You emerge from the closed-in world of Christian patriarchy with a broken worldview and a long list of issues you need to figure out. Where on earth do you start?
Well, speaking as one who has spent the past fifteen years walking the recovery journey with many others, I’ve got a suggestion. Before you revisit anything else…
…Courtship vs Dating
or even Authority…
Before all that, immerse yourself in Grace.
If you’re like I was, you have no concept of what “grace” really means. As I was taught it, grace was merely another way to obey more, work harder, do more.
Good news: I was wrong.
You can find some good definitions of grace. The most common one is God’s unmerited favor toward humans. That always sounded too much like churchspeak to resonate with me.
Near the end of my novel, I explain grace as God’s approval that we don’t deserve. We don’t have to be good enough.
I like that okay, although I gave a definition mostly for the story’s sake.
My favorite explanation of grace came from my exploration into the Eastern Orthodox Church several years ago. Eastern Orthodoxy tends to be much more mystical than we Westerners are used to. It also doesn’t get hung up on precise definitions.
So what is grace? It’s God giving us part of Himself. Not “power” or “favor” or whatever. He gives us Him. We don’t have to do enough or be enough. He’s already there, filling up where we fall short, keeping us afloat when we’re too tired to try any more.
So while you’re struggling and crying and begging for answers… Start with grace. Let God — the real God, not the angry god of legalism — sink into your soul. After a while, you can move on from there. Go slow. God’s got all the time in the world.