I have been attending the same church for the last year, well I suppose year in a half, now. I had stopped attending church when I was sixteen and couldn’t handle the hipocracy (and I still cannot spell that damn word even with autocorrect) and dwindling numbers. And in the last half of my life, while I never turned completely away from God, I guess I lost dedication to my faith. Growing up I have only one memory of attending church with my mother. She was invited by friends from work, and I remember being really confused and just not into it. She never kept me from church as a child and teenager though. I attended by myself for years.
We living in a pretty bad neighborhood there for a few years, and it was getting increasingly worse. The last week we lived there three drive-by shootings happened within 5 minutes of our street. Scary huh. Between attempted break ins, increasing numbers of gang related activity, druggies and drunks, well it was hell, and not where I wanted my son raised any more. The money coming together to move up here was literally a light in the darkness. I have struggled with the move, it wasn’t what I signed up for, but it was the right thing to do for my son. Long story short, my son’s paternal grandparents and aunts asked me to move here. First his dad did, but he flaked a week later after asking and changed his mind. His family asked that I still do it. Well, my mother took it as a sign that we needed to get back into Right with God, and wanted to look for churches.
The very first one we tried is where we are today. I was attracted to it because it is literally a little white country church. I enjoy the straight from the Bible doctrines, even when they aren’t sugar coated happiness and prosperity. Which we don’t have a Joel Olsteen be happy type doctrine. Of course salvation is something to be happy over!
But it wasn’t until recently that I started really looking around. There aren’t a lot of unmarried individuals in my age range. In fact I think there is one, and we don’t interact. I have nothing against her, I am just not very good in social situations and I have a feeling she is the same. But then I noticed that I am literally the only unwed mother there. I know there is one blended family but beyond that, yup just me. Unless you count my mother, she was a single mom who never married. She stopped even trying to date when I was pretty little. Michael told me he had to explain to someone in youth group that his dad and I never got married. I guess people just assume that I am divorced. Nobody does the math and realized the ink on my high school diploma wasn’t even dry when I gave birth to him. Which I am thankful over. I always hated the comments and such people made when my son was a baby…
I don’t regret my stand when I got pregnant that I would not marry his father, even if he had asked. I knew it was very rough road that would only end in worse pain for us. It would have been the wrong choice to make. I think God knows that and forgives me.
But when I stop and think about it, I don’t think there are a lot of single moms really in any church. We aren’t all immoral sinners who could care less. Many of us have a strong faith. We made bad decisions, but so too do all Christians. Nobody is sinnless, not even the pastors on the pulpit. Sex outside of marriage is obviously taboo in the Bible. Not supposed to do it. Nobody wants to admit it is a sin and many single people in churches are very sexually active despite it being listed as a no-no. But nobody pays attention unless you are made a parent… Well divorce is the same, a sin nobody talks about but it happens just the same. (Mind you I am not saying anybody should stay in a toxic marriage, I like to think God is very forgiving on this) And yet it feels like divorce has become more acceptable in the church than unwed moms. And I think this pushes away a lot of women who need that home we find in a good church. We are scared of judgement. Being told we are dirty immoral sluts or how we should have been married, or whatever. Or people expect that we are still indulging in wild reckless behavior. Which a lot of time these are things never even said except in our own fearful imaginations.
I don’t think anybody in my church really looks down on me. Most don’t know me very well. Like I said, I’m not really that social. But it is kind of lonely, being the odd duck. And on days my anxiety is bad, doubts creep in and I wonder what people think about me… I’m already a big gal, and that gains enough opinions of people who really shouldn’t care what my scale says…