Meet Joy Hopper. She is a 59-year-old mother of six.
An elementary teacher.
And -- a former fundamentalist, pentecostal Christian who resides in the Pacific Northwest.
Joy spent over 5 decades loving Jesus with her whole heart, mind, and strength.
She taught her children to do the same. Her oldest, at about age 19 or 20, came home from a year abroad declaring she was no longer a Christian. This devastating news forced Joy on a search for answers that could help win her eldest back to Jesus.
However, as many of us who've found ourselves in this very situation understand -- the evidence Joy discovered, after many months of reading, studying, and watching debates completely dismantled those pillars she had erected to uphold her faith. And before she knew it, her entire belief system had collapsed with a deafening thud.
The next several years were tremendously difficult and yet exhilarating as she left the church (her entire support system!!), ended her 30-year marriage, and started anew.
During those troubled years, Joy wrote a memoir called Joy Unspeakable, Toxic Faith and Rose-colored Glasses, as a way to process and make sense of it all. "I chronicle the ways in which my rose-colored glasses (a metaphor for my faith) distorted reality and robbed me of agency from the time I was a small child until my 50s when the glasses finally fell off." You can find her memoir on Amazon -- here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Unspeakable-Toxic-Rose-Colored-Glasses-ebook/dp/B08NFNT2GC
The picture Joy chose for this episode is of her falling out of a raft while attempting to maneuver a huge rapid. This reminds Joy of what her deconstruction felt like -- absolutely terrifying to be thrown off the boat, finding herself in the thick of the rushing current, but before too long -- she was okay. And free. And everything turned out just fine. :-)