Jump to content

Here Is My Story


Recommended Posts

I have been lurking for awhile so I think I am ready to finally get this all off my chest.

 

I asked Jesus in my heart at the wise old age of 7. I grew up with church being a very important part of my identity. I was shy and during high school, I tried so hard to fit in with youth group kids, who tended to be above my league coolness-wise and ended up shunning away a lot of meaningful friendships I could have had with heathen nerdy kids. I had my first bout of depression, requiring medication when I was 16. I also had some very unhealthy behaviors/attitudes about food which turned into binging and purging when I was 19. Also, toward the end of high school, I read The Fountainhead for a scholarship essay contest, and ended up obsessed with Ayn Rand and I created my own very conservative, self-righteous mindset that I mixed into my belief system. (Not sure how I completely missed the atheism. I think I considered it unfortunate that she had missed the truth.)

 

I attended a christian liberal arts college which started out exciting, being away from home and with so many like-minded peers. Then I ended up dating a student who had come from a pretty intense conservative past. He believed in a very strict set of gender roles. Although my parents did not live that way, with so many messages I had heard from Christian media, it was so easy for me to get sucked into the idea that I really needed to become a more submissive woman. I was having regular devotion times with the Lord and really believed that this was the path he was leading me on. This guy's favorite disney character was Snow White, because she was sweet and quiet and did housework. That really should have been a red flag. I ended up isolated from most of my other friendships. I was not allowed to hug male friends. I was not allowed to go hang out with other people when he wanted me around. There was never any hitting, but things got a little more intense over time with physically restraining me to stay in a room or grabbing arms. I had my first sexual experiences with him which included everything but intercourse, as this was clearly taboo in the community in which we lived. In that time there was one incident of a non-consensual sexual act. Usually, I just consented when I didn't want to because I thought that was what was required of someone trying to be a righteous, submissive woman.

Because of my belief system, I had no idea that that was not okay. It took me being in a class and learning the definition of sexual assault to really start to think about what had happened. Eventually that relationship ended right before I went home that summer. Fortunately, he broke up with me and over the summer, I had a "magical" experience with getting over the emotional baggage with him the instant I put all my faith into God. I had such a hard time reconciling what had happened and how the imaginary friend god in my head had encouraged me to stay in a relationship that was becoming more and more abusive. At this time, I really do not have any anger toward this person. I still believe he was a confused 18 yr old like me. I feel like it is more a system problem that I am angry at. I think that a lot of the teachings about gender which are becoming more and more mainstream are very dangerous and lead to a lot of violence.

 

I ended up transferring back to a state school near home. I found a church that I fell in love with. There was a very charismatic pastor who's teachings were deep and intellectual and really made me feel like I could reconcile my faith with reality. I got involved with the college-aged group there and felt like I finally had a home. I had people I could always hang out with and be safe in my belief system, but definitely more freedom to question than in other christian environments.

 

I met my husband in that group. He had come from a christian family and had returned to the church after having some "struggles" with faith. We were friends for a few years and then ended up getting together. A few months after he asked me to marry him, I found out that I was pregnant. This was a huge deal to our family and community. Never mind that I was an adult with a college education, a job, and a relationship, I might as well have been a knocked up 15-yr old. No one from church said "Congratulations on your baby" Instead they said "I'll be praying for you"

 

My son, who is now 3.5 was born with a severe congenital heart condition. He was very sick throughout his first year of life. It would take hours to explain how hard it was and the things that he had to endure - I don't even know if I think were ethical to keep him alive. He ended up getting a heart transplant at 1 year old. Both my husband and I realized during that time that life was actually easier looking at things without the lens of faith. Most of our friends from church did not seem to want to hang out with us anymore. The life of raising a sick, disabled child just didn't seem compatible with their lifestyles anymore. At the same time as things were so hard with our son, the church we were going to fell apart. Several people got fired for ridiculous reasons (one being a "suspected emotional affair") and then the pastor I liked so much got brought up on heresy charges and had his ordination stripped. We never went back to that church and have pretty much stayed away from all churches.

