When I was young, I grew up in the church as many Black children do. I went to church every Sunday for what felt like an eternity while I was sitting in the pew, waiting for the preacher’s face to go back from purple to the peachy tan he had when he greeted us before and after service. I’d go to Sunday school wearing white bobby socks and patent leather shoes with my hair tightly curled from those old fashioned sponge curlers that every grandma owned, no matter your race.

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As I got older, I questioned the teachings, as many Christians do, but I always felt comfort in knowing no matter how far I strayed, I could always lean on Him for comfort. My faith was unshakable, though most didn’t see it outwardly. I rarely attended church, but I did my best to treat people as Jesus would, as I continue to do today.

Even though my physical body rarely made it to the altar to receive Holy Communion, I continued to pray daily and feel like I was never truly alone. 

This past year has been abnormally tough for me. I lost my stepdad in a tragic motorcycle accident, and when he left, a big piece of my heart did as well. My faith wavered. It rocked and swayed, but this time it didn’t bounce right back.

This time, for the first time, I questioned God on what else He would put me through.

I grew incredibly angry for taking away our family’s bright spot in the crappy hand life had given us. 

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Once I let that anger seep in, I began to question everything that had taken place in my life and began to feel as if God was picking on me. A bully on the playground pulling my pigtails while I begged him to stop. My heart broke into a million pieces the night we got the news and continued to break whenever I’d pick up the phone to call.

God has been getting the brunt of my anger.  

For some time now, I’ve been silent. I’ve been silent like I’ve never been silent before, and it scares me, if I’m being honest. There have been times I want to call for Him as I used to when things seemed too much to bear, but I always stop short. The hymns I used to sing for comfort, now feel all wrong coming out of my mouth. Getting up to go to church hasn’t even been a thought this past year. 

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I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with the passing of a loved one. I recognize there are parents grieving a child, which is a pain I cannot fathom. The visceral and very physical pain that took place at the news of my stepdad’s untimely death is something I wish I could shield the world from receiving. Death is a part of life, and I understand that. It’s just a part that I wasn’t ready for. 

I wish I had a way to wrap this up with a bow and tell you how I came back from the edge of unbelieving, but that’s not the truth.

I’m still very angry. I still feel awkward attempting to pray. I still can’t bring myself to openly say I will pray for someone else, instead I send “good vibes.”

Will this feeling go away? I sure hope so.

I miss the warmth I felt when I leaned into Him. I miss how much brighter the world seemed, even on its bleakest of days. I miss how my soul felt freed when I sang hymns I grew up hearing. I miss feeling comforted by His presence. But most of all, I miss feeling like I am whole. 

Jacalyn Wetzel

Jacalyn is a mother of four, and the creator of the blog Stop Yelling Please. She writes about motherhood in a way that most can relate. Jacalyn’s passion is parenting and relating to parents who may be struggling with the day to day. She’s a speaker, author and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.