I had a strong sense of identity within the social structure my religious upbringing provided. . As a natural rule follower, I came ready-made to conform to beliefs and behavioral expectations others set before me. . I was a โ€œgood girl.โ€ . I never touched a cigarette, smoked, cussed (well, maybe a little) or slept with anyone but my husband. I didnโ€™t wear makeup or pants or cut my hair (much), which were some of the trademarks of ourย persuasion. I didnโ€™t even listen to NKOTB in middle school. . I listened to Carman. . My church world gave me a place where everything was black and white. I knew what was expected, and I willingly followed suit because in that, I found security. . I’ll be the first to tell you that a system like that served me well. I knew where I belonged. And tbh, I was probably saved from some risky behaviors. . But life โ€” and faith โ€” arenโ€™t black and white. Faith is more about insecurity than belief. . And it turns out doubt is more friend than foe. It strips us of our certitude. It challenges us to think original thoughts and question what we believe instead of blindly following the culture of our caregivers. . Itโ€™s a purging and purifying holy fire. Itโ€™s painful, but good. . (Photo taken today on a walk near West End after dinner)

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Liz is my girl. My ride or die chick. She makes sure everyone else taken care of except herself, so one of her friends has organized a fundraising campaign to help her get a reliable vehicle. Liz connects so many of us to causes within our community and allows us to enter into stories that change us for the better. Now’s our chance to share the love. (Link to GoFundMe in profile) @elizzyliz_

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