 

I am now becoming a nurse, and my husband is trying to become a paramedic. We have both spent time now working in pediatrics. There are just so many things that we see, so many suffering children, that just does not feel compatible with the faith worldview that we came from. I think about my son and all of the others who have gone through so much and just cannot make it fit. I have been told by my family that I need to be so grateful that hundreds of our acquaintances have been so faithful in prayer for our son. Honestly that doesn't make any sense. I am not grateful for him just being alive, because I still think he has been through more pain than anyone deserves and I am not okay with that. Plenty of other children have died and I do not think it was because they had less people praying for them. (And if that were the reason - I think that would totally suck of God)

 

I usually just avoid questions about what I am doing for church now, because I don't want to deal with what friends and family might say. Still trying to figure out how to have an identity and community outside of church and how to raise our child to have a different morality than the one we learned from church.

 

Thanks for listening!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sorry to hear that. Did your baby make it? At least you get to help others who are in a similar position. Also, I too was a victim of sexual assualt. I am glad to hear that you and your husband are together out of the faith. You are in a very good position since a lot of people here are in mixed faith marriages. I wish you and your husband the best of luck. Welcome to Ex-christian.net JennaD.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sorry to hear that. Did your baby make it? At least you get to help others who are in a similar position. Also, I too was a victim of sexual assualt. I am glad to hear that you and your husband are together out of the faith. You are in a very good position since a lot of people here are in mixed faith marriages. I wish you and your husband the best of luck. Welcome to Ex-christian.net JennaD.

 

Thanks for your support. Yes, my son is alive. He is an awesome fun-loving kid. He still has an uphill battle ahead of him, but he is with us now living his life to the fullest :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to EC. I can relate to a lot of your story although I have never had a sick child. I was really intrigued when you mentioned about the ethical question of keeping your son alive. We have some neighbors whose daughter is special needs and the question in the back of my mind has been if it has been fair to her to keep her alive......and the other 3 children are attention starved and mom and dad are so emotionally spent it is indescribable. Her life is a life of constant medical care and near death experiences. Questions about God definitely come to the forefront in these cases. Anyway, I appreciate your post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Jenna. Welcome to ExC.

 

Your story was moving. I'm sure it must be difficult to endure the pain of having a child with such health problems. But one thing about leaving Christianity behind is that you need spend no more time trying to reconcile the Christian view of god with what your child has gone through. When you take "god" out of the equation, all that is left is the reality of what your family must go through and you realize there is no "god" to blame. It allows you to focus on the real issues and removes the questions about how god could allow such suffering.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

JennaD -Welcome to Ex-c! Your story is amazing! You have come through so much. What a strong person you are! Thank you for sharing. I am so happy for your little one.

 

It is these stories that continue to help me on my journey of non-belief, and I thank you for that........ no more need to get raging angry at the god who doesn't exist. What a relief to know that the 'good god' I believed in for so many years, would stand back and watch this life story of yours without intervening at some point. It's just the way life is, isn't it?

 

Good luck to you and your whole family. looking forward to more of your posts.

 

Sincerely...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to Ex-christian

 

I can relate with depression most of my young life was a struggle.

 

I'm sorry you had that experience with your old boyfriend, i can't imagine that was easy and it's speaks a lot to your strength that you can speak about it so openly on here. I'm glad you have healed and have been able to move on with your life. I agree about the views being put forth as dangerous. Such views were held in the medieval dark ages and it was not a good time for women at all. Not only that it makes them feel like it's ok to abuse their wife or partner and feel justified. I too think the beliefs are too blame, not as much the people, when you're surrounded by people who are telling you such things and often times doing it themselves without remorse, you start to just see it as normal.

 

I'm sorry about your child, but i'm glad he's doing ok. Also i'm glad to see a child having parents that are trying to help them live a more free and wonderful life than they had in religion. It's funny....many religious people see children see a child and say it proves christianity or god's majesty. I look at my friend and his girlfriend (who both aren't christian) and how he stepped in to be the loving father of a child that wasn't biologically his, and their little girl, and i can't help but think that there's no way any loving god would put such expectations on a helpless child to live such a hard life trying to be something or someone they aren't (trying to conform to christianity). You can now love your child for who he is, not try to make him something he's "supposed to be"

 

It's good you're keeping him away from churches, especially very charismatic or fundamentalist ones. I can say from experiences that that kind of environment is toxic for anyone, but especially for a young child who has no defense against their mindset.

 

Good luck nursing, from what i hear it's a pretty good profession, pays pretty good. I also think your seeing those children will help you remain strong in believing that no loving god would allow such things.

 

Sorry if my personal biases colored this too much, it's an emotional subject to be sure.

