Here’s the disclaimer.
I know a lot of people follow me here, because they want to see the messed up things I’m gonna’ say next. That’s fine.
This may not be the blog post for you though; because it is long, and recaps my struggle with faith and childhood. It’s a self- validation piece, and my life truly unfolded.
It was hard to write; and even harder to post.
I appreciate anybody’s time in advance, that does want to read further.
Thank you. It means more than you know. Xo
I have struggled with my faith since the age of nine, when my Father first took us to church.
I’m trying to come to some sort of terms with it, because it has been weighing on my mind for many reasons; for many, many years.
I’m getting older. I’m letting things go that have infected my soul for so long…FINALLY. I need to find some sort of peace with my faith so that I can nurture it, and possibly build on it more, so I can have closure and true peace inside.
I feel I need to do this, at this point. There are holes in me that will not close without it; I’ve tried, and I know this.
Lately, I feel a shift in my way of thinking regarding “God” and his existence. The ghosts of the past make me question today. The only thing I really know for sure is, is that I do not know what comes after this life at all.
As a child, I grew up in a house where the only father I had ever known drank too much. The F- bomb was dropped as easily as the porn mags, that were just laying around the living area of our downstairs basement, in plain site of a child.
It was all about my father, nothing else. He did what he wanted, and my mother did what he said to do, and was a good wife to him. She loved him, and she loved us as well.
I never knew from day to day, what mood my father was going to be in, or if I would get hurt by him that day. Sometimes things seemed normal”ish”; but it wouldn’t take long for him to fly off the handle without warning, and become way too agressive with my mother and myself for certain. He caused physical and mental damage, over and over, that hurt us both. Sometimes he would even lash out at my younger sisters too, when I didn’t get there fast enough to get in the way. I’m sure they don’t remember a lot of it early on, and I am SO grateful for that; but I still do. He was cruel and not loving by standard; and that’s how it was for me.
Mostly it was a life of uncertainty, mental chaos, fear and pain; in some regard; whether it was physical, emotional or worse. I was always on edge, and scared. It also was a lot of avoiding anywhere my father was… at all times… if I could at all manage it.
I hated him, but I loved him as well because he was my Father. Most don’t understand that.
It’s not my issue.
On the outside, we looked like a regular, (lower) middle-class family. It was my father, mother, two younger sisters (my dad’s real kids), and me. My father was a welder and a sprinkler fitter by trade with the Union. We always lived in a house, and had food to eat. We took vacations every year. We grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same school our entire school years, k-12. My mother was a “typical” housewife.
It looked, on the surface, to be quite normal; although I know for a fact that many people around us at that time (adults), knew that it wasn’ t. The truth is, I personally lived a very disfunctional childhood. I was fully terrified of my home life, because I was being abused on a regular basis, in various ways. That’s being about as forthright and vague as I can be about it, without getting fully into it; and to prevent more slander from complete strangers that have no clue, and like to send me BS emails and messages about how I’m a pathological liar and making it all up…
It pisses me off that I have to deal with that factor.
It’s relevant information none the less, and you need the back- story to understand the whole blog.
My grandmother somehow talked my father into going to her “Christian Reformed” church one Sunday. I was about 9 years old, I believe. I didn’t understand who God even was, because there was NO religion in our family at all, and I had never heard of him up until then. I can’t remember any of my close, or extended family; besides my grandmother; ever going to church or anything. Christmas was just Christmas. Easter was just Easter. There was no talk of spirituality, faith, or God at all in our family…ever.
For some reason or another, my father decided that we would go to church. He latched on to the concept quickly, and our family then started going to church every week…twice on Sunday, and once on Wednesday.
I’d like to think it was because he wanted to change his ways; but that didn’t end up happening at all.
It actually got way more fucked up.
I DO remember many good memories about that church.
