The FMF prompt on Friday was “doubt.” I didn’t participate, mainly because I’ve been really discouraged and trying to figure out where I fit.
It started on Wednesday, at Bible study. We went around the group basically sharing our testimonies. I was last. By the time they got to me, I knew I was doomed. The only one who didn’t have a nice, flowery “I grew up in the church” story, was the first, and by the time we got to me, well, I gave the short version, but even that’s bad. I just don’t fit.
Honestly, my story would be more apt to create an atheist, or, worse, be used to shame someone by saying, “See, look what she went through, and she still believes.”
But I do, and it has nothing to do with my circumstances. And it’s not because God is forcing me to. I just do. I have no doubt, except sometimes I do, the usual sort of “I wonder how God’s gonna get me out of this horrible situation?” But I happen to believe in the God of the Bible, not the conservative’s God or the liberal’s God, just the one that’s in the Book, the one that saved me from living in the shame of abuse for the rest of my life.
I do have doubts, but they are not of God. They are of myself. I doubt I can know what is really being given to me by God. The church has always told me, “If it’s a good thing, it’s from God.” Believing that lie (and it is a lie) has trapped me in so many bad situations in my life. The Bible actually says every good AND perfect thing. It has to be perfect. That’s why, since I left my ex, there have been times when I thought that God had done something, but it was just a deception on the part of Zelena and his parents. It looked good, really good. But it wasn’t perfect. I doubt that I have the discernment to know the difference.
I have doubts about people, all people, but especially anyone who tries to get me to see my husband’s side. It hurts, a lot, when they do. What side can there be to not caring about your wife and kids that’s valid enough for me to understand? What part of him conveying that it was perfectly fine for me to kill myself do I need to accept? And why would someone who says they are my friend think that way?
As for the other people, they are probably very nice, but I have doubts as to whether I will ever be able to trust someone again. I can count the people on one hand that my mind has assured me I can trust, those who have never wavered in their support. It’s nothing against other people, it’s just that I’ve been betrayed my whole life by those whom society says are supposed to care for me, that it takes a whole lot for me to trust someone implicitly. The vast majority of people, through no fault of their own, are on my list of “haven’t betrayed me…yet.”
And that brings me back to the church and where I fit.
I don’t. There isn’t a church I fit into, I have my doubts there ever will be. And it’s more than just the fact that I’m far more liberal than most churches, and that I’m a feminist, and that I hate sports, it’s that the more I have to put on the smiling face (which is required, no matter what you might say, at every single church), while I worry about where we’re going to live, how I’m going to pay for more than food, etc.
I don’t have a happy ending. Am I glad to be saved? Yes. Do I have faith in God? Unwavering. But my testimony is ugly, and the church doesn’t deal in ugly. It deals in pretty, happy endings that can be wrapped up in a box and sent home at noon each Sunday. And it doesn’t matter how long I live, I will never be that. And most Christians, at least in America, don’t know what to do with that.
That’s why we avert our eyes from the homeless people. It’s why we create stories in our head about the guy with the cardboard sign at the freeway off-ramp to justify why we won’t give him a quarter. It’s why we shrug our shoulders and say we’re too busy when we see a person in need.