I shared in my last post that one of the greatest challenges of this school year was dealing with some past wounds. I thought I would share one of the painful wounds in my life where God has brought a tremendous amount of healing in the last year. I’ve been hesitant to write about this because I don’t want people to get the wrong idea so let me make this disclaimer:
There are absolutely no ill feelings toward any specific churches or individuals. I grew up in a wonderful church and have been a part of some great congregations. I am well aware that I have hurt and wounded people, just as people and circumstances have hurt and wounded me.
Okay, now that I’ve made that clear, let’s get on with the story.
As I look back at my life of growing up in the Church, most of the picture is beautiful full of amazing role models and giants of the faith that have had a tremendous influence in my life. But scattered throughout that picture are several dark scars that at some point overshadowed the beauty of the rest of the painting. Those scars are the voice of those who told me I didn’t look the part. Voices of those who told me I asked too many questions. Disapproving looks as I speak truth boldly when my “role” was to be silent. They are scars from losing jobs or not being hired because I don’t have the right body parts.
Soon after I graduated from college, I reached my breaking point. I was done with the Church. I kept attending a local congregation because the Text says so much about community and being together, but I wasn’t invested. I just showed up. It didn’t take long before some good friends surrounded me and started to get me plugged into our local church. But even after getting involved and serving for several years, I didn’t trust the Church. I was skeptical.
When I started working for Impact any healing that had come was about to be tested. All of those voices I mentioned earlier were back and they were louder than ever. I quit counting how many times I was told I was a sinner or going to Hell because I was woman devoting my life to doing ministry or because I wasn’t getting married and having babies. The hardest part was that some of those voices were of close, trusted friends.
I’ll be completely honest. The last several years have been incredibly difficult. I accepted a new position that would require me to work even more directly with a church than I already was. I confess I was not happy about this, but I was confident of what God was asking me to do. Here is the great thing about following God’s lead: no matter how hard it is, it is always worth it.
I came to California super guarded. I was greeted with open arms, tons of acceptance and a Church that was eager to follow God’s leading. I came having lost sight of that Church. My perspective had been skewed. As I’ve dropped my defenses, allowed the people of the Church to be the Body and sat at the feet of some great teachers, I’ve rediscovered what God’s Church is. I’ve regained trust in Church. I have a deeper love for the Church than I have in years.
The voices are still present, but I’m choosing not to focus my eyes on the scars but rather on the beautiful picture that is the Body of Christ.