Family Matters,  Life Lessons,  spilling my guts,  the meeting,  Tis the Season

My Easter Post


I have to come clean about something and I really hate to do it. Not because I’m afraid of you readers judging me but because I’m afraid it will make waves in my family and I really don’t want to cause anyone to hurt any more. I’ve put the subject off for more than a year. There has sort of been a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy amongst my relatives and that seemed to be going along great but it never felt that great to me. I’ve never been one to lead a dual lifestyle so let the sun shine on my path so all can see…and judge, if they will.

You see, I’ve been going to a Lutheran church for about a year now. Not every Sunday but probably at least two Sundays a month, sometimes less, sometimes more. I’ve been going just long enough that I’m getting familiar with people and they miss me when I’m not there. It’s starting to feel like home.

stopping mid-hunt for a snack

It’s funny that I chose to go to a Lutheran church as it is very very different from the way I was raised. How can I explain the differences without writing a novel? I think the easiest way is to imagine comparing Quakers to the Catholic church. An ocean of difference…yet still just Christians.

I chose to go to a Lutheran church out of respect for the way Toby was raised. Toby doesn’t go to church anymore but he has a lot of sentimental feelings about where his little girl goes and I understand that. I feel that way too. So Bug and I go to both places. I take her to meeting (where I was raised) when I’m visiting my mom and I take her to the Lutheran church when I am home.

Easter Helmet ON!

It really is true that the best way to convert someone is by example. Nobody ever tried to convert me to Lutheranism (and I’d hardly say I’m converted…yet). I just looked at the people in my life who seemed to have peace with their spirituality and started asking questions. Toby’s stepmom is Lutheran. Also, Bethany is Lutheran. I never really made a decision to go one way or another but I just keep ending up here and it seems like God has something to do with it. (That’s a loaded sentence. I could write a whole post about that but I need to keep this from getting too long.)

I do need to make it clear that I’m not breaking bread (taking communion) at either place. I don’t even know how to really explain that without boring everyone to death. I think the deciding factor for me is that the meeting is more exclusive about who they break bread with and they would have me choose one over the other. So I choose neither. Which is sad but that’s where I’m at.


When I first started going to the Lutheran church it felt completely wrong and backwards. I cried my way through services because it just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel comfortable going where I was raised either and yet I felt like a lost stranger going to this new church where they chant and read their prayers off a paper with their eyes open. With their eyes open! It was so weird. So…so Catholic! Which is not a bad thing per se but when you’ve been raised as Protestant as they come, it can seem all sorts of wrong. It felt too formal and distant from the way I learned to pray to Jesus, as if he were my friend sitting right next to me.

But Jesus was still sitting right next to me. He never left me.

Easter-ish lilly

So I talked about my awkwardness with the Lutheran style—of chanting and standing and sitting and drinking out of golden cups and wearing different colors on certain days etc etc—to Toby and Bethany and I’m starting to understand it. I understand the madness behind their methods anyway. I may not ever feel like this is where I belong but the truths are still the same truths. Lutherans just like more structure. And after living through a particularly bloody division of people in the meeting, I can appreciate a little structure.

What I’m really trying to get at with this post is that I’m starting to feel loved at this new church. The people there are so quirky. I love Lutherans with their stuffiness on one hand and their open-minded acceptance on the other. Like the joke goes, Lutherans are the only ones who sing “Stand up, stand up for Jesus!” while they are sitting down.

They’re very good at making fun of themselves too and I like that. They’re a little bit legal but a lot bit accepting. They never make me feel bad for what I’m doing or not doing but the pastor can pound home a sermon that makes me cringe in guilt. He’s not shy about the touchy subjects and I appreciate that.


This last Sunday was Easter Sunday which is a really big deal in the calendar for many Christians. The meeting celebrates Christ being risen from the dead every Sunday so it’s never really been about a particular day in Spring for me. I’ve never been to an Easter Sunday service before so this Sunday was a bit interesting to say the least.

I’m so glad I went to the Good Friday service on the Friday before though. Celebrating Easter isn’t all about rejoicing and pretty flowers, though it is about that too. It’s also about Jesus being crucified and the pain and suffering He went through on the cross leading up to his resurrection. Jesus was a real person. The crosses were wood and they stuck big giant nails in His wrists and feet. When the pain got too bad from hanging from His wrists, He would have to stand up on His legs pushing against the nails that held his feet. The pain was real. And yet that pain was nothing compared to the punishment that God rained down on him to cover all of our transgressions so that we could be free and join Him someday in Heaven. The Good Friday service was about that. It started in candlelight and ended in darkness that seemed fitting for the solemn remembrance.

