This is a post that's sat with me for a while. And it may offend. Apologies in advance although if you offended, may I ask you to look within and ask yourself why?
I have a friend. We've never met but from the moment I started reading her blog and she read mine, I have always had deep affection for her. We were both longing for children and now, we both are blessed to be mothers.
We lost touch and over the last 6 months or so, we've found each other again. It's has been a quiet joy for me. My friend has been through a profound change, a life altering change which is hard to comprehend. She's walked away from God. Part of this has been what she has studied, in the Bible and part has been her own observation of organised Christianity and what is happening in the world.
The me of 5 years ago would have immediately put the burden of this straight back on her shoulders. That she did not read the bible correctly or understand it or it's context. She should have trusted more or had more faith. The narrow, rigid and constraining me. The rigidity of my views within a church context are breath taking to look back on.
My friend and I have both walked though storms. Massive storms. And I still have my God. And so I am asking myself why? What has held me here? I have the same questions as my friend. I have walked through the same testing fires. I am no better than her, in fact I can tell you from the bottom of my heart, that she is a much nicer person than me. So it's through no character strength that I am on this side and she is now on the other.
We were told in church that if you are isolated, then you reach out. If you are hurting, then you pick up the phone. If you are not connected, you make the effort. But what if you can't? What if simply standing on your feet and making your way through a day is all you have the strength for? In the darkest days of my parents illness I did not read a single word in my bible. It gathered dust on my bedside table. I did not pray other than to cry out and sometimes scream out for God to see us. To SEE us and help us.
Yet I felt closer to God then than I ever did before. God showed up in a million ways, in unexplained ways, crazy coincidences that can not be explained. I was doing everything "wrong" and yet I felt carried. I learnt about God's Grace. I did nothing that I had been told I needed to do to be close to Him and yet all I could feel every day was grace and His presence. I felt and still do an immense closeness to God. I read and pray now but I learned that my relationship with Him did not depend on ticking a bunch of boxes. If I never read the bible again, I believe that I could remain this close. It's a stillness within me, a certainty and a connection.
This side of the storm I see so much grey. Life is not black and white. There is so much about this earth and how it was created that we do not understand. There are majestic magical things about the earth that in an organised church context we dismiss as "new age". There is good and bad, and bad has hijacked much of what we should have- a connection to the earth. An understanding of the mystery of creation, not to worship it but to see our Creator through it.
Unlike my friend I have found a way to be with God without answers to my questions. I have asked them and it comes back to who He is for me. He is the question. And that sits well within me.
My friend has found peace. A deep and abiding peace. And that must be respected and honoured. Her views and mine are different but we are the same. Two women who longed to be mothers and love our children with all our hearts. We are the same.