"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." 2 Timothy 4: 3-4
What are you searching for? Are you searching for approval? For agreement for the choices you are making? Are you searching for truth?
I have been searching. I have shared briefly over the past few years that I have really been struggling. I have wrote a lot of journal pages and wasted a lot of time scrolling on social media trying to figure out how to heal from the hurt.
My husband and I have dedicated our Saturday mornings to coffee and "discussion". My husband and I met on a missions program where we toured across Canada speaking in high schools. When you are travelling all the time stuffed inside mini vans you learn a lot about each other really quickly. After the tour we both went home to our different Provinces, thousands of kilometers apart. Our long distance phone bills were outrageous and many emails were exchanged. Our only form of building our relationship was with communication. At the time I resented it, but now I really appreciate that time because it built our relationship firmly on our ability to communicate well with each other and to express our thoughts and emotions through our words - there was no Facetime - it was a receiver, attached to a cord, that attached to the phone on the wall. Yes I am that old. I still remember the party line we shared with two of our neighbours. Don't judge.
Anyway, back to our Saturday morning coffee - we have always been able to communicate well but we weren't always making the time for it. Now we do. I have been doing a lot of journaling and reading and self exploration over the past year. I was tired of struggling and it was time to move forward. I wasn't sure how but I took the first step on the journey. Last Saturday I was sharing with Dustin about what I have learned about myself over the past few months, about the people who have come into my life at the perfect time and how I am feeling lighter. I told him that I feel like sharing about what I am learning with others but I don't feel like I have the answers yet. Dustin then told me to start sharing. He said normal people don't share publicly about their struggles as much as I do (I think that was a compliment 😁), that many struggle through things alone. He gave me example after example of times I have stepped forward to share, and how it has helped others. We talked about a time in high school english class that my class was asked to write a page about ourselves. I was so honest in that page that I ended up in weeks of appointments in the student counselling centre. 😂 Dustin then told me that I was most likely the only one to write how I honestly felt, most would have written either what they felt like should write or what the teacher was expecting of them. I chose to be honest in my writing and that has never changed because it is who I am. My book became another example of that.
In my journaling workshops I ask people to write in their journal about who they are in the dark. Who are you when you are sitting in your room in the dark, with the door closed and your phone is in another room. No one is around, no one can see you - who are you?
The last few years have been a struggle for me. I do not have the answers but I know that my healing comes from me sharing and teaching. The hurt that I experienced went deep. It hurt to the core of my being. When you are hurt by something that is tied so close to who you are, it shakes everything.
I experienced a hurt that I still haven't been able to define. I was trying to figure out how to deal with it and I didn't even know the words to search on google.
It has been largely described as "being hurt by the church", or when "Christians attack their own".
Mine came in the form that it was a message from God that I needed to hear and it was one that left me feeling rejected, abused and hurt on such a deep level.
Trust me I have experienced church hurt in the past, we have pastored in two different churches that did not end well, I have had many experiences over the years that would be described as mental abuse and shaming. I know how hurtful Christians can be to one another - Christians are sinful just like everyone else. They have selfish agendas, they struggle with jealousy, they gossip, they are searching for validation. I know this can be the person sitting in the pew, the usher at the door, the person on the music team or the person behind the pulpit. I taught a youth Sunday School class where I told them not to believe anything the pastor says in the sermon that day, but to make notes and go home and search the scriptures for the truth.
I have struggled within myself because I know these things and yet I was so very hurt and didn't know how to heal. Over the last few years I have seen a deconstruction in my faith. I still attended church, but I didn't want to be there. My Bible that was once opened regularly, with worn pages and tons of highlights and notes written in the margins now sat on a shelf gathering dust. Worship music was no longer heard in our home. I just couldn't. It felt dirty. It felt like manipulation. My life of praying without ceasing didn't exist. It became words of rejecting God and anger for all the years I had devoted to serving Him and all I received was His rejection in return. I was in a very dark place.
Yet through that time, as much as I was pushing God away, there was still a desire in me that needed to figure it all out. I didn't understand why this person said these horrible things to me. I noticed that as my faith diminished, it did in my family as well. It was as I looked at my daughters that I knew I had to start figuring this out.
When COVID became a thing and the churches were closed, I was thankful. I struggled going to church, some Sundays I would go to church and stand in a location where a lot of people would pass by and they just passed by. I had no connections there, the people I did reach out to at the time of my hurt just dismissed it. I didn't understand how deep it would affect me, so I can't blame them for not knowing either. People have always said that I am such as strong individual, but everyone struggles, some just hide it better.
As months, then years of my struggle have gone by I have asked myself a lot of questions. Today my anger towards God is less, I don't hear His small still voice like I once did, but I feel His presence. I now search for truth. That is in the scriptures. That is always where I have found my hope, joy and peace. I am going back to the scriptures to search for healing on this journey. I am thankful for the deconstruction of my faith. It has helped me to develop roots that will become my strong foundation. I still have a lot of healing to do. But after a couple of years, I am beginning to feel more like myself. I am not scared about who I am in the dark. I am ready to give it light. I am ready to share more than I need to because that is just who I am.
