Welcome to Grace and Space, a weekly newsletter from the Deconstructing Mamas Podcast! GRACE for who you have been, are now and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be!
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You asked, “do you go to church anywhere?” And my heart said, “ahhhh….” And I wondered, could I trust you with my story? Are your arms strong enough to bear the weight of my spiritual history? I could tell you about the hundreds of verses I memorized, starting at age 3, and the awards I clutched to my chest. I could tell you about how I wrote letters to my pen pal at 13 that included benedictions like the Apostle Paul. I could tell you how I sang with my eyes closed and my hands raised. Should I tell you about my mission trips? The prayers I prayed? The journals I kept? The aisles I walked? The camps I attended summer after to summer? Should I tell you about purity culture, the agonizing shame I felt about my curves and beauty, the responsibility I felt to “keep my brothers from stumbling”? Should I tell you about the call I felt to serve God, but only in “approved” spaces? Should I whisper how I thought I could be a pastor if only I was a man? I could tell you how I did morning devotions every day for a decade plus, how I waited to kiss my boyfriend until I was 18, how I saved sex for marriage. Should I share how I wanted to end my life at age 11 because I thought the crushing anxiety that came upon me at puberty was a sin that I just couldn’t pray away, pray away, pray away? Should I tell you how I suffered in silence for years because my church and community preached that mental health struggles were a spiritual failing? That my body was a stumbling block? That my greatest calling in life was to be a wife and a mother and that WANTING (anything anything anything) was a sin? I could tell you how I CLEPped all my Bible and theology classes my freshman year of college, the ministry teams I served on, the prayer groups I led, the young women I mentored. I could tell you how I tried, how I strove, how I worked, how I surrendered it all because I believed that if I did this, God would bless me with the desires of my heart. Should I tell you about the abuse I endured at the mercy of those who should have offered grace and guidance? How institutions I worked for, championed, supported, and served turned to ash and blew away in the wind? How I was abandoned by those who were supposed to love me because they loved God? I could tell you my story. I could tell you about the shift, the crack, the grasping to all I was taught to believe, to honor, to love, to never ever ever abandon, until the pain of it all was to much for my aching shoulders and tender heart to bear anymore. So I let go. I could tell you how I stared at all I had lost, like a shattered mirror, reflecting me and everything I thought I was, my image and identity splintered along with my faith. I could tell you how the grief was like physical pain, burying me. I could tell you how I sat in darkness. I wrote, I prayed and I stopped praying. I did yoga and breathed, breathed, breathed. I read and read and read. I found some kindred spirits and stepped into new paths and communities. I repented of the sin of certainty and breathed in curiosity. I embraced love and let go of theology that loved being right more than flesh and blood people. I learned how to press my hand to my heart and say to myself, “I’m learning to love you too.” I learned that the fruit of the Spirit grows in wild, tangled gardens, in sidewalk cracks, up and over fences, and in spaces that were once forbidden. I learned how to recognize the spirit of God within other people, surprising people in unexpected places. I’m learning that the kinship of human spirit is more powerful than the kinship of a religious label. I could tell you all this but we just met and I don’t know if your grace is bigger than your judgment. I don’t know if you want to be friends or you see me as a “project.” I know all about projects and collecting souls in a bottle named Safe (but its real name is Fear).
I’m wary because I’ve been hurt and my tender, baby soul has just been reborn. I’m holding it close to my heart these days. Maybe, maybe if we talk again, I’ll entrust you with my story, if you turn out to be a trustworthy person. But for now, I say, “no, I don’t go to church anywhere” and gracefully change the subject. --Brittany Meng (go follow her everywhere and listen to her podcast for moms)-- Instagram: @brittanyameng Facebook: Brittany Meng The Bam Blog Podcast: Motherhood Metamorphosis (click on Esther's - & her daughter Sarah's - episode HERE!) Join the FREE Podcast Group Here: Motherhood Metamorphosis Also, her PODCAST EPISODE WITH US about Purity Culture. It was INCREDIBLE!
The Podcast Further Sneak Peek to Season Three: Season Three is sure to be a good one as our lineup of guests are already giving us the happy jitters. We feel like kids in a candy store with a bunch of coins in our pockets. It's that wonderful! What to know just a few? Okay. Here are three... Jonathan Puddle. WHAT? The ONE and ONLY Jonathan Puddle. Check him out HERE! Melissa Neeb. From Faith in the Mess! She's dog-gone wonderful! Check her out HERE! Dr. Camden (Morgante Pigg) Purity Culture, we're coming for you! Check her out HERE!
What to know just a few MORE? Okay. Here are three MORE... Kat Wordworth. From About Doubt. She's got a cool BOOK and everything! Check her out HERE! Jason Elam. Former pastor, PODCASTER and compiler of Parenting Deconstructed! Annalise Hume. Embodied Faith Project. Spiritual Director. Mom. Evolving Faith speaker. YUP! 36 days and counting...
Join Our Private Facebook Community and GET THIS special Live Q&A with Lizz & Esther (or the recording if you can't make the specific date and time). **IT'S THIS THURSDAY!!!!** You can access this by supporting us on our PATREON platform.
Lizz & Esther have just been published in a book titled Deconstructing Hell, where we unpack parenting and deconstructing as it relates to eternal conscious torment, the traditional view of hell. We will be sharing our thoughts and answering questions about how the belief in hell is toxic for us and our kids! But we won't stop there. We'll chat about ways to parent with "hell off the table."
Come join us HERE!
Lizz and Esther are Contributing Authors in the Coolest Book (with the Coolest Cover)
Deconstructing Hell is OUT and READY to be devoured and takes dead aim at one of the most destructive doctrines of Church history: the doctrine of eternal suffering for the non-believer.
Lizz's chapter is titled, "A Gospel of Hope" (a gentle parenting approach to deconstructing hell) and Esther's chapter is titled, "Pushed by Fear or Led by Love?" (raising children with a gospel of value and dignity vs. fear). We joined 14 other authors (way more famous than us with lots of letters after their names), and have this book in our hands right now! We are thankful for Chad Bahl for putting it all together for us! Check it out more HERE!
If you are still unsure, check out this video that we did with six of the authors (including us). It will give you a feel for whether or not it's worth getting! We think it is!!!
One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.
Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,
Lizz & Esther P.S. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER HERE!