 

Either way, welcome, and i hope you find peace, contentment, and most of all help here

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to EC. I can relate to a lot of your story although I have never had a sick child. I was really intrigued when you mentioned about the ethical question of keeping your son alive. We have some neighbors whose daughter is special needs and the question in the back of my mind has been if it has been fair to her to keep her alive......and the other 3 children are attention starved and mom and dad are so emotionally spent it is indescribable. Her life is a life of constant medical care and near death experiences. Questions about God definitely come to the forefront in these cases. Anyway, I appreciate your post.

 

Great point. These are definitely issues I think about too. My son currently has a great quality of life - he developmentally behaves about a year younger than he is. He eats on his own (another whole story) and communicates and goes to school and generally has no "appliances" attached to him, except oxygen sometimes when he is sick. I have seen a lot of kids who are not so lucky though and there really is not enough support out there for families to be successful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jenna

 

Welcome to our "dark side":wicked:

 

No really, I can relate to the abandonment. It happened to me when I had to stand down from being on the P&W team to care for my dad and mom, my dad had alzheimer's and even after over 10 years faithfool service to the church, not one visit or even just a simple phone call.

 

That pretty much sealed the deal for me as I cried out to the holy spook to send someone and guess what NO ONE came.

 

I actually had to ask my pastor to come minister to us and my folks church where they had been members for over 60 years the same thing. There was no almighty guy in the sky listening to any of our prayers and as it was, my faith was strong that the prayers would be answered, they were not.

 

I gave them each an earfull and asked them why they had not been obedient to said holy spook, when my mom got ill, at least her church ministers actually made an effort, I was already a heathen.

 

As for your situation, you are still very young. Make new friends, find new hobbies or places where you can meet couples. You should be able to find marginal believers if you cannot find any heathen friends. At your age, friends are important but my advice is make your family your top priority, DO NOT let the church steal that away from you like it did from me.

 

As for your college experience, he was probably a douchebag like all guys that age, getting laid is the prime objective, it is in our genes, I speak from experience. Happily married for 25 years now and going strong so we can change (a bit anyway):wicked:

 

I wish you all the happiness you deserve, no pie in the sky necessary for a fulfilled life but like anything, marriage is something you have to work at, there is no magic fix or a "godly" marriage. Entering into the latter will simply make you subservient to the prime objective of the church o make you miserable. Think about it. How many xians divorce? Their stats do not suggest they have anything better to offer in terms of advice. The church I attended had mens camps and womens camps, they later introduced couples camps which we never attended and folk came back all fired up fer teh lard and in two weeks it was back to the same old.

 

The only real love AND/OR relationship you can have is with real people. Dote on your husband and child and my advice to your hubby is the same. Investing time you may have wasted in church activities on the folk that actually love you back is far more rewarding. The god relationship thing is mere selfishness having a relationship with yourself, the voice in your head was always just you.

 

Hope this has helped somewhat, forgive my bluntness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

As for your college experience, he was probably a douchebag like all guys that age, getting laid is the prime objective, it is in our genes, I speak from experience. Happily married for 25 years now and going strong so we can change (a bit anyway):wicked:

 

 

Thanks for the rest of your words of support, but I feel like this is a little dismissive of my experience. I have known plenty of very horny people who are also into consent. I feel like what you are saying is "well, if you would just put out a little more, then people wouldn't have to get assault you" I don't want to go into the details yet in my first 10 posts on a public forum, but what happened during the one incident was very violent. The whole pattern of the situation resonates with what I hear in other people's accounts of intimate partner violence and I really believe that given more time, it very well could have escalated to being more physically dangerous.

I don't really give a shit what his motivation may have been. At this point, I really have no beef with him. I have what my experience is and some of the fear that I still have to battle on a daily basis. Simple medical procedures are potentially traumatic. And I can still hear the voice of the Lord as my "personal savior buddy" encouraging me to continue in an abusive situation for months that my better reasoning would have told me to escape from.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the rest of your words of support, but I feel like this is a little dismissive of my experience. I have known plenty of very horny people who are also into consent. I feel like what you are saying is "well, if you would just put out a little more, then people wouldn't have to get assault you"

Apologies if you took it that way, I was merely trying to say that at the teen age stage, we men folk tend not to use our heads properly. Never once did I slam any girl that did not put out as you say, most said no. I never ever forced myself on anyone. Back then no meant no plus BC and condoms were hard to come by as a teen.

 

I was just trying to show from a male perspective, we are pretty screwed up some times, if anything you should not hold anything against yourself for being duped into a submissive role. I am 53 and have been around the block with many disappointments prior to my marriage, Never been unfaithful once since then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.