I oscillate between sharing my life and withdrawing into an underground storm shelter. Remember that movie with Brendan Fraser, Blast from the Past? Yes, that sounds nice sometimes. To just spirit away with my family and Jesus, playing board games and eating nonperishable goodies. But alas, that’s not what God calls us to. I wish the calling wasn’t always so painful.
I’ve gone back and forth between sharing my life, my insights, or Heaven forbid, my opinion, or simply remaining silent in my own comfortable mind. I have had so many people over the years email, comment on the blog, or message me on social media sharing how much my words have comforted them, helped them feel less alone, or heard the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to them through my musings. That kind of feedback encourages me to keep going. But then…
Y’all, I have been really hurt. I say I don’t care what people think of me, but let’s be honest, it stings when friends and family judge you. I’m not talking about Facebook acquaintances. I mean friends. I have had women I have known for over twenty years, women in the church who I considered mentors, completely write me off. Women who kept up daily contact and encouragement with me, suddenly ghost me. And when I see those same women encouraging and communing with mutual friends, yeah, it hurts. It hurts to be brushed aside. It hurts that we have become a people, a society, a church, I dare say, that values platforms or something as inconsequential as the opinion on vaccinations over loving relationships. Didn’t vote Republican the last election?! Sorry, your cool kid, insider pass to the Women’s Bible Study clique has been revoked. Why does that still hurt me?
I have had family laugh at me, ignore me, lessen my feelings. I feel the judgment in an almost palatable way. Am I seeing things that are not there, like whispers at the lunch table, assuming the worst is being said behind my back? Perhaps. Perhaps I am, but it doesn’t change the feeling of brokenness inside.
I have spent the last two years discovering a side of humanity I wish I had never seen. On the other side, pre-Covid, pre-Trump, sat a naive woman, who felt certain that people who loved Jesus, loved people. Sure, there were hypocrites, but overall the Christian community was one built on love. I was sure of it. Now, on this side of a pandemic, after the loss of a presidential election on the Right, I see an abrasive, hardened heart of a community I’ve been a part of for over half my life. I cannot comprehend the actions of the majority. I cannot find the connection between the actions of Jesus and the actions I see on social media. The Sermon on the Mount and the rant on Facebook or Instagram are not parallel. The church I have always known and loved has let me down, and I’m still coming to terms with that.
Here’s what I don’t want. I don’t want my picture of my Savior, or my relationship with Jesus to suffer. The loving King who died for me, who died for the immigrant at the border, who died for the atheist at my workplace, who died for the two married men that live next door. This loving Jesus has never left my side. When I’ve felt the hurt and betrayal from friends and family, He has never let me go. So, I think He and I are good. I just keep clinging to His character, so often imagining myself sitting at His feet like Mary, listening to His truth.
The church, however, has fallen from me. I have not returned to corporate worship or any religious gathering in a group. I want to, but I’m afraid. The hurt I have experienced has broke me, and I’m not sure I could take anymore. I want my babies to be around the church. I want to return. I have just been unable to cross that divide. I listen to a church sermon every Sunday, I read the Bible for hours a day, and I spent countless hours in prayer and conversation with my Father, but I’m still licking my wounds. I’m just being honest. You guys know I’m a sensitive soul. My hurt still rears its ugly head almost daily, and I spend just as long laying it back down at the feet of Jesus.
Please pray for me, my friends. Pray that I will find healing, that I will be able to see that Jesus is the balm that covers my hurt. This I do know. I will never be the same. I will never again be the woman I was in 2019. And while that hurts, I am grateful that my eyes were opened to the insincerity of my fellow man.
It’s hard for me to even write this, as I know there are people who will judge me for it, assuming I’m “woke,” progressive, or even worse (LOL), liberal. They’ll pray for me that God open my eyes to the evil of this world, never seeing the evil in their own hearts and actions.
I do find solace (of this world) in the fact that I am not alone in my feelings. There are other Christian, lovers of Jesus, who want to love like Him, not just like the church club says. It helps to hear their hearts that mirror my own. Beth Moore, Skye Jethani, Greg Boyd, Phil Vischer, David French, Russell Moore. Organizations like Women of Welcome, Faith and Prejudice, The Lincoln Project. Personal friends (that I will leave unnamed) who I reach out to with my frustrations and hurt. Thank you. And most importantly, the amazing spouse the Lord has given me. I was raised initially in an atheist household. He was raised quite the opposite, not allowed to watch the (demonic) Smurfs or He-Man growing up. Together we have found this loving Jesus who healed our brokenness, forgave our sinfulness, carried us through addiction, and leads us even now. Because of Him, we are forever changed. Because of Him, we are encouraged to love like He does. Sadly, I’ve discovered that radical love like Jesus doesn’t always sit well with the religious. It didn’t in His day, and it doesn’t in ours either.
I’m not sure what this post is supposed to be about. It seems like I simply vomited my feelings into words, but trust me, you have no idea how much of my gorge I’m holding back and swallowing down. Perhaps for another day. Or, perhaps I will take my baby chicks under my wings and disappear from the grid of public opinion. I suppose only time will tell.