I see I'm not alone...

sent in by Tracy

This subject is still difficult for me to discuss because it's only been about nine months since faith as I knew it permanently changed.

I got saved in the Church of Christ in 1997 and joined the ranks of college singles in crusading for Christ. I married in early 1998 to a confirmed, non-practicing Catholic and we moved away and had a baby. There were many heated Sunday mornings involving me attempting to get my husband out of bed for church. He had a bigger picture of God than I did at the time, and could see right through my legalistic pleas. I'll never forget something he said to me....."You don't want me to go to church so I'LL feel good, you need me to go so that YOU'LL feel good." Which, to a certain extent, I believe we all look for validation in any faith that we practice. Hence....fellowship, I guess.

Well, shortly after my son was born, I developed postpartum psychosis and obsessive compulsive disorder. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the jist of these disorders is that you have uncontrollable harmful thoughts and images towards your child coursing through your head. Some women, as we all have seen, unfortunately act upon these thoughts. I include this because for a year and a half I cried out to the lord for mercy and answers. I went to various churches, sugarcoated my symptoms and attempted to be "excorcised". Where was God in all of that? I.....was.....a monster at best and the spawn of hell at the worst. Too bad it took me years to realize that a bit of medication would do the trick and that I wasn't a freak of nature.

(*I'm available to any of you who'd like to know more about the subject or are currently suffering from symptoms).

ANYWAY.....fast forward. I met my second husband, who was agnostic, not practicing anything. Things were good for awhile (I was "backslidden" and partying-BLASPHEMOUS) until I was introduced to some of his friends' christian wives. Conviction for living with another man out of wedlock set in due to their meddling, and I left my boyfriend. We would sneak around to see each other and were soon pregnant. I moved back in only to be preached to by another woman at work about "living in sin". I left again....and came back. We married shortly after, but our marriage was hell. Aside from his abuse and control, my christian lifestyle contributed to our emotional distance. I would get upset over anything "sinful" that he would do, whether it be watching Howard Stern or listening to music with explicit lyrics. I was overinvolved with the church and completely uninterested in what was important and interesting to my husband. Christianity is a guilt-trip to say the least. I could not think for myself...I always relied on "wiser, more seasoned" mentors for wisdom. Free thinking.....out the window. Guilt-induced decisions...always at your door.

Over time, I developed a capacity to be an accepting and supporting wife no matter what. After all, I was married, right? As my husband continued to rage on and subtly destroy my heart and mind through emotional and verbal abuse, I prayed harder. I cried out to God concerning my husband, became very submissive......and completely lost myself. My pastors told me that the only excuse I had to divorce was infidelity...or if he left. Pretty fucked up, Pastor. I'm sure Jesus wouldn't want to see one of his own people being dragged through the muck. And I'm almost positive he wouldn't say "That's it, smile like you like it and make sure you don't get anything on his shoes." Days before Christmas of 2004, I got up the balls to leave. I let my husband know my intentions and that I didn't want to leave until after Christmas so that we could spend it together as a family. Unfortunately, his composure deteriorated over the next few days and he became very crazed and.......well, scary. I had to leave without my kids because he threatened my life. I couldn't get to my shoes and purse fast enough to keep him for snappping my car key in two. I had to walk down to the nearest business and frantically call the police and tell them that my babies were with an erratic man....

After staying in a shelter for a week, I took the kids to visit their father for Christmas. He was different. He was calm, composed, and had a very soft look about him. Being curious, I asked him what had happened, and he wouldn't tell me. Come to find out, he had been near suicide and in the confines of our home, had found God through a lightning experience. I moved back in thinking we would live happily ever after as a good little Christian family....psh...yeah.

(I know this is long, but I'm getting to the important part)...

Four months later, I woke up and the "Holy Spirit" was gone. I was very troubled by God abandoning me, but I decided to search for my own truth. I began to really appreciate my genre of music and soon had spiritual experiences with other people that I can't quite explain. Everything in my life since that moment has been pivotal in defining who I am. I gained so much self-confidence and each day has been an amazing experience of learning and growth. Maybe it just happens to some people....their souls just move on to another place and abandon their faith. I even tried to force it back to no avail. I finally finally finally realized that my husband was an asshole, woke up one day and said...."Hmph.....I don't belong here". And I left. For good.

Haha......and our church. Yes....the church. They tried to intervene. I had two women come over to my new place and attempt to tell me I was being selfish for not considering reconciliation. I said to them "Have you ever walked in my shoes a day in that house? No." Once my church caught wind of my decision, I was ostracized by a majority of the body. You know what? I'm not bitter...I just feel sorry for them that they live every day with insurmountable guilt and shame. Always look over your shoulder, dear christians, or you may not see that demon on your back.......or worse, a fellow christian.

What am I? I don't know. I....don't.....know. Still searching, not really concerned about a label. I'm me, and that's enough.

Here's a misquoted joke by Dane Cook, but you'll get the point........He was talking about daytime talk shows and how these people come on and air all of their faults and secrets. So he says something like, "Come on people, I have problems too, but at least I'm a good Christian and I keep my issues at home in the closet where no one can see them."

Well, Dane, you've got a point there. Thank "God" I'm not afraid to wear them on my sleeve anymore.....

Wilkes Barre
PA
US
19
27
Was: Church of Christ, Assembly of God, Calvary Baptist,
Now: Agnostically troubled
Converted because: The Spirit moved me.
De-converted because: The Spirit left me.
email: tcand23 at gmail dot com

9 comments:

Jim Lee said...

