My Spiritual Journey
I was raised in a Christian home and attended the same church of the Christian Reformed (CRC) denomination my whole life. I also attended a Christian school which was also associated with the CRC. I was taught the difference between right and wrong, and I was taught that I should love my enemy. I was taught to hate the sinner and love the sin. I memorized the Ten Commandments and too many Bible verses to count. I was raised to think that the only option was to believe in God and to believe in Him in the way that the Christian Reformed church taught me to. I was raised not having a choice but to attend church every Sunday morning and while I was growing up to attend again at night. As I grew up I began to attend youth group. I really enjoyed the whole idea of church while growing up. Sunday school and youth group were fun and I enjoyed them. I got to eat candy in church and draw on the children’s bulletins and sing the songs I had grown to love. I never had any reason to doubt, I didn’t even know it was possible to.
Growing up I had a neighborhood friend (denoted by K if you have read my self-harm testimony) who was not raised religiously. She came to church with us a few times and attended GEMS (Girls Everywhere Meeting their Savior) with me on a fairly regular basis. When we reached 7th grade, she started to change. She began to hang out with older kids especially guys. She began doing drugs and having sex with the guys she was hanging out with. She would tell me things which I didn’t understand since I had been raised in such a sheltered environment. The only way I knew how to deal with this was through grasping tightly on to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and asking Him to get me through this. I “grew closer” to God during this time and in 8th grade I made Profession of Faith in front of my church.
During 8th grade my friend moved away and I drew closer to the friends I had who attended the same school I did. I especially drew closer to my friends who I was in a Small Group with.
I began my freshman year looking for a fresh start. I kept my old friends but I also gained some new ones. The person I was closest to out of my new friends was P. She was an amazing friend and blessed me in so many ways. During the end of my freshman year she was diagnosed with a brain tumor which was found to be cancerous. I really struggled with her illness but I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. I didn’t understand what was going on and I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. Throughout her 17 month battle against the cancer that was trying to defeat her I was very confused. I didn’t understand how the loving God that I believed in could let such an amazing person be so sick and in so much pain. I began to lose hope that God was who I had thought He was. During this time I began to turn away from God and towards another support that I found. I started to self-harm. I felt so out of control because of the things which were going on in my life and the self-harm was my way of gaining control back in my life.
During November of my junior year my friend, P, passed away. Once she passed away it seemed as though I had no hope anymore, and God seemed like a distant thing in my past. He seemed so untrustworthy and I didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone like that. I drifted away from Him. I was very angry at him for letting my friend die despite all the heartfelt prayers for her healing, both mine and everyone else who loved her.
I am not exactly sure when, but at some point during the next few years there were several issues within my church. A senior pastor admitted to committing adultery (or something like that) and my youth pastor, the only pastor I ever even liked listening to, was ‘found guilty’ of something with money which he didn’t actually do. I discovered how hypocritical the church was and this whole thing just fueled the anger. I quit attending church. I would ride in the car with my family to the church and then ditch them and help take care of the kids in the nursery. (Caring for kids is my one true joy! I love kids so much!)
It has been 2 years since P passed away. I am not so angry at God as I once was. I have tried to reconcile with Him, but that faith just doesn’t seem to be there. I don’t really know how to believe anymore. I am trying though. Since I have arrived at college, a college which is associated with the CRC (don’t ask me why I chose to come here I really have no clue) I have attended more church services than I had in the last year back at home. I think I purposely decided to attend a Christian college because I wanted to acknowledge that maybe there is actually a God who does actually care. Right now I am just giving God a shot. I don’t know how this whole thing will turn out but we will see I guess.