Monday, June 24, 2013

Q & A.... Why don't you go to church anymore??

This is a question that comes up a lot... 

Amy, what's the story? Why don't you go to church?

So I thought.. what a great topic to write about!

Why don't I go to church?

Well for one, I don't say the word, "never" anymore..as I have learned life changes and so does my mind. lol! I actually am not going to church now, but might go back one day.
I really don't know tho.

I am going to answer this question as open hearted and raw as I can because I know many people are concerned or are just wondering... and I appreciate that. I know you love me, and want the best for me... and for that I am so honored. Thankyou for your love and your understanding in this season of my life. I only hope you find the same love and understanding from my heart to yours. This is a very vulnerable post, as I have had critical and some very hurtful words thrown at me in this process. So here goes. (gulp)

To answer the question, being raised in church and in my family of origin, it came to my attention in my healing process that I have never believed what I believe because I chose to.
I was never allowed the glorious freedom of asking the question, "Why?" about anything.

In my family, you couldn't question any of the rules in the house, my father, religion, not anything.
And being a child that wanted to be loved and deeply needed connection, I never questioned.
It was never a good outcome when any of my siblings questioned, so I just didn't.
I swallowed everything that was taught to me, and just put it on myself and believed it.
To question why about anything was so deeply buried inside of me that it never even came into my external radar to want to or desire to ask that question.

I was told who I was, what my calling and purpose in life was, who God was and wasn't, what was right and what was wrong...everything was told to me. There was no discovery of these things.

Until one day, in the midst of an intense time of counseling and healing, I had a revelation that I had never owned my life and my beliefs. I had always done what I was told, but never knew who I was or what my purpose out of self discovery with God. I had worked out a lot of my story in counseling and in the healing process walked into a lot of freedom inside, and there it was...for the first time in my life, underneath all the wounds and all the layers of roles and obligations...the questions.

~ Who am I?
~ What do I believe?
~ Who is God?
~ Why?

There they all were... and you know what, fear was present, but God was bigger then the fear.
He held out His hand, and said, " Let's go. I want you to find out who you are, what you believe, who I Am, and all the why questions. Don't be afraid. I have you."
And away I went.
I have researched and studied...read and prayed. Hashed and cried. Gone from one side of the pend-ilium to the other...from one extreme to another.
It was as if God took off everything that had been put on me by people.. people who loved me and where doing the very best they knew how to do... but He took everything off and said.. " Try things on. See how they fit? Is it peaceful? Is it agitating? See what fits you, love. Don't be afraid. I am with you."
And so I have.
And I have lost my fear.
I have lost my shame.
And I am finding out who I am, and discovering what I believe, and why.

One of the things I chose to stop doing was to go to church. I was fine in it for awhile, but then I noticed that going to church was like wearing a coat that somebody else had put on me. It was something that had to go, until I wanted and desired to go on my own choosing.
I learned that church is another name for community.
That whether I go to church or not, it in no way hinders my connection to God. He loves me whether I go or not.
I have learned that I had been taught things about going to church that do not line up with scripture... and I was taught that they did.
I have learned that church/community is a gift FOR me, not a requirement to God in connection with Him being please with me or not. 
I have learned that whatever brings life to my heart, is the community I need to connect to. 
But to be honest, I haven't missed going to church for a very long time... I felt so fat and full of truths that I had never lived and given away. It has felt so good to just abide in all that I know to be true and give it away to the world. 
I am just now coming to a place where I think I could go again, but it would have to be a very special community.
But you see, I have discovered that on my own. It was a decision that God wanted me to make on my own, not because anybody told me to...but of my own choice.

God has restored something to me that is very hard to explain to people because it doesn't fit inside their theology and doctrine...especially those who are locked into a doctrine that says everything that God does has to line up with something that happened in scripture.
I don't believe that anymore.

God can do whatever He wants. He can lead a million people through a raging sea, and He can talk to a man through the lips of a donkey. He can lead a man and his wife out of a community that they knew, promise them a son in their aged years and lead him into the wild so that the man could know Yahweh, the one true God.

