Story

In 2004, as the mother of a little girl and a wife to a husband of 7 years, I decided to change my life. The years before that time were hard, but not impossible. I’ve told my “story” online before {and it’s still there} but life and time and Grace and God have tempered the way I tell it now.

I’m different than even when I told that story for the first time. This is how I see it now and this is how I tell it now.

Like many of you, I had grown up in the narrow halls of American Evangelicalism, and by the time most people from my background are just beginning to experiment with life and God and asking questions, I was married.

I never understood that faith is a journey and that questions are something God wants.

I never understood that it not just okay to wonder and ask, but it’s a necessary part of our faith.

I never understood that it is good to live in the tension of faith and that in order to be someone who follows Jesus I didn’t have to believe in a “young” earth or be a Republican.

When I began to ask questions, it almost seemed too late. Because by that time I’d been trained to see God and the world and sin and morality in such a black and white landscape that faith was NOT a journey like it was meant to be {Jesus said, ”Follow me” didn’t He?}.

It was only a YES or a NO. And for so long I said yes.

Yes.

Yes.

For so long I had uttered that blind “yes,” that I wanted to say “no” for a little while. Or at the very least test what it was like to say no.

And like I said above, most people test that when they are in college or high school and unencumbered. I, unfortunately, began to test the deep, dark waters when I was in my twenties. And married.

I made choices that I regret. He made choices that he regrets. And together we made a whole bunch of choices with consequences that we still recover from today.

But somehow, Grace found us both. Grace found me in a church classroom one Sunday afternoon after the whole congregation had gone home and I began telling the truth. Grace found me and put me back together and pointed the right direction.

God, Grace-embodied, found me and showed me a way to live that was a “follow me” journey rather than a punitive way of faith. It was a two-step-forward and sometimes one-step-back kind of faith. But if it was anything, it was a real kind of faith. The kind that makes us laugh and cry and ask hard questions. It was the kind of faith that lets me sleep in once in a while on a Sunday morning and see “church” as not just a place but as a meal shared around a common table.

We can use the word “adultery” but that’s not who I am any more. In fact, I use it quite sparingly. We can talk about recovery, but the older I get the more I realize recovery looks different for each person.  We can talk about the darkness and the “rock-bottom” and the lying, but to be honest, I’d rather talk about Grace.

After all of this, after the church classroom, I’ve never seen Grace or God in the same way. It is, as the Moth Storytellers say, that one thing that changed the way I saw and interpreted everything after it.  I’ve never been the same, after truly experiencing the Grace of God and I will always be burdened with it.

Burdened only because Grace is beautifully heavy.