My Ink Dance

Discovering Extraordinary Grace in an Ordinary Life

How Losing Church Brought Me Closer to God

In the days of youth group and young adulthood, church was a place full of life and experiences. I went there to encounter God, and most of the time I did. It felt good and normal and expected, until it didn’t.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself home with two toddlers, a growing belly and terrible morning sickness. My ability to go to church to find God vanished and I was left with Sesame Street and IV fluids. Not exactly the high I was used to.

Getting through the day felt like climbing a mountain, and church, well church felt like the moon. Click To Tweet

And somehow that made sense to me because that’s where God was, in the great vastness of the sky watching over everything from above.

photo credit: Marty Hogan

photo credit: Marty Hogan

Sunday became any other day except the programming on PBS wasn’t for kids so I had to switch to DVD’s. Life moved forward and time kept beating and the moon was still there, but as far away as ever.

Then something changed. I missed God. I missed church too, but there was a deeper longing that I had  never felt or let myself sink into because church was always there to distract me. I was longing for God. And it felt good.

photo credit: podolux @ flickr.com

photo credit: podolux @ flickr.com

I struggled with how it was possible to disappear from a church you were so involved in and what role the church played in my faith anyway. But when I quieted those questions I was left with a need for God. And when I suddenly looked around and realized there was no church to turn to for answers I had only one place to go.

God.

I looked around and realized there was no church to turn to for answers I had only one place to go. Click To Tweet

Maybe that seems simple. Maybe I should have started there to begin with. But God cares more that we get there than how windy the path we took was.

I’m still in a state of flux with the church. I don’t know how to balance my expectation for what church felt like at 20 to what it looks like in real life today. Maybe I’ll figure the church thing out. Maybe I won’t.

Maybe losing religion is the first step to discovering faith.

 


Linking words and hearts today.

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About Becky Hastings

I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I’m here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.

5 Replies

  1. Becky, you bring such grace and beauty to this subject. I very much relate and can say what you are recounting here describes a core part of my experience with drawing closer to God, too. Being given the gift of distinguishing between religion and faith, God’s presence and our church experience is a remarkable thing. Thank you so much for saying this with such vulnerability and clarity. It helps me make peace with my experience and feel less alone in it. Many blessings to you!

    1. Becky Hastings

      I’m so glad this resonated with you Lancia. It is great to know that we’re not alone in these experiences. Thank you!

  2. Anni

    Yes. Oh, yes! You have described much of my past eighteen years. Three miscarriages, a very difficult, complete bed-rest pregnancy, long recovery from throwing up for seven months, pre-mature baby, next pregnancy on bed rest too, traumatic birth (her heart stopped, but God graciously restarted it), critically ill baby with multiple special needs, said baby hovering just above pneumonia for nine years, caring for mother-in-law with leukemia, grieving her loss (two years ago July 30), caring for my mother with breast cancer, and grieving her loss (December 23rd, 2015)…. We have spent more time out of church than in. If it weren’t for Moody Radio, I probably would have gone crazy. I know we are not to forsake gathering together with believers, but what does one do when caring for family prevents one from gathering? We are still members, but they have quite forgotten us. We have learned that God will meet us where we are, but I do miss fellowship. We just don’t know where we belong anymore.

  3. Becky, I appreciate your honesty that comes out in your website, and especially this post. If I can encourage you, keep on meeting God where you are. It’s sad but sometimes Church can act as a replacement for our relationship with him. Yes, we need fellowship, but he has promised to never leave us. And clearly you are not alone, as I can see from the other comments.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thank you so much for your encouragement Craig! You are exactly right….It’s got to be relationship with God first. And when we can come to the church, real in our relationship with Him, that is when the Church is most blessed!

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