Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day 9 - it all starts crashing down

This is Day 9 of my 31 days of writing series called "Confessions of a Road Kill Christian" If you haven't read Day 1 yet you can click here first. I am linking up with #write31days. I hope you will stick around for the whole thing... while the message of one post might feel incomplete my hope is that by the end we'll be encouraged by who God is and who He says we are in Him. This week I've been sharing my story and the ups and downs that have brought me to this point. 

This is the point of the story I have been dreading having to sit down to write.
This is moment in my story when everything unravels, when my life began to truly fall apart. 

This is the moment God lovingly and gently showed me His will and I said "I can't. It's too hard. This is too much." 

But this isn't the story of Everything That Went Wrong. It's certainly not a moment to complain. I'm trying to write this as honestly as possible...

Our story today picks up as we were moving into our new house. I was so excited. This was our first home that we would own. This was a house we could make a home. I could look forward to our future here. I would give birth to my fourth child here - finally a boy!! I could dream here. But that dream quickly turned into a nightmare. 

Not everything about our time in this season was bad. I had a couple key friends who loved me, prayed for me and taught me a lot about living in community. But it was tough almost right away.

We bought our first home the very week they changed the rules for lending, right as the economic bubble in our area was about to burst. We didn't know that at the time. My husband would have a lot of trouble with work (he was laid off twice in one year!!) and we had a lot of financial strain during this period.

Emma, Daniel & Beth 

We had been fighting on and off for awhile now, but the fighting intensified. We were worn out from all of the transition. I could feel the spiritual warfare intensifying. It was debilitating. We had spent years without any covering of authority. Going from one frustrating situation to the next and we were exhausted, physically, emotionally, spiritually drained. 

Daniel didn't get along well with the leaders in the church plant we'd moved across town to join so I continued to attend that church while Daniel looked for a new church. This process felt like it would be the straw that broke the back of our marriage. We simply could not agree about anything church-related. 

Josiah Leeland was born, in September. People from the church plant were kind and helped us out with childcare while I was in the hospital but we were shuffling them from place to place, which was causing Emma a lot of anxiety and Daniel a lot of stress. All I wanted was to rest in the hospital with my son. This child I had prayed for, was finally in my arms and I didn't want anything to bother the bliss of our first moments together but it was just stressful.

The Raider chicks with our new little manJosiah & Daddy 9/20/07Josiah & Daddy 9/20/07

No one from the church we had been attending was willing to drive all the way to bring us a meal. Only one person from my homeschool group even offered to bring us a meal but then she forgot. Did I mention yet that I was stressed out of my mind? Four kids under six was hard. I had no context for how hard this was, I just felt weak for struggling so much. I felt like a human tornado flying from one kid to another and I was quickly running out of steam.

The Raider Family

my girlies today

In November I noticed that the books that Daniel was ordering were different then his usual stream of theology texts. He was watching debates on YouTube in the evenings after the kids went to bed, debates with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens vs various christian apologists. I noticed the change in his attitude towards what he was watching. He wasn't defending his faith anymore, he was questioning it. 

I knew where this was going. I had seen this behavior before and I knew there was only one logical outcome. Daniel was loosing his faith. I had to decide what I was going to do when that moment came. 

I felt like the Bible was crystal clear on this. It left me no way out. There is this one passage that particularly comes to mind, to paraphrase it says "you had better stay with that unbelieving spouse of yours for just as long as they are willing to stay married to you. You are a presence of grace in your home and you bless your spouse and your children whether you recognize it or not." (See 1 Corinthians 7:12-14) 

So on that night when I asked "so what is going on? What do you really believe?" and he answered honestly - I was ready to say "I love you no matter what." What I wasn't ready for was how heartbroken I would feel that my husband had left our faith or what a fight it would be to maintain that position of unconditional love.

The next morning I got up, made breakfast for my kids and just cried. I cried and cried and cried. His doubts cast a shadow over my faith. His questions shook me to my foundation. To say that I struggled over the next year is an understatement. 

