Hello, World. It’s been a long time since I’ve written. I’m sorry for that, but the things I’ve been thinking about and the things in my heart might not be stuff that is should be out there. I’m hurt and at times, angry. I know from experience that if you vent your feelings, it might just come back to bite you in the butt. Hard. With force. Years later.

Because if I started getting into particulars, then the flood gates would open. I would spill out my heart onto the computer screen, talking about how hard it was to leave our church, and then the long, lonely road of finding a new church. Plus, this Summer was crazy. It seemed like every time we turned around, we had to shell out at least $300 (almost always, though, around $600) for random stuff that was happening.

Nobody wants to visit a blog that’s all doom-and-gloom.

I will say, though, that leaving a church and finding a new one has opened my eyes. I’m reconsidering a lot of things. I’ve always loved church, but now–as an outsider looking in–I see where we (the collective body) are making mistakes and losing out on bringing more sheep into the fold.

It’s hard, this walking out our faith.

Today is Sunday, and I hate to admit we are home today. I just couldn’t do it. The awkwardness of going to a new place, or even one that we’ve visited a few times. The waiting for God’s presence to come. The messages that seem to be tailor-made as to not offend, which is fine, but I’m asking myself, “Is the church still relevant?”.  I am not saying we need to go out and be radical, in the sense of picketing this or that, or being hateful to “sinners,” because you know? The Bible says we’re all sinners. Every single one of us.

The judgment. The cliques. The not fitting in. The being frustrated and disappointed with a message. The scant presence of the Holy Spirit during worship. The not praying for each other. The not taking care of each other in a time of need. The coffee house in God’s house. (That last one is ok in some ways…. but in some ways, it feels like we’re trying too hard to be hip and cool, or whatever it’s called these days).

Where did we get off track? Aren’t we supposed to be about loving people, and not just members of our church, but Every. Body. The ones that just got out of jail. The alcoholic trying desperately to break free form the chains of addiction. The unwed mother. The homeless guy. The tatooed ones. The ones that look different.

This has been the longest and loneliest journey. I feel as though I’m in a desert, wandering, with no refuge in sight. It’s quiet. I wait. No answers. Just, quiet.

A friend of ours has been encouraging me to write. It’s hard for me to hear and accept when anyone says that my writing is good. That I need to do it more often. That maybe I could be published. It’s terrifying.

I’ve been in a holding pattern for a long time. Doubt is a powerful convincer. Fear of failure. So, rather than running and taking a jump into the deep end, I stand by the edge of the pool, dipping my toes in from time to time, wondering what it would be like to just jump in.

Once upon a time, I was more confident than I am today. I believed that I could do anything I wanted.

I thought I knew what I believe. I thought I knew what church is. I thought I knew what family is.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that confidence. I don’t believe that I can do anything. My best years are behind me. I’m unworthy of doing anything for myself. It seems lavish and selfish. I’m wasted talent, a cess pool of What Could Have Been.

That’s what it feels like, anyway. It’s hard to quieten the negative thoughts, the doubt, the fear.

All of this has come to a head, and I find myself a solitary sojourner. I’m trying to figure out what I really believe about family, church, long-forgotten dreams, and myself.

This. Today. It’s a small baby step. Writing. Tomorrow, I’m going to sign up for a gym membership. It feels like a big thing for me. Monumental, almost. Because I’m trying to really believe that I’m worth it. That I’ll be a better wife and mother for it.

This baby step, it’s hope. It’s a mustard seed of courage.