Born Again: A Journey from Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 10
After spending over a week describing the many ways my feminine heart and soul have moved away from organized patriarchal religion, one might be left thinking that I resent my faith heritage and having been raised in that environment. While I freely admit there are many, many times when an attitude of resentment surfaces, everyday I am reprogramming myself to know that nothing happens by accident and every experience in life is a gift. They are what make us who we are, what give us the material from which to teach and share with others, and what shape us into the leaders and participants we desire to be on this journey.
I was blessed to be born into a faith heritage that had such a strong desire to study and learn the Bible. I know so many Bible stories. My Catholic husband does not. I know lots of scripture. He knows lots of tradition. I know the books of the Bible (minus a few depending on which Bible). So many others do not. That knowledge is exactly what has allowed me to thoroughly examine my beliefs with a critical eye and hone them into something much more complete.
I was also blessed to become acquainted with and grow to love some incredible people. Many of them would not be in my life were it not for being raised in the body of believers where I was raised. Church women (and a few men) can cook up some of the most amazing meals, throw some incredible parties like wedding showers and baby showers, and give a person a sendoff into the world like none other. These people and their demonstrations of unselfish love will forever be etched in my heart even if my journey and the telling thereof may have caused them to feel the need to erase me from theirs.
My older girls were in the church long enough to experience some incredible Bible class teachers who challenged them, rewarded them, taught them, and encouraged them in so many ways. I know there were several, but two in particular come to mind. I am forever grateful to them for the work they put into making God meaningful to my girls week after week. I am also grateful for the church’s willingness to send them to camp year after year, even when we were no longer actively involved. Those weeks of fun, learning, and friendships are indelibly marked on their souls.
In a way, I am sad for my children because they do not have the extensive Bible knowledge that I have. Mine is far from being sufficient, but it is a good foundation. They have only the most basic, minimal information. Yet by pulling them away from a patriarchal environment so young, I believe I saved them from much of the deprogramming I am having to endure. It is most definitely a trade-off. They have the option to pick and choose that which they wish to be exposed and learn.
And they are. They are choosing to worship and learn in environments that they find supportive. It is different for each of them, and they are not afraid to stop what isn’t supportive and move on to something else.
I am grateful for strong leaders who stood for what they believed to be right and in the best interest of their “flock”. Even though we did not see eye to eye, I admire their courage, their strength, their stamina, and their backbone when the inevitable criticisms arose. I learned much about life by observing their handling of conflict.
I am also grateful for leaders who were willing to ask tough questions and push the edges of tradition when appropriate. To those who never hesitated to stretch and to those who had to swallow hard to accept that maybe their discomfort was more about old habits than it was about spiritual law, I extend my deepest gratitude. Without those leaps, I would have so much more deprogramming to overcome in my own life.
I am grateful for the faith heritage that brought my parents together: two people who loved each other enough to create me and whom I love more than they will ever know. That whole legalistic “do not kill” thing probably kept me alive through my teenage years, so I guess it can’t be all bad.
Finally, I am grateful for paradox. For opposites. For knowing and experiencing one sensation so that I can fully know and appreciate another. One cannot know light unless one has experienced darkness. One cannot know heat unless one has experienced cold. One cannot fully appreciate the freedom and fearlessness promised by Jesus unless one has known the legalism (even unrecognized and unacknowledged) of a belief system bound by fear of angering a vengeful God.
A person cannot fully understand love unless fear has been known intimately.
I could not come to fully grasp the abundant love of a Goddess Mother without also knowing how abundantly and completely I could be loved by God the Father.
The journey is only beginning for me, but the ride so far has been incredible.