I’ve avoided the religion topic for far too long.
My upbringing has brought this hesitation.
My hesitance on judgments of where and what I was raised around.
Tiptoeing around an intimate and heavy topic.
The fear of being misunderstood and rejected—again.
And in all honesty, the fear of losing the humans I strive to invest in.
Those who are trudging—the real deal, authentic, surviving souls—my people.
I’ve had many people inquire “where God is in my story,” and many who have offered me a seat next to them in church when I began telling my story.
The truth is this: my religion, my belief system was rocked by the false representation of who Jesus is.
Mirrored by a father who would attend seminary and preach behind the pulpit, and on the ride home raise his voice at my mother.
Mirrored by a “don’t run in church” attitude, along with pretty much don’t speak or do, don’t wear this, don’t talk too loud, or think either—also known as minimizing the dope capabilities and fierce voices of women and the joy of being a kiddo.
Mirrored by a Christian school that, at times, put me in a category that made me feel like an unworthy outcast.
Mirrored by individuals in church diminishing my out-of-wedlock pregnancy while passing the offering plate with a look of disdain.
Mirrored by Christians who claimed to love others, yet couldn’t offer a hand to so many in their trenches.
Mirrored by me becoming one who “needed saving,” yet no one helping a sista out.
Mirrored by classes telling me how to live and forcing me to memorize chapters of the Bible, yet making no time to listen to my sadness, grief, or pain.
You need a memory verse? I got you.
You need a scripture to use? I got you.
You need a good sermon idea or choir song? I know them all.
You need to know how to fake it till you make it and learn when to raise those hands high? I got you.
I know all the tricks to look the part.
You see, I stepped away from God because of what I saw people do.
That was, until I read the passage about Jesus investing in the prostitute.
I don’t know what you all see.
But I see a God up in the trenches.
Not one denying others of sacred space.
I see a God who wants you to worship within your passions by investing in the gifts you have and using them to love on others.
I don’t see a bonfire-and-s’mores kind of Jesus; we don’t have “Kumbaya” sing-alongs.
Me and God wrestle. We disagree, we argue. I warrior up, I yell, I fall to my knees, and I surrender—then get back up again. I’ve driven the car of life and I’ve given him the keys. He doesn’t whisper to me—he rattles my existence.
God is not what I see in this world, because I feel we are far away from what he intended. I think he would be rattling some tables like he did back in the day as he honored his rage.
But I do see him in people.
The times I have seen God the most are not when people invited me to sit next to them at church, not when a bible was tossed on me in a coffee shop, and not when someone shouted out at me that they’d send a prayer up but never followed through.
It is when people showed up in my toughest moments.
It is when they sat down with me or woke me up in my numbness.
It is when they chose love for me instead of judgement.
It is when they welcomed me in in my roughest times.
It is when they deemed me love in my recklessness.
And it is when they honored my journey with my God because they knew that’s how we grind and how we roll.
Just because God is not mentioned in every single part of my journey does not mean that he is not pivotal in my redemption story.
It just means that I’m worshiping differently than you.
He gets it and that’s all that matters. But it took me leaving all I had been ingrained to know about spirituality and religion to find it again.
So don’t worry about us. We good.
In truth telling, I’ve never been closer to the truth.