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Go Where the Pain Is

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There will be a vulnerability hangover tomorrow for sharing this- but that’s the price of truth.

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There’s a rumbling and I don’t know if I even have words to describe it yet, but I know I need to share where I am and what I’m feeling because I know someone else might be feeling it too.

My FB community and friends list has grown immensely in the past few months since coming back from maternity leave. There are many of you here that don’t know me well and a very close group that has known me for some time.

I haven’t shared much about my personal journey these past few months- mostly because I assume people already know it and also because I’ve been in the depths of motherhood adjustment and have been attending to other parts of myself that are in the process of arriving, shifting, and ever evolving.
Yet I can’t deny the way certain events have added up as of late and I know that I’m on the brink of yet another chapter of my very personal journey.

Something is happening inside of me that is breaking me open in the most tender places and is asking a lot of me. I feel God calling me to come closer than I ever have before. This Entity that has caused me so much pain and given me so much healing is calling me for yet another deep conversation.

This election has brought up a lot for me and I’ve struggled understanding why. I’ve felt hurt and shamed and afraid and embarrassed for even feeling that way as I know there are women who don’t have my white privilege who must be feeling this even more so. Yet I can’t deny the fears that I have, the pain that I feel, and the truths that have been laid upon my heart.

Sharing this feels incredibly vulnerable. I never want to be a force that separates or divides, but I’ve felt for much of my life that I’ve been separated from my own salvation encouraged to jump through hoop after hoop in order to return to good graces in the eyes of God.

I’ve been preached to and condemned by very loving people. I’ve held space for extremely conservative women and given all my heart to understand their views while trying desperately to hold onto my own truth of who God is and isn’t and how God loves and doesn’t.

I’ve spent years on a spiritual path trying to reconcile deep pain I’ve carried for decades feeling as if I was never enough in the eyes of the God I was taught to worship growing up.

At the age of 23, after years of not feeling seen in my church, I lost a good friend tragically and unexpectedly and her death was the beginning of denouncing a faith I’d worn my whole life.

It was the fuel I needed to justify my anger and turn my back on the God I was taught to fear in order to win his love.

It took years to put myself back together and recognize that there is more than one path to the Almighty. It took late nights, reckless nights, of proving my unworthiness to arrive at the conclusion that I could never do enough damage to be unworthy of Gods love because no matter how far I strayed, this all knowing, all loving Power refused to let me go.

Over the years, I’ve felt the pull and heard the call to not give up hope and do some healing. I eventually found my solace by studying other religions and other philosophies to find my way back to God. But I still remained hesitant of institutionalized religion because to me, this is where the first sins had begun. This is where the first betrayals had taken place. And not by me and not by God, but by those who wanted so desperately to be holy that they twisted the words claimed by the Almighty to belittle, cast blame, throw stones so that they could feel better, feel safe.

I know I’m not the only woman to feel this- to feel as though her very power is trying to be controlled by rules and “commandments” that have been twisted to keep her spirit small and obedient.

I know I’m not the only woman who has carried deep shame for simply being who she is. And knowing this so fully in my heart is why I even have the courage to share this with you tonight.

Because I know I’m not the only one hurting.

Last night in the middle of the night as I woke to nurse my son, I read an article that triggered so many deep pains within my soul, I wept with my son latched to my chest, the same chest that is sexualized and shamed when it isn’t used correctly by those who think they know the path to God.

All day I’ve been processing these emotions questioning why I feel these emotions so intensely, especially since I thought so many of these feelings had been reconciled in a previous spiritual journey that culminated 5 years ago.

I told my husband tonight about these feelings and the actions I knew I was being called to take.

I told him of the shame I’d carried for so many years feeling as though I never had a spiritual home that was free from condemnation and that I knew the place that had caused me harm was also the same place that held my healing.

Reading Love Warrior has only validated these feelings reading Glennon Doyle Melton‘s words of the God smugglers who learned to print their own money to buy their own damn salvation. I’ve been a God smuggler too, but unlike Glennon, I haven’t made it fully home.

Four years ago, I was out shopping with my husband before he left for a 6 month deployment. I was the dutiful wife, happily so, helping him pick out some professional clothes for the job he’d be doing over seas. I remember this day specifically because I happened to be preparing for a presentation on finding our inner voice and learning to trust in God. I wrote down a note in my phone that day of a thought that randomly came to me. It was, “maybe the reason you never felt okay at church was because you’ve always been a feminist”.

