Jesus never said “take of your cross and follow me but make sure you leave any doubt behind because I don’t play with doubt” 

I am pretty sure that Jesus never said anything like that.   Rather He comes along side us with gentleness sharing stories from the bible with us about great biblical figures who doubted.

Even Jesus had his doubts in the garden; who wouldn’t?”

I was always told that it’s a sin to doubt or lack faith.  According to the people that introduced me to the evangelical world, doubt is caused by sin that hasn’t been confessed.  I would pray and pray, on my knees begging God to take away this sin that I didn’t even know I had.  Doubt is wrong I was told, just look at Job.

I soaked it up because it seemed reasonable at the time.  So I would pour myself into the world, into women’s bible studies and serving at church.  I hoped that doing those things would clear up the doubt and lack of trust in my heart.  My reasoning was the more I did for Jesus, the more he would love and accept me.

All I wanted was for God to accept me.  I was terrified that if I did anything wrong that he would remove his love from me.  I was incredibly misguided and the theological standpoint I had at the time was one of an extremely rigid God who expected perfection from his followers.  Grace was not a concept I understood.  So I worked for God rather than believing and growing out of that belief.

I wanted to be a ministry girl also.  I saw the women in ministry as super Christians and I wanted to be like that.  I so desired to have an extremely close and intimate relationship with God like these women all seemed to have.  Women’s ministries can be extremely oppressive and I am only able to see that now, being out of it.  I was in ministry for a long time and it was one of the most uncomfortable times in my life. 

I was trying so hard to be perfect and impress these women with my totally radical life changing God moment (I really wish you could put tone and facial expressions in) Ministry just sucked the life out of me because not only was I trying to impress God I was also trying to impress the other women in the group.  I didn’t and it was right around the time that things started to shift that I knew I had to quit.

Bible studies were also strongly recommended so that one could constantly be surrounded by Jesus loving women.  The thing is, I never fit in.  I didn’t fit the mold of a pink, wrapped in a bow cookie cutter Christian.  I was loud; my music choices were not something most of them would listen to.  I kept going through because that was the only way I was going to heal and get to my earthy promised land.  That was one of the biggest lies that were taught to me.  That there is a place on earth where once we get through our “stuff” It was pressed into my life that one day I would “get there” Yet “there” was elusive. 

I did a Beth Moore bible study about the Israelites crossing the Jordan and getting to the Promised Land.  I was taught that there is indeed an earthly Promised Land that we would reach.  That meant in some way that I would “get there” I figured that getting there meant that I would no longer struggle and the pounding waves of pain that were crashing into my life would stop.

I became a “Beth Moore groupie ministry girl” And I really thought that was going to do it.  I was talking with a friend this morning who just couldn’t believe that I had ever dressed nor acted like that because it’s so different from who I am now.  My internal identity is very well worn on the outside.  I was trying to play a part, like a little girl dressing up in her momma’s high heels.

I kept waiting for this promise land that was written in all of these books and bible studies I was pouring myself into.

It never came.

The flood came, life was ripped apart and I was left with dirt and sticks.

The God I thought I knew had failed me.  He promised me a land of safety and freedom and I got losing my career and brain surgery.   I am angry, still.  I realize that.  Underneath anger is hurt, fear and anxiety. These things and people that were supposed to be there for me vanished.

Yet I have grown over the last two years since I sat in my car and wailed out at God.  I don’t believe in the god I did in the years prior.  I am thankful for that and the way He has shown himself to me.  The angry, wrath filled god who would smite you for even daring to question him; that god has died.

The God I found was one of hope, peace, acceptance and grace.

Feeling God’s grace wrecked me, in the best way possible.

I did used to miss the routine of the faith life I lived before.  When I look at the shattered pieces of the last two years I can find some peace as I begin the process of putting them back together.

A God of love.

As Always,

Bethany

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