My previous posts in this “Writing Challenge” were whipped out to simply get it done. I really didn’t have a subject or idea of any kind. They were off the top of my head blabber. Yet today I was hit by something and want to speak about it. It’s the assumptions I hear about people like myself who have left Christianity and our level of involvement or how hard we tried.
I’ll give a brief history of my upbringing and what brought me to where I am today. Born a pastor’s daughter in Dallas, Texas. My father was what I like to call “run of the mill Christian” but leaned Baptist, and later preached for that denomination. Fundamentalist, legalistic, pro-life (99.9% of the reason to vote for someone), full of hell and damnation and waiting expectantly for the Rapture. My beliefs were based on what I was taught and spanked into me. Most everything revolved around fear. Fear of getting in trouble, fear of angering God and most importantly the fear of burning in hell for eternity. I floated in and out of being a hard core believer and doing whatever I wanted. Yet even when I was “backslidden” I knew what I was doing and assumed I’d straighten out soon and then have a juicy testimony.
My parents divorced when I was 15 years old and the church was down right evil in the way they handled it. It wasn’t all their fault as my father was on a door to door mission to rip my mother apart and make sure everyone believed the divorce was entirely her fault and he was a blameless victim. I chose to live with my mother and paid dearly for that decision. So still in and out of church, bitter and heartbroken by how the “loving Christian family of God” treated us, yet still believing this was my only hope. It was a painful and isolating position to be in.
Once I had a child I figured I had to pull my shit together and “raise in up” in the church so he’d accept Jesus and not be burned in hell. My husband and I went to a few churches where we attempted to fit in and play the game but were always the outcasts. I knew way too much bible for anyone to bullshit me and I was ready to fight about it.
With all my fighting and anger, I was still desperate to be on the other side. I begged, pleaded and screamed at God to give me the “peace that passes all understanding” and nothing happened. I did every alter call, read every book (and corresponding workbook), prayed every prayer, fasted, tithed, asked others to pray over me, had demons cast out of me and annointed my doors and window frames in oil. I even flew to Houston for a “Forgiveness Conference” that ended up being roughly 10 people at a table in a small church.
Yet I felt nothing. My prayers weren’t answered. I was alone.
My final stop before finally checking out was at The Crossing Church, which I’ve detailed on another blog for 5 years. When I started going I said this was it, I was going all in and if it didn’t work then I’m done. I had no idea how prophetic these words were at the time.
The point, which I’ve taken way too long to get to, is that I was fully “all in”. If there is a deity, then s/he doesn’t want me. But I beg of you, don’t dismiss my efforts, my pain, my suffering and my journey by saying I didn’t do enough. Over 40 years of spinning my wheels and now I have the joy of being out.