Hi Tracy. The sooner you can give Christianity or any other religion the big A the sooner you can return to normal.All that Christianity ever does to anybody is riddle them with guilt feelings under the guise of Christian love. Read "My Testimony" on my web site site for some factual information. I've said it before on many posting here and I'll keep on saying it because it is the truth. Christianity is one of the most fraudulent and dnegerous religions known to mankind. Its destroys people and turn them into puppets.

Jess said...

All religions warp and distort the mind from common sense and reasoning. You said: ....."You don't want me to go to church so I'LL feel good, you need me to go so that YOU'LL feel good." Which, to a certain extent, I believe we all look for validation in any faith that we practice. Hence....fellowship, I guess.

Why do people go to church? Not to be seen of a god, but to be seen by others, to validate their own silly beliefs.

Tracy you've better than them, and you're above reprouch, you know who you are inside and you do not need outside sources to tell you how to live, actually you were born with this knowledge, but it was stolen away from us all by believing in a big fairytale lie.

I find it so hard to believe that the Bible is still allowed to be read in 2006, it's such ancient bullshit.

Lorena said...

Tracy,

I am so sorry to read you had to suffer so much before walking away.

The good news is that you did! Kudos to you for having the guts to give them the much deserved "finger."

Christian fundmamentalist churches are a bad, bad place for women. I will post my testimony one of these days. For now, I will just say that but I was severely put down and abused in the name of God too.

I now thank the abusive bastards for helping me open my eyes and leave fundmentalism behind.

All the best to you,

Lorena

Dave8 said...

Tracy, good to hear from you and about your experiences. Seems we all get caught up in life, in our earlier years.

The guilt never ends in most christian religions, its what keeps them employed. I have been on the road to enlightenment for about one year now, so I am a just a little further ahead ;-) Still, I continue to learn and strive for answers, even if the answer is... there is no answer, or, its impossible to know the answer..., actually those are the best answers - short, simple and to the point. Its also great to know, the unanswerables, as it takes away many of the arguments used to support religion.

I agree also, that the bible and fundamentalism not been kind over history... One only has to look back in U.S. history, and see that womens' suffrage (right to vote), was a constant topic throughout the history of this country from 1776, until 1920 when The Nineteenth Amendment, called the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, was ratified by Tennessee on August 18 and became law on August 26, 1920.

It took 144 years to finally allow women the right to vote in every state, primarily because of the religious motivations. The same with the civil rights, etc... There are still people to this day who see nothing wrong with separatism and intolerance, as a means to an end. Intolerance, is just packaged differently these days, and not always out in the open.

Good to see that you are taking your life back, and gaining freedom, hope you find your path, and enjoy the journey on your own terms. Take care...

Madbuni said...

Hi Tracy, I am glad you were able to express your feelings here. It is the best and safest place for you to get things off your chest.

I hope you stay and explore this website because it will provide you with mountains of good articles, books, and links to related websites, as well as good people who have had experiences a lot like yours. It is so important to have support when you are trying to find answers.

Take care, I wish you luck, and please stick around.

Mike said...

Hi, Tracy;
I am very sorry to hear of your troubles and this is going to sound terribly odd from the exchristian website but , God bless you for your strength and courage. I am sorry that you had the same experience that many here have had with the fundamentalist churchesand it has been leading me to believe that it is the churches, not God that are repressful and down right evil.

I am very lucky to have found a church of very open minded, loving and accepting people all of whom share a pleasant variety of beliefs about God. Hanging around this site I have sadly come to realize that those churches are very few and far between.

Being a member of a church is not a prerequisite for being a christian and any church that says otherwise is not the church for you. Churches should be there for support and comeradery (spelling) not judgement. If the members of one church have astrosized you that doesn't mean that God did.

Don't give up on God just yet. Find Him for yourself and don't waste your time with the churches. Everyone here has some really good reading suggestions that you might consider, for my own two cents try anything you can find by John Shelby Spong. But also ask some of these other folks here what they might suggest.

Best of luck to you, Tracy.

Emerson said...

Hi Tracy, unfortunately your story is only too similar. No honey you're not alone! Join the revolution of peace and freedom, away from religion. Funny how those things are found when one leaves religion instead of in religion , I hope I didn't confuse you!

The biggest relationship in life is the one that we have with our own self. I know that sounds weird, but you have to be okay with who you are, with your mistakes, with your past, with yourself. Love yourself, like yourself, etc.

Be at peace, people will try to tell you how to live your life but you should just do what you want after all you're the one who has to live with you! Wish you the best in your new life!

Anonymous said...

If your still breathing... and if you know in your heart of hearts lifes not over... its not to late to turn back to God. If you dont feel so much shame, that you cant even talk to a Christian... you probably still have hope. If you can love someone... I mean if you can really feel love for your brother, sister, mother, father, pet, a co-worker, a stranger on the street... turn back to the bible. If you can still read it and dont openly reject it, and still have a sliver of an open mind left, there's still hope for you.

With love, tj

Anonymous said...

The main point is... please dont harden your heart against good people, dont judge others, turn away from the stresses of the news,(take a news, video game, internet fast for a while), go to a favorite nature spot and reflect on your life. do a kind act for someone in need and dont tell anybody, and think to yourself.. Am i really saved?... Do I really know where Im going?
If you found that you didnt find the truth in the church you went to, try another. Call your grandparents or parents and tell them of your struggles... You will find wisdom in their words.
Im thinking if you do all of these things.. If you take a few days off from work.. You'll probably have a new perspective on things

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