This is Day 3 of my 31 days of writing series called "Confessions of a Road Kill Christian" If you haven't read Day 1 you can click here first. I am linking up with #write31days. I hope you will bear with me through this series and keep in mind that while individual posts might come off as imbalanced I do hope to round it out by the end of the series.
My salvation story isn't dramatic. I was raised in church. I was, for the most part, a good girl. I was loud and obnoxious as a little girl, but became quiet and serious as a teen. At nine my dad took me out on a date and asked me "so when are you going to give your life to God?" or something like that. I couldn't think why not so later that night I prayed "the prayer". Later that week I met with our pastor and a couple months later my little sister and I were baptized.
For me, that was my prayer. That was my salvation prayer and I kept praying it for the next few years. "God, if you want my life it's yours." I didn't even finish the little "now that you're a Christian" book that my pastor gave to me. I didn't instantly love reading my Bible, I didn't care a lot about prayer. I didn't do any of the Christian disciplines regularly. So I sat in church every Sunday feeling guilty that I wasn't as good of a Christian as I thought I should be and promised God I'd try harder to do better. Every. Week. One day I asked my mom how to know for sure if I was saved. I remember she gave me this great quote it went something like "If you're unsure if you are genuinely saved you can always pray and ask today." so I pretty much prayed for God to save me every Sunday for the next two or three years.
Eventually I made some Christian friends. They taught me by example how to talk about my faith in a way that made sense and around that time I got assurance of my faith and joined the church. I took over my older sister's Sunday School class of three year olds, then moved on to six and seven year olds. I was active in my youth group, where I met my future husband. I was a really good girl.
One thing we did as a family while I was growing up is we went to church camp almost every summer. One year there was a preacher who talked about devoting our lives to ministry. Maybe I should have dedicated my life to becoming a missionary, that would have made sense, right? But I did the most radical thing I could think of. I promised God that if he wanted me to marry a pastor, (or future-pastor) I would. That was huge for me, because I blushed for my pastor every time he mis-spoke or said something embarrassing and could not imagine anything more awful than being the center of attention, or maybe even worse, being married to one.
I eventually did marry someone recognized as future-pastor material. He led a small group at my older sister's home. He occasionally led youth group. I'll tell more of that story later. Eventually though, my husband walked away from God. Not like in an "I'm mad at God" kind of way but in a "there is no God" way and that was heartbreaking. In that moment the future we had imagined together, disappeared. All of the dreams I held closest to my heart died. I went through a season where I questioned my faith, doubted God and how He could possibly make anything good come out of this, and came to a place where I would say I was honestly more of a Universalist than a Christian. That was my "Road Kill Christian" moment. These were my years when I fell apart.
I spent a lot of those years thinking "I know better." and "This shouldn't be so hard." I wanted to respond with grace and automatic unwavering faith. I wanted to respond in overflowing, unconditional love. Instead, I just felt hurt and I didn't like that. I didn't like how much I doubted God. I didn't like how many times God would speak clearly and I would respond "I just can't do that. It's just too hard." Those were some awful years.
Since then, God has restored a lot. It's been seven years now and God has done just amazing things in my heart. So much so that I can honestly say that I am thankful for what I have been through and I am genuinely thankful for a new perspective.
Over the weekend I want to tie in my story with the stories in the Bible. I'm planning to write about Naomi & Ruth, their disappointment with God and His faithfulness to them. Then next week I'll share more of my story. Thanks for reading!!
I also wanted to mention a couple of bloggers I have met during the #write31days challenge who I feel are writing in a similar vein.
So I Married a Youth Pastor - her series on "Breaking Religion" is edgy and everything I love about the front lines of changing how we think about church.
How to Let Go of Perfectionism @ Laurie Cosgrove - I can totally be a "you missed a spot" mom. Ugh! Loved this post.
Letting Go of Perfectionism @ Mama Gab - This post on the roots of perfectionism. So good.
How God Sees Me @ One Thing Alone - Really loved this post. I feel like she echoes some of the things I've been trying to say.
Choosing Enough - yes. this is me. I need this series so badly.
There are SO many other amazing bloggers participating in this, I'll try to mention more in a future post.