I recently experienced some emotional trauma. It was like no other blow that I can remember ever having. It was more devastating than a teenage break up, and more painful than the deepest, darkest, longest argument my husband and I made it through. It was worse than having a negative balance with the bank and little groceries to go around. It made me cry for a longer period of time than when my daddy died, and it still has a way of sneaking up on me.
When I helped teach a Bible school class last summer, we did a lesson on fairness. We talked about how easy it is to say "it's not fair" and why we shouldn't. But, I found myself repeating that phrase from the beginning of this tragedy. And even though the pain has lessened, I still catch myself thinking it.
I was wronged. Someone in my church family sliced me open with a razor sharp tongue, over and over, not out of truth, but out of proven lies, empowerment, and pure evil. My family was gutted, and it all centered around two teenage girls. As a mother and friend, I was harassed, ridiculed, and put down--more so after my refusal to "jump into the ring" with them. When I decided it was in the best interest of my family to stop going to this church, I was reminded (by this person) that it didn't even matter if I stop going. It wasn't my church. I never made it my church. But, I did make the time to sing in that church's choir. I did make the time to watch children in that church's nursery. I did become a leader in the AWANA program at that church from the very first day it began. Where I couldn't give money, I gave time and heart. I guess you could say I gave my whole heart because I'm having a hard time getting it back.
The words and insinuations were so explicit. I wanted so desperately to shine a light on the situation and to scream it from the rooftops what had happened--in detail. I was filled with resentment. It was not fair. I, the wronged person, had to be the one to choose leaving my church. I searched for answers on the internet trying to find out how members of churches can do so wrong and still be members. Yes, I looked up excommunication. Yes, I wanted that person thrown from the church unless they confessed their sin against me. But it would have required me to be the finger-pointer that I'm not and that I know we aren't supposed to be. Would that have solved anything? No.
From the start of my "it's not fair" journey through this life event, I always sought what was right. Every time I said that person didn't belong at that church, I would catch myself midsentence and realize that was wrong. Would God excommunicate one of His children? What about a believer who has accidentally strayed? I knew this person belonged in church, now more than ever, even though I hated what it did to me.
Every time I sat down and wrote it out to tell someone what really happened, a little voice told me it was wrong. It was stooping to the same low level. It would mean putting myself out there as someone I am not. I was told to let it go, and let God do what he does best. Telling my friends at church didn't matter. Spilling the trashy details in all their glory to the preacher wouldn't help if it wasn't done for the right reason. God is the almighty and only He has the power to take on that burden for me. When it came right down to it, there was no way I could ever tell anyone outside of my family and two friends the truth out of respect for Christian ears and the belief in the way things are supposed to work.
Months later when I thought I was moving on, and just before my move a week and a half ago, it resurfaced it's nasty little head. I see that the evil is still going strong and there's no sign of repenting on the part of my aggressor. There's not even a sign that God is taking care of it--yet. People still hear of my alleged hypocrisy, lies, disloyalty, and backstabbing, but no one really knows (unless they really know me, of course).
I was back in "it's not fair" mode, desperate to tell just one person the truth. It didn't matter who, it just had to be someone at my old church. I couldn't leave Anderson without someone knowing that the harsh words spoken against me were false. It was, and is, such a hard struggle inside me of good and evil. I know in my heart that telling someone would be done out of my disgust for this person, and that it is not the right reason. I needed some help. I needed a good dose of spiritual therapy. I just wanted someone to show me the way. So, I called my friend, Candace.
She had not yet heard about what went down. But when I told her I needed a friend's advice, she came that very day. She's a spiritual person. She's someone I can talk to. She's someone I trust. I told her every sad little detail, and she told me what I needed to hear. She talked about loving like Christ and doing things out of love. She talked about the seeds we sow, the Christian heart, and the ever powerful God. And she talked about my forgiveness of this person. She had all the right verses and all the right words of encouragement to put my heart back into a livable rhythm and reel in my selfish need to do God's work myself.
I knew I was supposed to forgive from the start. I told myself I would have to forgive, but it is so hard to do. How am I supposed to forgive this person when I still wish that one day the truth one day slap them in the face and put them in the same ongoing, dark place they've put me for the last 3 months? I am not ready to forgive because I am in spiritual need.
I keep thinking of the struggles my family has overcome, the struggles we're going through, the love I have for my children and my family and my friends, the love that is shown to me, the support we have, the sacrifices that are made for us, and the precious time I get to spend with the ones who mean the world to me. I also can't help but think of all the other people in the world and in my own circle of friends who take on much greater burdens than I could ever imagine, and I know I am far more blessed than I am wronged. I'm just looking for a way to tell my heart this truth.
Funny thing: Here is a picture one of my sweetums brought to me while I was writing my blog. They don't know my inner struggle, but they do know just what I need when I need it. =)