By Amanda Fraser
Growing up in a strict evangelical household I never knew I was allowed to question. I was never told it was okay to doubt. I was never told to investigate the things I believed about the Bible.
I was encouraged to listen and follow blindly. I was gently pushed into the mold of conservative evangelical wife and mother. I was told that my voice didn’t have equal value to those of the men around me.
So, finding myself deconstructing my entire faith in my 30s was a bit of a shock…
First, because it came on the heels of me going back to school to become an Ordained Minister. And second because for a decade I’ve been teaching my children ‘truths’ that now are leaving my faith like melting snowflakes….. slowly, one by one drifting down to the ground and disappearing from what was originally a faith anchored in the evangelical tradition.
Now I could lament on the things I lost when my deconstruction of faith began (spoiler alert- none of the things I lost were offering me any type of lasting peace)…. But as a woman, a wife, and a mother there is a lot more that I’ve gained.
I am now the wife to a full partner. My husband felt led to deconstruct with me and we’ve been finding our way together, rebuilding our marriage as a full partnership. And we’ve become much better people separately and apart since this journey began. Our journey to equality has rekindled or perhaps for the first time sparked real fire and companionship between us.
I have been able to lift up and empower my children. I am now teaching them to think critically, to investigate context and to make their own decisions about their faith. In the last year my children have grown into less anxious critical thinkers, with no fear of eternal torment but a genuine love for a greater power who offers them unconditional love and acceptance no matter who they grow up to be. In addition to this deconstruction has allowed me to dive deeper into many Biblical passages to identify women of the faith to revere and learn about. This has allowed me to lift up role models for my daughter who empower and value her as a woman and also encourage her to use her gifts to build a life she loves without ever having to ‘make herself smaller’ to please someone else.
And finally I’ve found freedom. Freedom in all the above ways but also an almost indescribable sense of freedom that permeates my entire life and the lives of my family. These days I don’t I wake up Sunday mornings with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My children no longer attend youth and children’s groups and come home bothered by the messages they have been taught by the leaders.
And in all of this I have become a better mother. One who empowers her children, and whose children empower her. A mother who enjoys learning, digging deep and challenging her kids to a better understanding of acceptance and love. I have become a woman who is full of fire and completely free of attempting to live up to the expectations or restraints of others. And I now stand proud and confident as a woman, a wife, and a mother, who can teach her family about the love of a divine creator we don’t need to fully understand to rest in. A creator who loves and accepts them as they are, as much or even more than their mother.
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Amanda is a self-professed word nerd with a passion for reading, writing, female empowerment, and is also a complete coffee addict. Amanda became an ordained minister in her mid-30s and is currently working on her Bachelor of Divinity while raising her kids. She recently began an Instagram page, @thoughtsonfaith, to connect with others going through the journey of deconstruction, hoping to ‘light the way’ and offer her thoughts and support. You can also find her on Facebook. “When I am dust, sing these words over my bones; she was a voice.” – The Book of Longings (Sue Monk Kidd)