One of the most challenging things to overcome has been church hurt. My safe place became a place where I left with more broken pieces than I had arrived with. A hardship like that never crossed my mind. [Despite my best effort not to cry, tears have started to fall as I type this.]
I initially resisted letting anyone in, but after a while, I felt comfortable. I felt safe. There, I became part of a family. Then I became pregnant, and postpartum was a quicksand experience that overtook me quickly. I was scared!
Over time, things began to happen little by little. Then, while recovering from the first pregnancy’s postpartum, I fell pregnant again. Small fires were everywhere by this point, and I wore the shame and blame because of my emotional and mental changes after pregnancy; I felt naked and afraid. Finally, after many attempts at breaking me, the enemy used them to take my children from me. They accused me of something I did not do. Nobody there believed me, and it didn’t help that I didn’t look the part to them anymore. I was broken, and it was then that I realized it was my strength that provoked the attacks.
Eventually, it got messy. When I discovered the truth about what was being conveyed in my absence, I put everyone in a group chat and sent screenshots. I cleared my name. I refused silence because silence permitted them to disrespect my truth; I was tired. I was painted as a horrible person by everyone who knew the story from their perspectives. They made me seem like a monster and, at the same time, weak. The few people I shared my heart with about this would ask, “why didn’t you leave?” [Truth is] I prayed and asked God to release me from there. He said, “No. Someone will know that I am real because of this.” I was so mad at God’s answer; but I journaled it and remained. [Eventually two people did say that to me, and I showed them my journal entry from 2017. ]
So, I showed up every Sunday. Disgruntled and disconnected, I went but God checked me!
He had someone tell me, “If you are going to wait on God, don’t wait wrong. Fix your attitude. Show up with a smile and get back on the choir.” [I thought to myself, who?? Me??] The Holy Spirit said, “Yes. You.”
After that, I changed my disposition. I showed up dressed and wore my favorite feature; a smile. And, of course, some of them still chose distance, and honestly, the sentiment was mutual.
Some time passed, and I decided to ask God to depart again. He was silent that time. [I won’t lie. I was annoyed a little bit.]
But, listen, God started moving on my behalf. Something supernatural began to happen in my life. The Lord blessed me with a check for the exact amount I needed to move my children and I. I testified every chance I could because only God could have done everything that began to happen for us. The children and I were in a one-bedroom, 500 sq ft apartment, and he upgraded us to a three-bedroom house! [BTW, I loved that house! It was in the hood, but we had the best memories there.]
Church services went virtual due to COVID and my attendance dropped drastically. I made better progress, and I started leading prayer some nights. Then, God blessed me, and I purchased a house on the “bougie” side of town [lol] and a Mercedes a couple of weeks later. [I was like, OKAYYYY, Big God, show out!!!] I testified every chance I got! Not to prove points but because I needed people to trust God again. [I had lost E V E R Y T H I N G, and God gave me back more than I could have ever imagined!]
Later, in-person services opened back up; I felt disconnected. Not in a bad way, but rather, I felt my time was up.I prayed, and God released me. So while I felt great to hit send on my member resignation letter, new anxieties arose. I sat one day and reflected on my time there at the ministry. [I sobbed. I began to grieve. I grieved every relationship that was birthed and died there. That grief was so hard.]
But… In honesty I can say that I kept every secret, was a loyal ally in public and private, and did not and still don’t bash the ministry. I truly believe that pleased the Father more than anything.
I relocated to a new city and began visiting a church I was already familiar with. However, the more I felt ready to join, anxiety increased to crippling levels. Those first few Sundays, I would sob during worship because I wanted to let go of the hurt. I needed to separate church from hurt so that I could worship freely. [Those were some heavy chains to carry. I wasn’t angry though, the anxiety was fueled by fear..]
One day, one of my leaders and I were texting, and she said, “We love you,” and I sobbed. I didn’t respond to her message; I just cried. I needed to repair my relationship with myself and the church, not the people but the church. In prayer, I sought the Lord’s help. [Still seeking him, daily.]
As a result of his help, I am slowly regaining trust. “We love you” text messages are no longer followed by uneasiness but rather an intentional response of, “We love ya’ll too”
For so long, I have felt bullied into silence; maybe the silence protected the value of my testimony. In saving me, God proved that he is a good, good father; especially to those who have lost sight of the delineation of God’s unmerited grace during hardship.
My testimony is that God is Good!
- I learned many valuable lessons, and I am genuinely grateful for them.
- There will never be a time when I will discredit the wisdom of the leader who oversees that ministry.
- I fully understand that humans behave in human ways.
Let’s pray 🙏🏾
Thank you for being a good Father and being close to those who are brokenhearted [Psalms 34:18]. Thank you for protecting us during our valley experiences and covering us as you repaired our hearts and restored our minds. If we accepted defeat and projected our disbelief above your power, please forgive us! My earnest prayer is that we discover new ways to trust you whenever faced with hardship. Please bring our awareness to anything that puts distance between You and us. We reject access to the enemy and everything that resembles his work in our submission to your will [ James 4:7]. We offer you all our praise, loyalty, honor, and glory! Thank you for being a strength that reaches toward us when we aren’t sure of the path! We can depend on you to deliver and keep us safe [Isaiah 54:17]! As we lay “hurt” on the altar, we ask that you deliver us entirely and make us whole. May we work in ministry without hindrances or inconvenient thoughts that impede our ability to operate in purpose. Refiner, refine us, and restore our sight to the original blueprint for our lives. We love you. We honor you! We thank you that it is already done for us!
Disclaimer: Throughout this blog, I am demonstrating my truth. This is not meant to bash anyone.