Sunday, January 24, 2010

The story of my Faith

I remember back in first grade having devotions to start the day and accepting Jesus in my heart. I have a Christian family. Went to all Christian schools, even preschool. I went to church every Sunday with my family. I remember in 8th grade see my faith taking on a more personal meaning because I made decisions based on my faith. In high school I lead several well attended prayer groups, went to Young Life, went to Bible studies and led Bible studies, attended my church's youth group, volunteered at church events and so on. My faith through the years grew stronger and stronger.

My freshman year in college I battled a strong bout of depression. I really struggled with my faith that year, I could not shake my depression and I wondered where God was? I was hospitalized for my depression the day after spring break and through hard work I had some wonderful recovery. I had struggled with some major self-esteem issues and for the first time in probably 5 years and I heard and believed someone when they told me I was beautiful and had worth. Around this same time, God and I started doing a bit better again.

Sophomore year was another hard year for my faith. Unexpectedly, on February 6, 2005, my big "brother" Alan passed away. He had a heart that was too big and it stopped in the middle of a swim meet. He was young, only 34, years old. His death rocked my world. Although he was not my literal brother he was a part of my family. I was a mess. I was also angry at God.

Junior year I moved into the Calvin apartments. I got connected into a prayer group in my apartment building. It was amazing. My faith was growing strong again. I started worshiping at Vineyard North and my faith was growing so strong. I heard a speaker at a 24 hour prayer event and it changed my faith life drastically. I was praying everyday for an hour a day and reading my Bible everyday. I was on fire for God. Move me into my senior year (well, my first one) and this faith life continued. I was super involved with my church. Attended every week, went to retreats, worked in the nursery, attended a dynamic charismatic home group. This home group made up my best friends. Life with God was good.

Then that spring it was time for another big change. The Soulforce Equality Ride came to Calvin. I was so excited. I always thought of myself as an ally to gay people (ha and look, turns out I'm queer myself...bahaha) but I didn't didn't know how to vocalize it. I know after the Equality Ride stopped at my school that I could be vocal. So armed with enthusiasm, I wore a button to my next homegroup meeting. It had a rainbow on it and said hate free zone. A few funny comments were made but that was that, I didn't think it would change anything. But it did. I got one super nasty e-mail from one person about how I was the child of the devil and then I never heard from anyone else. No returned phone calls or e-mails from anyone. I was not kicked out from my church but the message was loud and clear. I was not welcome.

I kept my relationship with God but my relationship with church fell apart. I began questioning my sexuality at this same time. I had this realization that although God loved me, Christians would not. I didn't not want to go find a new church because I did not want to hide who I was. I also felt that if I was honest, I would not be welcomed. Christmas 2007 another traumatic life event happened. It shock my life in a way I cannot describe (nor do I want to online). This event destroyed my perception of safety. I to this day wonder where God was. I feel like ze left me when I needed hir the most. How could this God that "loves me" let this happen? I to this day feel betrayed by God. I feel abandoned by hir and I am angry. still.

I still feel angry and abandoned but something is stirring in me. Since this summer I have been on some kind of path towards healing with my higher power. I am trying to figure this out. I don't know what I believe anymore, I am an...agnostic for Jesus? I have so many questions about the Christian faith I'm trying to work out but maybe that'll be me again some day. I am really happy Soulforce is a faith based organization with Christian tendencies. I have been blessed by E-Riders who are Christians. I was blessed by the Bible training part. I feel like something with in me is pulling me to find a relationship with my Higher Power again. I hope that I can find out who God is to me again while on the ride.

I went to church today. I often don't go. I'm still afraid of the reactions I'll get from people if they know the real me, the queer me. I was at something a while ago at Church and a lady who had friended me on facebook a few weeks ealier, asked about my girlfriend. I thought, maybe I can come here. I went back today. My pastor said she's giving to my ride (you can too at www.soulforce.org/kimmy_devries) Maybe there is a space for me there too...

If you're into the praying thing, I'd love it if you pray that through all the negative messages I receive about how my God loves me, I hear 20 times that in posotive messages about God. I am worried that while on this trip I will lose the little faith I have left.

Love to you all,
Kimmy

3 comments:

Amanda Lee said...

I think many of us have had to stop and look at our faith and what we believe. I am glad you are feeling that leading. And it is okay to be wherever you are along the process. I am glad you have made it and I will get to see you grow over the course of our next few months. You have been a huge encouragement to me. Thank you. Love

Mary said...

Yay, Kimmy! Prayers every day for you that you get to hear what you need to...you'll figure it all out eventually. I'm proud of you for doing this. It's not an easy task, but you'll come back SO much stronger. And is sounds like you may have found a new church home.

Me, I still like to sleep in on Sundays, so call me the "heathen Hag" that I am. :)

Funnyyoushouldmentionthis said...

I remember those times, love. Most of those times.

Youa re a survivor and God loves you. Christians do too.

Don't feel anger towards Him, though. Your net of safety needed to be broken, I think, so you would be able to do what you are doing now.

Nets can protect but they also confine. Spread your wings, love! Fly! Do what you do best--show love.

<3