** Disclaimer: This is an honest, open-hearted post about how I’ve been feeling for some time now. This isn’t a post for anyone to make hateful comments because you may not agree with me. So if you don’t think this is something you want to read just x out and come back on Wednesday. Please and thank you.
Now. I thought a long time about whether I wanted to publish this post or not. It sat in my draft folder for over 6 months. There are so many people out there who can be judgmental and hurtful. But this has been on my mind recently and something that K and I talk about often, so if I’m being 100% me on this blog I figured I ought to share. And yes I do find it ironic (sort of) that I’m posting this during Lent. Just a coincidence really.
Since my brother died almost 4 years ago, I’ve struggled with my faith. Actually, let me back up even further.
I didn’t grow up with a “religion.” My dad is Baptist (not practicing) and my mom isn’t baptized, so we never went to church or had a religion we identified with when I was a kid. My parents wanted me to choose my own faith/religion. On the one hand that’s so thoughtful of them. But on the other, that left me with no religion to identify with growing up. I mostly went to Catholic church with one of my best friends, so “traditional” religion or church is what I have always identified with the most.
Before K and I were married I was baptized Lutheran because that’s what he is and I finally felt like I had found my faith. We were avid church goers, I read my Bible, I was 100% a believer. And then when my brother got sick and passed away something in me changed. I knew he was in a better place, but I started to really think about God and the Bible and the words I was reading.
If a god is supposed to be all knowing, all powerful and all loving, why would our God let such terrible things happen? Why would God let babies die. Why would God let school shootings happen? Why wouldn’t God stop those things from happening if he’s truly all powerful and all loving? He brought plagues of blood and frogs and gnats and locusts upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, so if he could do that surely he can stop a kid from bringing a gun to school. Is it because Adam and Eve sinned and we need to be reminded every day of our sins? That just seems silly to me to let the young, innocent die for Him to teach us mortals a lesson.
In my Old Testament readings, there are things I just question. Some things just seem ridiculous to me. I had numerous talks with Little A’s former nanny, who is one of the most spiritual people I know. She told me it’s good that I question things and don’t just follow the Bible blindly. But you see, I think that’s what so many people do. They follow this “book” that someone wrote thousands of years ago. I struggle to understand why people do not question some of the obvious philosophical issues within the Bible, and instead take everything as 100% fact. Especially the Old Testament….we can’t just disregard the Old Testament. That’s God’s work, isn’t it?! And if Jesus is God’s son, well then shouldn’t we still look to the Old Testament for guidance?
And what about Jews and people of other religions, like Buddhism? Who are we to say that Jewish people are wrong because they don’t believe in Jesus and the New Testament? Who are we, as Christians, to judge someone else for their beliefs just because they are different from ours? What if the Jews are right and there was no Jesus? What if the Muslims are right….?
I mean, what about evolution? Do Christians not believe in that? What about dinosaurs? Did God create those bones so we would think these mammoth animals lived millions of years ago? Hello carbon dating! You can’t argue that.
I think a lot of my frustration and questioning comes from the fact that I’ve never felt God’s presence. I’ve tried to talk to God. I’ve read books on how to talk to God. But I’ve never felt like God was answering my prayers, or that he was talking to me and telling me exactly what I needed to hear. Choices I’ve made in my life have never felt like God working in me. I’ve never had that spiritual encounter with God that I’ve so wanted to have.
I do think the Bible has some really great life lessons. I believe it can teach our kids to be responsible, kind people, which is what I want my daughter to learn. I want her to be a kind, loving and caring person, and if the Bible can teach her that then I’m all for it.
I know this was sort of a stream of consciousness post, but that’s just how I had to get it out. And I couldn’t think of a better way than to just type.
At this point, we’re still going to church, Little A is still going to Sunday school, and I’m off and on reading my Bible. I love our church; it’s such a welcoming place. It’s where I was baptized, where K and I were married and where Little A was baptized. But it does lack education for people my age, outside of Sundays. One of my girlfriends told me about Community Bible Study, a non-denominational organization that has Bible studies for all ages. She’s in a similar boat as I am (but never really went to church) and just wants to learn more. I’m thinking about looking into this as somewhere for me to go to connect with people and get my questions answered. I still have a lot to learn and discover and who knows, a year from now I could be singing a completely different tune. But this is where I am at this moment on my spiritual journey and that is okay with me.
Thanks for being so brave and sharing your views on this! The Community Bible Study sounds like a great way to learn more!
Thanks Ashley! I think it will be as well. Thanks for stopping by!
Oh wow. You are wrestling with a lot. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I wrestled like crazy with the Bible – and still do at times. I think the non-denominational Bible study sounds like a fabulous idea. I also think you should try reading the New Testament and dwelling on that before diving into the old. We see God’s plan and intentions better when we look at it that way. We see that God loved us so much that He gave us a choice from the very beginning – and we chose sin over Him. He needed to provide a way for us to regain holiness but how could we jump to holiness without knowing we’re not holy (hence the 10 commandments).
