By Lana Moline
As sunset approached each Friday, everything suddenly got quiet in my home. That was strikingly different. I grew up in the Baptist faith. Yet at 29, I married a man who was reared in the Seventh Day Adventist faith.
Well let me backtrack, I didn’t just grow up Baptist, I was born and raised in the church that my father helped to build and my mother was and still is the little hat wearing Sunday School teaching mother of the church. So by proxy, I was active in every facet of the church from singing in the choir to teaching Vacation Bible School and eventually starting an education foundation for the youth. I suppose, just like every other young lady, I dreamed of marrying someone who had a similar background and experiences. I truly never thought about whether denomination would be a consideration in choosing a mate. I will admit now that I took some things for granted. My mother was raised in the Methodist faith yet my father was Baptist. It wasn’t until now that I even thought about how different that must have been for her.
For me, I married a friend, my classmate with whom I graduated high school. That certainly helped me to feel less weirded out about the idea of marrying someone who was not apart of a church I was more familiar with. But there was still the matter of sharing this with my family and facing their reaction. At first I was extremely nervous so while we were still dating, I casually slipped on a dress, nonchalantly joined him for worship service one Saturday and worked it into conversation on Sunday after I attended church with my mother. Her face showed some confusion but I quickly shared how powerful the service had been. That calmed her concerns. Even though this approach worked this time, I knew that eventually I would have to spill it and let my family know. I rationalized with myself comparing everything that was worse. He wasn’t a bank robber, wasn’t evading arrest or a drug kingpin. He was just a guy who loved me, wanted to spend the rest of his life with me who just happened to go to church on a different day. I figured that if I explained it that way, it would go over well and it did.
After I got married, I heard all this buzz about bringing in the Sabbath. At first it felt and looked like a race against time to have everything done before sunset on Friday so that the entire day on Saturday or Sabbath would be devoted to worship. This was easy enough to do in theory but with worship being extremely personal, I desired an authentic experience. So I set out to make Sabbath worship my own and that’s where I saw some of the major differences.
What I love about the Seventh Day Adventist church is that as a world religion, it is extremely organized. My husband held a regional position in youth ministry and we travelled quite a bit during the first year. From a global perspective, I saw hundreds of churches, youth groups and organizations moving and operating by the same guidelines and with the same purpose and specificity in mind. One of the main differences is that the church believes and promotes its health message and the importance of Christian Education consistently. There are many people within the faith who attended church schools from pre-k to graduate school. That was huge for me because as a former baptist, I don’t think I ever considered attending a baptist university. The lesson that I learned from this is the consistency of values. It certainly made me look closely at the choices I was going to make for my children. Another glaring difference was the health message. I had heard that many of our illnesses are caused by the consumption of unhealthy foods so I was open to understanding a better way. I had never been in the company of so many health conscious people in all my life nor had I eaten Veggie Gumbo before now. I must admit that it took some getting use to but considering the quality of my diet now, I wish I had made better choices sooner.
As for fellowship and the social aspect, my girlfriend said it best
when she visited the day I was baptized. She looked at me and said
that her experience there was not any different from other first time
visits. Truth is, I did marry someone who had similar experiences and
background. In my mother’s effort to cook for her son-in-law, she has
also made healthier choices and my entire family adores my
husband. I’m happy to report 11 years later, I would not change a
thing. I relish the fact that as we worship on Sabbath, I unplug from all
my cares and get some much needed rest. Again, I only wish I had
done it sooner.
Lana Moline is a freelance writer and poet who lives in Fort Worth with her husband and three kids. She has been married 11 years and understands that marriage truly is a journey that is sometimes complicated by our own thoughts, perceptions and feelings. Visit her at her blog LanaSuccess4Kids.com