. And it kills me every time I watch it happen. When am I going to get my chance at bringing my toddler up there?

And even if there really isn't this intended focus (which I think there is), I get fixated on it more. And I'm there for over an hour with no escape. I see the newborn so clearly and then strive to avert my gaze upon it. I see the pregnancies so poignantly and I try to fight back tears the entire hour.

And what's ironic is that this week I became inspired to just 'go with it' and really convinced myself to not be obsessive anymore about when this is all going to happen for us. And then Sunday morning happened, once again.

My Sunday morning has become about mustering up the energy to not cry when I'm in church. How fun is it to go somewhere knowing you're going to sit and have to distract yourself to fight back the tears?

I think it's time for a break. I can't brace myself each Sunday morning for this type of draining energy.

I don't want to take a break, and frankly, I don't understand why this is happening. Church is supposed to be comforting. So then, why isn't it right now???


  1. I am so sorry that church is so hard for you right now. I remember having those same exact feelings. We have a lot of kids/babies in our church. It really was so hard to sit there and watch all the families with their little ones. I had to fight back those tears too. I got through it by staying focus on the speakers and not let my eyes wonder around the segregation. It was hard, but it got me through it.

    I hope and pray that you will be able to take the break that you need, but that you will still have a desire to return to church.

  2. Wow, I could have written this post except two weeks ago I did break down in church. I had been doing the same as you previously trying to keep it together, holding back the tears, but then two weeks ago I just couldn't hold back anymore, I quite literally started sobbing in church. It has become a sad place for me too, a reminder of all the happy families, pregnant women, and babies and I also am on a break from it. I'm sorry you're experiencing the same pain & sadness. Sending love and thoughts your way my friend.

  3. I am sorry things are rough at church right now. I too experienced that. It can be hard. Different tactics worked at different times. I now always have finger puppets in my purse to distract kids that are having a hard time. It helps me feel good about helping them and not focus so much on what I don't have.

    It is hard to be at church sometimes when you think you are the only one struggling. But I guarantee you, you aren't. Everyone puts on their nice clothes and wants to look like everything is great, but inside they are struggling too.

    If you feel a break would do you some good, then maybe you should take one.

    I hope you feel better soon.

  4. Sorry to hear of the struggle you are going through. Perhaps you need a break...or perhaps you even need a new church. It's worth a shot. A lot of churches do focus on children's programming, and that is great, but if sermon's are constantly about kids, it would be easy for any person dealing with infertility or perhaps singleness, to have emotional breakdowns in church.

  5. I'm so sorry. I cried in church multiple times. And so many sermon illustrations are based on the pastor's children, at least in my church. Yet I've had friends in my church who I knew were praying for me. And now I'm praying for a couple of people I've gotten to know who are waiting for their babies.

    Hope you are able to take a break or switch churches! I think you do need to be in a place where you can draw comfort and focus on God, and serving others. It's so hard to not be distracted by the kids though, I know.

  6. Oh my - I can so relate! In fact, at one point, I drew up a little comic about this very issue that I think you might appreciate:

    One thing I'd offer to you, though, is if you'd like to go to your church environment without the kids, is go in the off hours. I sometimes stop by when no one is there and sit and talk to God in my own way. Then I can feel free to cry in private, too.

    Another is sometimes when I'm not up for attending the actual service I'll try to dedicate that time or an hour on Sunday on connecting with my spiritual side. Maybe that's through praying, doing art, going for a walk in nature - only you know how you can best get there.

    Sending you a huge hug!

    Lily - The Infertile Mind

  7. When I read this post I could've sworn I had written it. I am a 20-year childless woman, and church still hurts. I go to a very large church so there is no escaping the infants, the kiddos, and the plethora of preggy bellies every week. Just like you many weeks I have to muster the courage not to cry in church. Since I am no longer trying to conceive the tears come from how much I don't fit in with my church family. I have tried in different churches to start a group of CNBC couples, but I've been met with either or stony silence or the statement, "We encourage infertile couples to adopt." Even though my faith means a lot to me church is painful reminder that I am an outsider in the Christian community, and how I don't understand why God singled me out for childlessness and how it is "for me good."

    Hugs to you. I pray it gets better for both of us.

  8. Have you spoken with your pastor? When I was having those struggles in our new church our pastor did a sermon and just in passing mentioned 1 Samuel. Samuel was born by a mother who was infertile. She was one of two wives. The other wife would rub it in her face she could give their husband kids...but the God found favor with her and she was the favorite wife of the husband. She dedicated the child to the temple later on because of God's blessings. Not sure what that has to do with anything. But I've found comfort in it. There are tons of infertiles in the bible...and in blog land :)

    Totally unhealthy note: Sometimes I think "if I could just learn the lesson God wants me to learn in this, then maybe I'll be granted a child". I keep searching and hoping and praying.

  9. I agree with you... you have tried and just because you're not going to church doesn't mean you're giving up on God... God is everywhere... just try to stay focused on Him through daily reading and praying ... and in time you'll recieve the strength you need to go back if that's you're desire... Its all very hard... it really is and the more I read your blog the more I wish that we were closer to each other for the support... I'm actually thinking of starting an infertility support group at my church... for women and couples just like us.

  10. Taking a break would be a great thing I believe. I took a month break earlier in the summer, and spent my own time with God. It helped alot, and if I wasnt required to go right now...I probably would be taking another break. I just found your blog and look forward to following you! I will be praying for you, this totally sucks.