Sunday, February 10

One year

I was thinking the other day that it has been over one year since I left the Mormon Church.  Hard to believe that it has been a year already.  Time surely does pass by quicker every year.  As I was thinking about this last year, a couple of things have come to mind.

First thing is that I feel free.  I never realized how hard I was trying to be the perfect church member.  I prayed, read scriptures, did my visiting teaching, read the ensign, attended ward socials and relief society events, did FHE, had 'teachable'moments with my kids, made many meals for members of the ward, and the list goes on.  In fact, after almost every general meeting of the church whether they were conferences or Sunday meetings, I felt that I always left with a much bigger to do list than I had going into the meeting.  But since I have left, I feel freed of the guilt and requirement of being perfect.  I still serve but do it on my terms.  I still read the bible and pray.  I still have meaningful interaction with my children.  But  now I do it because I want to not because I have been told that I have to in order to be following my Lord.  I feel lighter.

Of course, this year  has not been easy.   It would be dishonest to say that it has been smooth sailing with Terry.  We have had arguments. We have disagreed.  We have learned (and are learning)  what we cannot discuss.  Thankfully, we have always come back together.  We compromise.  But in the end, we are still committed to each other.  Regardless of what future challenges are headed our way, I do not believe that will change.  Twelve and a half years ago, I married the man I was meant to marry and only now do I really appreciate just how incredibly lucky I was to find him so early in my life.

I have also realized how much of my life in the LDS church was social.  My entire life was wrapped up in my membership.  My friends were from the congregation.  My activities were defined by what was acceptable to the church.  And now that has all changed.  I still have not made a social transition to a new church.  I do not have friends where I attend church.  And sadly, many of my LDS friends are no longer comfortable with me as a friend.  I understand.  I am disappointed in them but I understand.  As a result, I am lonely.  I am.  There is a part of my life now where I cannot fully share and connect with my husband and as of yet, I have not found female friends to share this with either.  This has been extremely hard for me.  But I try to look at the bright side.  We will move soon and perhaps the next place will be better.  Perhaps not.

Regardless of the challenge that I face in loneliness, I still would not change my decision.  I feel that in the past year, I have learned more from the Bible than perhaps in the last ten years.  I have a desire to learn and to grow.  Jesus is becoming a constant companion- not just a person mentioned every now and then at church.  He is now a focus in my life that I did not have as a Mormon.  I am learning to lean on Him to help me through challenging times.

So in the  hindsight of a year, I would say that for me, I made the right decision.  It has not been an easy year by any means, but I believe it was the path that I was meant to walk down.  And it can only get better.


Miss Beevers said...

Ryann, true friends accept you for who you are! Its sad when people cannot see the real person and define you by what you do rather than who you are. We miss you in the promised land! :)

Hallie said...

Ryann, I understand the loneliness. I go to church every week, and I feel the loneliness constantly. I know we were never close, but if you ever need someone to talk to, I promise I won't judge you buy your decision not to attend the LDS church. Where you attend church (or if you even attend) does not matter to me. Following an ever growing list (one I will always feel overwhelmed by), does not make you who you are. You are who you are, and have people who love you. As long as you are happy with your decision, that is ultimately all that matters.

Anonymous said...

Ryann, we are so proud of you, in so many ways. You made your decision with great courage and with the knowledge that it could cost you everything, your marriage, your happy family, your financial security, your children, your future, your friends, your entire way of life. Paul said we will be persecuted for following Jesus. You are a living example of how to follow Him, in faith. We love you, are so grateful for you.


Robin said...

Wish we lived closer! I miss my wonderful friend & the best travel companion anyone could ask for!