When someone shares with you a piece of their story, they’re giving you a gift.Tj Aneca
“Babe, I need to talk to you about something”…
Not the words I wanted to hear in that moment that night. I remember it like a broken record in my head. Those 9 words changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Thirty-nine years, living a life that was working and with that one sentence my whole world flipped. Not how I saw my life playing out at all.
Thinking that he needed to talk to me about the kids, as we lay side by side in the dark as we usually do right before we fall asleep, I asked him “what’s up?” “Teej, I can’t do this anymore.” Silence. “I can’t continue to help lead a congregation when I don’t truly believe that this religion is true.” Silence. “I am leaving the church.” Tears. “If you and the kids decide you want to continue to go, I will support you and go with you but just know that my heart is not there.” More tears.
So many thoughts were swirling around in my head but none of my words would come out. Just tears. I don’t think either of us really slept much that night. You could feel the sad tension between us. In my mind I played out every scenario. We continue to go and I ask him to join us. The kids and I continue to go without him with us. I take the kids and leave. I kick him out. We get a divorce. Weeks went by where we continued to go and put on our brave face. I could see how miserable he was which broke my heart. So, I did what I had taught my young women to do, I questioned.
Now questioning beliefs within some religions is not exactly welcomed. I never had because I was the girl that believed what her parents, friends and leaders said was truth. I just trusted that they knew and that was good enough but those 9 words challenged me. They made me dig deep and go somewhere I had never even considered going.
I remember I was alone that day. I had several hours where I would have absolutely no interruptions. As I sat on my bed with my phone in my hand, I put my hand on my growing belly and made a promise to my baby that I would try to make the best decision I could, not only for him but for the rest of us. I landed on the official church website. As I pondered what to search, I thought about one of the many topics that I had always felt uncomfortable with but was too afraid to question. I’m not going to get into specifics about WHAT I read but what happened next brought me to tears. As I read, I actually couldn’t believe what I was reading. My heart broke. In fact, I think a piece of it actually died. I just sat there in silence, tears streaming down my face. I remember actually saying a prayer out loud pleading for an answer. Asking for a sign to help me in my decision. Looking back, I knew. I knew that that aching feeling in my soul was telling me exactly what I needed to know. In that moment, I knew that this religion was not for us anymore.
I could not imagine life without my best friend in the whole world. The one who holds me when I need holding, the one who humbly corrects me when I’m wrong, the one who has seen me at my worst yet still seems to love me, the one who supports my crazy whims and ideas. The fact that I entertained the idea of letting go of that amazing human definitely opened my eyes. I need to question EVERYTHING! I may not always find the answer. Sometimes I just need to trust ME. Trust my own intuition because most of the time my gut feeling is right. The beauty of it all….this is a gift we all hold. We all know “that feeling” that we try to ignore. Maybe try giving it a chance. You just might find the next chapter in your story.
There is so much more to my story and I plan on sharing it over time. One day, this will be a book. A book titled, “Free To Be That Girl”. A story for my children about my journey and how I discovered my authentic self and my true purpose . This is not easy to write about because I fear hurting people I love but those that truly know me and my heart know that this comes from a place of healing. If there is one thing that I have learned thus far is that I have a gift to share and by allowing myself grace and kindness, I can help others find their true purpose.