Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This is My Story, and I Will Not Be Silenced.

Fuck. Fuck shit damn blast crap, and hell! Ok, now I can begin.

This is my story. A story about how I was naive, trusting, and foolish. A story about how I got hurt because of that, and a story about how I lost faith, and gained freedom.

It begins with an end. A life ended. My baby's life. She only lived for 7 weeks inside of me, and then she left me. People were so kind and loving at the church we attended. I hated it. I didn't want kindness. I didn't want support. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted to leave. I wanted to run. So we did.

We moved to FL. We quickly found a church there that seemed ok, although my gut feeling was that something was just sort of...off. I ignored that feeling because I wanted my kids to have stability. To have friends. I didn't want to drag them from church to church looking but never finding the perfect one. That happened to me. When I was just a kid. It wasn't fair. So we stayed there

. I got pregnant again, and this time I knew my baby would stay with me. The ladies in the church threw me a nice baby shower. I felt special, and even though they kept me at arm's length, I felt loved. I easily trusted. The trouble began when I gave birth and returned home. We came to church, excited to show off our newest family member. We were welcomed, and baby was properly swooned over

. As time moved on people began to notice me and my baby. They began to notice that I didn't always go to the nursing room to nurse him, but instead innocently sat down and lifted my shirt wherever there happened to be an available seat. After all, he was hungry, and I wanted to continue being involved in conversations.

One evening, we showed up at a friend's house who was hosting small group, and he offered to put a chair in his bedroom where I could nurse my baby if I needed to. I said no thanks, I'll just nurse him wherever I happen to be sitting. He flushed a bright red and said how that might bother people. I told him that's too bad. I nurse my baby wherever I happen to be, and that they will just have to accept that. He let it go. A few weeks later at another small group meeting we were all seated around a large table. My baby was hungry, so I started to feed him. I looked up and noticed the associate pastor's wife glaring at me with truly evil eyes. I had no idea why. I thought that was so weird. After small group ended she immediately left and went to go sit in her van. I noticed her sitting there staring at me as we walked out to our car later on.

A couple days later she sent me an email, saying she wanted to talk to me about a 'sensitive' issue. I wrote back and told her sure, how about we meet at panera sometime this week. She wrote back and said no, that won't work for her

. Later on she suggested that we meet at church right before the service. I was like, hey, sure, why not? When we got to church that morning she led me to the pastor's office since it was empty. She had another young mom and her baby meet with us as well. Together they began to tell me about how they'd had complaints about my feeding my baby in front of people. They told me how I needed to cover up so that I would not cause my brothers to stumble. I started seeing red. I felt like they just hit me in the face with a brick.

WTF??? I was so angry, so hurt. I felt so betrayed! First of all, people were complaining to her about me? Why not talk to me directly? I looked her in the eyes and told her no, I will not cover up. So she said I was being selfish, and not considering how my brothers might stumble. I told her no, that they need to see more women nursing their babies because it's lovely and natural. I said I know you think I'm sinning, but I'm not. She gasped! "sinning! I didn't say sinning, did I? She looked at the other woman in the room. I answered for her.
"no, you didn't use that word, you implied it."

She quickly moved on to talk more about using a nursing cover. Once again, I refused. SHe couldn't believe that I was refusing. She looked me in the eyes and it was a fight of wills. I have a very strong will. She got nowhere.

THe whole time I was shaking on the inside, while remaining steady and firm on the outside. I knew she was wrong. She even told me that she loved me, and that she was trying to help me. I have never felt less loved. I don't think she knows Love. Love doesn't act like that. Love doesn't try to change you or control you.

When the meeting was over I stood up. Smiled a very fake smile, and said goodbye. I walked out and found my husband and kids. I told my husband "We are leaving, and we are never coming back."

So we left. I no longer like church. I've seen how it's so full of fake people who pretend to love you. People who preach from the bible and have it all memorized, and who want you to live like you were in bible times, only if we really did that then I would have several sister-wives or I might be a prostitute or just a very violent person. They would also have a special title. Pharisee. You know, those ‘bad guys’ in the bible who Jesus was always telling off because they had so many rules? Yeah, them. So here I am. I've been hurt. I healed a little, but it still hurts. I never knew what a 'trigger' was until this. I'm shaking as I write. I shake when I talk about this, and I'm going to admit something. It scares me, and I fucking NEVER get scared.

But through this experience I have learned something important. I learned how to be free. I’m learning how to fly. Sometimes the memory of this threatens to steal the strength in my wings, but I won’t let it. Because of all this I have stopped reading the bible, and I’ve stopped going to church. I no longer call myself a christian because I am not one of them. But I have found someone. I found Love.

I can meet with Love anywhere. Love is the one who created us, and Love joins us together. If you look around you, Love is everywhere. You carry Love with you wherever you go, and you cannot get away from Love, because without Love you will not survive.

I am from Love.

When I pray, I pray to Love.


Esther said...

I have a breastfeeding in church story, too, although I was not the strong willed resistance that you were. I just cried. Thank you for standing up for breastfeeding mothers. Breasts are not the source of sin or stumbling. They're the fall guy…except, fall girls. And I'd pray to Love with you anyway.

Grace said...

Thank you so much for walking alongside me. You're support means a lot. *disclaimer, this is going to sound gushy. (I totally think you're awesome and love your blog and can't believe that esther emery commented on my blog!)

Gayl Wright said...

I remember, Grace, because you called me right after that incident and I was shocked that you'd been treated that way. I nursed my babies in church (including you) and no one ever got on to me because of it. It is a beautiful, natural thing to do. You know I love you and it grieves me that "Because of all this I have stopped reading the bible, and I've stopped going to church. I no longer call myself a christian..." Please don't think that all Christians and all churches are like that. Please don't give up on the Bible because of the way some people use it. God is Love. Please don't let what I've said offend you. I know you have to work through these things yourself and I want you to know I am always here for you. I know Jesus holds you and will never let you go, my sweet Grace.

Stephen J. Wright said...

I feel for ya, Grace. I can imagine how it would affect me if the people I trusted viewed me an outsider for doing what I believed was right. I mean I could see the need for church discipline if someone was promoting drugs or swindling, but breastfeeding? Even if they did disagree with you they could have been nicer about it and more accepting of you (maybe they regret it now, I dunno).

But I think that in many ways you are more an authentic Christian than your opponents are, because you show such a strong love and compassion for those around you (even when you get cranky :) we all do). I'm glad we got to spend so much time with you and Jon and the kids the past week, because you're such cool people. Anyway we'll be praying you find peace in this matter and that God heals your wound.

Grace said...

Mom, it's ok that I don't like labels and walls. I'm learning to break free of that. I'm not lost, just owning up to the fact that I am still seeking. I'm not embarrassed of Jesus, but I will not take part in the culture that claims to love him, only to chain themselves and all those around them with verses from the bible.

Stephen, Thanks for your encouragement. We really enjoyed having you guys here last week. The house feels emptier without you all. You really just fit right in.