Empty the Pews: Kendyl's Story
What type of church did you attend at the time of your leaving?
Did you find a new church to attend?
Did you leave organized religion entirely?
This is a poem I wrote:
Farther and farther into the abyss I sank
Too deep to turn back but too afraid to go on
Losing losing myself once again into the madness
The madness that is depression
You may ask how I got here. And if I had the answer, I'd be more than happy to tell you. You see I used to be like you. I used to sit in those pews too. I used to be there every time the church was open, and I used to sing the worship songs and go to the prayer meetings and I honestly believed I could change the world. Except there was one problem. How do you change a world you don't belong in? How do you change a world when the people who are supposed to be supporting you are the ones mocking and accusing you of things you didn't do or mean or say. When you feel you are so misunderstood...And so further into this abyss I sank...
And then there was that day I’ll never forget when that Christian guy thought that his body was something I couldn’t deny and I’ll never forget talking to you about it only to be told there was something I must have done to invite it.
So you tell me church, how do you hold on to a faith in which you do not feel safe...
You see, you were supposed to be there for me. You were supposed to love me. Why, church, did you not notice me? How did you catch every wrong thing I had ever done but you missed my pain?
You taught me hatred instead of love. Judgment instead of understanding. You taught me people's worth and value was dependent on which sins they committed. You taught me to be liked I needed to be Godly. You taught me I was a failure if I was not. You taught me to feel shame instead of forgiveness and to feel fear instead of peace.
And further and further into the abyss I sank... Until one day I couldn’t go on any longer. I was about to break and it was in this moment a decision I had to make. To continue on in this abyss or to walk away. I cried, I screamed. I begged God to just show me. But the doubts continued to eat me alive. And no matter what I did I just couldn’t hide.
I finally couldn’t do it any longer. The abyss was just getting deeper and stronger. And I think the moment I truly lost faith was when evangelicals decided to make America great. It was then I knew if I didn’t find a way out the demons would take my life. So I left. Slowly at first. Like a baby touching the ocean for the first time afraid to go too far until eventually i found my strength and began to swim. Swimming further and faster away until all that was left was a remnant of who I used to be. And so I began to stand up against the oppression. I stood up for my choice and eventually I began to find my voice. No longer bound by the rules and beliefs that once held me I was able to open my soul and let it finally be free. And now I am my happiest being authentically me.
I found love in a man who treated me like gold and his love for me was the purest I had ever known. I found friends who helped heal the pain of my past and helped make sense of the life I once had. And I found a connection with the Divine within me that transcended any belief I held before. And it was with these things I found my peace and when the demons finally ceased to haunt me. You see, leaving my religion was my awakening. It saved me from the abyss. Which is why now when I write the word evangelical, there is an X found within it.
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