First, let me start by telling you that I am not a strict church-goer. In fact, after college where I completed a Minor in Religious Studies and analyzed the world’s major religious belief systems in an intensely academic way, I was completely turned off to all religion for a very long time. However, this past winter while my husband was away on a painfully extended training trip which lasted from the first week of January until the last week of February, I decided it was a good time to see what church could offer me at this point in my life. I was alone with my two young sons braving the insane North Country winter without the strength and comforting hands of my husband. If I am reading the research correctly, our little town had snow accumulations in excess of 200 inches during the time J was away. And yet, I managed to dig myself out with the help of some amazing friends and one paid plow truck! And I made it to Sunday church services with both boys in tow almost every week that J was gone.
Here are the benefits I found from attending the non-denominational church on our Army post:
1. An astounding outpouring of support for all military families as we face the daily struggles of Army life especially when our soldiers our separated from us.
2. An amazing sense of community with people who can relate first-hand to all of the little nuances that come along with this life.
3. A weekly structure, especially on the weekend when our soldier would be home with us during a “normal” work week.
4. An opportunity and a reason to get out of the house particularly when all I wanted to do was curl up in a depressed ball of pajamas and hide under the blankets for the day.
5. Sermons that were relevant to the current training and deployment schedules affecting the families at our specific Army base.
So I attended faithfully and regularly for 7 weeks. Then my husband returned home and spring decided to finally show its shining face and our attendance at church faded with the melting snow. Deployment preparations began and family time became more important than worship. Then deployment day arrived and after all of our summer travels have come to an end and fall is quickly approaching, I have found myself alone again with these two young boys looking for ways to occupy our time and fill our days. So today we headed back to church.
I do need to take a moment to briefly discuss the chaplain’s sermon, his “second part in three part series on marriage.” Today’s focus was on husbands loving their wives unconditionally and respectfully and in a caring way. Okay, that sounds all right to me. My husband loves me that way and my love for him possesses the same unconditional, respectful, and caring attributes. But here is where the chaplain got me (and perhaps I am much more of a feminist than I thought): he repeatedly preached, “Husbands, you must love your wives as the weaker vessel. They are the weaker vessel and they need your unconditional caring and spiritual leadership to find their way.”
Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t think military wives (or any other wives in the present day, for that matter) are the right audience for this type of message. See above about how I survived 200 inches of snow accumulation…BY MYSELF…with two children. And I am by no means granting myself some special credit for this achievement because there are so many inspiring women who accomplish these small feats. Every. Single. Day. Without help from a “stronger vessel.” As far as I am concerned, I may not be the stronger vessel, but I am the water that keeps the whole damn vessel afloat. And my husband will attest to that! Maybe, I misinterpreted the message, but my gut is usually right when I start feeling uncomfortable with something. Any insight or other perspective about this divine message are welcomed in the comments to this post.
Onto lighter topics! I thought a good first post would be about “church appropriate” attire or rather “how I prefer to dress for church.” After all, I have classified this website as a judgment-free zone, so I am not going to pass judgment on the way others dress for church or for any other occasion. My mother always told me, “God doesn’t care what you’re wearing as long as you are there.” So wear what you will and come as you please, but for me, I look at Sunday morning as a perfect opportunity to dress it up a little more than my super casual daily mom outfits.
I have to keep in mind when dressing for church though that the temperature inside is quite unpredictable and fluctuates between extremes…I’m either sweating or shivering. With this in mind, I chose a royal blue tank top with eyelet detail layered under a black 1/2 sleeve jacket with Peter Pan collar. I paired these with black and white polka dot pixie ankle pants and strappy flat black sandals. I accessorized with a bold pearl floral necklace and pearl stud earrings. It was freezing in church today, so I did need to keep the jacket on, but it was too warm outside for a jacket and the tank top by itself was perfection. I hope you feel inspired by what I put together! Tomorrow, I need to choose an appropriate mom outfit for my oldest son’s Pre-K Meet the Teacher session.
Pants: Old Navy (Here) (Also in Plus sizes)
Shirt: Old Navy (Similar in white Here) (Similar in blue Here and Here) (Also in Plus sizes)
Jacket: Larry Levine (Very old) (Similar Here and Here)
Sandals: Payless (Here)
Necklace: Cato Fashions (No longer available, but similar found at Walmart.com Here) (Cato Fashions also has This and This)
Do you like the pairing of current and casual with the older jacket and dressier statement necklace?
What do you like to wear to church? Please do share! I would love to see how you are…
…Keeping it on the Edge,