So, my life fell apart in 2003 and I left my husband. At the advice of my mother as well as my desire to be free of the hate and torment inside my life with my husband, I started life as a single mother. A nasty, ugly divorce ensued. The man who God had sent me turned out to be a nightmare all because the religious community had let him down. Talk about feeling betrayed.
I wondered if our marriage was ever “God’s will,” which led me to question EVERYTHING about my understanding of God. Wasn’t I going to hell already anyway? This was marriage #2. And according to the Bible, divorce was not allowed yet the entire world was divorcing and remarrying. No one wanted to talk about that.
When I got back “home,” my parents were attending the same church we went to when I was a child; the one where I remembered Sunday School and being Mary. I tried to put my life back together by attending there. I even tried to help with the drama production. I knew I could not do a main part because of working full-time and trying to raise my son, so I just chose to try to help with lines. I was also on the road every other Sunday night due to the current court proceedings with the divorce. I had to travel 7 hours round-trip to retrieve my son. I was being punished for leaving the man God had sent me. Long story short, when I went to the church the night of the performance and was more than willing to help with lines, because I’d memorized the entire thing, I was told my help wasn’t needed and that I should have come to practice. YOU’RE OUT!
That was it for me. I left the church altogether, became an atheist, and quit believing that God even existed. I hated the church. I hated everything they stood for. I hated everything about the set up. It was all a lie in my mind. All of these hypocritical people were running the show and had no clue what they were doing other than trying to scare people half to death. I let my son go with my folks every now and then, I attended sporadically, but I finally just said, “Screw it!”
Although my family understood, they didn’t like it. I began living my life when my son was visiting with his dad. I was “dating,” if that’s what you want to call it, making friends, and trying to drown my sadness. I started drinking socially, which is totally acceptable, by the way (I’m not going to hell).
I wouldn’t introduce anyone to my family. I started seeing someone pretty steady for a while, and wouldn’t take him to my folks. I didn’t want them involved in any of my relationships because they had the tendency to do some major damage. I lived across the street from them, which complicated matters. They would watch who came and went, call me when they knew I had company, and just tried to control me from afar, just like they had my entire life. This time they didn’t have the Bible as a vice though.
So, to finish this up, I left again in 2007, moved back to where my second husband was so that my son could have a relationship with him, and stayed there for several years. My parents became “best friends” with my ex, despite how much they allegedly hated him during my divorce. When they visited, they stayed at his house, not mine. They were mad because I’d left the area. They couldn’t dominate my life or my son’s anymore and it was time for me to pay! At one point, things got so bad that my son was basically being brainwashed to hate my current husband. I stopped all contact between my son and them at which point they threatened to sue me. “God wouldn’t like this.” Many times in my head, I said, “I don’t give a damn what ‘God’ likes because he isn’t real anyway. So, keep your stupidity to yourself.”
In 2012 I found the light, so to speak. It wasn’t the Bible. It wasn’t the church. It wasn’t any of those things that brought me back into an understanding of “God” or a higher power. I had it all wrong. Of course, I’ve written about this several times, so I’m not going to get into it now.
In 2014, a church entity had mercy on me. My son’s school allowed him to attend tuition free. That administrator was truly “Godly.” He was selfless and kind and saw a need. Even though I’d lost my job and couldn’t pay, he showed me mercy. So, my son was able to attend the following year. I have never forgotten that kindness. I began attending his church to try to get my life back together, I guess. I liked his church. It was small and the people were nice, but I still felt odd. Maybe because I was a paranormal author. Maybe because I didn’t completely buy into all of the Biblical teachings because I felt like it was bigger than all of that. Still, the respect I have for this administrator outweighed my doubt. However, when I began working three jobs, church attendance quickly came to an end. I had to work instead of going to church. I tried to attend for a while, but I was so physically tired that I just couldn’t.
No one shunned me or held it against me. My son attended the school, loved it, and still enjoys it. I substitute taught there starting in December 2014 all of the way through the end of school in May 2015. When I started teaching college, my time was limited. The administration was in transition and I was called a couple of times to sub, but they were on days I couldn’t come. Then I heard nothing. I have never been called back. I don’t attend church regularly anymore. I don’t feel like I have to in order to have a relationship with God. My mother thinks I’m a sinner because I’m not hitting the church doors. I had to have a pretty stern conversation with her to help her understand that it was really none of her business.
The point of this entire series is that the church and its people have hurt me so much, that sometimes you just can’t heal those scars. I was really looking forward to subbing for the kids at school as well as teaching college. However, that didn’t happen. I’m not going to lie. It hurt. I miss those kids. I saw them all at the awards assembly at the end of May, and my heart broke. Because I don’t fit the cookie-cutter view of “Christianity,” I’m out. So, I thought, “Why not do what I’ve always wanted to do?” I got a tattoo, I got pierced, and colored my hair plum, purple, blue, and red. I have always been a free-spirit trapped under a dogmatic view of what God should and shouldn’t be; what religion is and isn’t. When I finally figured out that it’s bigger than that and that all religion plays into one another, I found peace. I found a true understanding of what life should be about.
Although I’ve been repeatedly hurt by the Christian community, and continue to be hurt, it doesn’t make me want to be anyone else. I am at peace with myself and have embraced the larger view of my Creator, Jesus (the God-man), and many, many other things. Isn’t that what we’re all shooting for? Inner-peace and acceptance. If we’re not, we’re doing it wrong.
I hope you have enjoyed the last couple of weeks.