My Spiritual History

not quite amish

I used to go to a church like this. No really, I did. And for a while, my wife and children did too. Were we born into it? No, but there are some Christians that do migrate this way, adopting the practices and culture. These folks in the photo are Conservative Mennonites, cousins to the Amish, and some of the German Brethren. They are sitting down to a nice meal.

As a person of faith, I studied these groups for years, for more than 20 years in fact, before I ever stepped foot in one of their churches. So how did I wind up there?

In addition to studying them, some of my ancestors were Mennonite. I remember my Grandmother telling me about it. But then something happened in our family, that was so life changing, so horrible, that I felt an immediate need to get serious about God. My wife had been having very difficult health problems, serious, then life threatening health problems for a couple of years, and then they found cancer. It was a blood cancer.

So we were people of faith, and yet, we lived with death being close to us every day. For me I was in a constant state of grieving, daily. No one saw it, but it flowed all through me, and there was always a great fear that my wife would die. And not only that, I knew I could die at any moment. Life was not a guarantee.

So I started going to the best type of church I could find, like the one pictured above. I had to get this right! No more fooling around with churches I had been so disappointed with in the past.

But it wasn’t until later, that I realized I had made a terrible mistake. At first my wife was not able to go to any church due to her health. Even after a bone marrow transplant, she was on chemo. And it took a number of years for her to improve to a somewhat normal life.

So it was me and the children going. But when my wife did start attending she didn’t want to be there. It was not her culture, and she would never join. She felt like she didn’t fit in. And our children felt the same way.

And me? I was having a great time. So it took several years for me to realize, or to become aware of, how it was all affecting my family in a negative way. And when it hit me, how they struggled internally, it shattered me. There was more grieving then, but in a different way.

And at the core – I thought I had been doing the right thing. So I backed off my faith, we left there, even though we still keep in touch with some of the people. They are beautiful, loving, family oriented people. And by the way they are against war.

We go to a non-denominational church now, and culturally we fit in. But you know what? There a number of things I don’t agree with, and I’m still disappointed with churches. Maybe that’s why I don’t write about them, and why I often turn to nature for healing. I still do believe though, in the One who made us all.

I wish you peace.

P.S. I’ll post some poetry later today.

  

Writing © Copyright 2017, ancient skies

image by unknown artist 

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57 thoughts on “My Spiritual History

  1. It does Him even more due honor (and He knows it does us even more good, and even benefits the world) when we gather and worship Him and pray together as one of His congregations, his visible flocks, though He does indeed love each of us individually. I’d be really baffled if I didn’t believe His Body and Blood is made present in (Catholic) Mass. I’d really wanted to convert to Judaism, until I looked a little more (a lot more, actually) into the religion I was born into. I’ll be here for life. 🙂 Someday, we will truly all be as one, but until then, I do understand both the questions and the need.

    1. Thank you my friend for your wonderful comments. I didn’t write it here today, but I love a great deal of what the Catholic Church has. After being shattered I was suddenly more open, and I started talking to people at work that were Catholic. They gave me books to read. This was just before Pope Francis. And when he came in I was amazed! I have been to several Catholic churches, and I love the liturgy. I ran into some doctrinal roadblocks but I’m still open about it. Peace my friend and rich blessings to you.

  2. Oh my there is so much that I could say my friend! First of all I am so thankful for your wife’s healing!
    2nd your heart really comes through in your post. I know God is smiling down on you! Yes, churches can disappoint us, but we need to remember that they aren’t the ones we are following, we follow Jesus!

    Now for the reason that I did a double take when seeing your post. I wondered how you got a picture of my relatives!!
    Yes, I was looking closely at the faces, but no they are not my actual relatives ,but could be. My Dad’s family is conservative. He broke away from it though. We are still Mennonite, just not conservative. I still laugh at the shock of some people when they hear that I am.Mennonite. They want to know where my cape dress is and covering. I tell them how there is so much more about being Mennonite then the dress!
    Anyway, I apologize for how long this post is, but I just think its so cool that we have that connection. Blessings to you! Have you ever tried going to a Non-conservative Mennonite church? Just curious.

    1. Wow, I had no idea! Thank you so much for sharing your background! Yes I did try a less conservative church and it was sort of generic, much like a non denominational church! But it was far away too. You’re right about our relationship with God, and that keeps me going. I am more open and liberal than I used to be, and I guess some Christians don’t like that about me. I have to trust God, and keep going forward! Thanks again. And you can write comments as long as you want! Peace to you and your family.

      1. Yes, you will always have some Christians that disagree with you, but again , what God thinks of us is what counts!!
        Peace to you and your family tp!

