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When I Was…..

When I was six…they told me my life was forever the property of God’s, so wherever I went and whatever sacrifices I had to make were for God and God alone.

When I was 11……I could not speak of my experiences growing up as a missionary. My Dad could, and my Mom could, but I could not. No one cared that I was even there, except to say “What a cute little girl.”

When I was 15…..they told me I could not play the piano in the services because I was just a kid.   Even though I was light years better at it than my Mom. (Sorry, Mom, but you know it’s true.)

When I was 17…..they told me I could be a Piano Major and that would be nice for a pastor’s wife to know how to play. You know, just in case.

When I was 18…..they rejected me because I went to a secular college and decided not to become a pastor’s wife.

When I was 19….they never called me back after God took my Dad’s life by a sudden heart attack.   They never checked to see if I was ok.

When I was 33…..they reminded me again that God had taken a life. They reminded me that I had a Father in heaven, but not a Mother.

When I was 37……they said sure you should go to seminary. But then they refused to allow me to serve. They allowed me to sing on Praise Team, but gave me no microphone. They reluctantly tolerated me leading worship, but rejected “my style of praying.”

When I was 38, 39, 40, and 41…..I spoke often in Sunday School, expressing different interpretations of the text. I questioned the typical interpretations we had heard so often for so many years, and I was berated. I was sent out of the classroom in tears. More than once.

When I was 39….they asked why I was even in seminary. They told me the UMC had too many pastors.

When I was 40……I preached my first sermon. I preached with words that only the Holy Spirit placed there. My aunt wrote to me that I was only “preaching” and no friends or family came to hear or support me. No one ever asked to hear me preach again.

When I was 41…..they ridiculed me and told their friends not to sit with me. They refused to invite me to preach, even though every Senior was expected to preach during their last semester. They offered no viable career options to me. When I experienced crisis in the classroom they refused to return phone calls.  Alls they could do was close the door behind me and wonder what really happened.

Is it any wonder I am afraid of the future? I am afraid to enter church doors. I am terrified to walk into the class room again. I cannot bring myself to sit in Sunday school and smile unbearably while being silenced because what I say does not want to be heard.

This is what a crisis of faith looks like. This is what it sounds like, what it looks like in the Church. These are the words that create faith crises. Just in case you ever wondered.

Theresa Moxley, Survivor and Advocate of Intimate Partner Violence, Writer, Artist, Mom.  Thinker, Dreamer, Creator of Good Things

Theresa Moxley, Survivor and Advocate of Intimate Partner Violence, Writer, Artist, Mom. Thinker, Dreamer, Creator of Good Things