When God Closes a Door, He Opens Your Heart

I left my husband. It was messy. I was suddenly a single mom and I was alone for the first time in my life. I couldn’t adjust to not having someone sitting with me to watch tv or to chat with about my day. Every night I would break down. I would panic feeling like I would never see another person again.

I kept meeting with the pastor, David. He would encourage me and tell me he was proud of me. It helped but I was struggling and honestly didn’t feel like I was going to be able to carry the weight of all this.

I was doing my best to reconnect with any friends I thought might have me and I spent my nights with any guy that would have me. An old friend, Amie, reached out to me and asked me if I knew of any churches in the area she could try. She was leaving my childhood church because of the toxic environment. I told her about David and the church and she asked if I’d like to go with her one week. I agreed.

So, we went to church. It was very tongue in cheek. I posted this picture on facebook captioned “Got to look cute for Jesus!”

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All my atheist friends thought it was hilarious.

But I went and the music started and in my chest was this comforting, nostalgic feeling. I remembered the music. I remembered what it was like to worship. I missed it.

I went there ready to poke holes in David’s service… but it was good. He was talking about how Christians who are hammering on the rules of the Bible have missed the point. After growing up in the church I had, I was shocked.

So I went back next week and posted this picture captioned “When Jesus keeps you coming back #atheistsinchurch”

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My atheist friends found that much less funny.

So, week after week, I went to church and every single week, the feelings in my chest would grow. Every time I would go to church, I would feel this raw emotion and I loved the comfort but was really concerned because I worked so hard to turn off my emotions for years… I didn’t want them to come back.

After a few weeks, I started asking some questions. I couldn’t deny what was going on and I needed answers.

Finding Friends in Unexpected Places

Towards the end of my marriage, I realized I had no support system. My husband had done really well at isolating me and I would have nothing to fall back on if I left him. So, when a dad from my daughter’s school was handing out flyers for a meeting to start up a local farmer’s market, I jumped at the idea. Finally, something for me to do! There would even be people there!

I honestly thought that I hated people, but felt like it was something I needed. So, I went to the meetings and was miserable with everyone. The first meeting I was able to sit apart from everyone and avoid talking to them but the second meeting, the layout was in groups of tables. And I was stuck sitting beside the pastor of the church.

The first things I did were to tell him I hate his church logo and make a bunch of sarcastic (but true to me) comments about how I didn’t want to sit next to the pastor. I was a really lovely person. But, he took it in stride and laughed it off.

Meanwhile, my marriage was getting more and more aggressive. My husband was downright vicious in what he would say. There was a particularly bad blow up at me one day right before my meeting, but I had to get out of the house, so I went.  I was obviously not okay. I was struggling to hold it together and had to step out at one point for a breather.

The pastor pulled me aside at the end to make sure I was okay and I gave him a cliffs notes version of what was going on. He was super supportive and we started meeting every week from that point on. What amazed me, and kept me going, was that he knew I was atheist. He never once mentioned God. He didn’t ask me to pray at the end. He just listened and supported me as my marriage fell apart and, eventually, as I struggled with being a single mom.