Disclaimer: No, I’m not pregnant. Just wanted to put that out there, in case that’s what you were thinking.
Of all the experiences that we’ve had as a family since moving abroad in 2006, one of the greatest and most life-changing has been to realize that we are a family of five, a family in Christ.
When Marcus and I met, I liked that he was Catholic too, though neither of us was practicing. We went to church on holidays, for baptisms and weddings, and on the occasional Saturday or Sunday when we were up, moving, and so inclined. But we weren’t religious or spiritual.
That changed slightly when we had our children, because I knew that I wanted them to grow up in the church. But we still went to church sporadically, and didn’t include Christ in our day to day life.
When we went to Marriage Encounter, Marcus and I both took reassurance in the idea that our marriage had three people in it–me, him, and God. But when the weekend memories faded, so did that idea from our lives.
Moving abroad has breathed new life into our ideas about spirituality, religion, our faith, and our personal and familial relationships with the Lord. Originally belonging to a large Catholic church in Harrogate, we may never have been active or had this experience. But on the recommendation of our friends, we decided to attend the parish on base.
It was not an easy transition for me from a large parish, where I was a face in the crowd, to a small, faith-driven community where people knew and interacted with one another. In fact, I felt uncomfortable with this time of church at first, and our attendance was sporadic.
In addition, my children were not well-behaved at mass. I felt like all eyes were on us, and was embarrassed that they had misbehaved in front of God, as well as people we would see on a regular basis and who did, in fact, know us.
Over the past year, however, everything has changed. I wish I could pinpoint who, what, or when, but the fact is, it was a combination of everything.
We started attending a Moms and Tots Mass weekly on Tuesday mornings, connecting me through Christ with other women and children that I have come to love and cherish, and who have impacted me and my relationship with my girls.
Marcus became the parish council’s treasurer, allowing him to become involved in the church and it’s decision making.
I started doing the Children’s Liturgy, sharing the word of the Lord with children and drawing on my background as a teacher. This opportunity has also allowed me a deeper understanding of God’s word.
Add to all of this the fact that, as many of you predicted, the girls are learning about church, God, and our faith. As a result, they are behaving in church, asking questions, and praying.
We are growing as a family through Christ, thanks to our parish community and our experiences living abroad.
We are, without a doubt, a family of five thanks to the Lord.
I am truly blessed.