Monday, November 28, 2011

Forgiving "The Church"

Let me begin by saying, it has never been about The Church needing my forgiveness- but rather about me forgiving. This is not about 1 church in particular, but rather as a whole.
My family is coming up to an important anniversary (I will write about next week), reflecting back on this past year has caused me to reevaluate my heart and my attitude. I've realized I have forgiven "The Church"- this has been a long process......
I guess forgiving has come in stages for me..2 steps forward, 4 steps back at times. I remember when I started getting bitter and angry at "The Church", I was around 13-14 years old and was a "PK"- Preachers Kid.
It was a very hurtful time when all I really understood was that the actions of "The Church" were not what I had been taught. After that, I became jealous and angry at the time "The Church" took my parents away- sometimes justified and sometimes not. Then came a horrible situation that hurt my parents, and thus my whole family, so badly it seemed to take away my Fathers spirit for a long time and it was a long journey back for all of us.
It could be argued about who was right and who was wrong, but the only thing that matters is that people were hurt on all different levels- and I had to watch my parents struggle to recuperate for a very long time. It was during that time that I decided what kind of relationship God and I would have. I believe my initial statement was, "If THIS is Christianity, I do NOT want it.".
After awhile, my heart softened and I guess I forgave a bit and then decided, "Okay God, I will serve and love You- but I will never be in the ministry so You cannot ask or require that of me." I thought that was pretty reasonable, and it worked for quite sometime. I volunteered for things at the church, was a youth leader for awhile, and just served where I was comfortable.
THEN, God directed me to go to Texas Bible Institute, I clearly knew that was where I was suppose to be. It was during that time, I had some spiritual heart surgery. After awhile, I began to let God tear down the walls I had built up- it was then that I truly began to choose to forgive. My heart was lighter, and I was happier.
Many years went by, and I found myself engaged to the man of my dreams- it was almost comical that he was an ordained minister in full time ministry. Before we were engaged, we had conversations about our future, and we both knew that Lupe was not suppose to leave the ministry he was at yet- which meant I was going to be a ministers wife and in full time ministry. I have written before about some of my struggles throughout those years, some of my struggles came out of my past anger towards "The Church". Some of those struggles also came out of fear of what could be, and because those possibilities loomed in front of me, I made issues where I probably shouldn't have. I was just so determined not to let the past repeat itself with me and with my husband and children.
Once we left the ministry and moved to Florida, I found myself more calloused and angry than ever at "The Church". I had to finally draw boundaries, that may have unintentionally hurt others, but it was to help me and honestly protect them from being on the receiving end of my anger.
I say all of that to say this, I am beyond it. I love "The Church". Although, "The Church" has trampled and scarred my heart at times- it has also repaired my heart and carried me at others. I have had to realize, that as much as others have hurt me- I have also caused hurt and have been forgiven- how could I dare expect or take something I cannot give. I even feel ready to let others back in that I have pushed away, and except responsibility for the times I have not acted as God requires me. I mean, really, I will never have to forgive more than God has had to forgive me.
This has been a painful and tough road, but I'm so blessed and happy to be walking beyond the hurt others have caused me and the hurt I've caused others. Forgiving will not change the past, but it will enlarge my future.
 Visit Rediscovering Domesticity to see how others are dealing with "The Mess In My Heart".


  1. beautiful...I love you!

  2. Glad for you, Jenn. <3

  3. Your writting is healing for others as well. God has given you an awesome gift!!!!

  4. I just discovered Jenni's blog today and linked up to the blog hop. When I saw the title of your post, I knew I had to come read. I was abused by a pastor's daughter and similarly left "The Church" emotionally as a teen and physically when I left for college. I thought to myself that I would always be a Christian...just never one who went to "The Church". But as I stayed away, my faith dwindled even as I kept reading my Bible and tried to pray. Truth be told, I was trapped in as much sin as I had tried to escape by leaving "The Church". God quietly called me back, and I went a church where we worshiped in the dark and I could come and go in anonymity. Slowly I re-engaged, but always in ways that I was an outsider and never in the inner circle. A comedy of errors led to my family's excommunication or "disfellowship" again in 2010-2011, and it nearly broke me completely. I was completely crushed and couldn't see my way through to the end of the very dark storm I found myself at the center of. I even lost sight of my Savior in the blackness. A dear friend - in fact, the very one God had used to quietly call me back to "The Church" in my 20s - spoke truth to me by sweetly and lovingly pushing me with Deuteronomy 30:11-20 (excerpted): “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days...”

    I was suicidal and in the hospital at the time. After days of meditating on this passage and praying my most hopeless and wordless groaning prayers, I did "choose life", trusting God once again, begging daily Mark 9:24 "Lord, I believe; help Thou my disbelief".

    We are once again at A church. Once again on the periphery. Right now we go because our children have begged us to go. But I feel my soul watered. I know God wants me there. I pray, oh how I pray, that He does not call me to serve. That I can simply participate in the liturgy, Communion, worship. Go just for that hour. That it strengthens my faith, my children's faith. That we can always and forever be JUST members.

    But I have no idea where He will lead. And finally, after decades of practicing forgiveness, I am able to trust Him, that He will work out the details, and that His grace and strength will be sufficient for my weakness when (and if) His calling comes.

    Peace and love be with you, sister in Christ!
    Genevieve of

    1. Genevieve, my heart hurts to read of the pain you have endured at the hands of the church. Thank God for friends that will listen, love and speak God's truth when we are at our darkest moments. Stay in pursuit of God's Word and HIS truth! Stand on Jeremiah 29:11-13
      "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Keep standing, trusting and putting your hope in HIM!

  5. Jenn, I also can relate to being hurt by the Church. It can be difficult to give up the bitterness. I have found that I must consistently remind myself that the Church is made up of sinners just like me! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with the Thrive @ Home community this week.

  6. Lovely, Jenn. Thank you for sharing your experience with us - I have been there as well. I appreciate your transparency!