It was strange to leave the building in silence and not stop for coffee and cookies in the kitchen afterwards. That’s what we usually do. Bug was completely mystified by it because usually the socializing part of church is her favorite part. But I’m glad she’s being exposed to this. I want this to be normal for her someday. It may not ever feel completely normal to me but it will to her. That’s why I keep going.

On Sunday it was fun to see the church decorated in lilies and listen to the choir sing special songs that they’d been working on for weeks. The choir is a small smattering of members. They don’t give you the chills when they sing like the fancy church across town but I like them. They really try.

The pastor tried to get the congregation excited about the singing. He told us we could sing loud and clap and even make animal noises if we wanted to. Anything was good as long as it was a joyful noise, he said. But when the choir did their best to really get into a fast-paced song, all the congregation managed to do was stand and sway from front to back. They didn’t even clap when it said to clap in the lyrics. I found it hilarious.

But you know what? I felt at home in their awkward swaying. Maybe they didn’t really get into the music like some churches do with loud amens and hallelujahs and that’s okay. I think it’s a cultural difference. Some people really like to feel their music, others are more quiet. They were there because they wanted to be there. And I was happy to be there too. I may have shed a tear or two.

fake uggs at church

I was especially happy to be in church on this Sunday because I really needed a place to be and just pray. Bug was entertained by the singing and pretty music and I could close my eyes and pray. Watching my fellow mommy-bloggers mourn over the loss of Maddie and Thalon this last weekend has been gut-wrenching. Babies die every day, I know. But these babies belonged to mothers who wrote about them on the internet. It could have been me. It could have been Bug! I’ve never identified with a mother losing her baby as much as I did this weekend. Maybe I’ve been off in my own lala-land ignoring the harsh realities of life. Maybe I needed a wake-up call. Life is so short.

So that is part of why I’m coming clean here today. I wanted to talk about the silly fluffy parts of Easter where we had a nice dinner and an egg hunt and how cute Bug’s dress was…but I felt bad glossing over the more meaningful parts of this Easter. This Easter was hard on so many people. Personally, I found a lot of comfort going to church with the motley bunch of Lutherans I’ve recently begun to love. I hope and pray that all the other mothers out there have people to take them in like I’ve been taken in.

my little princess

I’m floundering around like everyone else. I’m probably making a million mistakes. But it isn’t about me. No matter what way I go, thinking I’m doing the right thing, I’m sure I’m not. I’m just starting to realize that no matter where I am, Jesus will still be there. Sometimes it’s almost funny. He probably laughs at me.

If you want to comment, please be kind. I don’t usually moderate comments but I will on this post to protect my family.


  • Calee

    This is a beautiful post, you elegantly described something that is so difficult to put into words–the spiritual journey encumbered by all of the baggage that makes life both so difficult and so rewarding. Our little family has made a similar break from the Christianity of our parents–we became Eastern Orthodox. There is something really fun about raising a little girl in the liturgical seasons of the Church. Today is our Good Friday, and just like Bug, our 2 year old was very concerned by the somber-ness of the recent services but I know she’ll be thrilled when it finally comes time to celebrate the resurrection.
    You’re doing a brave and important thing, keep it up!

  • Angie

    Hi Brenda,

    I am de-lurking too. I am a Lutheran, born and raised. And I smiled, got teary, and laughed throughout your post. All those things you say about Lutherans? True. I even get uncomfortable when the Passing of the Peace lasts too long (more than 3 Peace Be With You’s for me) and return to my pew to look busy. I have been a member of three different Lutheran churches over the course of my life (because of moving, because, well, why would I go to a different one?) and in two of them, the pastor has stopped us when we are singing and asked us to, “Try it again”! Ha! My husband (raised in a non-denominational faith and a Methodist church – not together) has been kind enough to agree to go to Lutheran churches and to raise our daughter in the Lutheran faith. I have tried all sorts of other churches- Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Methodist, Protestant, Non-Denominational, etc.- and have found the Lutheran church is my home.

