When I was a junior in High School my parents were going through the toughest time in their marriage. This eventually led to divorce and one of the most difficult times in my life. My mom started participating in a non-denominational church and I met a group of kids from our local Baptist church with a really great youth group. This was a very dark time in my life and and their promise of happiness and salvation intrigued me. I dove in head first to the Baptist church. It wasn't long before I was accepting Jesus into my heart, going to church 4 times a week and preaching the good word to all that would listen. Jump to senior year of HS and my acceptance into the Art Institute of Boston (Great school if any of you know about art) and my deposit for Fall 1998. Hold the phone. This is me forfeiting my deposit and applying to Liberty University because it is not Godly for me to go to a secular school. Actually, it is not Godly for me to be an artist because it is too much of the secular world and not God's will. Fall 1998. I am now in Lynchburg, VA signing away my life for the next year. No rated R movies, no cursing of any kind, no holding hands on campus, no pants, no art...This list goes on! I have always felt that church, faith etc. is the foundation of who I am. Everything I learned as a child/teenager has prepared me to make good moral decisions in my adulthood. I had a very difficult time with the idea of taking away all of our choices right at the time we should be putting the teachings of God to practical use.
I do not wish to offend anyone, I truly believe that everyone is on their own journey, but (come on you knew there was a but) in my experience this year of my life was terrible. I feel like I was in a cult... I was not allowed to express my own feelings. I felt the hypocrisy ran rampant. God's people failed me time and time again. I felt abandoned, judged, abused, beaten and hurt. All in all the experience turned me away from not only the church, but from God. It sealed the deal on religion for me. I wanted no part of God, spirituality, a communion of people.
It is now 2008. Wow, 10 long years! 6 months ago I started going to ACOA. I have been in and out of the rooms over the years, but have never stayed long. When I came back to the Program in July I finally realized how unmanageable my life had become. I am no longer in my early 20's and can not blame my mess on just being young. I am almost 29 years old and I finally realize that its time to make some changes, time to like myself, and time to give this God thing another try. It has been a long and difficult road. Over the last several months I have taken a new perspective on God, on my spirituality... on the bible, and Jesus, and church and all the things I thought I believed. I have come to see that I was not angry at God... I was angry at the people. And people are only human. They do the best they can. With this revelation my ability to trust in God continues to grow. Three weeks ago I decided to check out the church down the street. It is Episcopalian. Although I don't agree with everything I am taking the "take what you like and leave the rest" approach. My relationship with my HP is growing and He will take care of the rest.
Okay, so I want to take some time and gather my thoughts about my new found faith. to be continued...
Today I am grateful for:
Home ACOA meeting
The opportunity to use my Graphic Design skills at work today.
Spending Christmas with my sisters
The Christmas gift I bought my sister. She is going to love it
Prayer and Mantras that get me through the days
My mom's patience with me
Yummy tuna salad... I made some last night for dinner and had leftover today. I could eat it for wa week straight
Feeling genuinely happy this afternoon.