She was brought up in a household where God was the creator of the universe. He was to be worshiped, thanked, praised. She went to church on Sundays, and youth group on Wednesdays. One time she went to church camp (something she had always wanted to do.) God was her savior, and her best friend. He was to be feared, and loved. At night, she prayed to her God, and told him all of her fears, dreams, and plans. This relationship was something that was hers alone, and also those around her. She believed that reading her Bible every day was right, and lying was wrong. She prayed before most meals, and even made a point to do it when she was out to eat. She wanted people to quietly observe her faith, and admire it, like a shiny bobble on a chain. It was beautiful, priceless, and not to be touched. It was sacred.
Then something happened. She started to see things in a different light, but she wasn’t sure why. Death happened, life happened, loss, gain. She read and continued to learn. She was a good girl and went to church every week. Then the doubt crept in. It had always been there, but she had always pushed it to the darkest corners of her mind, not wanting to confront it. After all, wasn’t faith trusting in what you could not see? She wanted to be a good Christian, and believe that God was there even if she couldn’t see him or feel him. She held on to God, even when days were tough. She continued to study the Bible and pray, believing that if she just had enough faith, she would see through the smoke and ashes, and know for absolute sure, that God was her God. That the Holy Trinity was real and her saving grace.
One of the hardest things was observing her grandmother, a woman of such faith and yearning for God, being uncertain of her life after death. Her grandma stated that she wasn’t sure that she would go to Heaven, how could she be? The girl feared for her loved ones, because she didn’t know where they stood with God. She wanted to be sure to see every one of them in the afterlife, and some of them didn’t always seem to be “saved”. The girl had asked Jesus into her heart at a young age, and was baptized. She was going to heaven. Were you?
A mixture of things must have changed her view over time. She started to become lax in her prayers, she lost faith and raged at God. She didn’t know if she actually had a savior, after all, someone was surely not watching over this young girl and seeing the pain she was going through, and not doing anything to stop it. She tried to go back to her roots, and read the Bible. She made a habit of praying more and going to church. But she was living a lie. Or at least, she felt that way. Who was she to know for certain that she would go to paradise? Who was she to claim to be loved by a supreme being that had created the universe? She couldn’t even love her own family the way one was supposed to, how was she supposed to love God enough to earn his approval? She knew that her teenage years were ones where she would be tried and tested. That these questions were normal. But she felt like her doubt was too big, that she would never overcome it. So, she started to back off a little bit on the whole religion thing. She opened her mind, it seemed, and let all of what she had been taught fly out, and new ideas fill their place. She didn’t renounce her faith, she still believed, just not in the same fervent way she had before.
She knows she is loved. She knows that she was created and put here for a reason. But she doesn’t necessarily think that you must attend church on Sundays to be a “good” Christian. She doesn’t think that one sin is greater than another. She won’t try to persuade you to change your view points, and she doesn’t hate a person because of their sexual orientation, or because they had an abortion. She likes to think she is freer now, not held down by some of the constraints that Baptist beliefs tied her down with. She loves God, and wants to bestow happiness upon others. She doesn’t like labels, and would rather not have them. She likes to think she didn’t lose her religion, but she found it. She is at peace right now, and though there are still uncertainties and issues of faithfulness and right from wrong, she is making her own way, and finding herself. Some day it will all work out and at the end of this path she will find who she has known was there all along. Her savior.