Fundamentalist Bible Thumper on Wheels
One morning early in 2003 I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to begin reading the Bible all the way through for the first time. I don't recall how long it took but I read a chapter from the Old Testament, one from the New, one Psalm, one Proverb, and a chapter from James religiously each day. Joyce Meyer became my godly heroine because she was a doer of the word, she didn't just give God lip service, and I watched her every chance I got. At first my studies remained set to specific hours and I was still a laid back Christian. We enjoyed the holidays, watched the latest movies and television shows, drank now and then, etc. In other words, I was still fun. Sadly, I started questioning whether I was a "true" Christian or not. Every time I read the Bible I felt terrible instead of uplifted, I felt as though I was betraying God and started worrying about going to hell and about my friends and family going there too. Instead of working on myself though, I thought God was "speaking to me" and wanted me to share my enlightenment with others. I shared it alright, but made others feel condemned.
Suddenly I didn't think Lee was being "godly" enough because he swore occasionally and I did not crave sex as much. I started getting pissed off with my best friend for saying, "God damn it", and voicing my dislike of her word choice--we started growing a part. I started judging my fellow church family and tried weeding out "the wolves in sheep's clothing." Soon my studies started running in to family time and I quite often left Ryan and Nicole to their own devices while I frantically scoured the internet for interpretations of scriptures. The more I studied and remained unsettled, the more I became a Christian of the law. Lee did everything I asked but we started communicating less. He voiced concerns but I was so determined that I was right no one could stop me from pleasing God.
The gatherings with our married friends both inside and out of the church started dwindling. No one was good enough except mature Christians who I saw following God's commands. I thought anyone who was not following God's instructions from the New Testament was a threat to my families eternal well-being. I didn't want an iota of a chance that someone would lead them astray. It wasn't long before I was on the computer and in the Bible from eight to twelve hours a day. Lee and the children would go to the beach without me because I didn't want to go--one I was studying and, two, my sedentary lifestyle caused me to slowly and steadily gain weight. I didn't care, I only cared about pleasing God. My little family would spend hours watching tv, going to the park, and missing was me (I wish I could get that time back). I was there in body only. Oh, I continued to cook and got up with Lee to see him off to work and make him lunch, breakfast and dinner, and took our children to home school functions, but as soon as my duties were done I was right back to reading.
By 2004 I probably could have been classified as insane. ALL I ever talked about with anyone, including my husband, was God. I canceled cable, wouldn't allow any ungodly movies, and I asked Lee to throw out all of his rock CDs--he did. I no longer allowed our family to celebrate the holidays because I was convinced we'd go to hell for celebrating pagan holy days as God's Holy Days. My husband agreed to all of my demands and though he was worried sick, he told me he trusted I knew what was best because I was "in the Word." Actually, he was worried sick and felt helpless watching the woman he loved disappear from his eyes. The love he had then was that reserved for a dear friend--Kay (I) was so far gone that no one recognized me. I cried daily and worried about going to hell. Lee was not the only person concerned about me, my mother was too and I even caused that once close relationship to be severed. Despite my behavior my husband was loving though I didn't deserve it.
Three Years of a Wife He Didn't Know
Everyone changes, it's inevitable, but my change was so drastic that Lee wasn't the only one who didn't recognize me. My children saw me struggle daily and didn't know what happened to the mother they've always known. As if that wasn't bad enough, my mother (sick with worry for her grandchildren more than anything) and stepfather couldn't understand why Lee didn't put his foot down. Frankly, they were both surprised he didn't divorce me. My bout with religious fanaticism lasted just over two years. The breaking point was a week before Easter, 2005. I sat my family at the table and said I wanted a divorce. Lee, seeing the children with tears swelled in their eyes, bowed his head and replied, "Whatever you want, Kay. Know that I do not want a divorce, I love you." I looked at my small family really hard and removed myself from the table. I walked into the bedroom, read a scripture about being a true follower of Jesus, and shut the Bible while exclaiming, "F*ck you Jesus, I choose my family." I've never looked back.
Though I was finished as a Christian I spent another year on a message board for Ex-Christians and continued to neglect my family--I was there physically but gone mentally. I needed to heal from the pain of leaving the faith I held so dear to my heart for over thirty years and reaching out to others who left Christianity was of tremendous benefit, but I spent too much time doing it.
Lee listened when I needed to talk, he comforted me when I needed comforting. However, though I'd left the faith, my conversations were still all about God. My political views changed around this time also which just added to the distance when it came to connecting physically. We snuggled, but not as often. We said "I love you", but not as much. We were not having fun like we used to. I was an unbeliever (still am) but fun-loving and easy-going.
It wasn't until March of '06 that I came back to my senses fully; except I'd grown huge from my sit-down lifestyle and my self-esteem was shattered and the focus shifted to my weight.
To be continued....