  3. I think I completely understand where you come from. I was born Catholic and therefore followed the classes and received all the sacraments like all kids in my class did. I was used to it and that was it. But when I started thinking about my belief I noticed that there was something far greater than I was every taught or than anyone was ever able to explain to me. From that moment on I felt so many higher truths and I distanced a lot from the Catholic teachings. My new belief was independent of religion yet attached to a higher force which I call God or universe or source. I was so excited that I was disappointed when I saw that others in my surrounding did not get it. I never evangelized but it bothered me anyway until I could let them walk their own path of discovery. It doesn’t matter what we believe in but that we believe in something that gives us hold when the physical world seems to slip through our fingers and out of our control. It is important that everybody believes in something that fits them and not something that makes them fit!
    I love your post, Nicodemas!

    1. Thank you Erika for your wonderful comments. I’m very blessed. I like the idea that we each need to find our way. I do think we need others in our lives (Such as a group or congregation) and I am very community oriented. That’s the irony of it I guess. Perhaps I have too strong of a sense of wanting to belong. Some religions have a lot of good to offer. I am open but so far it has been tough, trying to find the right place, even though I still consifer myself a Christian. Peace to you. You are an excellent blogging friend!

      1. In the end, every religion and the same origin, the same message, and the same goal. Only the way of achieving it is different. I can relate a lot to Buddhism. A lot more thatn to Catolicism. But as you said, each religion has parts we agree with and parts we don’t and that is what makes it so interesting to explore our own belief. I too want to belong to a group with same beliefs and I think when we truly live what we feel inside, those groups will form naturally around us… fitting our current state of mind and heart.
        What a lovely reply, Nicodemas. Discussing this is heart-warming. Thank you!

      2. I really like what Buddhists have to say. They go so deep! I’m usually very blessed by quotes I often see here (wordpress) that are from Buddhists. But I love traditional monotheism too! Thank you for chatting some with me. Peace to you and yours.

  4. I thank God for healing your wife, peace and love to you and your family.
    We all need some force, some faith to believe in at every stage of our life. Our God keeps on growing with us , until it no longer fits into labels that the world has given to him!
    I see God talking to me in your poetry! Inspite of going through such difficult times, all you have been writing about is full of love, peace and harmony…..for me it is nothing but God speaking through you!

  5. Nature is where I find solace. I left the church many years ago and never did return. Church is church and many wars are fought in the name of God over centuries that it makes no sense. There are many things which doesn’t sit well with me in the bible as well. I still believe in oneness and I wish you peace and I admire your journey.

    1. to me, as a Darwinian-Cartesian, Nature is my ONLY god-goddess… after I studies the history of religions, attended Bible studies and different churches(Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant-Reformed) by curiosity, as I didn’t want to die ignorant! 🙂

  6. Interesting to learn more about your spiritual history. I have Quakers in my family (although I am not Quaker myself), who also adopt plain dress like those in your post photo. I wish you and your family love on your journey.

  7. MILLE MERCI, Monsieur Nico for your personal story… your wife’s condition did touch my heart… ❤ do hope she's completely recovered… send you all my very best: health, joy, peace and respectful regards.
    @ @ @
    speaking of religion(s), all I can recall right now are these common sense and realistic quotes:
    “Your daily life is your temple and your religion…”(Khalil Gibran)
    * * *
    J-J Richard’s poetical definition:"Religion is above all a strong craving to return back into the galaxies…”

    1. Merci Melanie, for your wonderful comments, quotes and Blessings! Yes, she will never be 100% again but she is doing very very well. The last 2 years have especially good. I do love the quotes, especially Gibran. Thanks again, and peace to you and yours.

      1. you’re always welcome, Sir! 🙂 just come across another wonderful quote:

        “L’amour, c’est la foi et la religion du bonheur terrestre – un triangle lumineux placé à la voûte de ce temple qu’on appelle le monde.”(Alfred de Musset) – my quick translation:“Love is the faith and the religion of earthly happiness – a bright triangle, situated over the vault of this temple called the world.”(Alfred de Musset)

  8. What a great sharing, Nico! I’m so glad you told this story. I left the church in my twenties and stayed away for a long time. But then a mentor helped me realize that it was not God who had failed and let me down, it was ordinary humans just like me struggling to understand what life
    is all about and making mistakes along the way. Religion and churches are man made, but God’s word stands on its own always and forever. I think it’s important to go to church just to be around other believers and to set aside that time each week to worship and praise the Lord. But like you I do the same thing in nature and find it to be a very reverent and peaceful to worship in God’s Creation. Actually I hadn’t even started back going to a church yet when God finally reached through to me after my turning my back on the church after my father died. Instead I was sitting out in the yard one day when He finally captured His lost sheep. Not only is God all around us; He is in us. We are part of Him and are made in His image. And the Holy Spirit that was brought to indwell in us through Jesus is always present within. Blessings, hugs, and peace for you and your family my friend. Love, N 🙂 ❤

    1. Natalie, i cannot thank you enough for your beautiful and caring comments! You are one of my favorite bloggers! Well even though i do go it is tough sometimes. I will think about your comments, and meditate on them. I still have faith I’m just not enjoying church. And I don’t want to make mistakes like I did mentioned here. I guess i’m holding back. Peace to you my friend and great blessings.

