Why does a women have to almost die in order to live the life she wants to live?- Glennon Doyle
It’s been quite some time since I did a blog entry again. So much has happened since my last post in 2021 and much of it happened as a direct result of challenging life circumstances which all of us have walked that road know about!
Since that time I have continued to slowly heal physically, emotionally and mentally since my life was up ended with Lyme Disease and having a very invasive surgery in July of 2021. In both instances I’ve learned about endurance and resiliency in a way that I never thought that I would. Some of our most dark moments unlock a gem within us that we had no idea existed.
The other things that have I learned was that things get seared or programmed into our subconscious from birth that we were raised to think or taught. And I discovered late last year that I needed to walk away from all forms of organized religion. In the beginning of making this decision I heard so many voices of judgement of all the bad things that would happen to me for making this decision but then this falls into the programming of the subconscious. I released myself from the bondage and fear surrounding that.
Growing up in organized religion and then changing religious denominations in my adult life was quite a journey and much of it was a turning point in my life. Being born into a family of devout Jehovah’s witnesses I had the concept of going to “church” or in this case in their religious verbiage “the Kingdom Hall” I had to abide by rules and serve the congregation and the big wigs in the governing body at the New York headquarters. I can remember my Dad always saying that I had to be obedient to Jehovah or I wouldn’t live into the new order of things. Basically be a good girl and follow their bible and their rules and I will have eternal life.
I experienced a great deal of religious trauma early on in my life as a result of being born into being a Jehovah’s Witness . And at a young age something deep within me knew that this wasn’t the answer for me and I needed to get away from it as soon as I could when I grew up. And so began quite an experience in my early twenties when I was disfellowshipped (excommunicated) from the organization due to a sin that I committed two many times and the elders felt I was a hazard to the congregation.
I remember one thing that hurt the most was I asked for an appeal from them to reconsider their decision and this required another meeting with six male elders (women aren’t allowed to be elders). My father drove me to the meeting but wouldn’t drop me off at the door because he was embarrassed to be seen with me and fear of judgement of supporting me so he dropped me off on the sidewalk at the end of the driveway and I had to walk up to the door from the road.
Needless to say I was devastated, hurt and felt abandoned as a result. The elders agreed to rule in favor of disfellowshipping me. It would be announced from the platform at the meeting that Thursday for the congregation to hear. I remember that night I went to a local bar where I lived and had a few drinks and was thinking how my life would never be the same. All that I had know was violently ripped from me. But what I didn’t know was this was the very thing I needed to help me eventually walk away from that organization completely.
After some time went by I eventually took the opportunity to move down to Greenville, South Carolina. Not long after arriving I felt the freedom of a new place and out of the eye of family and friends in Michigan. During that time I met the man I would be married to for the next 14 years and I converted to Christianity. The conversion did not go over well with my family, and our marriage didn’t go over well with his family as we were an interracial couple. What’s interesting was both families claimed to be loving Christian people who understood the love of Christ.
During those 14 years we entered ministry. He attended seminary to become a pastor. I had no desire to enter into ministry in this way because I’ve seen how people idolize people in ministry in both my previous faith and in Christianity. But nonetheless I entered in along side him. We spent the next 14 years ministering to so many people. We moved numerous times because we felt a prompting to go somewhere to live on others. We ministered in various parts of North Carolina, Texas, and Louisiana. We did street, small group and platform ministry.
During this time there were many things that I seen happen that were both good and challenging for me to watch. The one consistent thing that I seen in organized religion that troubled me was it seems that when something wrong happened in someone’s life it always seemed to be the result of some sin they committed. I caught the brunt of that when I became sick in 2019.
It took almost a year to finally get the diagnosis back that I had Lyme Disease. It was one of the most frightening and challenging things that I have ever had to walk though. Being bedridden for almost 11 months, sleep deprived and unable to function in a normal way. In the church I was labeled as demonically oppressed and/or possessed. I was accused of carrying something that others who are around me could catch or maybe I have bitterness and I forgiveness in my heart about something and I wouldn’t be healed until I forgive. And I was accused of not being a sick as I was letting on and it had been going on too long.
What really concerned me is that some of these people we justified in what they were saying and convinced that “God” felt the same way. As though if something bad happens to you and your a “Christian” you’re not supposed to experience that and you can tell it to leave. I think it’s foolishness and they need to rethink the faith they stand so firmly on because it wounds people and gives them a false perspective of “God”.
I learned a great deal about the dangers of religion and theology and felt like I traded in one set of bondage growing up Jehovah’s Witness for another entering and experiencing what I have in the Christian community. I feel like both arenas based on my own experience offer a form of freedom but really they are not truly free. Everything spoken over me in that time shows the bondage they are really in themselves.
I no longer wish to be in a place where there is a constant judgment of anything I do or experience. Religious trauma is a real thing and not something you can blame on the devil! Blame it on your own trauma within that you haven’t dealt with or won’t deal with because you would rather have the opiate of religion as a way to keep from dealing with it.
My life was shaken but I am thankful to still be Alive and standing! I am still living with the residuals of Lyme Disease and have chosen to live my life the way I desire to live. I continue to move forward and will tell my story in hopes that it will remind people that no matter what, you’re life is valuable and that even when bad things happen to awaken us to a new direction of living we can still grow and be transformed in who we really are in the midst of it.