I was raised on pretty much all of the Evangelical Formulas of my generation.
They were the promises made to our parents that if they put in the effort, if they taught us to repeat the formulas in the future, then the godly generations would rise up and call them blessed.
Take your kids to a good church, and they will be God's warriors for truth.
Be a good woman, and a good man will pursue you and marry you.
Make good choices about your finances, and you will be provided for.
Have no sexual experience before marriage, and you will have a free, fun, sexy life together.
We had it all figured out.
Our parents were sold the strategies (in books and cassette tapes and on radio programs) for being faithful people and raising godly families, and they followed through.
They worked hard for us, taught us diligently, modeled the family order, and they got what they were hoping for. We were it! We were the generation On Fire and on mission and on mission trips and being missional. We took chances to Do Big Things for God while True Love Waited for us. We read godly books and respected our fathers and baked alongside our mothers and voted for the same Presidents that they did. We memorized thousands of Bible verses and took romance very seriously and saved our kisses.
And we also cut ourselves and didn't tell anyone about our abuse because we didn't even know that's what it was, and we repented endlessly of our sexual energy, and we wore our bruised hearts on our purity-ring fingers, and we were terrified of God.
Nobody has it all figured out.
If there was one thing I could whisper to myself, the girl who did so well at school and church and family, the girl who scribbled furiously in her prayer journals for 20 years so that maybe God would like her, the girl who felt ashamed for even holding hands with her first boyfriend, the girl who last month, sat in a new therapist's office in a new city and tried again to explain the overwhelming anxiety she feels about every single good thing in her life, if there was one thing I could say to myself, and to you, it's this:
Your life and love and friendship and spirit can be different.
It can look and be and feel and breathe and think totally differently than what you were told and what you obeyed.
There is not one way to follow God or live a good, rich, faithful life.
Your life can be opposite and upside down and new and it will be better and tougher and more alive than anything you were promised by following the rules laid out for you.
Your God can actually, really, truly love and accept you. You can unlearn the racism and sexism and capitalism that has infected your faith. You can build a marriage that is based on equality, and being something more than gendered roles. You can get divorced and not be a failure. You can love whoever you love. You can survive so much more than you ever expected, and still have faith.
You can be you.
It can be different. It can be better.
Hi, internet friends! I'm here!
I've gone through pretty much every major life stressor in the past 12 months, but I'm alive and mostly well and still thinking about faith, relationships, sexuality, and growing. I'm coming out of the cocoon of grief and change and chaos, but I'm still speaking up.
I've made a few changes around the website, and updated the Best Of page to include a search feature. I also updated my Speaking page with some information about how to have me speak at your college or group! Most importantly, I'm working on getting all of my work that was previously published on Prodigal Magazine or A Deeper Story over to my site, in full. Since those publications are no longer active, please link directly to my blog.
I'm hoping to get back to a semi-regular blog schedule, because I'm practicing at acknowledging and accepting change instead of being terrified-into-silence of it. So whether you're a new reader or have been wondering what the heck happened to me, I hope you'll come back and join in the conversations!