NONE of that was ever written in scripture before it happened. All of those people had no writings to compare their experience to. They just experienced God in their every day life. And it all happened and it was God...we forget that part, don't we? 

Just as He has lead me out of a community that I knew, into the wild with Him. I have come to know God as Yahweh, my Creator, my Healer, and my Love. I know His voice, and I am in partnership with Him as He walks me. It hasn't been an easy road at all. But it's been forever life changing.
He has healed me. He has given me back my voice. My choice. And I can say I believe what I believe because it's what I have found to be true through experiencing God and my own hashing in life.

He whispers to me a lot in my life.. "Does it fit you, love? How does it feel in your heart/spirit?  Does this activity, place, person, behavior bring you life? Does it serve you?"

See.. that is the kind of Papa, Creator, and God that is leading me. One that brings life and life to the fullest. One that cares for the whole of my being.. spirit, mind and body.
One that is unconventional and completely wild and unpredictable in how He leads each individual.

One that has given me the greatest gift of love... my voice, self discovery and choice.

I hope that answers that question for you.

Walking all of this out, I have learned to stop judging other's journeys with God.. they don't have to match mine or anybody else's for that matter. 

And I am perfectly peaceful if you don't agree with all of this. It's ok. It really is. I have come to the great realization that I can't make everybody ok with my life and how this journey looks with God.
I know God has me, and I know what I have experienced with Him in my journey. It's ok. You don't have to agree, I just wanted to answer the question for you.

God has me and God has you... and we can all trust that.

Please feel free to message me if you have any questions.. I am a open book. I welcome the conversation.

Thankyou for your love and for your friendship. xo

Much love...

Amy

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rambling bits of rawness.

Hi loves.. just have been wanting to write, but not knowing even where to start..but here goes. I am just jumping in.

After my last trip to Arizona, a second interview for a job and looking at rentals, I returned to my house in Colorado with a profound and deep sadness.

It's a sadness that is weary, grief and tiredness all wrapped into one.

June has been really intense.

I don't want to move to Arizona, but I love my daughter.
I have never ever been in a space of such polar opposite emotions.
Letting a dream go, and grieving that dream while stepping into and making plans for a different dream and reality.
Grateful for some forward motion, but sad that the new state is coming and the old is passing away.
Puzzle pieces swirling around over my head... opportunities, jobs, homes... forming pictures and then swirling again.

...

I was just having a conversation with my sister tonite, and I was sharing with her some areas I have been choosing to walk in more integrity in..and one of those areas is when I want to check out on life.

I am starting to believe that every season we are in has a lesson to be learned for our good and for the next season of our journey...and God's heart is so that if in one season we don't grasp the lesson, life comes back around and we find our self in a bit of a de ja vu to a season we have been in before. Or it's a life situation that pulls on all the things that another life situation had pulled on.

Something that I did last summer, while we were waiting for pieces to fall together to get to the city we needed to be in, was I checked out.
It's a way of getting lost in a story when I don't like my own.
Through books, movies, t.v. series..
Life got intense last summer.. I had my kids all by myself, in my brother's house, with a sister in law that was in a really hard space in her life, trying to stay small and invisible in their midst as to not put more stress on them, waiting for my hub to get a job, money running out, the clock was ticking.. we needed to move down to another city before the kid's started school.
It was intense if you remember.
I didn't like my story very much and so I jumped into other stories.
Realizing the repercussions of this later..one being that my daughter needed me to help her process, but instead I hid behind a book and checked out on my life.

Oh I was there.. functioning in my roles...but not present at all.

Fast forward to now.
Same situation just in reverse with some grief, relief and sorrow thrown in.
My ego is longing for a distraction... another story to jump into, but I have come into the realization that there are so many things that I need to learn...gifts and gems to discover along the way, inside the intensity of longing, grieving, letting go, hoping, dreaming, stepping towards, waiting, trusting, surrender, and staying intentionally open hearted.
So my intention is set to awareness and being present.
I am not saying that loving other's stories is wrong, or that enjoying the indulgence of that is wrong. It's something more then that for me in this space.. and I have to tell you.. I do not want to come around this mountain again.
It's a doozy.
And I want to see and grasp all that God has for me inside this season. I want to move forward from it.
There has been some sugar involved at times.. but no checking out or prolonged numbing.
Integrity is a word that keeps coming up and for me, in this space, integrity in life is me showing up each day and choosing to trust that know matter what happens, God has the good of my family and myself at the heart of this next season we are stepping into.

