I don’t know why this is the case; my childhood was pretty typical and filled with happy times – at least as far as I can remember.
I don’t remember my first day of Kindergarten, but I do remember the easels at my preschool because I loved painting . And even though I was the oldest of four, I don’t recall my mom ever being pregnant with my younger sisters. But I do have visions of being dropped off at my aunt’s house in the middle of the night when she went into labor on a hot summer’s night.
There’s a lot I don’t remember, but I know my childhood experiences have shaped me into the woman and the mother I’ve become today.
Many of these memories of my childhood center around my church and Sunday mornings. And just as my childhood memories have influenced my mothering, my first church memories have shaped my faith today.
When I close my eyes and look back in time, here are the snapshots of those first church memories and experiences:
- I remember an early Sunday morning, my mom and dad sitting around our dining room table hunched over the phone book. It was the early 1980′s and they were searching for a new church to visit. My mom made suggestions based on denomination while my dad made phone calls, trying to figure out what time services were being held. This was in the days before the Internet!
- I remember joining a new church and going up front to be introduced to the congregation. I also got baptized on that Sunday morning, and I remember wearing a blue and white frilly dress. To this day, my parents are still members of this small town church.
- I remember attending Sunday school in the basement of the church – feeling nervous that I would mess up my memory verse, but hoping I could nail it so I could get a piece of candy.
- I remember my first kiss. Yes, parents beware, it was in that very same basement of my church during a game of hide-and-seek at a middle school “lock-in”.
- I remember that one time my parents forgot my little sister at church and an elder brought her home (we still tease them about this one today).
- I remember the bell choir that would play during the holidays and wishing that just once I could wear those bright white gloves and play the littlest bell.
- I remember my church organizing an epic bone marrow registry because a little boy in our congregation needed to find a match. Ten years later, because of this event, my dad would be a perfect match for a sick young woman living across the state and he would become her donor.
All these memories, from reciting Bible verses to bell choirs and first kisses have molded and cultivated what my faith looks like today. I often wonder what little nuggets of childhood and our church my kids will remember when they’re adults. Will they remember the devotionals we do after dinnertime? Will they remember the bedtime prayers we say faithfully? Will they remember their very first Bible?
Only time will tell… every night I pray that their memories of growing up in a Christian home will stick with them into adulthood. And no matter what the future holds for each of my children, I pray that they always remember and feel God’s unwavering love.
What is your first church memory?