Why we stopped attending church....
This has been a gradual progression. We didn't just stop attending church. Within the last two years there were many Sunday's and Wednesday's where my husband and I did not attend church. And then in August of this year my husband stopped attending altogether and I followed in September.
It wasn't always like this. Every Sunday before church I would often post an "off to church" picture. My husband played the bass guitar so Sunday's were quite hectic as we would get up early to get to church where my husband would have practice. But each Sunday we would make our way to church. We would do the same every Wednesday. After work, we would rush home, make dinner and then get ready for church.
But then something changed. And I no longer would I post the "off to church" picture on a regular basis. There were some Sunday's where my husband wouldn't go and then other Sunday's where we both missed.
It isn't what you think though. We weren't skipping church because our son was in a football game. We weren't skipping church because our daughter had a musical recital. We weren't staying home because my husband wanted to watch a soccer game on television. We didn't miss church because we were tired from working all day. We didn't miss church on Sunday because we slept in and wanted to relax before the work week began again on Monday. We didn't stop attending because someone offended us at church.
We stopped attending regularly because cancer entered our home.
The first Sunday we missed church we were in a hospital in California. Our family vacation turned into a tragedy as my husband was diagnosed with cancer. We missed church that Sunday because the doctor's had completed a biopsy of a tumor that was discovered and we were waiting in the hospital for the biopsy results. It would be the first of many Sunday's where my husband was unable to attend church. When the cancer returned in March of 2015 my husband would spend two weeks out of every month in the hospital receiving cancer treatment. So for two Sundays and two Wednesdays he would miss church.
I continued to attend church and instead of the "off to church picture" including 4 people it only included 3. As soon as my husband got released from the hospital though he made sure he was in church the following Sunday. He would often wear a mask as he was neutropenic and his white blood cell count was so low. But he would be in church. After receiving toxic doses of chemo that caused him to get platelet and blood transfusions he would be back on the platform with his bass guitar the Sunday he left the hospital worshiping God as he ministered with the music team. Even as the chemo was causing spinal damage and my husband was in severe pain he would still make it to church.
And then the cancer relapsed in April of 2016 and the salvage drugs stopped working so in July he entered the hospital for a 21 day stay getting chemo. He spent a week at home in August before returning to the hospital for what was supposed to be a 5 day stay. Unfortunately that stay was extended to six weeks. During the stay he lost all ability to move his legs and arms, a result of the damage caused by the chemo. And so since August he has not attended church. He has missed 3 months of church. And then when the doctors sent my husband home on hospice declaring that there was nothing else they could do, I also stopped attending church because my husband needs a full time care giver.
Again the reason isn't because the football game is more important. Nor is the reason because the work week was exhausting and he wants to sleep in. The reason isn't because our child has a sporting event. Nor is the reason because he was offended by a message that was delivered from the platform.
My husband would give anything to be able to sit in a pew on Sunday and worship with other believers. He would give anything to be able to once again sit in a pew on Sunday to hear the Word of God delivered. But he can't. Because he is confined to a bed. Because the chemo has caused damage to his spine. Because he can't move his hands. Because he can't move his feet. He has a reason for not attending church.
This is not a judgmental post although I am sure some may take it that way. I think though how many times we make any excuse to miss church. We place value over things that have no spiritual value. We skip church because we are tired. We skip church because there is a sporting event on TV. We skip church because our child is involved in athletics. We skip church because we didn't like the way the praise singer looked at us. We skip and justify skipping church all of the time.
But there are people like my husband who would give anything to be in church. There are people in other countries who walk miles, through rough terrain to get to a church service. There are people in other countries who attend church although doing so violates the law and can result in death.
I explained our reasons for missing church....What is your reason?
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