Thursday, December 8, 2011

It requires faith

My husband and I started attending church regularly when we got engaged. We found a great church in Waco, one where we found a caring community that allowed us to explore our faith in a way that never made you feel bad for asking questions. Lakeshore Baptist Church will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s where we got married, dedicated our first born son, and shared lots of laughs with friends.

When we moved back to the DFW area, we were church shopping for quite a while. We visited lots of churches before we found the right one for us. We had criteria we wanted in a church: not too big, intergenerational, a place where questions are welcome, a place where our kid (we only had one at the time) could feel at home.

When we found St. Stephen UMC, we were thrilled to find a place where we felt welcome. We affectionately refer to our Sunday School class as the ADD class—active discussions and digressions. We can start on a topic and hit dozens more before we ever get back to the original question.

Most importantly, our kids feel at home there. They’ve made friends, they know most of the people in our church, and they are comfortable. My son has been asking a lot of questions about faith, and I love how he feels that he can ask these questions without feeling like it’s wrong to question the “why” of our faith. My daughter is still very pragmatic—it is what it is, and that’s that.

Around the holidays, the question of faith comes up more often. Jesus is the reason for the season, but Santa Claus is much more entertaining. T. recently asked me to tell him the story of Saint Nicholas and I shared with him the story of a man who was so generous, that at Christmas time he would give out gifts to people in need. His legacy lives on and we remember him today as Santa Claus. The story has changed, characters have been added, but the idea is still the same: a man who gives of himself for no other reason than to give to others. What a great example of faith in action!

I’m glad that my children have a foundation of faith. I know they will have lots of questions as they get older, and there even may be a time when faith is not a part of their fabric. But I believe that this foundation will allow them to come back to welcoming arms and a peace that passes all understanding. It did for me.

Reace Alvarenga-Smith is a Public Relations Manager for Texas Health Resources and mother of two.

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