I used to feel pretty confident about who I was and what I wanted to share. I was a homeschooling mom of a large family that was fully entrenched in a Fundamental Baptist Church. I firmly believed in my political positions, as well as my opinions on social media... and TV in general.
I knew how I felt, and didn't have a hard time sharing it freely with others. I knew what was best for our families, as well as others. To be fair, people would ask me "How do you do it with all of those children!" "How can I get my child to do ______?" When you have that kind of an audience, it is hard not to oblige. But, I really believed what I was saying was the truth.
But, along the journey I began having doubts. Doubts that came from my own heart, but also doubts from watching those around me. I just wasn't buying into the things I used to accept with out question. What was really truth? What was God's Word and not just a tradition, an opinion, or a denomination?
I wanted to know if what we were telling our children was the truth... not just propaganda and guilt.
Was what I was teaching them (even turning our backs on friends, family and strangers) the "Christian" thing to do?
And then there was the fear.
Fear that if we left what we had been taught, we would become the next sermon illustration of 'what not to do'. Fear that our choices would negatively affect our children and their future. Fear that the people we knew would look down on our family and our decisions for not wanting to be a part of what we just didn't believe anymore.
Fear, coupled with guilt, can be a powerful thing. A power strong enough to have a family...even a church... question everyone and everything that doesn't believe the way they do.
When you can put that fear and guilt aside, you find that there is so much good out there, things that had been taboo before, weren't at all. You realize that God isn't something that you keep in a tiny, tidy box. But, something that is way beyond what we can imagine, and so much bigger (and more important) than ourselves.
We have met wonderful people, from different faiths and religions. Our children's lives have been enhanced from realizing that you can't always judge a book by their 'well dressed' cover. They have friends that are very unlike themselves, and yet, not really all that different.
It has allowed me to look at history, politics, and social issues through a different pair of glasses.
So, what is the point of sharing all of this? Maybe it is just the idea of writing it down and clearing out some much needed real estate in my brain. I know for sure that it is a letter of apology to those I may have hurt with my words and my actions because I thought that I was doing the right thing. It is an apology to those I treated snidely because their choices were different than mine. It is assuredly an apology to all those that visited the church and I ignored. Being on the other side, as a visitor, I am embarrassed by my actions.
I am grateful for many things in our past... but it has been an eye opener to know that much of what we believed was to make other men happy. To find favor more in the sight of man than of God.
I can't guarantee that our decisions are right. But, if I am to be honest with myself, I couldn't have guaranteed them before.
I am still a homeschooling mom of a large family... but now I am wearing a different pair of glasses, and that's where the similarities end.