If you had told me when I was a younger version of myself, that one day I would call a meeting with a pastor and Elder to speak about the way the church had hurt me and not done it’s job, I would have laughed in your face. No way would I ever be that person! I have always aimed to please people. I have tried living in the background, never making much noise. But that version of me, seems to be disappearing. And I can’t say that I miss her.
This new me, listens when the Lord puts something on her heart. I obey, even when I would much rather turn and run. And in obedience I have found His reward. I have found courage I didn’t know I possessed. I have found purpose (I have also found that insomnia and knots in my stomach tend to go hand in hand with these things, hehe)
With sweaty palms and a heart that was racing, I sat in front of two men I highly respect and am somewhat intimidated by, and poured out my heart. I explained my hurt and disappointment at the lack of support the church has extended towards me, I explained how there is a serious lack of education in churches across America in domestic violence and abuse, and how this deficit is costing the lives of so many women. Women need church to be a safe place to go, to be heard and believed, to be helped and supported. They do not need a pat on the back and looks of pity without any action. Prayers are wonderful and needed, but so are meals, gas money, a safe place to live, childcare, help fixing things around the house, groceries, moving help, furniture, counseling, and most of all, companionship.
In the process of this conversation, I felt a weight lifting off my chest. Slowly, with each nod of agreement and each tear filled eye, I felt my heart stirred to compassion for these men who had no idea they were causing such pain.
The result of that act of obedience was more than I could have hoped. Repentance for their lack of action and care, questions on what they can do differently, and genuine gratitude for coming forward with this message. I was stunned. Not only that but they also cleared up some things I had been believing for many years concerning my prison guards time on the Elder board (yes friends, my chameleon was an elder for 4 years, revealing just how good he was at deceiving the people around him). Lies, so many lies that shaped my life. The truth of events and conversations finally coming to light, felt overwhelming. But I could also feel parts of my heart being mended.
I went to that meeting not to rant and complain or accuse, but to educate. And God used it in a mighty way. I made noise that night. Noise for women coming after me, women looking to our church for support and love and help.
I was promised that what I experienced with this church, will not happen again to any other woman who comes to them. I will help them put some things in place to make sure this happens, but can I just hear an AMEN for the work God is doing??
I am nothing special, I am full of doubts, fears, anxieties and a serious stubborn streak. Yet God is faithful.
And every time I take a step of faith, I find enough courage to take another, because He continually provides.