I miss God.

I miss knowing that his presence will never leave me.  I miss the tightly held assurance of salvation.  I miss being able to read my bible without getting triggered (that doesn’t always have to do with the bible) I miss going to church every Sunday and hearing Abigail talk about Sunday School.

I miss the excitement that came when a truth really sunk in, and not in a superficial way.  I miss that thickness of the Holy Spirit, never leaving my side.  I miss sitting in the quiet, darkened sanctuary before service would start and whispering deeply held prayers to God.

That’s the god and the faith that I miss.  I still long for that on a daily basis; and half of what I was hearing and believing was false.

I don’t miss the heavy performance based relationship I had with god.  It was performance based and I remember feeling like I had to thank god everyday for his sacrifice or my salvation wasn’t worth anything.

I don’t miss the person I became because of what I believed.  I fell hard for the conservative Christian, republican rhetoric. It seemed to “make sense” to me and I was so hungry for a family that I would eaten anything spiritual they put in front of me.

I don’t miss having to stifle my identity.  I *partially* loved my good little Christian ministry personality.  I have cheerful to the point of weariness.  If you don’t do the shit with joy then you are not really showing people Christ in difficulty.

I don’t being told I was over dramatic, strong willed and stubborn.  Or feeling like I couldn’t explore certain things because A: it wasn’t Christ like and B: grown ups don’t do those things.

I am talking about things such as getting my nose pierced, tattoos, the way I dressed.  My emotions were always shut down.  I was told by a former mentor/friend that “I needed to put on my big girl panties and deal with it” when it came to my trauma.  It seemed as though she wanted me to walk the exact same path that she had.   Having my physical appearance being judge through the lens of Christ was disheartening.  I felt like who I really wanted to be was shut down because I was a grown up or a “good Christian woman.”

I don’t miss the god who convinced my house parent to cheer me on as I threw away over 75 cd’s that were unholy.

I don’t miss the god that I felt demanded me to spend hours with him just so I would reflect his character throughout the day.

I don’t miss that performance based god at all.  The one who people swore the loved him and then treat his children with disdain because of their choices.

I knew he was real, I watched my life change; it was a life that I had unsuccessfully change myself for many years.  There were still a lot of things that I kept off limits and trauma that had been buried in my sub conscious came rushing out. As it turned out I had a Jesus image on the outside but on the inside I was miserable.

My heart really started to change after my trip to Africa in the summer of 2012.  I don’t want it to sound cliché or trite but Africa really did change me.  It wasn’t so much the poverty or lack of basic necessities.  Those things impacted me in a big way.  What shook me to my core was our worship experiences together.  Church in Africa blew me away.  Singing with ne instruments except hand made drums, the voices of his people a nation away joining together.  I got chills.  Whether we were in that small, dirt floor church or the bigger one the praise of God was the same.

They praised him and thanked him for every.single.they had and even those things that they didn’t have or were waiting for.

They were thankful.

I realized when I came back church was not going to ever be the same.  It wasn’t.  I would keep attending church through my sickness and surgery and even started to teach Sunday school last semester.  I started to become uncomfortable with what they were teaching and how the adults responded to the children.

I finally stopped attending in October. We tried Nadia Bolz Weber church for awhile but it was too far, and at night and with school/bedtime it was overwhelming.  Then my car broke down so now we really can’t go to church.

I don’t think I am ready yet anyways.

I think right now my church is writing, the different books I am reading, the conversations I am having with all sorts of people and the experiences I am having.

I saw God on social media yesterday.  I found out my electricity was set to be shut off if I did pay the full balance.  I have been there before when I was with Abigail’s dad and I got extremely triggered.  I put a shout out on Facebook and Twitter about it and within hours people had donated enough for me to catch up on my electric bill but I can also pay my cell phone bill as well.

That was god, the God I know I love.  I have seen him come through in many situations.  My whole battle with Chiari; if there was not a god I loved I would have gone nuts.  It was then that I saw that I needed to find out who God was on my own.

I couldn’t listen to other people tell me that Jesus is always faithful; I had to find it and see it myself.  I have.

I had to go through a sifting period.  There were so many things I believed in the past that were keeping for seeing the God I see today.

But sometimes I miss that old faith.  It was controlled and structured.  I always knew what I was going to get.  It’s scary to leap out on your own and just believe.

But I am willing to leap.

As Always,

Bethany

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