So it's all just right here on my chest. I cry all the time. The smallest little something will tilt me into a sob fest. I am good in the midst just really raw.

My most difficult day was this past week... I went to Arizona for the 3rd time for a 2nd job interview. A job that I reeeeally want. I did stay for a week to enjoy some time with family and friends. Went and looked at some houses. A home jumped up that is in the exact neighborhood and has the exact floor plan to our old beloved house. Ran into snags with scheduling to see the inside of the house. Gah. Frustrating. (more waiting)

I noticed on my way back a sadness had settled in. I had gotten some confusing news back from the job I had interviewed for. Not bad news, but just a " we are holding for a bit for the 3rd interview until we get blah blah blah in order" kind of news. (more waiting).. and I could feel this 'give up' want to happen inside. Not surrender but give up.
I was so tired when I got home. Work was intense from the get go. I would wake up tired...go to work and come home tired... sleep.. and then go to bed early exhausted.
This happened all last week.

A thought came gently breezing in a couple days ago that right after a intense week of emotion, breakthrough always comes.  That brought me peace, because it's so true.

So, loves... still waiting.

My hubby just called (he is in AZ for a school program interview) and he was able to walk through that house that we loved in our old beloved neighborhood. He said it was weird to be walking through a house that was identical to our old house. He said he didn't know if he liked it. That's interesting. lol!
And I am still waiting to hear back from that job on when I can come for my last interview.
We are set to move back to Arizona the 3rd week in July at the latest...sooner if I am hired by the company I am interviewing for.

So I have been comforting myself intentionally this week. Just some self love like going to the mountains and spending some time at a gorgeous creek that we frequented so much last year. Stayed with my brother and sister in law, who are amazing and wonderful. We stayed up late and drank wine and laughed and I cried and they listened.
I called my sister on the way home and we laughed and talked about everything. I gave myself the gift of sleep, instead of fighting the tiredness, I went to bed and napped a lot this past week. I also did my nails and bought myself some makeup. I colored my hair and got up on my days off and got my most fun clothes on and put my makeup on.
I stayed present and have really tried not to be grumpy to my kids, and get out with them to burn off some of their energy. I took them to their favorite pet store..we swim, and play. I encourage myself everyday by doing something that sets my intention and centers me..be it music, inspirational books, quotes, poems, conversations with life giving people, youtube videos...whatever I can find to encourage myself, I do it.
I have been reading, but not story books. More spiritual and self help kind of books. They encourage me, but I don't get lost in them. I take care of my home and plan meals. Love my hubby and babes and life goes forward. 

I am ok tho... despite the unknowns of today, I am really ok.

Rain said something recently over a text conversation we were having and I thought about it this week... it was just a simple comment about being in a season that required her to be careful with where she asserts her energy. This week I thought about that and thought,  " yep. that's what I am doing too."  There is a sense of protectiveness over my energy. I feel an abundant amount is going to staying present, loving my family and working, feeling my emotions and planning for the future. So my blog reading is sparce.. I get overwhelmed easily and say no to a lot these days. I don't return a lot of phone calls unless they are to people that I don't have to catch up on life. I don't counsel people in drama. I hang out with people that bring life and aren't life suckers.
Conserve and selective with my energy and resources is so key to life right now.
It won't forever be this way.
I so get what she was saying.

I want to gather the gifts of this season, and there are so many.
That is my intention. That is my gauge.
God, awaken me to the gifts and the treasures of wisdom that are hidden in this season.

so. that is a bit of what is going on. I miss you, loves.

Let me know how you are doing? Sending you love and light tonite... xoxoxo

Amy