Thinking about where I began brought me home to a relationship with my creator, one who is called by many names. My parents conceived me, of course, but is there something within me that came from someone or somewhere else? Paul Young’s portrayal of Papa in his book, The Shack, inspired me to continue my odyssey toward finding God.
I was given a name and a blessing at church by my father in front of the congregation. I learned about God at church several days a week. I married in the church, and followed the same pattern taught to me by my parents. For forty-six years, I testified that my church was the only true church upon the earth. Ingrained with this belief so deeply, I accepted as a fact the concept that after death, I would not attain the place where God lives if I left that church.
I learned many good things there, and I enjoyed countless experiences in that building for more than half my life. My family was all part of the church, and most of my friends were members. Leaving the church was certain spiritual death for me, but I felt alarmingly conflicted when I attended. The disturbance ebbed into every crevice of my life, and I struggled with several serious matters.
I was forty-seven when I permitted myself to trust my sense of discernment. The precepts from church leadership were absolutely duplicitous! I suffered devastation when I recognized the fabrications. I had believed the doctrine to be true. Yet, this doctrine was used by deceitful people to beat me down.
Today, I live peacefully believing that when I die, my life is complete. The freedom from dogmatic rules lifts me to enjoyment of life. No longer do I allow anyone from anywhere to manipulate me with lies.
Accepting pain and heartache from someone asserting control over you is not okay. You have the right choose for yourself. Wanda LaPlount April 2021
For nine years I wandered in my private desert like the Israelites. I sought answers. As I wandered, the sand embedded in my teeth and left me thirsting. Why were they unusually heartless? Why did they disregard my children? Answers never came. With time, I learned that I was asking the wrong questions. The answers I sought would have left me in more pain. Fortunately, I connected with praiseworthy people who led me toward joyfulness. I discovered questions with answers that brought more light.
Reading everything I could find concerning living an enjoyable life helped me purpose my thinking. Meeting new people led to discussions about infinite love, and I listened to their ideas, beliefs, customs, and religions. The highlight of my path taught me to love and accept myself.
In the book, The Shack, Papa allows Mac to slowly open his eyes to the peace and love we feel when we can forgive another. At the same time, Papa wants us to know we are loved and that we are forgiven. The line from the Lord’s prayer is so simple.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.Matthew 6:12-14 Authorized King James Version
I am the one who obstructs my way when I cannot forgive myself. Forgiveness may be expected by some without so much as a hasty, mumbled: “I’m sorry.” We feel indignation in those circumstances because we do not think they deserve our amnesty. However, we must understand that forgiveness is NOT about letting someone off of the hook. That foul man who killed Mac’s daughter did not get a free pass. He cannot feel peace and love. When you turn your heart toward love, compassion, and sincerity; you enter an emotional state of calmness. More fulfillment will come to each of us as we seek to share our peace with those around us.
When we forgive someone for the pain they inflicted upon us, we begin to feel worthy to be forgiven of our own mistakes. We begin to build the relationship talked about in Paul Young’s book! As it happens, we acknowledge our mistakes, and we forgive ourselves. There lies the truth about God being in us. In my opinion, a system of belief, or a million-dollar building is not where I can feel God. It does not offer me the serenity I now have.
I find God everywhere I go because I am loved. In my worst behavior, God is there because a good Papa never abandons a lost child. The child, however, has to lift up her hands for God to carry her.