Fifty-Two Cards in a Deck

card

To give you my favorite deck of cards is nothing compared to my heart.
-Jeremiah Grey

I had always dreamed of being in love, married, a wife. The way my life was going it seemed so far into the future, but then God intervened and placed this sweet, weird, handsome man in my path and in fifty-two days I get to marry him!

When I met Jeremiah, I was in no place to be in a relationship. I was depressed, sad, lonely, and just getting back in touch with God, but I was drawn to him and his quirky and different demeanor. It didn’t seem like he was very into me, but we kept getting paired together and I worked hard at trying to get noticed. Through time and unusual circumstances, Jeremiah and I began a journey to becoming the best of friends. Through simple statements turning into all-night deep conversations, I realized that being vulnerable and honest was easy with Jeremiah. We saw sides of each other we would normally hide, but it was refreshing to be so close to someone.

It’s incredible how much things can change over a summer. Jeremiah and I grew so close in those two months, but when the school year started up again everything was different including our church home. This was the place where we met filled with people we though we were friends with, but it just didn’t feel like home anymore and we decided not to go back. I don’t feel leaving was a mistake, but the time it took afterwards to find a new church home was detrimental to our walks with God. We were trying new churches at first, but then grew tired of endless disappointment and eventually stopped looking. Things were going so great for us and between us, the concern of finding a church home was no longer on our minds.

A little over a month ago we stumbled upon a church that was perfect for us, but while attending service on Sundays, I began to feel guilty and far from God. I knew that I needed Him and He would take me back, but didn’t know how to get there. Last night I confided in Jeremiah about how I had been feeling and Jeremiah looked at my tear stained face and told me he had been feeling the same. Together we prayed to ask God to be the center of our relationship and to help us grow together, but toward Him. We want to cultivate a strong Christ-centered marriage. Jeremiah and I know it won’t be easy, but we accept the challenge and responsibility of getting ourselves right with God!

Being a Fraud…

honestyToday I was sitting in church with my parents and between all the nonchalant eye rolling and dreaming of someday, I realized that I was a fraud.

I sit there and freeze to death while I listen to some dude up on stage tell me that no matter what I can find refuge in Jesus. As I rolled my eyes for the thousandth time that morning, I asked myself what I was doing here when I obviously didn’t want to be here. When I was just dismissing in my head everything the preacher was saying.

But there was no reason to even ask myself that question, because I already knew the answer. I was there, because I am afraid of disappointing my parents. I am afraid of what they will think of me, if I told them that I don’t believe anymore. I am afraid they will see me like they see my brother. So I wake up every Sunday morning, attend church with them and then volunteer as well. I am worse than just being a fraud, I am a coward too.

I am honestly quite pathetic, because I don’t even feel comfortable in my own church, but I continue to go. I have gone there for about ten years, so it isn’t just my parents that I am afraid of. It is also my close friends, the leaders that taught me when I was younger, the kids that I helped teach when I had my own class, the other college-aged kids who I grew up with. I am afraid of all the whispering that will happen as they all discuss what happened to me and why I have strayed.

I desperately wish that I wasn’t a coward. I wish I could just step up and tell my parents that I don’t have a desire to go to church, that I don’t pray and haven’t since the beginning of the year, that I don’t think God cares about me or has an impact in my life, that Christian people make me feel uncomfortable, that I feel like a ton of bricks has been lifted off of my shoulders since I stopped focusing on all the rules that religion brings, that I have more of an open mind, that I am happier.

Awhile back, like early spring, I told my mom that I wasn’t into it anymore and she labeled it “struggling with my faith”, but that is not what I call it, I call it being done and over it. I am not saying that all Christian people are bad by any means, but I just don’t want any part of it.

I just don’t know how to stand up to her and explain who I am now, because I know what will follow. She will go off on a tangent and get all emotional and then start beating herself up as a mother, because both of her kids have strayed away from what they were taught and I just don’t think I can handle that look on her face. What she doesn’t understand is that not all people who don’t believe are bad. They are just people like anyone else and it bothers me so much that her mind is so closed and that this is her mentality. I know there is nothing wrong with me, but I don’t think she will agree.

Confrontation is not my thing. And I have no problem standing up for myself when I feel it is extremely necessary, but when it comes to my parents or my best friends, I just become weak, because I care too much about what they think. And yes they should still love me no matter what, but I fear that they won’t and then I will be alone.

So there you have it; I am a fraud and a coward and I am too afraid to do anything about it.

❤ a girl

Trial Turned Testimony

testimonyIf you have been around my blog from the beginning or snooped a little, you may know that I am at an interesting spot with my faith/religion at the moment. Just a quick recap: I grew up in church, lived my life up until this past March as a goody-two-shoes poster child, then I decided to start questioning it all.

Now that I am back home for the summer, it is expected of me to go to church. This isn’t a big deal and I am not opposed to going and trying to learn something or hope that something starts to make better sense. So far that has not happened; I go and become even more confused and cynical than I was before. (That’s not the point though.)

Tonight I was at a Bible study at my old leader’s house and we were studying the book of Daniel. We read through chapters 3 and 4 and it wasn’t any new stories for me or anything. After we were done with the lesson, a guy whom I had never met before piped up claiming that he related to what King Nebuchadnezzar went through. My leader asked him to share his testimony with us.

Once he was done telling us his story, my leader thanked him and then my leader’s husband said, “Wow! What a fantastic testimony.”

Hearing him say that really bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with his testimony and there is nothing wrong with sharing or encouraging those to share their testimony. I have always just had this off-putting feeling about testimonies ever since I was a kid. I just feel like by claiming one testimony is “fantastic” means that another one is not as good.