I think it’s so important that you question the Bible. I encourage you to question God too – ask Him – tell Him to reveal Himself to you. Beg Him to show Himself to you. Let Him know you want to feel His presence, I’m certain you will. He loves you more than you could ever imagine.
Have you read any of Timothy Keller’s work? He addresses a lot of gritty questions and I love the way He explains things.
Praying for you… I so appreciate and love you my friend and I hope you find some answers to your questions and above all, I pray you feel God’s overwhelming love flow over and through you.
Tiffany, I just love love love your honesty and your openness about everything, especially your faith 🙂 Like A’s former nanny, I think it’s wonderful that you’re questioning it. What you believe has to be your own and not out of obligation. I would encourage you to try out the Community Bible Study. I think trying a non-denominational group would be pretty different than what you’ve experienced at the Lutheran church and why not?! It’s good to get a different perspective and see what they teach. I’m going out on a limb here, but even when you don’t feel His presence, I know He’s there with you. He’s loving you because you are His creation and He designed you. Love you, friend!! 🙂
Praying for you.
I’m on my way to email you now because we are so alike, but came from very different backgrounds!
Yes, to everything Kelli said! I wish we could sit down and talk over the biggest cup of coffee. And if you haven’t already, and want to… ask Him to reveal Himself to you, tell Him everything you’re doubting, every frustration you have. That you want wisdom, to know what is true. For me, God’s word (The Bible) is truth. So to me it trumps everything the scientists come up with. I hope you find the answers you are looking for my friend. xoxo
How brave of you to share this! I hope the Community Bible Study helps, I will keep you in my prayers!
I’m so glad you went ahead and published this! Sometimes we need to talk to other people to figure things out. A lot of the questions you brought up I feel like we just don’t know the answer to. Like dinosaurs. I think they are amazing and of course they existed but at what point in the creation were they made and then destroyed? But it’s okay not to have all of the answers. I believe that one day we will have all the answers and that’s awesome. For now we just have to have faith.
I’ve been studying the New Testament the last few months and it has really helped me grow closer to Christ and what He wants us to do and how He wants us to live our lives. Really studying as opposed to just reading is so much better! I hope you get to go to the Bible study class and I hope it helps!
My father-in-law passed away two years ago and it was really hard, but something that kept me going was knowing that I would see him again. I don’t know why it happened and why he died leaving my 12-year-old brother-in-law. I think it’s going to take a long time for me to understand why it had to happen, but that’s just something I have to deal with.
I hope that helps a little haha. I didn’t mean to sound preachy or anything, and I hope that you find what you are looking for!
I think you brought up a really valid point. There is not much “church stuff” for people our age – 20s-30s with young children. I feel like most churches are geared towards children and then older adults. At least, that’s how I’ve felt. I’ve struggled to really connect with a church lately after having kids because of this. I may be looking in the wrong places, though. I hope that you find some spiritual guidance! I know you will!
I absolutely loved this post and the honesty. I wasn’t sure if I was going to comment but I figured if you had the guts to spill your heart out in a post, I at least could comment.
I was brought up somewhat religious. We went to church, I was baptized and we went did most of the church functions. But my mother went because she loved the choir and my father went because he felt like there were some good lessons to learn.
Like you, major events occurred in my life that made me question whether or not God was real. For you, it was your brother, school shootings, and etc. that made you question God and your faith. For me, it was learning that Christianity was forced upon African Americans during slavery times to keep us obedient so we wouldn’t rebel. When I first learned this, it CRUSHED me. I felt lost. And then when I went to College, I realized that the bible is just one giant memoir with different chapters written by historical figures. If we are not perfect today, who is to stay these humans back then didn’t skew God’s teachings?
I am no longer religious. One of the major problems in AA communities is that their pastors are rich and drive fancy cars, while the members suffer in great poverty. Why? Because it’s tradition developed from slavery to keep people obedient so that they can be rewarded once they die.
But I don’t believe if a God exists that he would want that. Why would he create us just for the purpose of serving? Why wait for rewards? What would be the point of life? What would be the point of death?
Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve shared my own evolving faith story recently (in two parts, with part 3 in the works) and each time it’s brought me closer to understanding where I need to be. Hopefully writing about it will bring you some clarity as well. My thoughts are with you as your spiritual journey unfolds.
I think it’s so awesome that you had the gumption to publish this. I’m also so not surprised to read it because you and I are so much alike, and this is EXACTLY where I’m at. Except, I’m no longer going to church. In fact, Kirk takes Henry solo now, so I have the struggle with faith AND guilt. Perhaps I just don’t like the church here in Dallas or maybe as a new mom I want sleep more, or maybe it’s because I find my yoga mat a more spiritual place… But I’m right there with you. How are we supposed to blindly believe God’s word? What about science? What if I believe in non-judgmental peace more? What if I cringe at “Christian” politics and politicians?
Great post. Mom was Baptist but not practicing. Dad was Christian and very involved. My former husband and I were very involved in the Christian Church we went to for 10 years. From toddlers, youth group, choir and I even started doing wedding coordinating. I still had/have unanswered questions. I would love to hear more about the undenominational group. Thanks for your honesty. 🙂