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Coming Home

by Sonja Brannon

This weekend my daughter is being confirmed into the St. John’s Family — what a milestone for her…and her family.

You see, what a lot of people don’t know is that she is the one that brought our family back to the church, back to God.

Rob and I married at 24. We came from very different backgrounds. He’s a military brat and I grew up in a fairly conservative area of the Bible Belt. I was an ELCA Lutheran; he was a Roman Catholic.

My earliest memories include the church. Rob says that he also has strong memories of the church from his childhood. I remember church events. I remember having a close relationship with God. I remember beach trips with my church friends. I remember camping in the mountains of NC with my confirmation class.

My parents…His parents…They did everything correctly. They took us to church. We both took Holy Communion lessons; we were both Confirmed in our respective churches. We were active leaders in our churches in high school. We were married in the church. And yet, with both our parents being active church members of the church, we became lost.

For many years, I might have stepped into a church once a year, likely Christmas Eve or Easter. I found myself in some rough situations during those times. My health was not good amongst many other things, including not getting pregnant.

During that time, I was still religious. I prayed, but I did nothing to grow my soul. I did nothing to grow in God’s community.

By the time my daughter was born, we were not, in any way, active church members. I prayed. I was so thankful and blessed, but I did nothing to make my soul grow.

Something changed within me when my daughter was about to start school. It was an innocuous thought, really. I was sitting at our dining room table and realized that my 5 year old daughter was not baptized. What did that mean for her? What does my Faith tell me?

I found myself filled with regret and disbelief. How had I fallen so far that my child was not baptized?

Not going to lie, my heart hurt. This deep, gut wrenching feeling would not go away.

This should have been my turning point, but it wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong — we enrolled her in a Christian school, had her baptized, and watched her grow into a faith that I eventually learned was stronger than mine.

You see, I went through the motions to clear that gut wrenching feeling, but I missed God’s Call. HE was calling me back to Him, but I didn’t listen. I was proud of my daughter, but still I rarely attended church.

Eventually, we left that school and life continued…and I was still lost.

We moved a couple of times until we eventually found ourselves moving to the quaint town of Farmington Hills, MI. My daughter was 12 years old.

Spoiler Alert: I could never have imagined that Farmington Hills, MI would be the place where we found a place that feels like home…and peace. God’s Peace.

We had lived here less than a year when my beautiful daughter asked to talk with me. She let me know that she wished to return to church. She remembered her early years and how she felt there. She wanted to return to God.

How could a mother possibly deny that request? I don’t know because I listened. I answered.

Thank God.

I can see the difference in my family since this bright (brighter than her mom, for sure) and beautiful young woman helped our family return to the place where I’ve been called to be my entire life. My soul will be singing in many glories this weekend as my daughter chooses (again) to let Christ be in her heart, her mind, and her life.

God’s Peace to her, and to you, St. John. Thank you for being a light in our renewed hearts.


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