The Church that Raised Me

Maybe it’s the onset of the holiday season and Thanksgiving rapidly approaching that has brought on this much-needed wave of gratitude. Not sure what it is. Don’t care. I’m keeping it for as long as my selfish, needy flesh will let me. So while it is in me, allow me to express gratitude to the institution that rarely gets it: the church. My church, in particular. My as in the church I grew up in in San Antonio, Texas.

My church experience is similar and different from anyone’s who can not remember not going to church. A preacher’s daughter, I was at church on Sunday morning. And Sunday night. And Wednesday night and other times during the week to visit dad at his office and on weekends for retreats and over spring break with the youth group, at camp in the summer. My family was the last to leave after service let out. I knew where the communion cups were hidden and the communion crackers were stored and sometimes snacked on them with my friends while we waited for our parents to stop talking to “EVERYbody.”

When you’re like me and my sisters, you know every back hallway and sunday school classroom. Which one has the closet with the felt boards and felt people. The rough, light blue fabric on the pew may as well be the floral fabric on the couch in your living room–both as familiar as the other. Church, for me, was not a place of worship; it was my second home. Everyone knew who I was, it seemed, and I knew who most of them were too.

And I am deeply and forever grateful for all of it. For all of the hours spent with all of those church people. I hear a lot from my generation about how the church has messed with our thinking, how it may have presented us with faulty theology in our formative years. We are recovering from the churches that raised us. Trying to re-learn and re-do the right way. I have felt this before, but I’m beginning to see things differently.

In all of this complaining we do about our church history, it’s like we are awaiting some big apology. An apology from the people and place that taught us the only lesson worth teaching, the only story worth retelling again and again and again as many times as is physically possible: the gospel. Well, I don’t want the people that taught me the lesson of my life to apologize for anything.

No, instead I want to thank them and, even though this sounds strange, I almost want to thank the building and place itself. For it was within those walls that I met Jesus. And it was within those walls that I got to know him. That is no small gift.


26 thoughts on “The Church that Raised Me

  1. Such a great read Andrea! I always enjoy your posts. God is so awesome that way~ he reminds us of the moments which at the time seem so insignificant but contribute to the big picture of who He intends us to be! I’m finding that out more each day. Blessings to you in your ‘journeys’ past and future!!


  2. I completely understand what you wrote and agree with what your saying. Church is a home where you’ve got so many mothers, sisters and brothers. I never grew up at church, but for the short while that I’ve walked with Christ, I have seen that church has the power to raise and shape generations, shape the future. Don’t want to say too much, but a scripture came to mind,the one when Jacob was running away from his brother Esau, his first step, or resting place, God revealed himself to Jacob, in a dream. When Jacob woke up, he realised what had just happened, worshipped God and named the place Bethel. God chose that place to change Jacobs life. That’s how I feel and see the church that I grew in Christ in. PS: sorry for the bad grammer, I’m not a


  3. What an encouragement. I often wonder what my daughters will say about their time spent at church with their Mom & Dad ….. Nicely done Andrea.


  4. Loved reading this Andrea. You have a beautiful gift with word pictures. I know the blue fabric on the pews (that broke 🙂 and I know the floral fabrics that graced the living room and den of Mrs. Lucado 🙂
    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated and I pray are read by many. Peace and Blessings from the Nelsons!


  5. As someone who grew up on church pews myself, I am so grateful to you for expressing my own thoughts way better than I ever could. God bless you!


  6. Awesome job Andrea! You have a gift of writing of your own and it is wonderful to enjoy it with others. Blessings, Ann Chandler


  7. Beautiful. And convicting. Thanks, Andrea. We did grow up in a great place. My theological frustrations are overwhelmingly outweighed by my gratitude and love for our spiritual heritage.


  8. What a refreshing blog to read- graditude rather than complaining. We are so blessed with people who spoke into our lives to make us into the people God wanted us to be.


  9. Wow. I adore this. It was so good talking to you on Friday. 🙂 Just your presence blessed me and it meant a lot seeing your face in the crowd as I spoke. Thank you!


    1. Andrea, my sisters and I can relate to your wonderful memories and church being our second home. It was the best place to be and we have many fond memories of those who are still with us and those that have gone before us. Thanks for sharing.
      Janie Padilla


  10. Despite loving my four special years at ACU including two years of Bible, my selfish heart delayed a relationship with our Gentle Saviour. Even prior to that my loving parents gave me a foundation that I did not fully appreciate or understand until later in life. After years of my failures and heartbreaks it was at your church in San Antonio that I got see our Heavenly Father face to face. I am thankfuly for that and for the inspiration that still grows today that leads me to wanting to know and seek our Lord who is Faithful and True. Hebrews 13:8


  11. Muy profundo y sincero sentir de tu corazon, es revivir mi propia historia.
    Una generacion de hijos de pastores que asumen desde la infancia un llamado que los hace visiblemente singulares, pero que se cubre de humildad de por vida. Gracias por tus palabras.


  12. I’ve been reading your dad’s books for years. In them he often mentions his family….with pride. How blessed you are to have him and your mom as parents and to grow up in the stability of your “two homes”. His gift for writing has been passed onto you and I’m so glad I came across your blog. I have many fond memories of trips to San Anton when we lived in Austin. Although the Alamo was some what of a disappointment. And how hilarious that it was across from a Woolsworth!


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