This is intimidating. An intro piece about who I am. We live in suffocating boxes, and we put others into the preconceived boxes in our minds. Yet, we all agree that these edgy, sharp cornered boxes keep us detached from our true selves. They’re not who we really are. Yet, how else are you to get to know me if I don’t write SOMETHING within this empty blogpost box?
I can give you the small-talk superficials such as; I’m a wife, a recovering Homeschool mom of three kids; ages 10, 8 and 6. I can go a bit deeper and tell you I am in limbo of discovering what one becomes after 40 years old when they start to drop the facades and ego-building to live more from the heart. Yet, the ego is always there. My ego wants you to know that I’m soon starting employment at Naomi’s House – a recovery home for women who have been trafficked. It’s a noble thing, and there’s a real part of me that wants you position me in the “good, righteous and kind” box. It feels as if I’m able to confirm my ‘good enough’ story when I know people have put me in that box.
But then there are the things that I actually DON’T want you to know about me – my struggle with depression and marital up’s and down’s. The countless days I feel like I fail my kids, my lack of direction, my indecision, and the internal dialogue I have about my worth. How I constantly compare myself to others, and endlessly pursue identifying where this dialogue comes from, where it’s leading me – or rather where it’s keeping me stuck. These are all parts of me. So why not show up with all my parts instead of just my Facebook version?
I was raised Lutheran and Catholic. Superficial, distant, and uninvolved is how I’d describe my experience. My mom became a born again Evangelical in her 40’s and though well-intended, she grabbed me by the wrists and pulled me into her emotional whirlwind so that “we” could show my dad and brothers the right “way”. I’ve lived most of my life trying to do the Evangelical thing (or rather live up to the Evangelical identity), but hating it in the same breath. I never felt like I fully belonged. I didn’t do enough Bible studies, memorize the scripture of the day, or keep myself as pure as was required for a Christian boy to turn his attentions toward me. I was an imposter. Yet, I led all of my friends to church after having long drunk conversations about God at the bars the night before Sundays. I wanted to be in, but not fully in. I hated being out, but loved the rebellion of being out.
As I look back on my spiritual journey it was full of should’s, cant’s, inadequacies, guilt and shame. Yet, that didn’t stop me from “evangelizing” my husband so much so that he was baptized in a lake at 5am on the morning of our wedding. I look back and shudder at what drove me to drive him to do that. What was I trying to prove?
I’ve worked and lived in an alcohol and drug rehab in England, co-mingling and living with prostitutes. There, I felt the grace and presence of God more readily then on any church campus. On the flip-side, I’ve worked as a fundraiser for Catholic schools and churches, gladly asking and taking millions of dollars from parishioners to build their cathedrals that I never believed in. Religion has been such a hard thing for me to grasp and I always thought it was me that wasn’t quite getting it right, until I devoured Rob Bell’s writings which eventually led me to bask in Peter Rollins’ thinking and attending a Pyro-theology weekend.
So here I am at ground zero. I’m scared to let go of the tradition of church, but I refuse to let my kids be raised with such a backward way of believing and living from fear rather than a deep well of love. Our family has been on a church search and nothing has fit. Rob Bell, Peter Rollins inspire and invigorate us, but I’m scared that if anyone in the church found out that we liked what they say – we would be exorcised and sent to a church rehab of sorts. And then again, Bell and Rollins are not my answer, they are not my God, but they are pointing us to a more truthful and freeing version of One.
I guess I’m in the same place I have always felt. I don’t feel comfortable in, nor do I feel comfortable out. Where does this leave me? It leaves me in the lack where I reach up even higher with more of a need to a God that is and has always been with me in my confusion.