It’s 15 months on. As I reflect on all that’s happened, it feels like I’ve been picked up in a whirlwind, battered and dropped. The broken bones of hurt and sorrow are slowly healing, and love and forgiveness are apparent and flow without resentment or bitterness. I praise God so much for this, his love has led the way and covers so much.
But in other ways I’m struggling more than I care to admit. I am finding it hard to come to terms with the way we left our church family. The sense of shame and banishment still hurt like a knife wound.
I know I’m still grieving. Eighteen years feels like a lifetime and just can’t be got over. So many friendships, so many memories, so many experiences with no closure. No tying up of loose ends; no goodbyes; Just running and hiding with shame and fear.
Acceptance is hard. I’m struggling and fighting and suffocating. Sin has cost us dear, yet to dwell on our failings is to deny the grace and forgiveness that we have in Jesus.
This grief will eventually lessen and acceptance will come, but meanwhile I pray that the church we love will heal and grow and flourish. I pray that God will bless them more abundantly than we can ask or think for his glory. I look forward to that day when all offences will be forgotten and Jesus our precious saviour will be in view.
It may take a long time to feel fixed, it may take me a long time to accept the hurt that has been caused, but I pray that I will be able to leave the shame at the cross without repeatedly going back and picking it up again. It’s only then that I will be able to move on.
It’s been a rough few days. At times I’ve faltered and stumbled as triggers have opened wounds which were healing. The dark tunnel has beckoned and it’s been hard to stop myself from being sucked into it. I’ve questioned God and asked him why? I’ve cried and felt spent. I’ve put on the comfort blanket of self pity which rather than helping has compounded my misery.
I have felt overwhelmingly sad. Sad for so much hurt, sad for the damage done, sad for the ongoing consequences which roll on like the waves of the sea. I feel sad for ruined reputations, sad for conversations that a Christian couple should never have. I feel sad for my husband’s terrible regrets, sad for the opportunities that have been lost, sad for our lost church family, sad that selfishness obliterated the good and the beautiful. But more than anything else, I’m feeling sad and despairing because I’ve fallen into wrong thinking once again. Rather than looking up at the cross I’ve looked down at the waves. Rather than rejoicing in sins forgiven I have gathered those sins up from the foot of the cross and put them back on again and felt overwhelmed by the burden that I had been freed from. The old feelings of shame before others felt very acute and I reacted as though Jesus hadn’t dealt with them.
God is so kind, thankfully in our failure he continues to be gracious. He has dealt with our sins and his opinion of us is the only one that counts. It’s hard not to be influenced by the opinion of others, but we need to be careful as we are on dangerous ground. I have been overwhelmed with works, not grace. Preoccupied with the approval of others and when it’s not given its a big pit that we fall into. Liberty, joy and approval can only be lastingly found at the cross as we acknowledge that we are terrible sinners, saved by grace. Then we understand that we are accepted, loved and included into God’s family. His approval is all we need.
Yes, I have pain. What I do with it shows me where my heart really lies.
“Don’t presume to know what God is doing in your pain. Just know that if you are his, He is only ever doing you good.” ( Kathryn Butler)