I've touched a little on my struggles with faith but I thought I'd go into a little more detail. I grew up going to a United Baptist church. They are very old fashion... I was baptized in a creek and once a year they do foot washings. We went every Wednesday, twice on Sunday, and once a month on Saturday.
When Scott and I first got married and were both working and going to college... I quit going to church. It wasn't until long after we moved to Winchester that I even considered going back. It was 2004, I was at a good friend of mines house when there was a knock at the door. It was a pastor from a nearby Independent Baptist church. My friend invited him in and he began to talk to us about being saved. I told him that I had been saved when I was young and he didn't question it. My friend on the other hand had not. They knelt and prayed right there in her livingroom floor and I felt the spirit just as much there as I had ever in church. She was saved that day. We started going to church there the following Sunday.
Scott was christened Catholic when he was a baby but never went to a Catholic Church really. He grew up going to a Methodist Church. He wasn't saved though. Him and I had had an "issue" in our marriage since the beginning. The first service that we went to at Landmark was about this topic. Scott felt like God was talking directly to him through this man at the podium. He vowed that day to the Lord and me that it would never be an issue again. With His help it hasn't been to this day! Shortly after, he was saved and baptized. We went regularly for a while then winter rolled around. With three kids it seemed like somebody was always sick so we started slacking.
Then in January of 2005, our family was struck with a horrible tragedy that I won't go into detail about. We had already faced the death of a child in our family. My 2 1/2 year old niece fell into a backyard swimming pool and drowned in 1996. She was in the hospital in a coma for seven long days before my brother and SIL had to make the heart wrenching decision to take her off life support. I was mad at God and didn't understand how He could let such horrible things happen. We quit going to church again all together.
In October of 2008, my 6 year old niece... Who was just 3 weeks older than my only daughter... Was diagnosed with Leukemia. This time I wasn't mad at God... I began to question his very existence. I could no longer recall the feeling of His spirit. I couldn't even pray.
She went into remission after some intense chemo. Unfortunately, while still in treatment she relapsed in Jan 2010. My SIL had started regularly posting on a caring bridge website to keep everyone updated. Her faith and strength were so great. Little by little I was inspired by her continued love for the Lord. I started to feel that love creep back into my own heart. In June they realized there was nothing more that could be done. My brother baptized her in their pool... She died a week later on July 17th.
My Aunt had had brain surgery to remove a softball size tumor years ago. In 2009 she started having symptoms again and was found to have multiple tumors this time. She had a stroke and they called in hospice and gave her 6 months to live. 6 months came and went yet she still hung on. The day we buried my niece my mom got a call from the nursing home that my aunt had taken a turn for the worse. The next day my mom called and said she was hanging on by a thread. I asked her if she had told her that our niece had passed.. She said no that she wasn't coherent. A few hours went by and she decided to go ahead and tell her. She died within the hour.
Everyone is probably thinking, "how horrible, two funerals in one week". Yes it was emotionally hard. But my Aunt hadn't had any quality of life for a long time. It was in the summer time so my kids were out of school. We had to drive 8 hours to Louisville. Scott ended up having just enough vacation time to cover the time we ended up having to be gone. So in a way it was a blessing that my aunt passed when she did.
On our way home the kids were watching a movie in the van. Scott and I were talking about God. I was remarking about how troubled times were bound to come again. I wanted to be prepared for whatever comes our way the way my SIL was. Our DVD players sound comes through our radio. At that moment, as clear as could be, a Christian music channel started playing instead of the movie. The song that was on was about gaining strength through God during difficult times. We didn't speak. We just sat silently with tears in our eyes as we listened to His Word come through the airwaves. I felt the spirit fill our van and my heart greater than I had ever experienced in my whole life. No one can ever tell me God doesn't like contemporary Christian music!
I made my own vow that day, to never again doubt the Lord! I realized that when bad people do bad things, we shouldn't be mad at God. We should be mad along with Him! After all, they are sinning against Him. Also, We aren't always going to like or understand Gods plan. We just have to trust in him. There is a movie called "Letters to God" http://www.letterstogodthemovie.com/ It is a true story about a little boy who had brain cancer. He ends up dying but helps bring a lot of people closer to God through letters he wrote to Him while he was sick. It was release to DVD a month after my nieces death. Kids like her and Tyler had a greater purpose. Sometimes Gods work takes suffering... Look at Jesus!
When we got home I started reading the Bible and looking for a church. I really struggled with finding a church that I felt suits me. I had prayed about it a lot. Then while reading the bible one night I came across this passage..
1 Corinthians 1:12-13 (NIV)
What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas "; still another, "I follow Christ."  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
This tells me it doesn't matter what kind of church you go to as long as you accept Jesus and live your life by following Christs example. Doing Gods work and spreading His word.
We decided since we are living in the town Scott is from, we would try the church he grew up going to. For various reasons, going to church there didn't end up working out.
I was determined even without a home church God was still going to be a central part of our lives. We were going to strive everyday to be better Christians.. Become more Christ-like. I searched online and found a Character Building for Families lesson book, http://www.characterbuildingforfamilies.com/ that focuses on enhancing the fruits of the spirit in your life. I also read the Duggars book, http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/141658563X/ref=mp_s_a_6?qid=1294947693&sr=8-6 which was very encouraging and inspirational. I decided to try something they recommended... Chore packs, http://www.titus2.com/ecommerce/products/prod_listing.php/1150 It gives the kids a chance to practice and apply our lessons to their lives daily. We had chores before, but now they have more purpose and meaning than just getting the house clean. I've always heard people say, "Kids should come with an instruction manual." They do.... It's called the Bible!!
I learned another valuable lesson from the Duggars. The best way to increase your own faith and the faith of others, is to look for ways God has worked in your life and share it. You'll be surprised how many things there are, no matter how small, when you really look. Just remember, there are no such things as coincidences or luck. Only Gods hand and blessings. For instance, we were suppose to leave for Louisville the day after Christmas. The weather report was bad so we decided to wait. Very disappointed, Summer came to me and asked, "Why does God have to make bad weather?". I told her I guess He doesn't want somebody on the the road. We just have to trust Him. A couple of hours later Scott ended up having diarrhea. I said to Summer, "See! I told you He knows what He's doing!"