Yes, it is!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Good Changes?

Last week, I mentioned that there were going to be some changes here, mostly on my part.  And the change was long overdue.  I want to be a better mom and a better wife.  I want to be a better friend.  I just want to be a better person all around.  Even though the past year has been a good one for me with weight loss and getting into shape physically (which has brought about better self-esteem and less depression), I knew that I still needed a lot of work inside of me.  I have put on a facade of being tough, a rebel, someone who won't be tread upon, someone who refused to let too many people get too close to me.  I don't know why I let myself get to this point.  Well, actually, I do sort of understand why now. 
I got tired of people telling me I should take whatever was troubling me to Jesus.  I got tired of having Bible verses thrown at me.  I got tired of being preached at.  Nobody really seemed to care except that I just needed to have religion pushed in my face.  Even when I would express my doubts about god to these same people, the refrain was the same; "I'm praying for you", not "Do you want to talk? What makes you doubt god? "Is there anyway I can help you?"   Others would tell me to pray about it.  Huh?  How does one pray about something if s/he believes there is no God?  I truly was doubting the existence of God.  And people were just too busy to truly care.  This applies to so many others, not just me. I became very disillusioned with church and only went for the sake of my family.  I would skip at times but every time I did that, Jackie would come home upset that I didn't go to church with the rest of the family. So, I felt obligated to go to church but I did not enjoy it and would just sit through. 
During the past several months, I've doing a lot of reflecting and thinking about how I want to raise my children.  I want them, for the most part, to have a faith, unlike what I have.  I don't want my children to struggle with religion as I have for so many years. I want them to feel secure in their faith.  But how was I going to do that when I had my doubts?  Recently, I have written posts about my feelings on this subject, mostly as a way to just vent.  Blogging is very therapeutic for me and serves as a way for me to express my thoughts and feelings in a safe format.  I have more difficulty talking about these things in person.  Well, one of my posts brought a response from an unexpected source.  She seemed genuinely concerned and most of all, non-judgmental.  It was the pastor's wife!  The pastor's wife!  I've always had this perception that most of them were "untouchable."  And that they didn't have time to be friends with somebody like me.  Pastors wives were too busy helping with husband's ministries, taking care of the children, being beautified, and "fellowshipping" with their glamorous friends.  I've often found pastors' wives intimidating because I knew I could never measure up to them.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have gotten to know my pastor's wife, Mary Lynne, better and she is a wonderful person.  She is so down to earth and humble.  A regular person like me.  (Well, I'm not a regular person. I'm just a misfit)  She is somebody who took time out to reach out to me, spend time getting to know me, and pray for me.  All without the judgment, preaching, scripture throwing.  In the past couple of weeks, Mary Lynne has offered to help me with an individual bible study and to mentor me.  I feel so honored about this. And in the past week I have felt much more encouraged and more at peace with myself. 
This past week, I have yelled at the kids much less. I've had more patience with them.  My potty mouth is getting better.  My anxiety level has decreased (still get panic attacks, though).  I actually looked forward to going to church this past Sunday and I actually paid attention during the sermon. And if I had not had a hoarse voice, I would have even sang the songs at the beginning of church.  I've been trying to read the Bible although it is still difficult to concentrate on it.  I've been trying again to read Bible stories to my children and get back to praying with them at bedtime.  I even said a short prayer with Jackie this morning before I sent her off to school.  I hope I can keep this up because I feel like it has helped me to be more loving and patient with my kids. 
Now all that being said, I still feel a bit of a tug-of-war inside regarding faith.  I can't help but remember Mother Teresa's writings that were found after her death, writings which at times alluded to doubts about God. But still she persevered and continued to share God's love with the world.  Like her, I don't feel a presence of God but perhaps this sense of peace is the presence of God?  I don't know.  Whatever it is, I think I like this better than the facade that I've been putting on. 
Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.
— Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, September 1979


Anonymous said...

Samantha, I read this earlier today and wanted to comment, but to tell you the truth, I was at a loss for words. I am deeply touched by the sweet compliments. (At least I took being a regular person as a compliment. :-) ) I am deeply concerned that any Christian would leave the impression that they are better than anyone else. Even Christ humbled Himself and became a servant. (Phillipians 2) And I agree that "preaching" and "throwing scripture" without genuine love and concern do not portray Christ's example. The Pharisees of the New Testament were very religious, but did not show love. Christ called them a brood of vipers. Yeah, snakes. I am so sorry that this is the side of the church that you saw. I had to laugh a little about the "beautified" and "glamorous" statements. That is SO NOT me. I'm just a country hick from Arkansas, from my Beverly Hillbillies shack to my hill country accent to...well, you get the picture. And to tell you the truth, I'm a little frightened. I am SO totally human and prone to sin, mistakes, and self centeredness. I hope that I do not disappoint you. But, the truth is, all humans disappoint each other at some point or another. And, last, but not least, I hope we can talk some next time we see each other about the quote from Mother Theressa. That discussion might take a while. :-)

Samantha said...

Mary Lynne, For some reason, your comment made me chuckle. Yes, "a regular person" was meant as a compliment. I'm so thankful that I have discovered that you're not untouchable. I love that, even though you're a beautiful person, you don't have that aura of being better than others. You're a sincere person. During these past few weeks, I can see now why so many people like you. As far as disappointing me, if that ever happens, I'm sure I would be quick to forgive. Right now, I'm just thankful that you stepped up to the plate before I ventured further into disbelief and that you have not been judgmental of me.
I'm looking forward to a discussion about Mother Theresa.