Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Coming out of the closet

I'm the wife of an ex-Christian agnostic.

I know that's the title of my blog and should be obvious, but people that haven't been a part of my story for long or are friends from afar, may not know that about me.  In fact, I don't know if I have ever posted a link to this blog on Facebook before whereby the masses would get knowledge of this fact.

Don't ask me why.  I'm not really sure I know.  But maybe it's time I did.

A friend sent me a link to a post recently by a woman who is walking a similar journey to mine.  She's a few years into it and mentioned the lack of stories like ours and the need to find those stories, to know that someone else is walking this out and what does that look like?  What can that look like?

I started this blog several years ago with the thought that I'd be writing our story as it unfolded but somehow between babies and diapers and now teenagers and young kids I just haven't consistently found the time.

So here I am with a renewed vision and desire to get it written down, to chronicle the journey with its ups and downs.

Because today, I think I had a moment where the Lord gave me a peek into all of these men and women going through "deconversions" and those of us spouses now in a relationship with an unbeliever.

Before my husband began this journey, I was all about defending my faith and having a ready answer for those who questioned it.  Today, not so much.  It's not that I don't know how to defend it or I don't have a ready answer; rather, it's because if this journey has taught me anything, it's taught me that having the right answer isn't the way to a good relationship.

Relationship is the way to a good relationship, and on this path I have learned how to be in close relationship with someone who does not believe what I believe anymore.

If you go back and read our story from the beginning, you'll know that I did everything "right."  I found a godly man who was committed to God and in a passionate, authentic relationship with Him.  We fell in love and married.  We did ministry together.

Then four years into our marriage, he had a huge crisis of faith that spun him off into this realm of questions and doubts that we certainly never saw coming and neverinamillionyears would have predicted the subsequent years of living together in that tension.

Now I'm seeing that there are many more out there, walking this out with varying degrees of difficulty and success, but walking nonetheless.  And that's just those who are represented in the blogosphere.

Today, out of nowhere, the Lord drops this thought into my head: "what if I'm raising up an army of people who know how to relate to those who believe differently in a way that builds relationship instead of tears it down."

I've been grieved for sometime by the way the church is now defined by what it defends and what it doesn't do and what is against instead of by our love.  Jesus said "They will know you are Christians by your love."

I'm not speaking for everyone or every situation, but what I hear and see is that for the world "Christian" is not synonymous with love the majority of the time.  Rather it is linked with boycotts and protests and a political party and "anti."

Please don't read into any of that what I am not saying.  I'm not saying we shouldn't stand up for what is right.  I am saying, though, that we don't do it at the cost of relationship which is how it seems to have played out for far too long in the public eye.

When my husband had his moment of decision to break away from all that he had ever known theologically, it was rough.  Lots of debates and tears (mine) and frustration (his).  But we loved each other and had to find a way to stay connected intimately, to focus on what we do have in common, and to allow our differences to bring us together, not tear us apart.

And that's the church that Jesus wants to raise up.  A people who know how to be in relationships with others and still disagree in a way that honors the person over proving a point or being right.

So to those of you out there on this journey like I am, keep fighting for intimacy in your marriages.  Keep holding onto the Hope that Jesus has overcome the world.  Keep walking in love and honor because it matters.

It really does matter.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Spiritually Single

A little peak into my journal...

I don't want to be spiritually single anymore. And yet even as I write those words, Your words come right behind, almost tumbling into them: "You aren't and never have been."

Somehow, while my reality remains the same, that little shift in perspective empowers me to live above my circumstances that feel particularly heavy during this season of spiritual traditions I seem to carry alone.

And I don't carry them alone. God is a Husband to the widow and a Father to the orphan and while I'm far from widow or orphan, there is a part of my life that I've been living as a widow, so to speak. This is not to diminish anyone who is a widow or orphan in the truest sense of the word, of course.

The truth of the matter is that God has been leading and guiding all along. He's been my children's Teacher and their spiritual Leader as well as mine. He's been my husband's too, although he may not acknowledge it.

The evidence is in their lives and in mine.  And while my heart cries out for the tangible representation of that leading to be made manifest in my husband's return to faith, I find great peace in knowing that God is leading and guiding our family just as He always has been.

May He open my eyes to the truth of His goodness all around me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The beginning of our story

To read the story of how we met, got engaged, etc. you can click through these links from my other blog.
[i-1] [i-2] [i-3][i-4] [i-5] [i-6] [i-7] [i-8] [i-9]

I'll be continuing our story here, so check back again soon.


I know I've said it before, but I'm serious this time...I hope.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not what I expected

I didn't expect to blog about us in this way.

I'm very chronological "bound." I like to tell things in the order they happened and sometimes do so with way too many insignificant details. Then the story gets bogged down.

But this story isn't bogged down yet. I haven't hardly begun to write it.

So tonight, I sat down to play guitar. I'm feeling rather stressed about an upcoming trip and am needing to find my place of peace in God. I decided I'd pick up my guitar, not really thinking it would do much good.

I started playing a worship song, and Lee sat at the piano and began to play with me.

And Lee makes anything sound 10 times better. You couldn't hear the missed strums or chords with his fingers playing the piano in the background.

I can't really express what was going on in my heart. I think I found some peace. I found some pain, too, though. The worship on guitar and piano took on a different, yet familiar flavor, one I know will be restored to me at some point...only better than I could ever hope or imagine.

In the midst of the pain, I gave thanks to God for the small gift that He gave me tonight in a short, impromptu worship "jam session" with Lee.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One Flesh

In the beginning of this journey, there was lots of fear. Lots.

