I’ve Barely Scratched the Surface with God
By Beth Lichty
Our house was void of any resemblance of church. No Bibles. No crosses. No Jesus. No God. The verbal, emotional, and physical abuse from my father after attending church was too much for my mom to endure. Life was more tranquil for us not to attend. In junior high, I wanted to join a youth Bible study. I attended twice because I wouldn’t allow my mom to suffer my father’s wrath for something I did.
The handful of times when I did attend church as a child, I walked across the street, holding my mom’s hand. Peace. Quiet. Love. Belonging. Wholeness. Tenderness. Those words depicted church for me as a child. But I wasn’t there often enough to truly experience those words.
For many years I asked the question, “Where is God?” I didn’t know much about God, but I thought God was a person who helped those in need. My father was a severe alcoholic for years. Where was God when he yelled at my mom? Where was God when he hit my mom? Where was God when the fighting would last until the early morning hours night after night? Where was God those nights we had to sleep in a motel? Where was God when my dad repeatedly broke the promise of not drinking again? Where was God when I was repeating the cycle with my high school boyfriend? I thought God was supposed to protect me, not be silent.
Finally, I graduated high school and prepared to leave home. The last affair to settle was breaking apart from my boyfriend. I successfully secured a spot on a college campus where I could create my next life story the way I wanted.
I chose to attend McPherson College. I was the nursery attendant in a Disciples of Christ Church each Sunday. I was volunteering with every group that served underprivileged kids. I found ways ever so slowly to figure out this church thing. From this point I switched my question to, “Is this God?”
Life was fantastic because I was living by my rules and expectations. I surrounded myself with caring people who wanted to be my friend. We laughed, danced, smiled, supported each other and grew as friends. There were no rules I had to learn to keep them happy like I did at home. One of these friends became my husband. And I asked, “Is this God?”
My husband grew up in the Church of the Brethren. His family attended church regularly during his childhood. I recall while visiting his house during college that his home was filled with peace, love, quiet, belonging, wholeness, and tenderness. I didn’t know a home could be this serene and supportive. I felt more at home in his house than my parents’. And I asked “Is this God?”
As a married couple we have attended church regularly. We’ve made it a priority to find a church in all three cities in which we’ve lived. I’ve helped with youth groups, taught Sunday school, and volunteered on the board of education. Immersing myself in situations where I had to think and talk with God fully on my mind opened my heart even more. I was baptized in the church. And I asked, “Is this God?”
When I joined the church on Mother’s Day of 2010, I was expecting greatness. Giving my life to God on Mother’s Day had to be the perfect demonstration that I was committed. I had put so much pressure on myself from the time I said “I Do,” to birthing two healthy boys, to baptism, that my life crumbled. I was living my life the way I thought I needed too – perfect. If I was perfect in all aspects, then all would be well. I thought I had found God, but where was God?
I suffered from depression. It was at this point that I knew God was entirely with me. I was safe with the husband I chose. I was safe in the home I built. I was wholly safe. God led me to a place of protection where I didn’t have to be perfect and would still have unconditional love.
I’ve barely scratched the surface with God. I was granted the gift of learning about Jesus alongside my children. What better way to learn about God as an adult if not through the eyes of your children!