My Faith Journey: Searching (Part Five)

After I left my third husband, he became interested in a very traditional form of Christianity and started going to a new church. He lectured me on several occasions about how I couldn’t call myself a Christian because I had left our marriage. But by the time our divorce became final, he was already dating the woman he would later marry and was much happier with his new life.

I, on the other hand, was not. I was grieving hard for my parents and becoming more depressed and anxious by the day. I was still working full-time but not functioning very well. All I had to hold onto was my faith in God, but I didn’t go back to church and had no idea if I ever would. In my desperation I began going to counseling and ended up seeing a psychiatrist who diagnosed me as clinically depressed and put me on meds. But even that didn’t help. I eventually had to quit working and go on disability.

Around the same time I made a friend on the Internet who helped me through some of my worst patches. He was from Germany (but wrote and spoke excellent English, thank goodness) and was 14 years younger than I am, but we really hit it off. After about a year we finally met each other in person and realized that what we had suspected was true: we loved each other. Five years after our first contact, he came to the U.S. and we got married. We’ll celebrate our tenth anniversary this year.

He was raised as a Catholic, but no longer attended any church. He respected my faith in God, but didn’t share it. Even so, he was more than supportive as I searched for an answer to my “God dilemma.” Because by then I wasn’t just unsure about going to church, I was also questioning everything I’d ever learned about God. I’d always had doubts about the divinity of Jesus, for instance, and was bothered by Christians’ insistence that the only way to be saved was by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. What about people who didn’t believe that Jesus was God or that he died for our sins? Were they condemned to hell? I just couldn’t buy that.

In a blog I had at the time I wrote this:

I feel stuck at a crossroads, as if I can’t get where I want to go because I keep putting off choosing a direction. I know that I don’t want to go down the path to unbelief. I can’t. Because I do believe. But I have a lot of questions and doubts, too….I feel like I did in the days before I accepted Christ as my savior and God as personal. Like I’m refusing to surrender, but I know that inevitably I will have to. But what am I surrendering to? Or who? I’ve already become a Christian. Aren’t I still? Isn’t what in your heart what really matters?

I stayed in this holding pattern for several months. Then, on June 6, 2009, I wrote this post about “My New View of God.” I was done with Christianity.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

 

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Ellen

Editor and chief writer at I, Muslimah and Femagination. Ellen also contributes regularly to Elevate Difference. She is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with two cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.