I grew up going to a Baptist church. Every Sunday we would wake up and get dressed in our Sunday best and go to Sunday School and Big Church. After church service, we would meet my mom’s family at Mema and Papa’s for a homemade Sunday lunch. To be completely honest, as a kid, going to church for me was social and I loved getting to dress up. All of the elders at the church would tell me and my sisters how cute we were in our beautiful dresses.
I learned the basics of the bible, but I never fully understood religion and faith. Religion looked different for me throughout my life and the experiences I went through. In college, I didn’t attend church often, if at all. I was always home for the holidays and went with my parents. Church was and still is very important to them. I have always enjoyed church. I like listening to the preachers deliver the sermon and discovering the lesson to be learned from it. I always took something positive away from attending a service and I don’t ever remember regretting hearing one. God has always been there for me.
I went through some traumatizing life experiences. Throughout that difficult time in my life I was angry at God. I could not understand the lesson He was trying to teach me. I placed a lot of blame on Him. At times I questioned whether or not He existed. How could there be a God when I was going through so much pain? So much pain that I felt was undeserving. Had I done something wrong? What was it? I’ll do better, please forgive me, I begged. I prayed more than ever to God asking for help to move forward, to move past the hurt. I felt that God was punishing me. What I was going through was so hurtful and painful that it had to be punishment, right?
I was so caught up in the moment of praying to be released from the pain that I couldn’t hear God. He was silent. I was suffering, begging for clarity and the path to move forward and He wasn’t there for me.
I’m not ready to share the details of my experience, but it absolutely got worse before it got better. When things got worse my feelings about God shifted. I never stopped praying and in the time I thought that God was silent, He wasn’t. He was always working for my good. He was there for me. I may not have heard Him through the pain, but I always felt Him. His presence was there. My prayers shifted from begging forgiveness and for guidance. They grew darker. I couldn’t handle what I was going through anymore. It had been years, literally six years of pain at this time. A deep pain that I had no answers to. I was confused and desperate.
Finally, an answered prayer. God doesn’t always answer you in the way you’re expecting and this was part of my story. Again, I’m not ready to share the personal details of this, but just know that God had been working for me the entire time. It’s one of those things where in the moment you feel lost, unheard, and unseen, but looking back later you realize it was God’s plan this entire time. Things really do happen for a reason. He has a plan for me, for all of us.
I’m sorry this story feels vague and one day I do plan on sharing my story, but for now I want to share one thing: God is real and He loves you. My faith is stronger than ever now. I have seen God’s work, and I have experienced it. His love is real.
If you or someone you know has any questions or maybe is struggling with something right now, please reach out to me. You are not alone, not just with God, but with me. We’ve all gone through hard times and I promise you are not alone. I’d love to be here for you.
If you have any questions about religion or faith or God, please reach out. I don’t have all the answers, but I know my personal experiences and I am studying the bible.
I also feel called to say that a lot of people have negative experiences with churches (myself included) and please don’t let that deter you from religion or learning about God. As a Christian and a Baptist, please know that I choose to treat others the way that God would. I choose to treat others the way that I want to be treated. If you are different or have been bullied into thinking you are different – you are not. You are not different in a bad way.
If you are interested in learning about Christianity or finding a church that will accept you exactly as you are, reach out to me. I’ve got your back. God loves all of us and we are all worthy of His love.