Updated: Aug 28, 2020
Six years ago, I was confident that my spiritual boots were pointed in the right direction: learning, growing, becoming a Godly woman. I was trying to focus on my husband's needs, figure out what it took to be a quiet spirit in the pew, and lead in all things women and children in ministry. Don't get me wrong, these are very good things for some. But at the time, they were the only things.
Of course, none of my circles had experienced a saved fellow of their congregation stepping away with a boatload of evidence AGAINST Christ the Savior, God the Creator, and with every aspect of belief denied.
And being married to that fellow? Well, not many had experienced such a humiliating bowing out of the church pew by the token tithing family.
I lost myself when he stopped being the spiritual leader needed for a blessed Christian life. You see, I had been dished out Christianity that preached the best way to have a family depended on a Godly man at its center. Of course, we always said Christ was the center, but really, for the world's sake, the good, whole Christian family only worked best with Daddy there.
So, as I look back on my believer's cry (see post here), begging God to make it stop, I wasn't just a weak Christian woman unable to handle hardship. I look back now and see a woman who lost her center on Earth, her neatly shaped role in the church, and very nearly her faith. What would I do without the ordained husband-led prayer at the supposed sacred family dinner table? And if the best chance for my children to gain knowledge was by Scripture-laced husband's lips, then we were doomed.
How could I do life now?
In those heart cries, I often felt I couldn't.
Six years later, I see that the valley was important to pull me away from the old ways and prepare me for the new. It hurt like hell (pardon, but that's the best way to say it), but it wasn't just for me to get a grip and stay a faithful wife for the sake of my children. While my husband's deconversion instigated my own descent, my valley was not husband-centered at all.
It was my own spiritual identity crisis. And as many times as I assumed that the urge to crawl out of my skin was my flight instinct, it was actually what I was meant to do.
I was meant to cast off the old garment (the culture-crafted Christian fashion)...and put on the new one (an authentic, seeking posture unrelated to my earthly roles). I had put words in God's mouth when I wrote that dialogue. And now, six years from the valley, I realize how I can't really do that apart from Scripture. Even in Scripture I am discovering new depths to our very real God.
I don't know that I would've been able to go there before the valley. Christianity for me was already chock full of answers and neatly formed job descriptions. All my ideas about God were strewn along the valley floor, and I stepped up and out with only two things for sure:
First, my faith in God
Lastly, my love for another human---who happened to be my husband.
This is my journey---unique to me, stepping out of lies I told myself about the culture, about the expectations for a Christian family. While some of the things I was called to examine in the valley are good and true for most, they sometimes don't work for every unique circumstance. Hear me say this: I learned that my view of Christianity was focused on an interpretation. And while God gives us grace in interpretations, mine was manifesting in an unhealthy way. My view of Christianity needed to be focused on Christ alone if I was ever going to get up and out of the valley.
If you are in a similar place as me, then I would love to hear from you in the comments or send me a message at the contact tab. Know this: We are not alone.