I'm feeling terribly torn right now. I want to know but I want no part of it. I'm hurting for my friends but I don't want to take up offenses of others.
What am I talking about, right?
I recently spent a little over a week in Texas with a dear friend and her family as they celebrated the marriage of their firstborn. It was a whirlwind of a time full of the event itself, prep, cleanup, visiting and laughing in-between, getting to literally live their lives with them for a week (how fun to get a glimpse -- and whew! I thought we were busy!!). It was such a blessing to be there. To get to talk to them face-to-face after two years of absence. To play with their kids. To share some of the joys and hurts they're going through. Loved the time.
But...it also held a few surreal moments for me. You see, it also put me in a position to attend the church that we left when we decided to leave full-time vocational ministry. My eldest son basically grew up there and was anxious to attend the youth group so he could see his old friends. When that possibility came up, the second son asked if they still had the AWANA program he had enjoyed. Son #3 didn't really remember much and has little to no interest in organized class settings, but the minute a playground was mentioned, he was up for going. The little princess is a social butterfly and wanted to go make new friends, too (it was so cute watching her play with some of the other "Hurricane Rita" babies - they're all so grown up now!). Of course, this was brought up a little more than an hour before said activities were to take place, so another whirlwind ensued getting everyone ready to go.
I was nervous at best. I didn't want to hold my kids back from their friends but I also had some serious reservations about going back to that setting. Would I be able to stand in the freedom I've found without becoming condemning toward my brothers and sisters in Christ who have remained in that organization? Would I feel like I had to explain myself? How would I answer the "so what church are you guys at now" question...or the "where's Dan ministering" question... it's easy with folks who haven't lived the history with us but these folks had. And some of them were a little unhappy with us when we left. Some of them had judged our motivations incorrectly, disagreed with our decision, and really didn't bother to take the time to know us well enough to realize the truth. Some of them I knew loved us and would take us as we were...but what about the others? Some of them I loved and would embrace freely...but what about those whose actions and words had hurt me? It's one thing to forgive a thousand miles away...would I find old grudges rising up in my heart or had the healing really been effective? I prayed as I dressed the kids, dressed myself, and headed out. Our God is awesome.
Ben, my eldest, sat in the front seat of the car with me. He knew I was nervous - and he knew why. We've had open conversations with him about things. Sometimes he's a pretty insightful kid. When we were almost to the church, he turned, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, "Mom, listen. God's encouraging you. It'll be fine." I was puzzled but then realized he was turning up the song on the radio that I hadn't really clued in on. David Crowder's "I am free" was playing. Go God. And Go, Ben. Thanks, kiddo.
We went to the church that night and I was so blessed. Hugs and great conversations with old friends. Granted, a few sideways glances from some folks...the very ones I'd expected them from. But I found that the healing had indeed held true. I wasn't surprised by their coldness, I found my assessment of their take on things to be exactly what I had expected...but I wasn't personally hurt by it; I wasn't angered by it. I was a little saddened by it because there is no way I can possibly correct their view of myself and my husband. There is no way I can make myself acceptable to them or cause them to understand my point of view and agree to disagree. In the face of that knowledge, though, I was able to say "it is what it is" and move on and truly enjoy fellowship with some of the others there. When we returned for Wednesday service, I was able to fellowship with more of my family in TX and worship our Father with them. It is still not a setting to which I wish to bind myself again but I have found that when I am in it, I can freely love my extended family and freely worship my God. It's awesome to test the limits of His grace and healing and find them boundless.
So...why am I torn?
Since I've returned home, snippets of communication have come to my notice that prove that all is not well in that church. Hurtful things are happening to people I care about. I don't know the details. I haven't recieved any direct communications about it. It's just kinda swirling out there on the edge of things within my view. I don't know who is behind the hurt. I don't know specifically who all is targeted. But I know that people I love are being hurt. And the defensive, loyal, protective side of me wants to know who the culprit is, what exactly they've done, who has been affected, and set it all to rights. But I know I can't fix it. Deep down, I know that it's probably not good for me to know the details because my tendency would be not to pray for healing (at first) but to take up the offenses of the hurt party and sit the offending party down for a good talking-to. *sigh*
It is things like this that make me so thankful that I am free from living in that setting. Yet, it is things like this that make me want to still have some insight into what's happening in that setting so that I can help my friends. It is things like this that bring me to the point of decision...do I really believe that I can do anything more for my friends than our mutual Father can do? Do I want to surrender my freedom to become embroiled in the bondage of my past "for the sake of friends"? No on both counts. I find myself resigned to fight for my friends in this battle in the only way I know how: by lifting them up before the Father.
May He protect you. May He bind your wounds and be the balm of Gilead to you. May He guide your footsteps and keep you from falling. May He guard your tongue and keep you from being ashamed. May His love superceed your enemy's hatred. May you stand in the Truth and be kept safe from harmful lies. May you face battle with the Armor and Host of God Almighty and find respite in your Rock and Fortress. May you know, through it all, that you are beloved.
It is about time for an update!
4 years ago