A few years ago a friend of mine said her favorite season wasn’t one season but the changing of seasons. I love this. It’s true for me too. In the winter, I crave bare feet, beaches and sun on my face. In the middle of summer, I want nothing more than to pull out my oversized sweaters and knee-high boots and drink something peppermint.
This year, fall season is symbolic as I’m in a season of letting go. Shedding things I don’t need anymore. My #quittingpractice. One of the heaviest things I’m letting fall is my idea of church. It’s not something I talk about but nearly 10 years ago I was bruised by the church. A church that gave me horrible counseling. A church that ignored abuse in my first marriage. A church that used words like submissiveness. A really large, popular church that should’ve known better. Over the last decade, my faith has been rocked to the core. Not my faith in God but the love His people.
I’ve questioned everything I’d always taken for truth and fought things out with God. I wanted to walk away so many times but something always held me there.
I once heard this analogy on seasons:
A tree must shed its leaves before it’s ready for snow. If snow comes before the leaves have fallen, the branches can’t support the weight and will snap.
Over the years, I’ve had to work at healing. I’ve begged for peace and to feel connected like before I was hurt. But no matter how much I wanted to skip ahead and feel good about life and church, I had to do the work.
The process hasn’t been beautiful either.
It’s interesting, fall usually starts off breathtaking. The leaves turn stunning colors, decorating the streets. But then everything turns brown.
Lonely, brittle and dead.
It makes a huge mess that needs to be raked up.
One pile at a time.
So I began raking. I scraped up piles of my old beliefs, things I had taken for truth and put them in a big trash bag on the curb. I replaced them with questions and prayer and many discussions with friends I trusted.
At times I wanted to quit but my husband would drag me back to church. He’d remind me not every church holds views that minimize abuse. Not every church places fundamental laws over life. Not every church wants to keep women silenced.
I needed to let go but I didn’t know how.
Letting things go that previously defined my faith, defined me, is exhausting but when I’ve tried to skip ahead is when I’ve been most broken.
It’s been a ten year season of shedding old beliefs and receiving new ones. Ten years of doubting, getting frustrated and over-correcting but I’ve always found my way back to the safeness of God. I’m letting go of trying to understand everything. I’m praying for patience to be still and let the leaves fall.
I’m free-falling to a place where I let myself believe and love while leaves are still falling because it’s who God made me to be.
I’m praying for strength to keep raking old, dead leaves out of my life.