Christmas programs, Sunday school, Calvanetts (like girl scouts but church group), many gatherings and social events, Bible school. I know a great deal about the Bible and I read it once, straight through. It took me three years. Lol. Bet you didn’t know that about me. 🙂
The point though is that there were some good people there for sure. I was in all regards “forced” into the atmosphere; but I do have to say that IT WAS comforting in some way, to be around father-figures that acted like proper fathers. Before that, I was totally afraid of men, and I would hide a lot. I had a few teachers there though, that I respected and listened to; It’s because they were all kind to me, and each of them seemed like the kind of father, I’d wished I’d had.
It’s kind of sad when you think about it.
I was often jealous of other families that were loving and happy. True fact.
Unfortunately, I also remember that most of the people at “that church”, acted like they just wanted to show off what they were wearing that week and what they had. It was apparent. No one ever clapped after a song performance or a congratulatory mention to someone from the Pastor; which I thought was totally weird and not cool at all. It’s as if they were above showing emotion. The worst part was that the church mostly treated my family like we were less-fortunate and less-than as well, because we had nowhere near as much money as the rest of the congregation that went there….we were charity cases, basically. They used to give us care packages on our porch and just leave them there, and I’m pretty sure they were helping my parents with financial strains at one point. (This is not a fact, just a hunch) The point is, I can STILL remember the stares when we walked down the center isle of the church to be seated every week. I absolutely hated it because I knew why they stared at us. It’s funny how people think that kids can’t pick up on things like that; but it’s not true…they definitely can.
I felt like I didn’t belong there at all; but since I did not have any choice but to go, I adapted as I always did.
After a while, that’s when the religious indoctrination started by my father.
It is hard to believe in God, when you are a child who does not understand what is happening to her; and why her father hates her, and hurts her. I often would ask questions about God to my father; which were always met with anger, degradation, and punishment. I once had to stand up at the dinner table for three hours and be lectured and talked down to, because I asked my father “How he knew that God existed.”
I was ten.
You see, even at that age, I knew what he was doing to me and my family was not right, and that it didn’t make sense what he was saying; his actions never matched his words. I also knew that no one seemed to care what was happening to me.
Everybody thought my dad was just awesome. He wasn’t. He fed and clothed us, and provided for us; but he was not a good father to me at all. He caused trauma that I’ve carried with me, my entire life.
I don’t have any regrets saying it either, because it’s the truth…and he and I and my mother, all know it.
The truth hurts.
Sorry Dad, but I’m writing this to self-validate, because I deserve to.
I remember one Sunday, our pastor asking for people who wanted to be saved to “Come up to the front and take the Lord’s hand. The Lord would help us find our way and save us all from despair.”
I went up.
I wanted to be saved so bad. I did feel the Lord in that moment. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed, as hard as I could for his healing. I wanted my father to stop hurting me, my mom, and my sisters; and I wanted God to please, please help. I truly believed that he would take the pain away, and fix my life and my family.
It didn’t happen at all.
The same things continued to happen, and as I got older…it got worse.
I was baptized along with my parents and sisters, when I was 11 years old.
My father then became a Deacon of the church.
What I will never get, is that my father would sometimes openly abuse me in front of church people, and NO ONE did ANYTHING, but look the other way.
One time my family went on a camping trip with another church family, and my father gave me a black eye because I was teasing my sister when we were supposed to be sleeping.
He punched me numerous times in the face, like a man would hit a man.
What do you do?
The next day my mother actually had the nerve to ask me, if my father had done that to me. I love my mother more than anything, but I was so enraged in that moment I could literally say nothing, because I wanted to hurt her the way that I was hurting inside….and on my face.
That’s fucked up.
I was thirteen.
It took me a long time to realize that my mother was a victim as well; but I do know that now, and understand.
She told me not to say anything, like she told me the first time my father gave me a black eye, when I was six. She told me to behave. I didn’t tell anybody. The church family we were with had two small children even. They saw me and said absolutely nothing. Everybody went on about the vacation as if it hadn’t even happened, and I know they all heard it. That’s when I pretty much figured I was FUCKED, and this God everybody was talking about, was not gonna’ save me at all.
My father eventually had a long-running affair in the end with another woman. He left my mother, my sisters, myself…AND the church.
