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Exploring ‘Spiritually Religious’ and ‘Mommy, Do You Pray?’

03/08/2013

Earlier this week, I posted Spiritually Religious, a blog post wherein I talked about my difficulty in finding a place where I felt comfortable to worship.  This morning, this question was posted in the comments.

These comments particularly interest me because I’d always thought you were a devout Christian who felt dedicated to furthering your husband’s faith and who had made a promise to raise your children predominantly Muslim. I have only read you for the past year or two so maybe I missed something. I have been curious about how your Christian faith fit with Islam because it seemed to me that your dedication to Islam went above and beyond keeping your promise to your family. I would never ask this of someone in normal conversation, but since your blog focuses intensely on faith, is it OK to ask for some background? Why can’t you pray to Jesus? Has something changed for you, do you feel that you should not, or is that how it always was? Do you find Christian faith merging with Islamic faith or have you always felt that the two share more than they don’t?

I am not critical at all in asking–just curious, in part because I have a very hybrid faith myself; and I spent several years going to church but always ran up against a difficulty with worshiping Jesus.

Regardless of whether you want to answer my forward questions (and thank you for receiving them), your present state of being sounds good, deep, and wonderful, and I think many people in many faiths have a similar state of prayerfulness as their goal. (as asked by L.)

Back in December of 2010, I wrote a lot about my decision to sign on with having our children raised in a Muslim home.  Even before I knew how much Islam and Christianity really are similar.  I wrote about my vision for my children to have a solid center, a home base that not only consisted of a loving home foundation, but a strong religious foundation.  How I came from a home where the extent of our religious stronghold was to believe in God, believe that Jesus (the son of God) died for our sins, and to always try our best to be good people so we would go to heaven.

Sometime during my religious journey, before I met Khaled, when I had a difficult time, I would go to the church where I felt most comfortable, and I would sit in the pews and pray.  Much like you see people doing on TV.  I would sit and stare at the cross and eventually I would start talking.  Now I know this might seem childish to some, me sitting there picturing Jesus and talking to him.   But Jesus wasn’t the guy on the cross, he was my friend.  I would talk to him, just like he was sitting next to me.  Hours would pass, people would check in on me, and when I came out, I felt more at peace.  I was better able to make decisions.

When my Grandmother died, I had a big fight with my friend Jesus.  We didn’t talk for quite a while.  I would visit my Grandmother often and talk to her and rail at Jesus.  I was soo pissed at him.  Why didn’t he do something?  I stopped getting answers.  How could he take her away from us when we weren’t ready?  Silence.  Then I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need Jesus to intervene between me and God.  I didn’t need a middle man. I wanted answers and I would go OVER HIS HEAD.  So I did.

I started talking directly to God.

I started talking to the head honcho, and I never stopped.  My friend Jesus is still there, but he is not quite so important in my life anymore since I don’t need middle management any longer.  He is just one of the many, like Moses, David and Noah.

About 7 years ago I started going to meetings to learn more about Islam.  I was told that the meetings were for American women who married Muslim men and who wanted to know more about the religion.  I always went with the intent that I was there to learn, so that I would better understand my husband, his religion and the religion of my children.  I wanted to learn more so that I could be a better partner and a better parent.  I’m not interested in converting.  If it happens that God speaks to me and calls me to Islam, making all of the issues that I have with the stuff of Islam OK, I’m not opposed.  I’m just not convinced that there is any ONE right way to talk to God. I think they all work, it just depends on what you are comfortable with.  God meets you where you are.

Sometimes it would be nice to have a place to go where people pray like I do.  I know I’m not the only one.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Romana Siddiqui permalink
    03/09/2013 2:38 AM

    I read your blog, but not religiously (get it, religiously? – ok, sorry, just a lame joke, but I couldn’t help myself :) ).

    Over the past several months, when I read your blog, I can’t help but be reminded of “Life of Pi”. Just something of you echos my interpretation of the book/movie – which I found lovely. The fact that the character, Pi, just wants to love GOD, regardless of all his (or as my 5-year-old daughter insists, her) religious manifestations. I find that idea, of just wanting to love and communicate with GOD, to leave behind “dogmatic worship”, so profound, the thought of it moves me to tears. I loved that the character followed 3 faiths and refused to choose one (Hinduism, Christianity and Islam).

    GOD bless you in your journey, wherever it takes you and your loved ones.

  2. Rachael permalink
    03/09/2013 6:34 AM

    Your feelings are my exact feelings! I thought I was the only one! Thanks for this post!

  3. 03/13/2013 9:20 PM

    Wow, I didn’t expect a whole post in response! Thank you for the background. I love the phrase (all caps) “OVER HIS HEAD”, hee hee. But really your approach sounds so healthy–it’s right for you; you take the approach that allows you to feel and enjoy your spiritual connection with God.

    I think you, and Rachael, and me are not the only ones…. that there are many people out there who feel very much the same–there are some things about organized religion that work for them, and others that don’t, and so a lot of the syncretism we see in religion and spirituality today comes from people attempting to find the right path for them within the few major religions out there. So I am really grateful that you chose to answer my questions as it is always very encouraging to feel not-alone in this process.

    I also really like this woman’s approach (http://abbeyofthearts.com/) because she takes a very contemplative and prayerful approach that is almost animistic, which is my preference–not focusing on Jesus but viewing God as present in a million different ways in the world around us; coming back again and again to prayer and thought.

    Anyway. Thank you again–I so appreciate your thoughts!

  4. 04/03/2013 6:13 AM

    Maasallah. Esselamun aleykum.
    thanks for sharing. its good informations :)

  5. Kristin permalink
    07/11/2013 7:58 PM

    Oh my goodness! You are NOT one at all. Thank you for steering me to your blog. I am literally in tears reading this and the comments finally feeling like I am not alone.

    I grew up in a “Christian” family, but have made a variety of life choices that has made me uncomfortable with the faith of my family. this blog post has been like finally coming up for air. I have dedicated my life and energy to serving refugee people with a variety of cultures and religious traditions, and I am on the road to marrying an Egyptian Muslim man. These experiences have led me to a verrrrry similar place to the one you describe. Feeling very connected to God, the Father God, Allah, but feeling like a total misfit sometimes.

    It has been a really hard road for me to explain my morphing faith to my family, especially as their Christianity is becoming more important to them. Comments have been made about my lack of faith, which hurt me deeply because I feel more faithful than ever before.

    I guess I just said the same thing 10 different ways, but please know, I’m with you girls! And I’m so relieved to know that you all are out there navigating some of the same things.

    • 07/11/2013 10:14 PM

      Thank you for reaching out. It was a God thing that brought us together. I don’t usually comment over on Love, Insha’Allah, but this morning I felt called to comment.

      I am so SO glad that we met. You are not alone. There are even more women (and men) out there like us, we just have to find them so they can know they are not alone either.

      My family doesn’t understand my spiritual journey either, but they do read my blog from time to time. I think it gives them some peace to know I still pray.

      Kristina

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