All posts by Katie Faul

About Katie Faul

My name is Katie Faul and I am a 30 something year old woman who lives, breathes, and eats. I love my children, my husband, my home. I hobby it up with gardening, napping, knitting, and Netflix. I am on a journey called life and I am not sure what that even means.

Recovering

Hi, uh. My name is Katie and I am a recovering Evangelical Christian.

And this is the part where you say, “Hi Katie.”

For several years, gosh easily 11-12 years, I have grown more and more exhausted spiritually. And the more tired I became, the more I began to see that what looked like simple cracks in my theology were actually chasms to the faith I was trying desperately to nurture. I was becoming critical to every word I heard a Christian speak especially when in church. I was trying to come up with answers to the world problems and it was like grasping sand as it sifted through my fingers. It came to the point where I quit going to church for close to two years.

Then I started attending a more traditional church. Not even because it was a certain denomination, but simply because it was a block away from my house. One block. Uno. Walking distance was the only qualification. Now, the little village I live in only has one church, so I didn’t have a lot to chose from. But at that point, it honestly would not have mattered.

Now, fast forward three years later and I have realized something very irritating: Even though I have left the evangelical church, my mentality still went/goes back to the theology I had been taught… trained in. And I really don’t like it. That isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate certain aspects of my spiritual history, because I do! But there is a lot that was/is unhealthy. I have begun comparing it to an addicts need for one more drink, hit, etc, as I can not get away from it. The mental pathways are firmly established even though I see many of the fault lines in their reaction to reality.

So I am attempting to be very deliberate and strategic with the next twelve months as steps toward recovering my faith. I am taking the 12 step program, used by so many, and applying it to my life. And I do not do so lightly! If there is no other benefit, it has already begun to birth so much more compassion for those with addictions of every variety! But even in this first step, I have begun to see things a little differently; this in turn gives me hope that this one year will continue on in a life long transformation.

So, hi. My name is Katie and I am a recovering Evangelical addict.

I Have Fallen from the Tree

I create seasonal checklists to retain my sanity and some semblance of my identity. As a stay at home parent of a five year old and a four year old, I have found this to be the simplest way to not forget myself. This checklist isn’t things that I need to do, but rather anything I would like to do if I have a spare moment or simply need to feel like I am human. It hangs on my refrigerator and is there for me— not the other way around. The list might look like:

  • Enjoy a glass of wine
  • Have a phone date with _______
  • Clean out the cupboards
  • Learn something new
  • Memorize a poem
  • Visit Montana
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail
  • Try a new recipe
  • Support a small business
  • Walk a hundred miles

It is so fulfilling to check off a box— because it is what I want. It is crazy, realistic, hopeful, everything and nothing. And every season as I sit down to create my list, I always include “Witness Something Beautiful.” I have marked it off every single time and I think it is because I am looking. Today, I checked that box again.

I was walking over to my neighbors, to help her put on her socks, when I happened to walk under a tree and was lavishly rained upon with leaves. I paused and thought, “I didn’t witness something, I was apart if it.” Clear blue skies, golden leaves raining down, and I was in the middle. Cool. I continued on my path with a heart-full smile, finished the mission, and began the short walk back. I come to the same tree and as soon as I walk up to it, it begins to rain leaves again. A holy, irreverent moment ensued.

“OKAY! I get it! You are here and present! But you know what?!?!?” I began talking to God about how I know he is there and she is good, but I have all these unanswered questions, doubts, frustrations, anger, and heartache. And in the stillness between moments, I heard a reply and was given a gift.

Thomas Merton wrote, “There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.” My faith has evolved so much since I made it my own 28 some years ago. I was sitting in a Wednesday night class when someone announced their decision to follow Jesus. I remember so clearly bowing my head and silently praying, “Uh Jesus? If that girls needs you, then you better get in here and change me cause I need you way more.”