      1. Thanks Nico for your honesty. After I read your posts and the comments you got about it I’ve decided to expand my thoughts in on this subject. I started it today and will add three more posts as I’m so concerned about people who have been turned off by churches. Thank you again for sharing your story! ❌⭕️

  9. I could say so much as many have already written here on your blog. Isn’t the actually question of church faith all-telling in itself, I think as I read the many responses you’ve gotten. It’s what we do as humans always searching outside ourselves for what can only be found from within. The one thing I missed the most when I left church was the fellowship. Not having anyone to share my faith and belief with. Letting go of the guilt the church places upon those who leave was freeing, it it took time to work through and now I’m very much at peace. But I have never been alone Because God is the center of my life. There is nothing wrong with church for some maybe even most it’s all they need or want. For for those of us who feel this stirring inside that there is something more it is an awakening we can’t ignore. As for the fellowship I missed I prayed that God would bring like minded people into my life, and eventually we found each other. I have meet several ladies and for the past seven years we meet once a month studying various books sharing our journey and being a support to one another. We call ourselves the Soul Sisters.
    Thanks for sharing this Nico. You have opened up a subject that is obviously very much needed to be discussed. Peace my friend!

    1. Connie, your comments are profoundly beautiful. The strange thing is I want to have a community church base, and friends there. It just hasn’t worked. Sometimes my views don’t line up and are not accepted. Somehow I dont fit in the box. And youre right the responses here have an underlying theme where others feel something similar. I guess youre right about letting go. I am very blessed and humbled by your comments. Thank you for your blogging friendship! And peace to you and yours.

      1. You have opened the door for yourself to received the support you need. Having a consciousness for fellowship of like minded people is the first step. Like in the movie Field if Dreams, “If you build it, he will come.” It’s all about believing in what you desire. It will come. By the way I’m listening to one of my all time favorite CD’s by Seals & Croft and the song, “We may never cross this way again” reminded me of you and your wife. Are you familiar with it?

      2. It’s from the “Summer Breeze” album and their greatest hits.
        I guess it all depends on what kind of books you’d like read. If your talking about spiritual ones you might google spiritual book clubs and see what comes up. If you are just looking for a book club in general you can go to your local library. They should have a site you can go on for information. Also book stores provide information on book clubs. Then there’s you yourself who can start one with a few people at a time who might come into your life who are somewhat like minded in their journey. That’s how my soul sisters and I came together. One day I was talking with my masseuse and she knew of a few other people having the same questions. It was like we were all wondering in the wilderness looking for each other. But if you do try it I suggest that you keep it small and see where it leads you. We started with the book “A Course In Miracles.” Its very deep and you need others to talk it over with for clarification sometimes. It took us about 3 years to get through it. We then studied from the text “Science of Mind” that one was very good. We just finished “Seat of The Soul” that was very insightful and now we just started Caroline Myss’s book called “The Anatomy of the Spirit.”
        Every book has built upon the other. We have all lived life and gone through many situations in the time we’ve been together. The beautiful thing was that now we could apply the things we’ve learned to it. So it’s not just about acquiring information, but putting it into practice in your own life.
        I wonder what it would be like to start a book club blog where you read one chapter a week then share what you got out of it. Hum!!! That sounds like an idea!

      3. Thank you once again for these great ideas! I’m pretty low tech so I didn’t think of Google. Having discussions sounds absolutely great. Peace to you and have a wonderful weekend!

  10. wow. what a great post Nico. it is interesting to learn of other denominations and how people relate. thank you for sharing! and while people can and do, at some point, disappoint, we know the One who will not. I no longer attend a church, but still am a believer in Him. Great Post! peace and cheers, Debi

  11. Really enjoyed reading your post while searching for spiritual. I am very spiritual my self I use to go to a spiritualist church not far from me where I conducted healing sessions and other forms of development in my spiritual self. I am also a writer on my own meditations as meditation is the key to are well being.

    1. Thank you for your comments, and for sharing about your background! I am a Christian but this is a creative writing blog. Even though I do not preach like many do, at times you will see my faith woven into my poems. Peace!

  12. Wonderful post ! But I would like to add here that besides knowing how to meditate , its equally important to know that how to handle spiritual experiences -both your own as well as those that you keep on hearing/reading !
    So here’s another one from my Spiritual Series (Featured yet again on Livingwiseproject.com) :

    “Don’t Hallucinate,Just Meditate ” – (5 Minute read )

    https://the-passport-souls.travel.blog/2017/08/01/dont-hallucinate-just-meditate/

    Would love hear your feedback ! 🙂

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