I have always felt self-conscious about my testimony (at the moment I am not sure what it is), but before March it was that cookie-cutter, ‘I’m a perfect kid that grew up in church and has never made any mistakes worth mentioning’ testimony. I never felt the need to share it and anytime I did, the leader would always tell me that I would reach someone with my story, but I felt that was what they had to say. Then tonight to hear a leader tell someone that they had a “fantastic” testimony was like reassurance that in order for someone to actually like your testimony is to have something crazy, horrific, or bad happen to you.

The only problem with creating a good testimony is that no one is proud of you while you are going through your “trial” in order to have that testimony. It is very one-sided. I have heard this so many times: “I’m sorry that happened to you, but I’m glad it did, because now you can reach more people.” I have grown up hearing that and there have been so many times when I feel like I need to go out and make some huge mistake just so I can reach people, because those people are sort of praised in the church.

The image above says that the trial you go through is good, because it “forces dependence on God” and I can’t help, but slightly disagree with that. It doesn’t always have this end result. Sometimes it pushes the person farther in the opposite direction. Yes, sometimes the person really does lean on God and grow closer to him, but in others it just makes them angry with him. I know when I am dealing with something God is the last person I want to deal with.

They tell us all the time that God says no or is silent which is why you are dealing with whatever you are dealing with, but you have to push through. Well guess what, I don’t have to do anything. If God doesn’t want to talk with me or say yes then I’ll just go do my own thing. That has kind of been my mentality for the past few months. I was perfectly fine until I came back home and now I am being surrounded with all of this church talk again and I am not sure how I feel about it.

❤ a girl

Silent Too Long

trusting god 1“Question everything. Your love, your religion, your passion. If you don’t have questions, you’ll never find answers.”

Growing up in church, they teach you to trust God. They teach you that God has a plan for your life. They teach you that God does things on his own time. They teach you that God doesn’t always answer prayers how you want him to. They teach you that God sometimes says no or not yet. They teach you that God is not a genie. They teach you that being a Christian is hard.

I never seriously questioned my faith until this semester. It was sort of an all of a sudden explosion kind of thing. My doubt had been building for awhile, but I just kept bottling it up telling myself that I was a Christian and I believed in God and I couldn’t have those kind of thoughts. I told myself that those thoughts would go away if I surrounded myself with Christian people and found a church to attend. That didn’t work. It just got worse.

Thursday, February 12th, I had a breakdown. I have these every once in awhile, but this one was pretty bad. I had been at work for eight hours, because the girl who was supposed to relieve me never showed up. I was already exhausted, then add frustration on top of that, plus a mound of homework growing by what felt like the hour. After work, I called my mom, because I needed some encouragement. When she answered and told her about how exhausted I was with my job and my school work plus that I wasn’t enjoying my classes and didn’t think I wanted to stick with my major, she just told me that I would be ok, because I always was and then informed she was out to eat with my dad and brother, so she would call me back.

By this point I was already in tears, so I sat down and tried to catch my breath. Once I had composed myself, I went into the building and got out all of my homework and spread it out all over the table. I was determined to finish and it was a good way to take my mind off things. After a good half hour, my small group from the BSM (where I had purposely been avoiding) saw me sitting at the table and decided to join me, so I could be included in the discussion. Ugh! I was not in the mood to be around these happy-go-lucky people; I was in a bad mood and wanted to wallow in it. They kept asking me if I was ok and saying that I wasn’t my usual self. Well duh I am not my normal self. Let it go! Eventually they leave and I manage to get most of my homework done while taking breaks to go to the bathroom and compose myself.

My mom ends up texting me instead of calling me back. She asks how I am doing and I tell her I’m fine and not to worry about me. She says she loves me and feeds me some crap about how I need to focus on God and pray about how I am feeling and that he has a plan. Nothing I haven’t heard before. I just respond with one word or one sentence until she leaves me alone. I gather all of my stuff and get back to my room as quick as possible, because these cop-out answers from her have really irritated me.

Once I get in my room, I decide I need to retreat, be alone, and be sad. I grab my pound bag of sour gummy worms, a Dr Pepper, and a box of tissues and shove them in my bag. When I am upset and just want to stay upset, I find comfort in my car, so I get in and drive to a vacant parking lot. I have on my depressing playlist and sit in my car and think. And cry. I think and cry for a long time. I talk to myself a little and then I eventually end up yelling at God, but at this point I am done.

I understand that they say He is silent, so that you will lean on Him, but He has been silent in my life for too long. I don’t ask for stupid things, but sometimes I need answers and it does more harm than good not to answer me. But who I am kidding, He has never answered me. Back in high school I could claim whatever I wanted, but when it came down to it, I never felt Him. After I have this meltdown, still nothing. Apparently I am not that important to Him, because nothing happened. Once I came to this realization. I felt different. I was ready to change my outlook. If God didn’t want to help me or answer me, then fine.

 My frustration began to stem from me being me– the next to near perfect girl.  I understand that yes I have messed up and no I am not really perfect, but honestly I just don’t see the point of striving for perfection when you don’t get anything in return. The most irritating thing for me was that some of my friends and people I know have all this going for them: a relationship, a job, an education while they do pretty much whatever they want. I just got so fed up with doing the right thing and never being happy or having things work out for me.

I have decided to take a step back from my faith for a little while and just figure out who I want to be and what I want to believe. I’m tired of having all of these expectations placed on me attached to all these assumptions. I am just a girl who wants to live and mess up and do some more living.

❤ a girl