In the beginning...

January 27, 2015

Every good story has a clear beginning, middle and end. Some people believe that our stories are already written, that if we could literally flip to the back of "our book", then there we could discover who we married, how many children we had, how much money we made, where we spent our retirement, and what finally laid us down for our eternal dirt nap. Others believe each page of "our book" is blank, waiting to be filled in be the twists and turns we encounter as we travel through our life. Each day is a mystery; each page is still unwritten. I'm not sure where I stand yet. But I do know this--- I'm not quite ready to take a peek at the final chapter. I still have much to do before I sign with a flourish "The End". 

So, like most stories (good and bad), I will start at the beginning.

Once upon a time, a little girl was born. She was really, really cute. Like ridiculously cute. Until like first grade, and than she went through a twenty-year awkward phase. As this girl grew, she struggled with depression and anxiety and self-esteem issues. She struggled to fit in, to find a place where she belonged. When she was sixteen years old, she met a boy she really liked, and he really liked her, too. There was just one little problem. This boy was very religious, and, well, the girl? She have been inside a church once- for a wedding.

The boy was willing to make it work if the girl was willing to go to church. So she went. Every Sunday. Sometimes even Sunday night and youth group events on Wednesdays. Anything so she could hang out with the boy. But church was a drag- the songs were awful, the preaching was outdated and sometimes even scary for someone who had never been to church before. Eventually the girl got "saved", not really because she felt a calling, but because that was the natural order as far as she could tell. Go to church, get saved. Done and done. Plus it made her boyfriend  (and his parents) really happy.

So now the girl could rest assured that she wasn't going to hell, but nothing really changed. She moved away for college and stopped going to church. She never thought about God. She had done what she was supposed to do. Eventually the girl and boy got married, in his church, of course, and decided to search for a "home church" to call their own. They went to three different churches before settling on a small country church with one Sunday service. Again she went to church diligently. She took notes and attended Sunday School each Sunday morning. She even got baptized, so she could be an official member of the church family. This made her husband (and his family) very happy, but nothing changed.

The boy and girl decided to start a family. It happened quickly and easily. No thanks was given to God. What did He have to do with it? The girl started a teaching career, very unexpectedly. But God's hand wasn't in it, just a lucky break. With a baby and a new job, church attendance slipped, and before too long they weren't going at all. But that's okay, because she had been saved, which meant she wouldn't go to hell, and she had been baptized, which meant when people asked, "What church do you go to?" she had a quick answer, even if she hadn't been in years.

But she didn't feel any different. She didn't pray, and she never thought about God.

This worked for a long time. Yes, the girl struggled with depression and anxiety and self-esteem issues just like she always did. Yes, the girl struggled to juggle the demands of being a wife, mother and teacher, but that's normal. The girl and the boy found a new church that they really liked. The preacher was young and funny. The songs were upbeat and easy to sing along with. The sermons were interesting, and she actually looked forward to church every Sunday. They joined this church. They joined a small group. "This will be good for my son," she thought as she checked him into his classroom every Sunday morning. But she still never thought about God.

Then one day the girl just couldn't do it by herself anymore. That's when the story really begins. Because even though for 33 years, this girl hadn't been thinking about God at all, He had been thinking about her the WHOLE TIME. 

Everything had been going wrong at school. The girl was beginning to doubt herself as a teacher after seven years in the classroom. She began to get physically sick to her stomach every morning as she prepared to go to school. Her anxiety and depression hit a dangerous level. She thought daily for a couple of weeks about how miserable she was and how easy it would be to end it all. She didn't think about God at all. One day, some students started a terrible rumor about her, and even though it wasn't true, she just couldn't let it go. It was the last straw. Things had been building up for years, but this hurtful, completely baseless rumor, just broke her down. She couldn't handle it.

She wanted to walk out of the front door of her school and get in her car drive. Drive until the gas ran out and her problems were just a fading memory in her rear view mirror. She wanted to cry and break things. She wanted to climb in bed and eat ice cream by the gallons and watch sad movies. Instead, she felt inexplicably drawn to her computer. She felt compelled to email two women from her church, women who always seemed to have it together, who never seemed stressed or upset by the little curve balls life tends to throw. They stayed in close contact with her throughout the rest of that day, offering her prayers of encouragement and words of kindness.

That afternoon, she met with the pastor for a pre-baptism session for her son. He could tell she was upset and the events of the day gushed out of her. He looked at her and said, "Why do you care what a bunch of stupid teenagers are saying about you? It's not true. So what?" He didn't mince words and told her that if she would focus on God then the other things wouldn't bother her. He told her that the devil only attacked people who scared him. But this wasn't about God and the devil. This was about her.

Her head hurt. It was the worst pain of her life. She started throwing up. She couldn't stop crying. Her blood pressure was sky high and rising. Her mother feared she would have a stroke and drove her to the emergency room of a local hospital. Moms are great when you don't feel good, so comforting and reassuring, but her mom couldn't fix this. As she sat in the emergency room, surrounded by strangers, she resolved that something would have to change. She couldn't quit her job, so she would have to find a way to survive.

She called in sick the next day, prepared to mope and eat her feelings until she got another email from one of her church friends. It read in part, "My strongest recommendation for you in your time alone today is that you not spend it alone. You have a large chunk of time to pray... Just pour your heart out to God. Keep your Bible handy. And be sure to give Him time to respond to you as well." For 17 years, she had been keeping God at bay. This wasn't about God; this was about her. How could God help?


  1. Katie! I was so sad when you shut your old blog down, and then I stumbled upon this new one! I'm excited to read about your Christian journey. :)

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you found me again!

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