I've been playing with my blog set up, as you can see.
I've also been moving through intense anxiety from posting my last few blogs.
In case it was not patently obvious, I've been moving through more healing from my abusive religious upbringing these last few months.
A big part of this healing has been taking ownership over my story.
This is quite difficult to do. Out of all the healing that I have moved through, healing from religious wounds is by far the most confusing, conflicting, intense and frightening than any other.
This healing has been stretched out over the last several years. It's hard work.
What makes this so difficult is that the religious beliefs and framework that so deeply maimed me emotionally and spiritually are the same beliefs that others find valuable and life bringing in their lives.
So for years, I have suppressed my story, speaking of it here and there, and always feeling terrible afterward.
But I realized something important yesterday, as I was caught up in introspection, attempting to work through the intense anxiety and guilt that I felt.
What I realized was, that religious experienced happened to me. I can't ignore it. I can't continue indefinitely to suppress it.
For better or for worse- and in my case, it was a great deal for the worse, that was my childhood too. That religion was my entire world view for nearly twenty years- all the formative years of my life.
I can't ignore this fact. I must take ownership over what happened to me if I want to heal and this means that I must say this religious context hurt me.
I wish that I had another kind of childhood, another, more positive early religious experience, but I did not.
That religious context is and always will be a part of who I am and I must frame it in my own way, in order to come to terms with my own life. I must tell my own story.
This is exactly the same healing work that I did with the other abuses, but it was so much easier in those contexts because there is a general, society wide consensus that those things are horrific.
There is no such consensus on anything religious, good or bad. It's a huge, barbed tangle and so many people are so tenderly caught up in it, taking so many different positions, depending upon their life experience and where they are in their journey.
Eventually, I will move through this emotional space. Eventually, I will have identified and given voice to all the bonds that held me, falsely defined me and eventually, I will find those things that still have value, that added beauty and clarity to my life.
Those are there too.
In the meantime, I must be in it. It's terrifying and freeing; it's terribly lonely and yet I am learning to connect more deeply to others, slowly, tentatively.
I feel a deep desire to turn and reach back, to help anyone else who is coming out of any kind of bondage. I want to give voice to any who might not yet have theirs, if that is possible.
I want to constantly be demonstrating and sharing the incredible love and grace of God in my own life. Grace is unmerited favor and this unmerited favor rests on us all.
I believe this is the good news- the best news- we are already reconciled to God through the life and death of His Son. He is fully with us, each of us. As we grow into this knowledge, our lives fill up with love, inside and out.
I often think about the kind of gentle irony that I am praying for the same people who are no doubt praying for me and how these prayers are no doubt meeting and mingling in God, who is the only One large enough and loving enough to untangle them and heal us.
This is a gentle and humbling thought, and I am often resting in it, in the mystery of His love that claims and moves through us all.