The Spiritual Abuse Of Evangelicalism

Once upon a time, when I was about nineteen, a pastor in our church laid his hands on my head and said God would not fulfill his plan for my life if I didn’t break up with my boyfriend.It was definitely one of those “thus sayeth the Lord” evangelicism moments so many of us are too familiar with. Someone you trust, someone who claims to be a God-person, someone who claims to speak for Him and who you think would never lie or deceive you.I struggled with the prophetic “word” the pastor had for me. Then five minutes later I got over it and met my boyfriend around the side of the church for a smoke before we went off to eat pizza.Unbeknownst to us, I was pregnant at the time. Seemingly also unbeknownst to God also, who apparently didn’t want me to be with this person and apparently had greater plans for my life than us raising a child together.We did raise that child together. And three more. And today as we stood beside one of those grown men we raised, as he made vows just like we did with the woman he loves, I thought of what greater “plan” God apparently had than this, or our other amazing adult children, or my two granddaughters, or the new grand baby on the way. I smile when I wonder how a know-it-all God could not have known this would happen, and why He would try to head it all off at the pass.Of course, God did not try to do anything of the sort. But someone did, and I don’t forgive them that betrayal of my trust or the attempt to control my will with spiritual blackmail and moral threats.I’ve been sorry about many things in my life, but deciding to have my child at 20, marry his father and give my life to my family has never been one of them. However, I regret the time and energy I spent trying to please and obey abusive spiritual leaders and church governance who at times seemed bent on breaking my will. The best thing I ever did was to give myself back to my wildness, my will and my own way. And I found god out here on the road, and together we’ve been laughing and crying at all the amazing things that happen when we just let everything be, including ourselves.Today was one of the happiest and proudest days of my life. I still don’t know about gods “plan”, but I do know mine. Do what the hell I like, with love, with the ones I love, as best I can.May you find yourself as happy as I am right now, and able to live without fear.