Three months ago my husband and I quit our jobs and redirected the course of our lives. We left church ministry, and church altogether. In our leaving, I uprooted angst I didn't even know was hidden in my heart. Being a pastor's wife on church staff supported my personal growth in faith but it also subconsciously encouraged me to stuff certain parts of myself away to maintain an image. Stuffing is exhausting.
In choosing to purposefully change our lifestyle, my husband and I have found solace in routine living; a place where unrealistic expectations don't overwhelm and weigh us down, crushing our identities. Taking a step towards healing, I knew I needed to shift the focus of my blog and move from Christian Blogger at So I Married a Youth Pastor to simply Me: a writer who believes in God but is not so wrapped up in Christian culture. I refer to myself as a former pastor's wife to distinguish ties broken with the church and organized religion, but not because we - my husband and I - are not pursuing pastoral living.
My heart is simply no longer committed to matching its beat with Christianity for the sake of keeping things comfortable or politically "religiously" correct.
My writing is bound to shift.
There are a lot of things I've done I'm not proud of, but I've learned not to carry guilt and regret on my back because of an action I chose; the lack of thoughtfulness around a decision, or a stupid mistake. I do, however, lean towards shame, folding my body into its armpit and settling into lengthy cuddle sessions. I'm not proud of it.
I've wasted 18 years being ashamed of who I am. It's learned behavior. From the day my adult teeth filled my mouth in crooked rows to the day I woke up married to a pastor, I layered myself with masks and costumes based upon what was socially acceptable and what was social suicide. At 28, I found myself with too many scripts to memorize. It took a move to another state, where I knew no one except my husband, to find the space I needed to detox. Being detached from the influences of family and friends, I began rediscovering the pieces of myself I had stuffed away and uncovered the reasons why I was prone to stuffing in the first place.
As I become more of who I am, I am ever more grateful for every single painful memory. Pain is necessary for growth. For every misstep, I've mapped the memories and relived the intense emotions to remind myself not of what happened, but of who I do not want to be. Who I was when this happened or that occurred is a dead version of myself, only the lessons learned stripped away and carried into the present.
I have to choose every day to live beyond my circumstances and peel away the need to please; to not play into what is expected of me - perceived or real - and be the very best me I can be in this moment.
Welcome to my new site!
My desire is to accept the freedom of being my whole self, and I hope you will find encouragement here to do the same; to live a great story while shedding the fear of judgment. I believe we are never closer to God than when we are living in the fullness of who we are; accepting the dark along with the light and learning how to interact on a soul level than a surface level.