Almost every discussion ended in tears (mine) and frustration (his). I thought I had to answer his questions, convince him of what is true, but I couldn't.

He could (and can) out argue, out maneuver, out intellectualize anything and everything I could come up with...even things he agreed with (just to play devil's advocate). For him it was mostly a verbal and intellectual sparring match. For me it was the potential loss of every dream I had held dear, and I was going to do everything I could to get him back on track.

And then I found at every turn that I couldn't.

Thus the tears.

We finally reached an impasse and mutually decided that, at least for a time, we would not discuss his spiritual questions. They simply had too much potential for combustion. My emotions couldn't handle it, and it began to wear on our marriage and our friendship.

During that time, I shared with a friend how strong the darkness of deception weighed on me. How I knew that we were one flesh and couldn't bear this dark cloud that was invading our oneness.

This wise friend kindly responded, "Then I'm going to pray that the light that's in you is stronger than the deception he's battling with."

Ding! Lights came on.

We are one flesh. He is battling darkness. I am filled with light. Light always pushes back darkness.

That was a significant turning point for me. I began to imagine myself filled with the light of the Way, the Truth and the Life. I began to choose to believe that whatever my husband was struggling with God's light would shine on every dark place.

What a perspective shift.

I'm happy to say that since that time, I have viewed our oneness differently. For the most part, I do not struggle like I once did with the perceived encroaching darkness of deception because, quite frankly, it's not encroaching. The light I carry through being filled with the Spirit and being in Christ keeps pushing it back...resisting.

And when I resist the devil, he flees.

God is good.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, I went to a drawing workshop where I was challenged, frustrated, and enriched.

There were light bulb moments, and there was that one moment when I just wanted to run out of the room and give up ever trying to be an artist.

But the crowning moment of the workshop was not in the instruction I received nor in the art I attempted to create, but in the conversation with one of my fellow classmates: Harry.

I noticed him the first day. He was outside smoking when I drove up and gave me a tentative "hello" and a smile when I got to the door. We didn't exchange any words that I remember. Perhaps a smile when we crossed paths on break or at lunch, but I was drawn to him in a way I didn't get at the time.

The second day, we were on break, and I found myself standing next to Harry near the coffee. Somehow we struck up a conversation...mostly about how we heard about the workshop, what kind of art did we normally do, things like that. Then, out of the blue, Harry mentioned to me that he had lost his wife a couple of months prior and was at this workshop in an attempt to keep going in the midst of deep grief. I expressed my condolences just as the instructor started up again and tried to convey to Harry how sorry I was for his loss.

At the next break, I decided to ask Harry about his wife. I've heard that, although most people's immediate reaction to someone who has lost a loved one is to not talk about it, the one suffering the loss would usually like to talk about him/her. So, I asked Harry if his wife had also been an artist.

He smiled sadly and said that she had probably taught him most of what he knew. They had been married 26 years. Her passion, though, was medicine, and she was on her way to finishing up her degree in medicine to be a pathologist. She and 8 others had been in Mexico on some medical-related trip when she was killed in a tragic bus accident.

My heart broke for Harry. I began to silently weep with him as he expressed his deep loss and grief for this woman he loved so dearly, now suddenly ripped away in an unexpected way.

When I told Harry that I would pray for him, he told me that prior to her death, he had been an atheist. But that now he was moving towards "spiritual" atheist, longing to find meaning in the depths of his sorrow.

And he had chosen to turn to God. He doesn't know that yet, necessarily, but I see the signs. And I know how God can use anything to bring us to Him. God did not author that awful accident. The enemy did. But God will rescue Harry because of it. I'm almost sure.

As the workshop ended, I took Harry's hand and told him that God is close to the broken hearted. He replied: "He must be. You are like an angel."

And I thought I was going to an art workshop to improve on my art skills.

The Presence of God shining through this cracked clay pot.

I am in awe.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's Christmas time...

and we're rapping you this rhyme
to our friends we hold so dearly
too bad Christmas only comes yearly...

Santa. Reindeer.

I'm a rapper in disguise as a mom of 6 kids.


My sisters and I penned this Christmas rap some 15+ years ago and it always comes to mind around now... And for those of you who ever wondered, I also can breakdance. Breakdance and rap. Now that's some serious talent!

Since we've been married, Christmas at our house is pretty much the same every year. Merry Tuba Christmas in downtown on Christmas Eve followed by lunch at our favorite NY style pizza place. Then we head to my parents for some afternoon relaxing, presents, dinner, and dessert. We usually light the advent wreath candles and sing Christmas carols...each grandkid taking a turn lighting a candle and reading a Scripture. Then to bed.

Christmas morning is stockings! This year, for the first time ever, I watched my mom fill my stocking the night before and was a little bit disappointed that I wouldn't be surprised by its contents.

Sorry if this blows the Santa mystery for some of you.

After stockings, we pack up and head to celebrate with my husband's family.

It's been this way pretty much every year since we were married. To look at us on this day, or any day really, there would be no indication that anything has changed over the years. That once he was a passionate believer and now he's an ex-Christian agnostic married to me: the somewhat edgy, passionate, bordering on "out there", worshipper and follower of Christ.

That's just the grace of God.

It's been evident throughout our marriage in so many ways. And that's what I sit and ponder these last few minutes of Christmas day, 2 years since I started this blog to tell our story.

And I will, but for now just a little glimpse.

Merry Christmas. I love Him because He first loved me.