The Write 31 Days Challenge – 31 Days,Every Day,One Topic
Betrayal by a friend – Sunday morning and I’d stayed home from church. Again. Around noon, when the then-husband walked in the door I knew immediately that I was in trouble. He’d learned in church that my friend, the women’s leader, had gone to the elders and told them she’d had “a word from the Lord” that I was going to leave my marriage.
Yes, I answered, it was true, but the informant hadn’t been given “a word from the Lord,” only a word from my lips.
I was given 24 hours to pack. He would be home after work the following day and expected me and our two children to be gone.
To be honest, it was a huge relief, if only temporarily. Things would get a whole lot worse before they got better.
I began stuffing our clothes into plastic garbage bags and carrying them load-after-load to my mom’s townhouse. She’d already prepared her sewing room as a bedroom for the girls.
Late in the afternoon I received a visit from one of the church leaders who wanted to hear my story. I shared with him in detail, things I’d never shared before.You’ve never told anyone in the church any of this before. Why should we believe you now? Click To Tweet
Are you kidding me?
By the time my children got out of school on Monday, we were moved into my mom’s place.
A new life to navigate – I didn’t do my divorce right, if there is such a thing. With a hungry heart and a need to be loved, I began dating before the divorce was final. A friend. A friend from that same church. A friend whose marriage was also coming to an end.Remember the 'notorious sinners' I told you about? Yeah, one of them would be me. Click To Tweet
This is the place where things got a whole lot worse. Accusations flew and people believed the worst. A notorious sinner maybe, but NO, I had not “set my cap” for him from the beginning.
A phone call, from the same church leader, who had questions, accusations, and finally a suggestion in the form of, “I’ve been thinking of taking a sabbatical in Israel. I know you have a love for Israel and I thought it would be nice to have a companion to go along with me.”
His meaning flew right over my own dazed and confused head at the time but my mom, who was beside me listening to the conversation, unscrambled my confusion. She also became my staunchest advocate over the following nightmarish months, leaving many of my accusers flattened in her 4’11” wake!
As mentioned in Day 3 this is not a “tell-all” story and I don’t want to cause harm to anyone. That’s why I haven’t identified who these church leaders were. I’m also not trying to bash the church by sharing my experience. I love the church and so does Jesus, but the church is US, you and me, and we are all, if not notorious sinners, sinners nonetheless.
“If you run into Patti in the community you can acknowledge her but you are no longer allowed to be her friend.”
How do I know the details of this meeting? I was sent a tape to listen to. On this tape were outright lies, but I had no way to defend myself. Not then or later when I asked to meet with someone other than “that” leader, only to be met with silence.
Though I was terribly hurt the most devastating part of listening to the tape was the sound of children’s voices in the background.
The children were there.
I was frustrated, humiliated and broken, and the cloak of shame that I’d already carried grew heavier upon my shoulders.
Whoa Nellie! Let me insert some humor here if I can:
I did. I inserted some humor and it made me laugh. Then I erased it because it was at the expense of those who hurt me. Sorry Lord.
After I was unfriended by the church, I tried and failed to find another church for ten years before finally making my way back. My greatest regret is for my daughters and their resulting feelings toward the church.
Let’s pick this up again tomorrow shall we? On Day 5 we’ll Take a Step Backwards in my story.
Until then 😉
P.S. Nothing I wrote today was in an attempt to gain sympathy from my readers. Long ago I fully accepted my responsibility for my part and I hold no ill-will against anyone. I can’t. Unforgiveness is a prison and I have been set free to live in freedom.
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