Monday, February 28, 2011

Not Quite As Befuddled

Today I have no snark, or dry-wit, or pictures of me in horrible 80’s fashion.  I want to follow up on a post I wrote several months ago.  I don’t know if any one cares about this, but it is important and cathartic for me to write it.

It took me a LONG time to find God.

As a child, I was brought up in the Christian Science church (sans the whole "not going to doctors" thing.)  I stopped going when I was 13 or 14.  I didn’t get it.  I went to Sunday school, but I couldn’t make any sort of link between the Bible stories we learned and faith.  I figured that if there even was some sort of higher being, there was no way any one person could know for sure. 

By the time I moved to Minnesota this belief was firmly planted in my mind.  I joined a Unitarian church, as a place where I could just explore ideas of faith and goodness without having to adhere to any particular religion. 

For what it’s worth, the Unitarian church was good for me.  It was the first step out of cynicism and towards exploring other options.  But I staunchly refused to believe in a Christian God, or any deity for that matter.  Husband and I were married in the Unitarian church. Though there were many references to love and fate at my wedding ceremony, I made sure they didn’t use the word God.

I regret that now.

My life had many ups and downs in the following years.  Moves. Graduation. Pregnancies. Children. Depression.

After having my first child, depression was a shadow always lurking over my shoulder, ready to envelope me at any moment.  Sometimes it did.  It took 2 1/2 years for a proper diagnosis of bipolar depression, and proper medication. 

I was thankful for medication. The mood stabalizers helped more than any antidepressant did.  

But, as is inherent in the condition, there would still be occasional bouts of depression and mania.  And eventually, though I knew the medication helped incredibly, I needed something more to believe in than medication.  Something stronger than medication, to help hold me up. 

I knew it was probably God.  But I didn’t know how to look, and I was still had some disparagement. 

Still, walking into a building of worship is at least one way to start, so that’s what I did.  It is incredibly uncomfortable to walk into a church all alone when you don’t know any one, AND you aren’t sure you’re a part of that religion at all.  It was like everybody was already part of the club, and no one was really going out of their way to show you how to join, much less provide a forum where you could dissent and discover.  I tried several churches, but couldn’t stick around.  I wasn’t part of the club and I didn’t have the secret password.

I was ready to give up.  I knew there was a void in my life, but I started to believe there was nowhere I could fit in.  Maybe I just had to soldier on alone.

Around Thanksgiving something changed.  My cousin and her new husband showed up for the holiday.  Her husband is a pastor at the Vineyard Church.  He was so open to talking about religion, even though I had questions and doubts.  It was enough to encourage me to take one more shot at this church thing.

So the following Sunday, I went to the Vineyard Church in my city.  I have never felt so welcomed by a group of people I didn’t know in all my life.  The congrigation was small, but before I sat down, half of them had introduced themselves to me and had a short conversation.

As the sermon started, I felt so lost, and so tired. But the sermon was awesome.  At least, the sermon combined with a genuine warm welcome was enough to keep me going back.

I've been going regularly since December, and Husband since January.  It has been so good for our lives.  I am still breaking down a lot of the walls I built up over the years, but this is a safe place to do so.

I can't thank my readers, especially my cousin and her husband, for encouraging me along this journey. This might not work for others, but it's working for me.

I don't feel quite so alone and befuddled anymore.


Anonymous said...

I will be praying for you to not only find "religion", but a real relationship with Jesus! Life is SO worth living with and for Him!
Let's talk more!

dtgillette said...

I am so very happy for you! You know that from our previous conversations. You're an amazing person and God really loves you. He is trying to open your eyes and really wants to be in your life. I can't wait to see what great big blessings He has in store for you and your family. I am glad you are feeling a little bit closer to peace. Its a long journey and you may not have perfect days.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Proverb 3:5,6