Then the church left my mother, and she almost killed herself over it all.
My parents were divorced when I was 14.
My sister’s were devastated and cried and cried.
I cried because I was happy my father was finally gone, and could not hurt us anymore.
By the way, my mom is an amazing woman. She worked her ass off to keep us in that house, clothes on our backs, food in our stomachs…and she did it all without help from the government.
She IS the reason I am strong. She IS the reason my eldest daughter is strong.
It took me a long time to realize this. She kept ALL us girls together, when we were all falling apart and had no one but each other.
Every day I’m thankful she is my mom.
Just wanted to say that because I love her, and I respect who she is and what she sacrificed for me.
She raised my daughter until she was 13 years old because I knew I couldn’t. If not for her, I would never know my daughter because she would be with an adoptive family right now instead.
I’m so grateful for her. She always loves me no matter what.
I love you.
Ok . Back on track with the religion thing. Sorry.
I guess my whole issue is; I feel most people hide behind their religion, and are totally different people when it’s all said and done.
I fully respect my friends that are passionate about their faith in God, and practice it. I have no issues with anyone believing what they want, because I feel like it’s as personal as your life-journey is. Everyone finds their own way and belief, no two ways or stories are exactly the same, unless you’re in a cult.(lol)
Ok, that was bad; but wtf.?
My childhood experiences and church involvement, have tainted every single thing that comes to religion for me. It’s sad that I’ve felt guilty for talking about it in detail, until now. After my son passed, I said “Fuck it” all together and just started trying to see things for what they were .
My core beliefs are as follows:
* I don’t like organized religion.
*I do not believe the Bible is the do all, end all; or you’re going to Hell, at all. I don’t even know if it’s real, or if there is a Heaven or Hell, and really I think it’s just a bunch of stories, and totally hypocritical and perverted to say the least.
I don’t think God is coming back, or he’d be here by now. Don’t people consider this at all?
I don’t know really how to say all this without offending someone, but more people have been killed in the name of religion, than anything else; and that is a fact.
It makes no sense.
There’s got to be something.
I refuse to believe that this life is all for nothing. I refuse to believe that the despair and suffering of the world, is all for nothing. I refuse to believe that nature is as amazing as it is, without something or someone having a hand in that. I want to see my son again, and some other people too.
But I really don’t know what or who (if anything), is responsible.
I am a much more spiritual person, than I am a religious person. I think it’s the most logical way to go.
Wierdly though, a lot of things have been happening in my life that cause me to reconsider trying out just ONE service some time; in “that church”…. just to see how I feel afterwards.
Maybe that is highly hypocritical, but I feel like I owe “God”, another chance..if he exists.
It’s kind of freaking me out too, because I’m scared to death of the insides of churches, and will not go in them.
I just want to feel that feeling I had again, when I was up at the front of the church, and truly believed he could save me when I was 11 years old.
For what it’s worth, I hope I at least can find some sort of comfort and direction, and maybe let the ghosts from my childhood finally pass on to the other side, where they belong for good good good.
That can’t be a bad thing, and I think I owe it to myself to walk in that church and find out once and for all.
I am not a child anymore; and my father is no longer able to cause me damage. The damage I now do regarding the whole thing, is to myself. Hence the struggle.
Even though I don’t speak to him; I have for the most part accepted that it can’t be changed.
I will always remember though.
It’s because I understand that his Father hurt him too, and it is a cycle, that I can take a different look at it now. I am also a person who knows about alcoholism, and hurting people you’re supposed to love. Also because I love him; he’s the only father I’ve ever known.
And that’s why I know there must be something.
Two years ago, I never would have been able to say that about him. I let it affect my whole life, and way of thinking. But that’s over now.
That didn’t happen by itself.
I have control of my life now.
I guess I’ll update, and let you know how it goes.
Thanks for reading. I haven’t talked this extensively about my reasons for my beliefs and how they got there in open written forum before; and so that in itself is completely freeing.
J.Rounds ©2017 ~Peaces of ME