This is a Good example of how to write a Gospel story: thxs Corrie.
“I’m no longer the same man I was before going to Jail,” he writes me. For some reason, he insists on capitalizing the word. “That old person named M.S. died in a cell in the Spokane County Jail, and I’m a new person now because God has washed me clean. I love you. God loves you.”
I know that God loves me. I’ve always known that God loves me. But the more that my ex-husband puts Jesus on a platter and tries to give him to me, I resist. Where was God when I was crying myself to sleep because my husband wouldn’t talk to me about the one thing that kept gnawing at me? Where was God when I had a meltdown in the parking lot at Safeway in my mother’s minivan? Subconsciously, I’m flirting with agnosticism. I feel like Lieutenant Dan in “Forrest Gump” when he’s talking about how all the guys down at the VFW keep talking about how life’s gonna be peachy keen once you accept Jesus into your life. I’ve accepted Jesus into my life, and you know what, God? My life right now is CRAP. I’m living in an attic with a woman who uses me for a meal ticket and to pay her bills, and an abusive jerk of a brother-in-law who lives in the basement and beat me up. Oh, and that same abusive jerk says that God’s chosen HIM to be a prophet because he had a dream about a plane crash right before 9/11. God probably told him to slam my foot in the door, too. Never mind that at this point, my dreams of having a family with the man that I love will never happen because he likes to touch little girls in their private areas but can’t admit it to me when it counts but only has the balls to tell me from behind a plexi-glass wall. Yeah, you’ll have to forgive me, because at this precise moment I am filled with what I feel is a righteous fury towards God.
I get a CD in the mail about the time I’ve all but made up my mind to leave him called “Grandma Goes To Prison” by a couple named Kay and Elvin French who do prison ministry. I ignore it, never take it of the plastic wrap and give it to my mother. It was supposed to be a birthday gift, and although the sentiment is nice, again, I don’t want to deal with God right now. If God is Ross and I’m Rachel, we’re on a break.
Blah, blah, blah, read “The Prophet”.
Blah, blah, blah, have you read “The Problem With Pain”?
Blah, blah, blah, here’s this CD about God! Enjoy!
When I receive a package of Christian books and a votive candle holder with a verse from the Love Chapter in 2 Corinthians in the mail – complete with a bill that obviously came from him, I’ve had enough. I’ve made up my mind to leave him – I don’t love him anymore, and my once strong faith is diminishing rapidly as I see his brother, “the prophet”, talk about his visions and how God said this in a dream and that in a dream. I see my ex-husband telling me about how God has washed him clean and now he’s a new person. I don’t want to hear it. I refuse. I’ve done a metaphorical act of sticking my fingers in my ears and “la-la-la-la-ing” as loud as I possible can to drown out the constant noise of “God” and “Jesus” echoing in my ears.
I do things that I’m not proud of while he’s incarcerated. The specifics don’t matter. But after the divorce is finalized, I fall in love with Mike. We are going to move in together. My mother is horrified. My siblings are shocked. I’m the good one, the one no one expected to live in sin, but I’m the one who’s doing it. The Bible seems outdated and archaic to me now. The night before I leave, my mother’s prayer group prays over me at her dining room table and lays their hands on me. While they pray, I find myself daydreaming about tomorrow when Mike and I will see each other for the first time since November and how nice it will be to be held in his arms. I tune out the low murmur of “Father God”, “unequally yoked” (Mike is an agnostic) and “Amen” and daydream about the future with the man that I love and want to be with for the rest of my life.
Mike and I get married in August of 2008. I’m blissfully happy and I’m not angry at God anymore – primarily because I’ve been able to get out of the ugly situation that I was in before, but my faith is not the cornerstone of my life. It’s just….there. “I’m a Christian but I’m not close-minded” is how I describe myself, but I’m not living the life for God. I enjoy sleeping late on Sunday mornings and haven’t opened my green tapestry-covered Bible with the photo inside of my Uncle Chris and Aunt Tracy at my first wedding, standing there, smiling, with their girls, for years. Saying “I’m a Christian” at this point is not unlike someone asking me what I like to eat and me saying, “I like broccoli, chicken, rice, cheese and almonds.” It’s not a way of life, it’s not my faith, it’s an adjective and nothing more.
Mike comes back into his faith in May of 2010. We attend Calvary Chapel with some friends and are overwhelmed and intimidated by the size of the church and the way it feels impersonal. I don’t want to go to a church where for a year, someone asks you every Sunday if you’re new. People are nice, but I don’t like it. And then we discover The Village, a missional church that matches exactly what we’re looking for. You live your lives like Christ did. Your life is a testament to your faith. There’s none of the judgmental mumbo-jumbo that you see in a lot of evangelical churches, not unlike the ones I grew up in. It is a church of grace. We are surrounded by people who open their arms wide to us – the three pastors (Rod, James and Eric), people like Emily and Russ, Ron, Karen, Sue, Jeff, Emily, Ryan, Andrea and Layne, just to name a few. Every Sunday night when the service is over, there’s a community meal where someone cooks (or pizza is ordered) and we get to know the congregation. I am filled with a sense of wholeness that I didn’t remember existed.
When I found God again after all those years of being bitter, angry and lost, I didn’t realize what a big piece of me was missing. And when I opened up my heart, unlocked it and let Him inside, I realized that I felt like the person I was always meant to be, a child of God, a bride in Christ, a living stone.
My name is Corrie.
I’m a customer service worker.
I’m a sister.
I’m a daughter.
I’m a dog owner.
I’m a voracious reader.
I’m a cook.
I am one thing above all others, though.
And that thing is a Christian.