“Sit down, be quiet and for the last time PAY ATTENTION!” came out of my parent’s mouth most every Sunday as we sat in the third pew of Providence United Methodist Church.
As a little girl most of these mornings I spent in nursery or sitting on my Daddy’s lap. As I grew up, I used Sunday school and youth group to see friends and to go on fun trips to the beach and the mountains. As I look back, I do not really think that I understood that I should use church to teach me and help me. When I started to grow and learn church became something of a constant. No one would ever call me Jesus freak and many people would NEVER even think that but the people at my church have helped me grow and stay strong.
My religious beliefs, according to most standards seem pretty normal. I try not to lie, cheat or steal. The main points in the bible make up my religious beliefs but I use my religion and my church for more that just rules. I use it as a place to be taught life lessons and learn about people. I can look back on my 16 years of life and tell you a lot about troubles I’ve had and how horrible I thought my life was at times but the main thing that you would accumulate was the amount of times that my youth leader and friends have helped me. My youth leader Teresa Dunn has fought with me about short skirts on church retreats, sharing a bunk bed with her and even about helping clean up the peanut butter and jelly mess in Atlanta but that is not what I remember most about her. I remember her helping me when I lost all my friends. I remember her leading my brother’s senior service on the Garden City trip and I remember her helping me form my belief system.
The many youth groups, trips and church services that have been lead by Teresa gave me the basics to my beliefs. Because of her and my family, I have experienced the love of true friends and the lessons of life well lived. I believe in friendship, trust and honesty. I could not have gotten though some of the things in my life without having my family to lean on and having Teresa tell me that I have grown up strong. I learned to be myself in youth group and that I still have people to stand behind me and catch me when I fall. I could say that honesty has been a motif in my life. Many times I have not stayed true to this but from those time I have learned that it can be the most important belief. To me, honesty can be called the main quality that makes you true to yourself and accessible to others as a friend.
Providence United Methodist Church should never be called just a building, the people in it make up what I believe in. I use church to my advantage through the people. My church family is what makes me a good person and what has taught me to believe.
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