I am ready to take the first step on this new journey and I am ready to start sharing about what many would like to keep in the dark.
A couple of weeks ago I looked around at the people seated in the congregation at my church and you know what I saw?
My heart literally ached for the pain coming from the women sitting in their Sunday best, with their children properly groomed sitting nicely at their sides. I saw the ugly hurt that is hiding beneath the shiny outer surface.
Why am I leading an online workshop? Because I am offering a safe place for women who have been hurt by the church or by the people in the church - a safe place to grow fruit. I'm not saying that everyone who joins the workshop has been hurt but personally, I know too many women who need this safe place.
Do you remember going to camp as a kid? I loved camp, when my parents dropped me off I didn't even notice when they left but when they came to pick me up I cried and cried because I didn't want to leave. Why? Because camp was my safe place, the place where I could go and be myself. To be the person that I really wanted to be everyday but never felt safe enough to let the real me shine.
The Fruit of the Spirit Workshop is the safe place for all women to shine. A safe place to grow and nurture your Fruit. By the end of this year we are all going to be different women as we allow the spirit the time and space to strengthen the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
Do you know a women who needs this workshop? Do you need this workshop?
I love listening to podcasts, one of my favorites is from The Village Church. Matt Chandler has been on quite a journey over the last year and because of this I respect his teaching. Below you can read part of the podcast that I heard this morning from The Great Cause Part Two ~ The Reason (April 9, 2009)
The reason I wanted to include this portion is because in my years of working with teens and young adults I have had many discussions with parents about the subject Matt Chandler speaks about below. He has answered it better than I can, so please take the time to read it or if you want to hear it in entirety you can check out their website at: http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/sermons
This series has been kicking me in the butt, I am so thankful that I have taken the time to listen and search the scriptures.
When we’re alienated from our primary relationship, the one that we were created for, we’ll take our secondary relationships and try to roll them up to primary, and that makes things go really bad. Like women make horrible gods. Men make horrible gods. Children make even worse gods. And when you make your children your god, you get what I like to lovingly call the suburbs.
I’m going to say this, and it’s really hard. I’ve debated whether or not to say this, but I’m just going to say it. One of the things that we’ve picked up on in the last year is we’ve had several parents come to us and go, “Oh, I just don’t know what happened to my kid. We raised him right, and now he’s off in college, he doesn’t want anything to do with God, he’s not going to church, he’s hitting the party scene.”
And then here’s the thing that’s just baffling to me. You trained him that way. You showed him by your life and by your decisions that church and the pursuit of holy things are secondary to his ability to play whatever sport you drove him all over God’s green earth to play, whatever talent you tried to cultivate in him.
I’ll give you another example. When you elevate your family and make your family primary, then you are forced to judge your family by other families. So you have to be further along or at least equal to them. If your family is ultimate, then you’ve got to protect that. That way, you’re in a competition with Billy down the street. God knows he can hit a curve ball and your kid can’t walk and chew gum. So you’ve got to sign him up for a thousand different camps and drive him all over. And all of a sudden, raising kids becomes some sort of competitive sport, not for their good but for your good.
Now listen, I don’t have a problem with soccer. Soccer’s a great game. I’m just saying you’re a fool if you think the words out of your mouth are more powerful than the precedent you’re setting with your life. My three year old already spots my hypocrisy. So do you really believe that because you tell them with your mouth how important God and the community of faith is but with your life you can live contrary to that, they’re going to do what you say and not what you do? They’re going to pick up your idolatry. This is what happens. This is what sin does. And then it rolls out. Like if my nation is ultimate. If the USA is ultimate, does that not force me to look down upon other nations, nationalities and cultures? It absolutely does. If we’re the best, if we’re ultimate, then that means that everyone else is secondary. And that’s not too far away from racism. If you put anything else as ultimate, things start to break down. War happens because of sin, genocide happens because of sin, the problem in the Middle East is sin, the problem in the West, what happened to the economy was sin, what happened in a failed marriage is sin. Why everything is breaking down is sin. Greed blew up the economy. It was unabashed, unashamed, wicked greed. And some of you keep waiting for the day of enlightenment. It’s not coming.
Do you know how many Africans die diarrhea? Hundreds of thousands. I can go to the 7-11 and pay $1.50 for the medicine that would save them. So why can’t we get it to them? Because there’s no money involved. Because if we can’t figure out how to make money off of it, we don’t do it. So with all of our progression in education, in technology, in research, in medicine, in funding, sin still pervades and wrecks it all. And the sin predominant in all of us is just absolute indifference. “That’s not my problem. I can go to the store.”
So this is the bad news – you’re broken, I’m broken, everyone’s broken, and this infects every relationship, every interaction and every domain of society. And then here’s the bad news on top of the bad news. We can’t do anything to fix it. Even if you try to be a better person, you’re just perpetuating the actual problem. “So what are you saying, Chandler? That we’re all doomed to hell?” That’s exactly what I’m saying. . .unless God somehow intervenes. But it’s complicated, because He can’t just forgive us because
then He wouldn’t be just. So look here back in Ephesians 2. We’ll pick it up in verse 3 “...among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
© 2009 The Village Church
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