I am not a new Christian.
I was born and raised in an United Methodist Church in Mississippi. I had the foundation laid growing up in the southern church culture. I was also an oldest daughter to a single mother until my preteens. She prided herself on raising an independent daughter that could take care of herself. Mix in a dash of rebellion to social norms and expectations with a curiosity for the world, and that’s me. Fresh out of college I moved in with my Jewish-Israeli boyfriend to live in Tel Aviv, Israel until that didn’t work out anymore. I was naive and over confident in my 5 year plans. Back to the states I came. Not to the south though. I felt more comfortable and at home in New England, the least religious region in the U.S. Now I could float around in life keeping God in my back pocket when I needed him… you know, for emergencies. God was like an old childhood friend you never ever call but know that they’re out there doing stuff. Someone you occasionally bump into, say let’s catch up sometime, but don’t really mean it. That was me.
The world continued to rotate. Life happened. Travels. Marriage. Ambitions. Crises. Divorce. I couldn’t tell if the world was still rotating as I laid flat on my kitchen floor, staring at the ceiling, tracing back the time to see where life went wrong. I was alone. God was absent.
The marriage I tried to save.
God was never invited to my first marriage so why would He jump into to help? God slammed that door, tight. The ex’s heart was hardened to stone when I pulled up my sleeves and did everything I could do to rescue the marriage. Therapy. Medication. Books. New routines. But days before my birthday in the midst of the holiday season, my ex collected his things and left me with an apartment I couldn’t afford on my own, our accumulated debts, and went off “to be happy” with a fresh start.
Get thyself to church…
I remember sitting quietly in the living room staring at the fireplace that had been damaged recently in a house fire. It was snowing outside and I could hear Christmas music that was vaguely permeating through the air. It may have been a hallucination from not eating for weeks, I’m not sure. It came to me… find a church, stat! Google let me know that there was a church in walking distance, Manchester Christian Church. I went to the very next service and was brought home.