After Julia turned one, Tim and I decided to start going to church. It was important to both of us to give Julia faith.
I never went to church as a child. When I was fifteen, I had the opportunity to play the piano at a Presbyterian Church. I was paid $25 in the beginning and my rate was raised to $50 a week by the end of my tenure. The job was a goldmine. I had no expenses and decent income. I wasn't very good, my piano skills were and still are riddled with mistakes. They were very patient with me. I got to know the choir very well and began to feel comfortable in a very conservative, country church environment.
When we started our search for a church, Tim insisted it be Baptist. I voted Presbyterian, but Tim doesn't believe in infant baptism. Personally, I like seeing a little baby scream being sprinkled with holy water. I couldn't mount an intelligent argument for Presbyterianism, other than it being comfortable for me, so we found a Baptist church.
We went to church, stopped going, started again many times. I felt intensely uncomfortable on many Sunday mornings. The music was too upbeat. They sang hymns I had never heard, and I thought I'd heard a lot of hymns in my days a church pianist. I was weirded out by the first Baptist baptism I saw. Julia cried when we left her in the nursery.
When Julia was old enough we started going to Sunday School so she could go to her own program. She loved her first exposure to any sort of school. She was one of only two kids in her class. They had two very attentive, wonderful teachers. Church is a dress wearing occasion, she was hooked.
We kept going, and going, and finally I started praying to feel comfortable there. I started praying when I was about twelve, so that wasn't a major revelation. It was something new to recognize that something needed to change in me. It was the first time I ever thought of myself as being on a faith journey, or having the potential to grow as a Christian. Corporate prayer was never comfortable, no matter who was doing it. On a tip from our parenting Sunday School class I instituted a nighttime prayer with Julia. This was me, praying, out loud. Praying generally a lot more often.
Whether it was the diligent repetition, our daughter's contagious spirit, or the power of prayer, I may never know. Over the course of three or so years we've met people we admire, joined a bible study group, and found a real spiritual home. Tomorrow, we join the church.