I picked it up and turned it over in my hands—my old journal it was dated 2005. I couldn’t help but open it and read a little of it. At first it was full of all kinds of “godliness.” The very first page starts with, “I look to the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth…” I wrote a vow then to read the Word every day and write summaries and thoughts about it. I almost put it into the trash bin, but decided to read a bit further just to see where I was then. In the midst of all the scripture and prayers and praises, a dark theme began to emerge.
I wrote things like this: “I read your word and it doesn’t reach me, I want to love you, but I don’t feel you now,” and “Has this faith of mine been a charade all along?” As I read these things, I began to remember the despair, the fear, the longing for God to show me himself, to reveal himself to me and I remembered the hours of praying and pleading with tears, for clarity. The following entry brought it all back to me: “God, why so hard? Why don’t you seem to keep and sustain me?” I find myself wondering if I‘m even yours and that to me is the ultimate cruelty; wanting to be yours, desiring communion with you and yet it seems to be denied me. Even after all these years I look for the escape you promise to provide me and it isn’t there. Love eludes me, sin embraces me like a dark covering; weighing me down. I long to be free, but freedom doesn’t come—only bondage.”
There are passages where I am literally begging and pleading with God to put me on the right path and then on the last page I wrote the passage from Psalm that begins with, “Have mercy on me oh, God according to your unfailing love…”and then after that I scrawled, “GOD WHERE ARE YOU?” The journal abruptly ends. It was shortly after that that I began to earnestly test my faith in the same way I had tested other faiths and…well…you know how that goes. It wasn’t long before I made the decision to deconvert. I was relieved to discover that my struggles were caused by trying to be someone I was not and trying to believe in something that didn’t make sense…the myth of Christianity. I know the journey is not nearly over. In fact, I hope my journey of discovery never ends, but after reading the journal, I see how much more emotionally stable I am now and how much more at peace I am. It all makes complete sense– I am the one responsible for living my life for good or ill. Sometimes things go badly and sometimes things go great. It’s the same for everyone—Christian or not.
After reading that journal, I went I found the one I wrote after it. The first entry says this: “These are the rantings of a crazy woman. Don’t take them too seriously.” And then I wrote, “What’s the deal with Barbara? I don’t even know if she’s a Christian anymore.” No, I will not be sharing any more entries from that one here. You’ll have to purchase it from a bookstore someday. Lord willing pssshh!