August 5, 2021

How I lost my faith in God - and how I got it back unexpectedly

This piece is one of the hardest to write emotionally. It’s about how I lost my faith in God, and how I got it back unexpectedly one Friday morning. 

I stopped going to church when he was drinking, because he would show up to church in his Sunday best, both literally and figuratively. He would walk in proudly to church, showcasing a beautiful happy family, but inside three out of the four of us we were crying inside. After mass was over, he would rush to the Commons area, to socialize with large groups of people, never unveiling any bad behavior. 

I hated Sundays. With a passion. Because when we would get home, he would put on the Chargers football game, and they repeatedly lost. Every Sunday. Sunday was his big drinking day, and if his team lost I was in for an unhappy, moody, testy, “walk on eggshells until he falls asleep” husband. I grew up as a kid loving football, and almost immediately a favorite American pastime of mine soon became a thought of dread and panic.

So, I stopped watching football. I stopped going to church. I couldn’t stand how he would show up to the public eye, and come home and be a completely different person to his family. Moreover, I couldn’t stand that this was happening in a place of God. God certainly had more power and control over this situation than me, and yet the false acts of humanity continued with my husband every Sunday.

I began to be mad at God. I lost faith. I walked away from all I knew. I had nothing but despair, unhappiness, and resentment in my heart where faith and love once lived as a child. I was a different person now. Tougher. Emptier. 

Despite my feelings, my children continued to attend Catholic school, and attended mass every Friday with their classmates. My daughter had taken up choir, and sang every Friday to the entire school and congregation. After I had two cancer scares, and had to leave my job for health reasons, I decided one Friday to walk back into church. I wasn’t there for God or me, I was there for my daughter.

I remember being in the church vividly. I never really fit in with the affluent local community, and showed up for myself- never really wanting to talk to anyone.

It was time for my daughter and her classmates to sing between readings. It was not a special song in particular, I don’t even remember which one it was, and my daughter didn’t have a solo. She was simply singing. And smiling. And continuing on with her happy face, despite all she had been through. I remember making eye contact with her, and then I just melted. 

That was the moment I fell from grace, or perhaps found it 

I began weeping in the pew, unable to control my sobs, head fallen in between my arms. 

I didn’t care if anyone saw me. I didn’t care if I embarrassed my daughter. Because at that moment, she did something so unexpected and powerful that changed the trajectory of my life forever. She brought me back to God.

It was one of the most welcoming, unconditional, and relieving moments of my life. Her bravery, her commitment to keep going, and not just keep her faith, but find gratitude and grace, singing with a smile, when so many knew nothing of all she had been through, was nothing I had ever seen. There. That day. That moment. My daughter was my hero. 

Coming Fall 2021 is Voices InCourage- a community designed for you to help you heal, thrive, and become whole again.