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A glimpse at my past: Christianity, Charismatic Churches, Missionary Work and God's Calling; Part 6
My brokenness and leaving the Church
Kansas was a hard transition for me. I learned more about my disorder and the medications used to treat it. I felt the distinct difference between living overseas in a city similar to New York City and moving to a small town of 40,000 people in the Mid West of the United States. It didn't take long before I felt totally lost yet still very committed to God and the Church. I spent six months feeling like a fish out of water. Eventually, I made my way back to the East Coast and to my home church, KPC.
It felt good to reunite with my old friends...initially. I would quickly get a job and before I knew it I noticed my moods were extreme. I quit my job to get a grip on my life. I decided to change my main prescription. Things leveled out. I started working at a large bookstore. I became a small group prayer leader. I settled in for awhile. But in the end, I would continue to struggle with Christianity and its meaning to me.
Overall, I would go through a three year spiritual transformation. I would lead the small group until I could no longer function. I was acutely aware that my life was forever changed. I floundered a lot. Nothing was working for me. Nothing. My friendships felt awkward. I was no longer Evangelical in spirit. I desired my old ways but I could not go back. Like Willy Wonka's quote in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I had to go forward to go back! All things seemed difficult for me.
The bookstore was a major catalyst for me. I was surrounded by liberal-minded people. Information was not censored the way it was when I was a member of KPC or a missionary to Hong Kong. Issues like same sex couples and feminism were being presented to me in a different light. It didn't seem so black and white anymore.
As I spoke of my disorder to KPC, twelve different people at twelve different times, suspected I was possessed. This caused such agony in my heart. I felt so misunderstood.
Then, KPC got a new minister. He was someone I voted for because I trusted one of my former friends. What a regret! He was completely different from my original minister at KPC. He was a holy roller. He was just shy of talking about hellfire and brimstone. But he did talk about second class citizens in Christianity: people who did not speak in tongues. I did not tolerate his sermons for long. They all had this flavor. I had to leave.
It was a confusing time. All of life continued to hurt. Christianity began to recede. I wasn't praying regularly, I had no church and my friendships felt strange. My life at the bookstore continued to grow. I realized I had changed and no matter how hard I tried things were never going to be the same again.
Time passed slowly. I began searching my heart and mind for new answers that made more sense. This new seeking phase I would term The Dark Night of My Soul. I climbed through blackness after blackness. I found little to nothing day after day. Only the memory of my Christ kept me strong enough to continue. I clung to Him without fail. However, I would never turn back to the Church. It never felt right again. I did experiment with different congregations but they were empty to my soul.