I grew up living next to a little village church. I would attend church every few weeks, getting dressed in a pretty dress and even going to the extent of wearing one of my lovely necklaces. It was a big deal going to church, like we were going somewhere very special, and we had to look our best.
As a little girl, I remember not being very interested in what the Minister and other people were saying. I was decorating… that’s right… I was decorating the church in my imagination, putting in a mezzanine floor, designing the bathroom in the small room to the side, the bedroom at the front, and the loungeroom at the back. It was tiny, and I thought how lovely it would be to buy this Church and turn it into a home!
It wasn’t that I needed to go to church or buy and live in that church to feel close to God. I didn’t need a building to go to at all, to feel my connection to God. I felt God with me all of the time.
Our family was responsible for putting the flowers on the altar and we went the day before to find the special key in the hiding spot to unlock the door. I wanted to feel something special in that building because I had been told it was a very sacred place, but I didn’t feel that at all. I felt uncomfortable in that empty building, but I never understood why.
God was my friend. We talked all the time, particularly before sleep as I lay in my bed. I told God all of my stories, about my day, about what made me smile and what made me sad. He knew all about my crush on a boy, and I asked Him whether He thought that boy might like me too. There was nothing fancy or flashy about our relationship, it was just there.
I remember though many moments at Church where I felt very uncomfortable. Something just didn’t feel right. I remember one particular day when I came outside to where everyone had gathered to talk. This time I was listening to the conversation and I heard some people say horrible things about another. I felt absolute disbelief that people would leave the church and instantly revert to their unloving ways, leaving the message about Love behind… and so quickly at that. My first real shutdown around mainstream religion and the church had begun.
Let’s fast forward now to my teenage years. I was seeing and feeling things in the world that upset me, and the church was saying that we were all just sinners and that God would punish us for our wrongdoing. Life felt very cruel and abuse was rife.
Bit by bit my relationship with God started to change. I felt anger simmering away at God because the church had declared that He had the power to change it all, and yet He did not. What the church didn’t say was that as human beings we each have free will, and that unless we connect to ourselves and to God, then God could not work through us to serve humanity.
I didn’t talk to God as much then, and remember a time after school where I desperately searched through the Bible to find something that would help me understand all that I was feeling. God was no longer in my connection like when I was little, and I was searching for a way to try to get it back.
Despite all of this, I was still attending Youth Group, something which I did not want to attend. I went because it was expected of me. I didn’t tantrum about going, I just went along begrudgingly and made the best of it when I was there. Youth Group, just like Sunday School, did not hold any true substance for me. It felt empty, and did not make me come alive inside.
On one occasion a Minister came along to the Youth Group meeting. This is the first time we had ever had a guest attend. He said to the group that abortion was wrong and that it was killing a person and God would punish us. I was horrified. Outraged. I said to him, “if a woman has been raped, then you couldn’t expect her to carry the child if that was traumatic for her to do” and he responded very blatantly, “it is still murder.”
That was the end of religion for me. I wanted nothing to do with it from that point forward. Before me was a man that held himself out to be a representative of God, and I didn’t like what he had to say. With great conviction I advised my parents that enough was enough and I never went again.
Whilst I walked away from Religion, I could not deny that I felt there was something more. I had felt that ‘more’ as a child and I longed to feel that fullness, that connection, once again.
I searched high and low and when life around me didn’t improve, I eventually gave up altogether. I did not want God or Religion in my life at all.
As I look back, it is now clear that this choice was a detrimental one to make, as anger, sadness and bitterness replaced the lovely way that was innately me. I was more focussed on slamming my body, living tough and choosing ways to be hard and rough. I wasn’t wanting to wear a beautiful dress or to pick a necklace to wear in celebration of me and of God, I wanted people just to leave me be.
In my 20’s some of those behaviours subsided and instead I dabbled in New Age practices with tarot reading and other spiritual classes but still, if anyone mentioned the word God or Jesus, I would feel a wall come up around me. I could not go there. I could only use the word Universe and was open to talk about greater things than our physical life by using this word.
After a number of years of attending the presentations of Serge Benhayon, he began to talk about God and Religion. I became alert and sat on the edge of my seat, ready to run away, thinking “Oh here it is again, no way.” I didn’t run away but instead stayed and listened to as much as I could. It was difficult for me to go there given how long I had been closed down about Religion, but Serge had never let me down before, never said anything that didn’t resonate as true, so I tried to listen.
Sometimes, I had to just shut my ears and check out when he talked about God and Religion because I just wasn’t ready – wasn’t ready to face the fact that deep down I knew I had walked away from what I had already connected with as a child, and rejected this connection in reaction to what I felt to be so wrong in the world.
In the Esoteric Teachings and Revelations (p. 252), true Religion was explained to be “…when you have a relationship with your Soul.” From this explanation I felt more open and even intrigued to explore Religion further and to listen to the many presentations on the topic. I listened attentively to what Serge Benhayon had to say, although still with some hesitation, alert for anything that did not feel true or that did not feel truly loving. It took a little while to build trust around these talks, but bit by bit I could feel the healing in my body and eventually I was back on track just like when I was a little girl all dressed up in my Sunday best. No need to distract myself from what I felt or heard by mentally decorating the hall, because there was energetic integrity in the presentations.
Now as an adult with a forever deepening connection to God, it is clearer more than ever before that I do not need a church or building to feel close to God and that it isn’t just on Sunday that I turn my attention to Religion at all. My relationship to God is ever present and is felt as a wonderful connection in my body each day. I don’t need a book to read or a place to go. I don’t need to walk a million miles on a pilgrimage or anything at all. I just need to stay in connection to my body, to my Soul and it is all just there.
There is not a single day where I do not thank God for Serge Benhayon. He has offered me and many others the chance to really live again.
By Maree Savins, Australia