    I am glad you are finding somewhere where you feel welcome and at home. And Jesus is always there with you. Even if this Lutheran won’t talk to you about it because it’s too awkward and personal. :)

  • Jackee

    I applaud your honesty and candor! We all love and care for you and Bug, your finding peace and spiritual enrichment in your Christian journey is what is important. And if it joins and cements your family – wow, what a winner.

    I was raised Catholic, as was my husband. (he is my second husband) but before I met and married him, he converted to another religion. Because we love and respect each other so, we are very tolerant and respectful of each other’s differences. Those differences are all man made. MAN MADE. They are not from Christ. Christ who wants us to love each other, to commune with one another. you know, WWJD? HA!

    Love your blog, love your bug, loved the post. I feel much closer to you now, not like a lurker at all.
    We’ll be over for dinner later.

  • linda

    It’s not the name above church that gets you to heaven. You asked Jesus to save you. When we trust in that- that’s what gets us to heaven.

  • Uncle George

    I’m behind you 100% B, and you are doing a fantastic job and the right thing for BB.


    p.s. I’m still trying to learn how to listen to music amongst Lutherans (Why can’t I sing along, mom?) and am learning a lot more about their culture every day. They are very good people.

  • Busymomma66

    You are a brave wonderful woman. I’m like erika, posting smaller and smaller at this time sharing less and less, a bit fearful, not sure where I’m going. I know this was hard for you. Religion is such a personal think, it makes it difficult to share. Blessings on you.

  • Linda

    I can so identify with you. Grew up as a Baptist, and then cahnged tio my mum’s chirch as a teenager which was full on Protestant. Only joined the Lutherans 9 years ago and at first it felt so Catholic and full of rituals…but now its home. God has a path for all of us if we just trust him and we should not allow the church to become an obsticale in our relationship with Him.
    Thanks for sharing

  • OMSH

    Brenda. I love you.
    And? I saw a lot of difference in praise and worship Easter Sunday too. I sang on the praise team and looked out to see a variety of congregational singers: swayers, stiff-necked-no-smiling-non-singers, those in pain emotionally or physically, a few “I’m lifting up my hands and voice to the Lord” charismatics, and though I’ve been a member of my church for 5 years, I still didn’t (don’t) feel completely at home.

    And the reason is…
    My “home” is not on this earth.
    And praise our Father in Heaven, neither is yours.

  • Ellen

    Heh! I’m actually a switcheroo the other way. Raised Lutheran, now more of a Bible churcher. My dad is now a Lutheran minister, so yes, there’s some tension there. My poor parents now have this crazy rebellious “conservative” daughter.

    I wish I could create an “ideal” church worship service for me… the liturgy of a Lutheran church and the fire-and-brimstone sermon of a Bible church. That would rock. Alas. I don’t think it exists.

  • Mary

    Hey Brenda,
    Love your site and read this post with interest…
    I grew up with a Catholic dad (who narrowly escaped the priesthood!) and a Baptist mother, was baptized Lutheran and hardly ever went. Always searching (and still working on it…) Flirted with the Assembly of God in high school…when I married an Episcopalian, I’d found my home in many ways, but sometimes I still feel that searching. But then I remember my little one (now grown) who was able know where God was and had it down pat. Especially in the Eucharist…even at two!

    So you are OKAY in your feelings! Take care and keep growing. I don’t think there are any limits in believing and I’m pretty sure God happily takes whatever we offer up at the place we are…and knows it’s all good, whether Baptist, Lutheran, Buddhist, or even a crazy old Piskie like me…

  • Anna-b-bonkers

    Hey B. Thank you for this post! What you said about going to another church and the discomfort rings so true to me. Not only that but the unwelcome feeling and desire not to be in the messed up place where we grew up I resonate with too. I miss it and want to be there sometimes but at the same time wish I could be comfortable.
    I feel like an outsider no matter where we end up and wish I could just break bread somewhere without being judged.
    Anyway, there is so much here that I appreciate and I wish I could get words out as clearly as you did, so, thank you!

  • Jeanie

    Wonderful post about the real meaning of Easter. Thank you for writing it and for baring so much of yourself.

    My dad is a retired Lutheran pastor and I’ve grown up in the Lutheran church. There are great people in the Lutheran denomination as well as other denominations, of course.

    If God has you where He wants you (perhaps at the Lutheran church you visit), then He will likewise give you His peace.

    When I put my 13-month-old son to bed at night I say the benediction over him: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you His peace. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

    I will pray for you and your family to feel His peace in you.