Being an open book is hard to do at times

10 August 2010

When I was just a wee super cute and VERY innocent baby; my mom had me baptized a Roman Catholic. There is a picture from that day that I wish I still had, it was me in the arms of my God Father, my late Uncle Tim, my mom, and I’m pretty sure my Grandma and Grandpa were there too. I never grew up in a religious house though, we used to go to an Episcopal church with my grandparents when we were visiting them but that slowly faded out as my Grandma was the one who really wanted to go and my Grandpa was dragged along.

From there till years later, I used to pray to God to show me he existed. To better my life, pull me out of the hell I created for myself. Instead I only got worse and fell into a horrible cycle of depression and anger that ruined so much of me inside, relationships, my children and almost cost me my life twice.

About 7 years ago during my first marriage I was kinda “bullied” into being rebaptized into the Baptist religion. See my first husband the Spew of Satan (yes I said spew and I meant, he doesn’t deserve the title of son) was a Baptist and felt that I needed a little more God in my life. Clue # 1 that this was not a good idea was that I was constantly breaking out in hives every time I stepped into the church, I wouldn’t touch my bible, I would doze off during sermon, I was always the last in and first out. Clue #2 when we were having our problems, he demanded that I go before the congregation and confess my sins to prove that I loved him. Hmm well first off he was no saint unless you believe it’s okay to lay a hand on your back talking sarcastic stubborn wife. Clue #3 that while I was damned to hell he was perfectly okay in doing what he wanted to do with his stupid flings. But I continued to go to that church and dove head first in their classes; still praying to be saved from my own eternal hell.

Life fell apart, divorce, drinking, partying, struggling, more depression followed till I met Dirt Diver. We used to lay in bed late at night and talk about how we wanted our kids to grow up; in the house of God, freedom to speak their feelings, showing respect, etc. But we were still in our party ways as we still hadn’t gotten married. November 2005 rolled around, marriage, I was laid off from work, couldn’t pay our rent and we moved into housing down in Eastlake a “suburb” of Chula Vista. (VERY nice upcoming area too) One day out of the blue, Dirt Diver suggested we try the church down the road. Off we went with ‘Tater and we never went back. We were put off by the lack of friendliness they had.

Months went by and we moved from Eastlake to the much sought after housing area of Murphy Canyon and our lives started to fall into place at the time. Lil T’ was still living with the Spew of Satan and I only had visitation. After a very nasty argument with the Spew, and knowing my days were numbered before having to put Lil T’ back on plane to his dad’s, I was just lost. I looked up wondering what was taking Dirt Diver so long to grab our pizza’s and that’s when I saw the sign for CVCF now known as Newbreak. For a week that place played with my thoughts and hung heavily on me till I finally looked them up for their service times. Told the family we were heading there that Sunday. Sunday arrived and I tried DESPERATELY to convince myself that it wasn’t time for me to step foot back in a church but nothing I did worked; the kids were amped, Dirt Diver was ready and Monkey was kicking me like crazy from the inside, so off we went.

4 years later I can still close my eyes and remember the feeling of calmness that literally rushed through me as I walked through their doors. The smiles, the handshakes, the hugs. My kids were happy and we had just been there for a couple of minutes. Then the service started, all my fears, worries, doubts of my worthiness to be in God’s house just disappeared. Over time that place became a home away from home. I taught the 2 yr old Sunday School class, was a member of the KTF (Kindness Task Force), joined numerous Bible Study groups (thanks to them I found my love for Beth Moore, ESPECIALLY her “Believing God” study) and during our year long separation Divorce Care became another branch of support for me. I never once felt unsure of myself, forced, or even judged.

But like all good things in life, it came to an end when we left San Diego heading for Oregon. I tried a service or two while up in Oregon but couldn’t find anything that I felt comfortable at. I started to get that feeling like I was being judged by everyone around me. I would sit outside the church with the kids urging me to just go in and give it a try. Finally I gave up and told myself that as long as I believe and have faith in the path He is giving me; all will end well. And that slowly started to fade from my heart as time went on and I grew further and further from Him.

Here we are a year later and this past Sunday, I loaded the kids up to try a church with a friend. As we sat there, I couldn’t help but judge and be disappointed in it not being MY church. The kids were sad and complained the music was too slow. I had to bite my tongue from laughing out loud at the ridiculous music director who’s left hand looked like he had a mind of its’ own. I nodded off at times. I hate to say it but not even 48 hours later, I honestly can’t remember what the whole message was about. How sad is that?

The kids and I left, discussing the pros and cons on our way back home; only for us to agree unanimously that we won’t be going back. Don’t worry though; I’m not going to give up this time trying to find us a new home. We have one picked out already for this coming Sunday. To be perfectly honest though, if it weren’t for the kids pushing for me to take them I probably would have continued on this path of growing further and further from God. Not that I want to, but having a relationship with the Lord is just another thing that terrifies me. He sees me for all that I am, good and bad; He makes it hard for me to pull the rug over my faults and imperfectness. That my friends is the hardest thing, acknowledging, accepting, and forgiving myself for the things that I have done that have caused harm to those around me and myself.

Don’t worry though, I won’t keep running from this; instead I’m facing this new challenge with an open heart and open arms; anxiously waiting what I’ll find.

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7 Voices:

Mary said...

I have a really hard time with "church" as well. I hope you find one that works for you guys. Good luck and I'll be praying for you =)

Rachel--The Kooky Queen said...

WOW, loved how open and awesome this post was Chelle!!! LOVE it! I really hope you find what you're looking for! I am a member of the LDS church and have never felt so fulfilled in my life. I know with all my heart that its teachings are true. If you're still searching, try it out! Go to for more questions. No pressure or anything :) But I know that feeling you describe and I hope you're able to find what you are looking for someday! Good luck!

Sarah said...

It takes a lot to share a story like this. I know it takes a long time to find the right church. Thank you for sharing.

mannadonn said...

What an inspiring post! I hope you are able to find a new place where you feel loved and accepted without conditions. Good luck!

Marykayj78 said...

I will be praying for you that the Lord leads you to a church home. He trully loves you and wants you to give Him all your hurts, mistakes, and pain from the past. Allow Him to take residence in your heart to guide you today and each day after. Many blessings and lots of love to you as you allow Him to make you a 'new creature in Christ." Check out bless!!

Mrs. S. said...

I'm praying for you lovebug! Always.

Sarah Beth said...

What a great post! I loved your honesty and transparency. I know how tough finding a new church can be - it's so sad that there are so many bad ones out there, or at least, if not bad, not right for you. It took me a year and a half to find a church when I moved to Virginia, even though there are LITERALLY churches on every corner. But, once I did, I felt that calm and peace that you talked about at your old church. And I've never looked back. I'll pray that you find that again - and soon!


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