And than one day, I woke up. Who had I become?
I removed the masked version of who others thought I should be and found me.
I have devoured books on politics and religion and have challenged the faith I inherited. I have seen God in the eyes of a man living with AIDS whom I held hands with. When previously he was one I boycotted through not buying products from a certain company.
I have sat among a group of friends where we talked deeply and passionately and uncensored about God and felt the greatest sense of church.
I stopped tithing regularly at church and instead give money to others when I feel led and have received some of the greatest blessings.
I have been moved to tears while singing songs of worship in a church held in a bar (no alcohol is served) where a group gathers who have been cast out of the traditional church. Their robes are often smoke scented and need a good pressing, but they sing with the deepest passion and love for our God, that even the most practiced cantata performance could not portray.
I am processing all that I once deemed wrong or bad no longer through eyes of condemnation, but love.
Some wonder if I have lost religion. Perhaps, but I have found God.
I have found him out in the world, that I once fought so hard to keep my girls from.
As much as I am for protecting my children and want to shelter them from evil, I also want them to grow up knowing truths. That all in humanity are flawed, but God loves each of us regardless. That going to church does not make you a Christian. That just because someone has AIDS, or is homosexual, or is divorced does not condemn them to hell. That all of my girls are in the gifted program at school and were not sickly and only one was breastfeed for a shot period of time.
As I journey through the detox of my sheltered naive tunnel vision view of who I was, I am finding myself piece- by-piece. I am committed to teaching my girls, as Eleanor Roosevelt did with her children, "that they have an intellectual and spiritual obligation to decide for themselves what they think and not to allow themselves to accept what comes from others without putting it through their own reasoning process."