THE WANDERING, WAYWARD DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR, OF SORTS

I keep talking about and focusing on how long it had been since I sat proper and did a bible study in my trusty Life Application Study Bible (New Living Translation). Perhaps I am trying to level myself lest my head get too big (which is ridiculous). Or perhaps I am attempting to differentiate myself from others that I deem more godly than I (which is also ridiculous). Either way and for whatever reason, it is something that I do.

I focus on the time I spent separated from the bible version of God’s word and the pursuit of Him in a Christian sense. Which means I ignore all the other ways I’ve found God these past two and a half years in the pursuit of a meditation practice, yoga, healing herbs and teas, the energy in a beautiful crystal, good food and wine, hiking in nature, and the study of the religiously-neutral, spiritual, indescribable yet palpable energy that connects every and any thing.

In those two and a half years, I became a member of the People’s Church of Necessity, a phrase I use to represent God’s uncanny way of placing you in situations that seem so. wrong. amongst people that are too. different. (read: hedonists and nihilists and heathens) in order to heal you. Through the healing, God is dismantling your ego* brick by brick until all you see around you is rubble. Then slowly but surely, God shines Its light upon one brick at a time and you find yourself elbows deep in the dirt building and building. And one day, the rubble is gone and around you is a beautiful Home to dance, sing, play, and rejoice in.

* It is the ego that keeps us separate from God and others. Because it is the ego that drives our desire to be a Special Snowflake and the ego that drives our fear that we are Too Much/Alone/Different/Weird/Needy/etc.

I also came to understand how insignificant our human concept of time is to God. In Psalm 90:4 we read, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” A thousand years is a day. Can you imagine? I sure can’t. And that’s exactly why I take upon my heart the largely inaccurate persona of the Wandering, Wayward Daughter.

When I read or hear the Word—in any text or conversation which was inspired by Divinity— and it rings as Truth, I see my thoughts for what they are: a (needless, unnecessary, ungodly) shame cycle meant to feed my ego and keep me separate from God.

But when I read Psalm 107:2, “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!,” I am reminded of all my conversations with the heathens and nihilists and hedonists in which I would start clapping like a giddy child while pouring out Truth after Truth after Truth of our Grand and Loving Creator of the Universe.

And when I read Jeremiah 31:12, “They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts,” I am reminded of all the times I left yoga, glowing in said radiance, with a desire to only eat foods that would nourish me, and have conversations that uplifted others, and be kind and gracious to my neighbors.

And even when I read, “Happiness is the lost paradise. Humans have worked so hard to reach this point, and this is part of the evolution of the mind. […] Moses called it the Promised Land, Buddha called it Nirvana, Jesus called it Heaven, and the Toltecs call it a New Dream,” in Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, I smile knowingly because I know that the God of Everything is, and has always been, in everything that truthfully brings us closer to Joy. No matter what you call it.

And just like that, the shame cycle is finished.

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RESCUED, REDEEMED, AND RENEWED: A RELIGIOUS MEMOIR OF SORTS FOR HONESTY’S SAKE

Never once did I ever imagine myself praising human sacrifice but in search of truth, I was baptized and washed in innocent and sacrificial blood. I clung to and praised an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent force that made sense of chaos. I was told I was flawed and broken – a mere sinner who should worship at the feet of the Highest of the High. I did good deeds with a pure heart, turned my life into a vehicle for advancing the Kingdom, and hoped I would gain admittance to paradise upon dying. I sang loud with raised arms and woke up early to pour over prayers and meditations to keep my heart guarded and my mind pure.

As your modern day evangelical bible-believing Christian doing her thang, I was strangely at peace. And it was all perfect until it wasn’t.

I began crying over the beautiful people I knew who weren’t Christian out of fear of their eternal damnation. I started feeling guilty for being “favored” while others were suffering. But then a beautiful thing happened: though I lost myself tumbling in this world of blacks and whites, I woke up once I finally hit the ground.

I saw in the stories what I knew in my heart as a child: this God was terrifying in his absolutism – in love one minute yet flying into murderous rage the next – and I didn’t like him. I wondered how much of “what was written” was open to artistic interpretation but I no longer trusted the Word. I shook off the chains I put on in search for freedom; in love of all things good, I walked away.

In these three years I’ve stayed open, taken many deep breaths, let go (and picked back up over and over), and crafted my own manifesto*. I like to say that, I became me once I dropped belief in the three.

And to that I say, amen.

*: We are here to love each other. To be a source of light. To ease each other’s burdens. To flow in perfect harmony with our truest selves. To understand and accept one another yet also bring forth change. To create new and beautiful things. To ensure that the generations that we birth have a safe place to call home. To free ourselves from the egos that wish to separate us. To see that every thing, from sky to sea and in between, is one and realize that severing even one fragment renders the whole hurt and incomplete. To appreciate those many different pieces for what and who they are. To connect to all that is good. To respond with grace to that which challenges you. To relish the beauty of existing in this world. To have faith in others. To trust that everything has good in it. To shift your mind to see it.