My vision of who God was, was a simple cleaner upper of humanity. And sure, to a certain degree that is true. But as I have aged and ever so slowly matured, I have come to see that he is also okay with us being dirty. Wrestling in the mud with the hard stuff. He is okay with our doubts, our fears. God can handle our honest anger. Because we learn more about ourselves and therefore more about God when we do. When we ask the hard questions. When we wrestle with our humanity. When our hurt, pain, and anger overtake us. When our joy is complete, the cup is overflowing, and peace surrounds us. If we are willing to take the deep breath and explore the moment and all that moment involves, we can learn about who we are and who God is. If we are looking and listening.

And today, I was.

Me.

A Rent Veil

This was once my home. The lean-to for the tempest. The cross it welcomed the pain. The silence invited the joy. And the spirit could be heard.

It certainly is the passing of time. But maybe also it… Or me… Or both. For, here now, I am broken. I mourn.

“Sanctuary!” I cried, “Sanctuary!” But now, now I simply cry. For what was once a den of refuge has since become a den of thieves.

Self

IMG_7764
The storm is raging
The lightening streaks the sky
When the wind blows down
And the trees fly out of the way
When the water races forth to the sea
And crashes back on to the rocks
We are told to find the silver lining.
But what about the lining of gold…

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Figuring Out Advent

I recently entered into a very thought-provoking and respectful conversation on social media (yes, it can and does happen) about a strange topic. ‘God Never Hurries.’ That is all it said and before I knew it, I had responded with, “Are you sure?”  You know those moments when you are contemplating the topic and you don’t realize your fingers are actually responding to it? Yeah, that was this.

This is actually something I have been pondering for quite sometime though, not this particular topic, but it does relate. Now bear with me, I will try to bring it all back around. I believe that we have made a standard out of Christ. Which is good!!! Well, to a certain degree this is good! If you have attended a Christian church of ANY denomination, you will have heard it spoken over and over again that we need to make it our goal to be more like Christ. AND I AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY! But I believe, or at least I have noticed a pattern in my own life, that we have strayed from ‘being like” and have now made it our goal to ‘be’ Christ without ever saying as much in actual words.

This became very real to me in the aforementioned conversation. It isn’t that we are striving to be God, but by placing so much focus on being like Christ– which is actually an unattainable goal, we might as well be as we are setting ourselves up for certain failure. And I don’t think that was Christ’s purpose in coming to this earth. We can never be as loving as God or as gentle, patient, kind, authoritative, honorable, altruistic or selfless, put the adjective in and we will never match up; but I think that is because God and humankind are playing two very different games.

Where God came to bring wholeness in the midst of division, we tend to believe he came to bring perfection to imperfection– to make the imperfect… perfect. But I think, if we look at the whole of Scripture, we find that it is the reverse of that. Finding perfection in the midst of imperfection, finding peace inside of chaos, finding hope in the middle of complete despair, and even Christ exhibited this in being completely God and completely human, being in time and outside of time, being the Creator and the created. I think I have lived Christianity as ‘either or,’ but now I understand it as ‘both.’ Because I will never be exactly like Christ, but I can be exactly who he created me to be. And that is one of the things, I think, we have lost sight of in the Christian faith: that we have been created uniquely and have been called to be like Christ as much as we can be while embracing what makes us individuals and human.

I experienced this in a very beautiful way about two weeks ago. I was home alone with the two kids, we had appointments we needed to be at very quickly, they wanted to play, I wanted to duck tape them into their winter clothes, and right as frustration was beginning to mount, in my spirit I felt a quiet realization. I am Bethlehem. I am not Jesus, I am not Mary or Joseph, the shepherds, wise men, angels or any of the imagined animals we so often picture. I am Bethlehem in all the mayhem and rush, tumble, filth (I am potty training my second born, need I say more?) and in this moment, I choose to make space and welcome in the Holy. I can’t avoid all of the busy-ness or hurried-ness, some of it is good and I don’t want to miss out on it– kids, hello!, so I don’t think that is a realistic goal. There will always be a sense of chaos, despair, fear, hatred, and whatever, but I can be present, mindful, and make room for Christ in the middle of it. Like Jesus would for us.