Written By:  Tiffany Verzal @ Stand with Faith

Some of my favorite memories growing up revolved around church. I looked forward to getting my hair curled in the morning and slipping on a pretty dress and shoes. Looking back, I also liked fighting with my brother and sister during church service. My mom made the mistake of sending us out to the car for punishment once, which was even more fun! I doubt parents can do that today…oh, the good ol’ days!

When I was little, I loved the singing time during Sunday School, and the homemade cookies that got served after every service. It was usually enough sugar to get us kids running up and down the backstairs of the church until someone got hurt, or we ultimately got in trouble. But wrapped up in all of the “good stuff” I was able to build a solid spiritual base that has carried me through some difficult times.

I’m am a little bit of a “church hopper.” I am sure that it is absolutely appalling to some people, but I am guessing that others can relate. I spent the first twelve years of my life in the Lutheran Church, and then I became Methodist! How does that happen? The Methodist Church had a really great youth group and a fantastic church choir. What can I say? We lived in a small town and our options were limited. I also spent the summer touring with a singing group called “New Way Singers” that was based out of the Nebraska Christian College in Norfolk, NE.

For the most part “church” has been a constant in my life, but even if I didn’t have a “home” church for a certain time period, I still had a strong set of values and beliefs that I fell back on. And that is exactly what happened when Alexis was injured.

The pain and fear folded in the first days that Alexis was in a coma will always be vivid, but the image that continued to pop into my head as I waited for Alexis to wake up was Jesus sitting with his arm out and children all around him. When it came into my head the first time, I knew exactly where it was from. On the way to the basement of my Sunday School class hung a painting of that exact image. I haven’t seen that painting since I was twelve-years-old, yet it was as if I was standing in front of it in my mind, in the hospital.

It was during that first moment that I really knew that Alexis would survive. I knew that Jesus was really with her. My faith, deeply rooted from my childhood, carried me.

Like most parents, I want to repeat the great things from my childhood for Alexis. One of those things is giving her that same spiritual foundation that I had. After all, it was her injury that showed me just how strong my faith was.

Because of this, church is one of my largest sources of frustration right now. Since we have been back in Lincoln, we have really struggled to find a place where we belong. We didn’t go to church for a good six months after Alexis was hurt because she cried so much and we slept so little at night, that we were too exhausted to do anything. Then we tried out a couple of churches,  and continue this epic search to this day.

It only took a few visits until we knew a small church wasn’t going to work because Alexis needed to be with us, and we weren’t comfortable leaving her for Sunday school. Usually Brandon or myself would sit alone during the service while the other person would walk Alexis around outside. Then we would switch halfway through and neither of us would get any semblance of a message.

I tried taking her to Sunday School, but then again, Brandon was by himself. We’ve tried the Saturday night thing in a more relaxed atmosphere, the cry room, and a volunteer from the church going to Sunday school to help her. After all of that, we ended up at a big church sitting in the back row, having her watch her IPAD.

It hasn’t been so bad over the last two years. I love watching Alexis sing, and she sits on our laps and holds our hands. It’s nice to have her there with us, but I am not fully focused on the message because I am worried about what she is doing. Ultimately, I know she is missing out on important teachings at her level, with her peers. I’ve tried taking her to Sunday School there, but it’s a big class and the kids are really active. We spent about 15 minutes there one week, and she told me, “Mom, I think I am going to have to do more therapy before I can do PE at church.” So we went back upstairs, ate crackers, and listened to the rest of the sermon/played the “Toca Boca Hair Salon” app.

I think that it’s funny (not in a ha ha kinda way) that having the experience we did with Alexis’ injury has strengthened our faith as a family, yet the injury has left us searching for a church home for the last five years. I know we will find our place somewhere, I just hope that it is soon. Until then, I’ll lean hard on the foundation that was built many, many years ago.



So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Tiffany Verzal

Tiffany Verzal was raised in rural Nebraska, and now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her husband Brandon and daughter Alexis (9) and Abby (2). In 2008, Alexis (then 14-months-old) was the victim of shaken baby syndrome at the hands of her daycare provider in Texas. Alexis suffered severe brain damage and has spent over 2000 hours in rehabilitation since her injury. Tiffany continues to raise awareness for traumatic brain injury, shaken baby syndrome and child abuse. Brandon and Tiffany serve as members on Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital’s Board of Trustees. Brandon is currently the Chairman of the Nebraska Child Abuse Prevention Fund Board.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading