I am sitting here today January 16, 2019 with a head full of questions and eyes full of tears. This year marks the first year of my entire life that I have been truly free- free to find out who I am- free to live my life outside of the jailhouse of a cult upbringing and a controlling relationship. My tears today are not those of sadness but rather I think, a recognizing of how far I have come and yet how much more there is to learn- but, that is life, right?
My thoughts today, my questions today… what exactly do I believe? For a fact I question everything that I was raised to believe was “right”, that being said I still believe in a higher power, I still believe there is a force that guides us, and helps us become aware of right and wrong. I believe that there are people on this earth with gifts of leadership and insight that we can learn from, I do not believe that all guidance is from the Bible alone. I believe that the Bible is there for inspiration and has many fascinating stories , although if I am super honest it has been hard for me to read due to years of having it used as solely a book of judgement.
I recently heard the book “ Pure” and it stirred up so much emotion- extreme anger, hurt, regret, sadness, and yet strangely at the end of the book some hope. Hope of being able to look outside of the church perspective that I was raised with and see outside the box. The book Pure consists of many stories of women coming out of the evangelical church system and the damage that the system has had on their lives. Being raised as a woman in the evangelical church, as well as how I was raised, there is a huge focus on purity, being a virgin until marriage, and a much deeper problem than just remaining chaste, is the avoidance of the topic of sex all together. Sex is not something that is up for discussion rather it is more like a topic of embarrassment and shame. I remember as a young teen telling my Mom that I knew about sex, and the car came to a screeching halt as my mom tried to gather her words. This is not something I hold against her because this was the culture of the church. This has caused so much damage in women. You think of yourself as shameful, not enough, low self-esteem, sex is thought of as an embarrassing act. I have talked with several other women that have come from this type of culture and it is the same story. Why?
Why do we as women allow for men to make us feel this way? To dictate how we should feel about ourselves, to take away our freedoms and rights as women. Why do we let men and religion make us feel less than what we really are? It is time to break this mold, to speak up against religious abuse and emotional abuse.
The hope that I felt as I ended the book Pure was that outside of my previous church perspective, there is a huge ridiculous amount of God love for every human. Although I feel like deep inside I knew this, it’s the overshadowing of all the rules that in my mind I still wrestle with having confidence to truly believe how I feel inside. Love God- love self- love neighbor- so simple. While the entire world buzzes with rules, regulations, and differences of beliefs, all equally convinced that their belief is THE right way… the high power of the universe gives us 3 simple guidelines. Love God. Love self. Love neighbor.
A church in Denver is referenced in this book Pure, and their mantra is to me mind-blowing and a sign of true love. I have not been able to and not sure the day will ever come where I join a church… but this grabbed my heart.
Married, divorced and single here, it’s one family that mingles here.
Conservative and liberal here, we’ve all gotta give a little here.
Big and small here, there’s room for us all here.
Doubt and believer here, we all can receive here.
LGBTQ and straight here, there’s no room for hate here.
Woman and man here, everyone can here.
Whatever your race here, for all of us grace here.
In imitation of the ridiculous love Almighty God has for each of us and all of us,
Let us live and love without labels.