My goal here was to talk about how I’m learning to own up to the things I want in life career-wise and school-wise and then religion-wise, but this is actually a super long post so I’m gonna get right to it. I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. My sisters and I were lucky enough to have a strong foundation and a Nana with every Veggie Tales and Psalty the Singing Psalmbook tape ever made growing up. That made it really easy to find friends who believed what we believed and would take us with them to church when our parents stopped going after the divorce, and because of that it was always something separate from my family life. Eventually though, it stops coming up. I think everyone goes through phases when they sort of take a break. For us, it was always work that got in the way. Sundays off are a luxury when you have school and everything else, and I never had enough availability on other days to be able to request Sundays off. I knew there were other options, but it just wasn’t something I had adjusted my life to as it rapidly changed. I was still leading a good life, and I would get back to it eventually. I didn’t really feel like anything was missing. I was still a Christian. God understood, I was certain.
He did understand. I still believe that. But here’s what happens when you stop practicing the things you are naturally good at: you get bad at them. (Groundbreaking, I know.) And you don’t realize you’re getting bad at them at first. It’s not like I was suddenly living this horrible life, but eventually I started to question whether I was actually doing anything good. Do the people I spend time with even know me? If they were talking about me, would they know I was a Christian? And how can I expect God to do anything for me if I’m not doing anything for him aside from thanking him at night and asking him for more? [Enter guilt]
My belief was lapsing, but it wasn’t my belief in God. My Nana and family had built a foundation that would take a lot worse to actually harm. I was starting to lose the belief that I was someone who deserved grace or forgiveness or anything else I knew He had to offer. I was too scared to ask for anything anymore. I dug my hole deeper and deeper to hide until I was scratching at the surface of the foundation. Something needed to change, and lots of things did (though not necessarily for the better). I opened myself up and got hurt. I overloaded myself until I could no longer produce anything I was happy with. Every attempt to build myself up got me more confused. And then summer began and my Nana got sick and everything got bad. I was filled to brim with rage: at God for hurting one of his strongest warriors, at my sisters when we expressed things differently, at my parents for not being how I wanted them to be, at myself for not being the Granddaughter I should have been this whole time. The good thing about rock bottom is it becomes your undeniable reality when you realize “I don’t like me anymore.”
And suddenly your God-shaped hole is big enough for God to fit right in. Eventually you end up next to your big sister, whose path has been winding and rough, at the church that has transformed her, with the people who have helped her and loved her, and there’s this tiny perfect human between you both who doesn’t have a foundation. She needs you to help her start from scratch, the way your family did for you. That’s when I realized what I was missing in all those trial periods of walking into a church alone. That it’s not all about me. Just like that, the need for a community and a church with people who loved me just made sense. And you know what? I came back. And things started changing.
The next week: Holding hands with big sister and crying our eyes out because this song is basically about us and this sermon is actually exactly what we needed right now (and it always is). I suddenly knew I was going to keep coming back. Then they announced a believer’s baptism coming up and Nicole nudged me because she knew it was finally time for that, just like we did for her almost a year ago. First I was scared, and again felt I hadn’t done enough to deserve that yet. My fears were met with reinforcements that not only prompted me to sign up to be baptized, but kept me patient for myself for the rest of the week. I felt purpose driven and strong for the first time in a long time. Meanwhile, Nana’s surgery and recovery are going amazingly well. Everything else is following suit. Mysterious ways indeed.
This passed week: I’ve been spending a ton of time with Nana, which has probably only expedited the process. I am already finding it easier to keep God constantly present in my life, a skill I haven’t used in a long time. Old habits die hard, I guess. I’m really excited about reading the bible, not just doing it because I feel guilty that I haven’t in a while. The things I’ve learned in the time I haven’t been practicing are actually making me better at this. I have this understanding and ability to make connections that was missing before. It’s a work in progress, but it’s coming together. It’s like now that I’m not thinking about how awful I am, I have time to be really good at things. It’s pretty awesome.
And here is where I make my point: In pretty much everything I do, I’m always scared that if I really own what I’m doing, everyone will be like “Who does she even think she is?” I’m scared because that’s probably what I would say of someone else doing the same thing. My point is that that is extremely stupid and a huge waste of time. So are you wondering, does Tab think she’s some professional writer now? Is she some kind of insta-christian who woke up and decided she knew everything about Jesus? (Maybe you actually are wondering those things, which makes me feel super awkward about typing this) but probably you aren’t. Because like, Tab. You aren’t that big of a deal. This is my way of addressing my significant insignificance. But things are happening. I’m gonna write about them. That’s enough.