We spent months discussing our difference of beliefs. I struggled to not feel personally attacked anytime it came up, but it was hard. Daniel tried not to push the issue and I tried to show respect for him but it was a constant battle to find the balance between being honest and showing honor for one another's differences of belief and we were constantly getting hurt. 

Josiah 9-21

I just wanted to get my feet under me, but I felt like every time I'd get my feet under me I'd fall on my face. I lived that year on the edge of falling apart completely. The first time I heard Josiah laugh for the first time I sobbed. How could so much pain and so much blessing co-exist in this small space of my heart? 

God was faithful to me. 
I wish I could say that I handled this season with grace and overflowing unconditional love. But the reality is that I did not. I freaked out. I floundered in my faith. One day I'd be believing God and be confident in Him the next day I'd be wallowing in doubt and self-pity. 

I remeber this one particular moment, it was near the end of a long hard day, I was feeling crushed by the weight of my grief, bowed down by the responsibility of trying to raise my children with respect for their father's atheism but still honor my faith (and those things were colliding often) I just felt in over my head and pushed past my limit. I opened the nearest Bible at random and this is the verse I read that night:

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. 
(1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG)

I had to believe that my trials were still within the scope of normal human experience. I had to believe that God would bring me through this. Or at least I hoped He would...

my kids!!

Later things crashed dramatically... but I'll have to save that for tomorrow's post.

all the kids

I have been listening to this song on repeat over the last two days of writing this post and so I thought I'd post here.


  1. Thank you for your honesty, bravery in sharing the hard parts of your story.

  2. Thanks for sharing this story! My dad has recently walked away from his faith and it's been so hard on our family--especially my mom. I'll be praying for you and your husband--as I truly believe that God is bigger than our lack of faith and loves each of beyond what we can ever know!

  3. As someone who lost her faith, then found it elsewhere (on a different path), I'm sorry to hear that you have struggled with your husband's journey. It is a very uncomfortable journey to lose the religious foundation that has served as your bedrock. It feels like your life is over, and you become hyper aware that you are at risk to lose everyone around you. Being true to yourself doesn't matter - and I know many people would rather fake it and be miserable for their loved ones' happiness than accept the way things are meant to be.


    1. Thank for for this comment Melissa! Yes. I would rather my husband be honest than "fake it" yes, it has been hard to have an inter-faith marriage and home but I would never want my husband to be dishonest about his faith, just for the sake of keeping the peace.

  4. Love how open your heart is to share the most vulnerable parts of your journey.

    My brother no longer believes in God, and when I consider the circumstances that led to his decision I understand. But now he chooses to be on the attack toward his Christian family members. It's hard, and our relationship is at a stand still right now. I'm learning it is possible to love someone, but not like them very much.

  5. Your story sounds so familiar, except my husband found another woman, but I still walked through so many of the same heart break as you, and fighting for the one I loved. It's not an easy road, but it's so worth it!

  6. Thank you for sharing your faith and your struggles with your husband's changes in his faith. Your family is beautiful; such a sweet picture of your little one smiling! Hold onto that and your faith; God will be faithful to you and your family.

  7. I don't have any great words of wisdom or advice, but I wanted to say how wonderfully brave it is for you to write this. I have had a number of friends in interfaith marriages and have always wondered what it is like from the inside. I can't imagine how hard it must have been when your husband lost his faith. Your reaction is much the way I think mine would be if I were walking in your shoes. I think you and I are kindred spirits in many ways. God bless you and hold you and your beautiful family (hubby included) close to His heart! (((((hugs)))))

  8. I love, love, love that song. And I am loving and simultaneously heartbroken by this series! Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. i LOVE this song!! I played if for my husband after we had a disagreement! And, I nabbed it 'our' song. It is such a good reminder to NOT GIVE UP! Love this series and I know I"m behind but I'm catching up today. Can't wait to see where God leads you guys!


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