This was a huge epiphany to me because although my marriage does consist of some traditional gender roles, it is mostly egalitarian. I respect my husband so much for that and have never once felt the way my church made me feel- like all I was made for was to be useful for a man.

I let this thought lie until I came back to it tonight all these years later recognizing that a seed was planted that day that I wasn’t ready to explore yet.

Reading that article last night triggered so many feelings of unworthiness at the thought of conservative Christianity coming to be at the helm of the US government.

As a compassionate leader, my integrity is to not further divide or cast blame. I’ve been mindful of my words by not using terminology such as “us” and “them”. I’ve sought to understand how this man was elected who so easily judges others and I’ve struggled. I’ve struggled with strangers and I’ve struggled with my own family.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to approach this because my intention is to never make someone feel the way I’ve felt- shamed.

So where I am today is realizing that white supremacy has worn the cloak of conservative Christianity to rise to power and so has the patriarchy. For centuries, women have been stripped of their power by the same institutions preaching love and equality who seem to have no idea how far off the mark they are. They use scripture to control and rhetoric to dismiss and there is no way others can feel loved in such an environment where they walk on eggshells to please “God”, which isn’t really God, but those who want to use His power to stay in their personal power and this makes my stomach turn.

I’ve just arrived to this point in my personal journey where I was ready to re-enter a church. I find it interesting that all these things resurface now- this perfect storm erupts creating as much fear as there ever was to enter into a church again- a church that supposedly practices love and compassion, but is so quick to cast the first stone. A church that preaches God as the only one who can judge as they add that on to the end of their very judgmental sentences.

I am so tired of sitting idly by watching people defame a God that I know that is so purely loving, nonjudgmental, fully accepting, wholeheartedly supporting of every single person who walks this Earth no matter their religion, sexual orientation, mistakes, or genders.

I am so tired of being quiet for those who feel persecuted against so that I remain a well behaved woman because our society can’t hold space for a woman who is hurting, who is angry, who is passionate, and demands change.

I have so many feelings that have been trapped for so long that I haven’t known what to do with until now. Today, the God that I know whispered to me in my moment of desperation.

I was asking for a savior to provide a space where feminism and faith intersected. The answer was quite clear. She/He said, “create it yourself, be the Warrior, dig in deep, find the truth in my words, and bring other women to the well”.

I want you to understand that these words, this mission, could not have arrived upon a more flawed person. I’ve fallen out of grace more times than I could count. I’ve done terrible things, hurt people I’ve loved, don’t countless things that have hurt and undermined myself.

Yet here I am. And here you are and I know some of you are ready to come with me. You’re ready to heal a spiritual wound you’ve been carrying for a very long time. You’re reading these words and you’re feeling a tingle just like the God smugglers Glennon has talked about and you’re ready to reclaim your worthiness in the deepest way possible at the feet of a God you’ve yearned to know without anyone telling who who She/He is. You’re ready to find out for yourself.

You’re ready for the salvation of Mary who says come just as you are you. You’re enough just as you are.

The sick, sick reality is that we always have been enough- it’s the twisted state of our world that has caused us to lose sight of our truth.

As I sip my moon water that was charged under the energy of the Super Moon on Monday night, I have to reflect on all the journeys I’ve taken that have seemed somewhat wild and rebellious. I’ve dipped my toes into the deep end of religions and practices that have helped women remember who they really are. I’ve used stones and crystals, ceremony and prayer, to reconnect with my lineage before I forgot who I was.

The energy of a Priestess has been strong and steady this year and I’ve never wondered why. But now I know why- because it was preparing me for this. It was preparing me to begin another layer of healing that’s been calling me for some time and I’m heeding the call.

There will be messy, messy, messy chapters up ahead. There will be churches and institutions I walk back into even though I’m afraid. There will be texts I reread even though my mouth still tastes bitter. But these are the things that are being asked of me – to have faith and know that God is working through me however that ends up.

There is a place for women in this world and I won’t lose sight of our worthiness or power in light of what’s to come. Women’s empowerment has always been something I’ve championed for, but right now that’s taking on a very personal lens.

There’s a layer of healing coming for me that scares the shit out of me already, but as I was telling my husband tonight, this is something I must do for myself. It’s time. It’s time for a personal homecoming.

So, as I leave my heart with you tonight, I’m comforted by the adage that a well behaved woman never made history, but history isn’t my goal. Redemption is, forgiveness is, worthiness is- for as many of us as possible.

This will be the unraveling of unravelings, but I promise to share as much as I can as I can because God tells me I’m not alone <3

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