11/17/2010 | Share this article: View CommentsBy FinallySunny ~
After a tough childhood and tougher young adulthood I turned to god.
Image by jcoterhals via FlickrAs a child religion was not forced on me, my Mom didn't believe in that. I was free to make my own choices concerning beliefs and religion. As a young adult is where I fell into it. I had been widowed and was very vulnerable. I was left with two young children. (Can you all see where this is going?)
In enters "Mr. Wonderful/Concerned." He just happened to be my insurance agent who was familiar with the recent passing of my young husband. He was concerned for me and my girls and asked if we went to church. We began dating and he said he would be "serious" with no woman that did not "know god."
I became a xtian on a website for a religious radio station in Houston Texas. All I had to "do" was say this, think that and then go and tell someone. It felt completely cheesy, but I did so. I, of course, informed the soon to be man of my life (we'll just refer to him as the D-bag from now on). BUT I was thinking, "Wait, if I want to believe then wouldn't god know without me jumping through these hoops?" I quickly disregarded that, along with all of the other "magical" things that made no sense to me.
The first thing D-bag did was help to prove that god was real and the bible true. He got some lame book that was supposed to prove all of this, but I still had questions. Most unanswered questions became "a god thing" or something we were just "not meant to know." I accepted those for the time being.
I'm not sure what one would label me right now. Perhaps Agnostic Theist.We got married and the kids and I moved away with him for a job. During our first few years together, we hopped from church to church. D-bag had been raised a catholic but was no longer catholic. He leaned very charismatic at first but was also very confused. It was quite a ride for me, watching all of the bizarre things happen,: tongues, healings and all of that jazz. All of the sudden he went very baptist(ish). A few baptist churches and long moves later, we found ourselves having church in our living room. I was unhappy with this and finally found a church in the next city over that he agreed to attend. Before this I had to pray and "appeal to my husband" to get even this to happen.
I had become depressed about two months into the marriage. I continued to struggle and be confused. I was continuously told by D-bag to "will myself out of depression"...that nothing could take away my will power, and to ask god for help. It wasn't working, but I carried on somehow. I hoped the new church would be enjoyable for me and "help me grow."
Notice all of the quotations I'm using? Sorry, they're necessary.
The first time we went to this church they were doing a play. Not too preachy and right up my alley. I quickly became involved and started to volunteer in the children's ministry since I had two young girls.
I forgot to mention that during this time my once happy and crazy funny oldest daughter became a complete non-communicator. And the baby girl? She was considered by D-bag to be a "strong-willed child" -- there's a book that goes with that "problem" -- that needed to be corrected in pretty severe ways. (I am not trying to get into what I think is wrong or right about discipline here, it was just wrong for me and my babies in my opinion) I had to put my foot down.
D-bag was also addicted to porn, which bothered me to no end. (once again, just my opinion at the time). He was particularly interested in the younger-barely-legal and skinnier girls. I had gained weight (but really not much) due to my depression and this burned... especially when he told me why he preferred to spend his time "sinning" and gazing at younger girls. "They're typically skinny and don't have fat and cellulite." Followed later by "You repulse ME!" OK, I was dying inside and shocked that a man who was supposed to love me like god loved the church was breaking my spirit down so badly.
Porn was a problem and he would seek "help" for this in the form of website monitoring programs, which he knew how to get around. I, of course, knew how to find out anyway. My depression was a problem as well. He was a total control freak and as hard as I tried to submit, I never really could submit enough.
I had two major surgeries while with him. Both reproductive related. Both threw my body and mind into total despair. While healing from the second surgery he was horrible. I remember lying in bed and he told me to get up and do something. I told him I would do it the next day. He got very angry and told me that if I did not do what he said that he would "make your life a living hell." Luckily I was too medicated to let that throw me into a complete panic!
No one at my church believed me when I went to them with my problems. D-bag put on a good front, and anyway, I was supposed to submit to him. Everyone at the church told me to pray and work harder at pleasing him and god.
I had other problems with our church. I had never, ever, been into using the words worship and exalt and words and thoughts of the sort. I found singing to be cheesy (again). I thought I favored something more "seeker friendly". I had totally immersed myself into the adorable world of preschoolers, becoming the one in charge of picking projects for them and teaching them. I didn't realize that the only reason I wanted to go to church was to teach the kids. I had long before begun skipping out on the other services being offered that morning and would typically stay to help with the kids instead. When pushed to attend one of the Sunday services, I decided I did not want to, I would play hooky and talk with others who wandered the church instead.
It finally came to an end with me and D-bag husband. He tried to get our church and numerous xtian counselors to back him up when it came to divorcing me, with no luck. He finally decided to change religious beliefs in order to find a pastor to back him up. Our church had now become MY church...and the kicker is that "even if he's wrong, you must follow your husband." according to them. One of my lady's group friends told me..."you can't let this divorce happen...you know you can never get married again." I thought she was crazy. See me sliding away.
Many of the women I thought were my friends had to consult with their husbands about how to deal with me. They didn't know what to do with me, etc. etc. The divorce went through. My husband was horrible about it all. My pastor was against me because I didn't follow my husband and submit to his authority. I just stopped going to church.
I moved on. Although, until recently, I still believed. I toyed with the idea of going back to church for a long time. I thought I missed the community aspect of it, the people, not necessarily the religion.
I got remarried and have been now for six good years. My current husband is agnostic and has never been shy about this. I actually quit talking to him when I found out. He was very upset when this happened. I eventually let it go-I realized that I truly didn't have any church friends that stuck by me and this guy wasn't so bad. He didn't push and never has, but he's always been honest and logical.
Luckily my girls came with me and never had to be exposed to D-Bag's madness again. He was not their biological father and he said he just wanted to leave them, me, the house and have a clean slate. Oh, it hurt like you wouldn't believe at the time! But it is all for the best.
After a conversation with good husband the other night about attending church, I realized a lot. I worried that we would grow apart if myself and the girls went back to church. He even offered to go with me, but could not guarantee that he would not end up voicing his opinion when approached. Everything he said made a lot of sense. Mostly we talked about what religion means and I realized I'm trying to follow rules I don't believe in and have a relationship with something that I can't prove or even feel exists.
I'm not sure what one would label me right now. Perhaps Agnostic Theist. Either way I'm here. Trying to let go of the guilt and shame that has burdened me. Getting used to not being watched and judged. Getting used to the freedom.
Hope this wasn't too long. Thanks so much for the ears/eyes!
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