I sat upon old wooden church pews when I was a young girl; in strawberry braids, with ruffle bobby socks and black patent Mary Jane shoes. My legs were often cold against the solid wood, my Sunday dress being just a light blanket.

When I was in elementary school, my mom sang in the church choir. I was too short to see her from out in the congregation. Dad would allow me to stand upon the wooden pew next to him, but just during the singing parts of church. We would sing together about the Lord and both look at mama.

As a fidgety tween, I recall getting “the look” from my mom several times as I would shift about during the pastor’s sermons. The creaking sound from the wooden pew would stir those around me. I was also caught more than once passing notes to my friends on a wooden pew during church services. The ride home from those Sunday mornings are not my fondest memories.

I went to my very first funeral for the death of a friend when I was a teenager. Many of the boys who attended the service wore suits from their closets that they were planning on wearing to our school dance that same weekend. Death shocked me on a wooden pew.

When I attended different churches in college, I found myself questioning God. I did a lot of soul searching on old wooden pews. God was patient with me. God took my highs as well as my lows.

I have observed the expectant eyes of grooms as their brides made their way down the aisle. I have yet to not shed a tear when they shed a tear. And I have also observed the weary eyes of those who tried to give a celebration of life when they were so desperately aching inside. I have yet to not shed a tear when they shed a tear. Yes, many wooden pews have felt the touch of tears.

I have bounced babies upon my lap on wooden pews; sang “Jesus Loves You” in a whisper until we were both almost asleep. These same “babies” I have seen walk off and go sit with their own set of friends on wooden pews. Now two of my children are grown and attend different churches. They sit in different towns on different wooden pews.

Our family doesn’t fill up the row anymore. Time does that, you know. I sit next to my husband at church. We often hold hands. I look at the small space between us. I see his wedding band, a vow taken before God. I see our aging hands. I think upon everything, from the Mary Jane shoes to my daddy standing me up so we could see mama; from being a kid to my own kids growing up. So much life happens on an old wooden pew.

The wood reminds me of a beautiful and powerful truth: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24).

Oh, sweet Jesus, my life is truly yours. I surrendered all of me a long time ago; however, full surrender of self is a daily decision. Thank you, Jesus, for the reminder of your sacrificial love upon the cross. How fitting so much of life is practiced within a place of worship on a wooden pew.

Indeed, there is just something about an old wooden church pew.

SGLY, dear readers.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer and an opinion columnist. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at news@ amtrib. com. Follow Chartier on Face - book: facebook. com/ tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffany chartier