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How Motherhood Made My Faith Stronger

More and more, I find myself thinking about faith.

No, it has nothing to do with Starbucks' red cup controversy (please, spare me anymore chatter about that), but more to do with the fact that I genuinely find myself not wanting to miss attending church every week. This from a gal who used to have friendly competitions with my sister in high school about who could wear the shorter skirt to Sunday School and get away with it. Go figure.

I blame my kids. I'm five years into motherhood and all-in with my faith.

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Why? It gives me a sense of peace for the purpose of raising kids.

For me, faith has always been really, really personal. That's why I don't write much about it. My ongoing life philosophy is: I believe my thing, others believe their thing, and all of us be kind to one another in the name of honoring the idea that we're free to believe what we choose to believe.

When I was a little girl, I used to get in big trouble in church. My mom was the organist, so my sister and I had no choice but to tag along with her to early morning services before our Sunday School officially started. We'd stand in the first pew, right in front of the organ bench, and laugh loudly like rude brats. My mom would watch us act up (while she was actually playing the organ, during the service), stare us down and give us motherly stares of death to try and get us to shut up while violently continuing to play her music. Every Sunday was the same scene. Church was church. It was our routine, every week. I didn't know any different.

And now? I can't seem to depart from how I was trained. They do say we all turn into our parents at one point or another, so I guess I'm there (minus the organ-playing).

The prayers I say feel different now, maybe because I'm praying for two very special little people.

As a mom, church now seems much bigger and deeper to me. Going to church has meaning it never did before. The prayers I say feel different now, maybe because I'm praying for two very special little people. The hard truth is that I worry about our world and I worry about my girls growing up in this world. There's a lot of good, but there's a lot of no-good. How will they handle it? Will they have trouble finding their way?

I will teach them, their teachers and mentors will guide them, they will figure certain things out on their own. So I pray for them. Every Sunday. I guess maybe I'm trying to cover things from all sides? Because, deep down, I do believe in faith's power to uplift us and keep us strong. It's one of the most personal things I've learned about myself after becoming a mother. And this mom will take all the free help she can get.

My faith (which happens to be closely intertwined with my Armenian culture) is what keeps me believing in long-term, lasting good and feeling centered when I'm confused. I want my girls to develop this spiritual fortitude as a life skill. I want them to learn that it's life-changing to believe in something that you can't necessarily touch or hold. Us moms must often depend on our gut—our faith, any kind of faith—when it comes to making choices that will impact our family.

My faith is proving to keep me grounded, less anxious and more connected to the past and future. I don't know about you, but I have an easier time making decisions when I feel internally peaceful. And going to church is giving me that peace.

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Faith is not a bad thing. Religion is not a bad thing. Bad people (and stupid social media stunts about irrelevant Starbucks cups) can turn faith and religion rotten, not the other way around. Going to church on Sundays gives this overworked mom a sense of reassurance that I'm finding I need in order to kick-start my week in a positive way. Because a positive mom is a more peaceful mom—and she's a better woman for it. I believe it now more than ever.

Photograph by: Jill Simonian

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