Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
I know many people who will not attend church for many reasons. I'm writing this today because I care about those who have gotten hurt. I am a person who has some church hurts behind me. I'm not an expert but I certainly have a past I use to help others. Please read on....
MY HURT ~ The year was 1987
My brother (Ronnie) died on Christmas Day. He found out on his birthday April 16, 1987 that he had cancer. He was a 37 year old man of faith and believed in God. It was 8 months of change for him and he knew that he was about to enter Heaven. He told me that God has a timing to be born and a time to die. I needed to accept he had to go away. This was crazy hard for me as I watched him decline in that Hospital bed. My husband and I took a break and walked down to the waiting room. We had people waiting in the waiting room from our church. As we entered the doorway, we heard this: I hope he hurries up and dies, it is Christmas so we can go home to our families. Other people agreed and I spoke out loud ~ GO HOME! I began angry and keep in mind this was leadership of our church. Twenty minutes later, my brother died and my anger within my heart rose.
MY HURT ~ Continues
It not only affected me, but my husband and family. I made a decision that day to stop going to church. The people sitting in that room where from our Church and leaders. It killed me inside and it took almost one year of not going to church, when I felt a tug on my heart. What does this tug me? My husband had continued taking the kids to church and I watched them cry as they headed out of the door on some Sundays. My kids wanted to stay with me. I just couldn't believe in a God who took my brother and I felt a million miles away. This changed me from the inside out, but not in a good way.
My husband had found a church in Vallejo but we lived on the other side of the bridge in Pinole. It was now Thanksgiving time. My kids asked to me to please go with them. So I went, but had made up my mind to ask my husband for a divorce after church. Church just wasn't for me anymore. During the service, I felt something weird inside my heart and mind. It was there that God began tugging on my 33 year old heart. The people inside this new church was kind and friendly. The Pastor's wife asked me to stay for their Thanksgiving Dinner. My kids said, please mom! So we stayed and the conversation went good. I wanted to go back that night and check it out again. So we went and I never asked my husband for a divorce. God started a healing within my heart and it took a long time for me to let go of things. It was the beginning of something greater for our lives.
Fast forward 29 years and you will find me stronger than ever. I have learned through the pains of life, to begin again. Sometimes that things we can not change, really does change us. Life is a process of changes and I've learned the importance of becoming better and not bitter. If I had never began again in church, I would not know some very amazing people I know now. There are those who truly live the word of God and we must remember we are human. We do say things without thinking things through in life. We also think different in younger years not older years.
Matthew 6:14-15 New International Version (NIV)
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The church can be seen as a place of healing, a place of where people get hurt or a mixture of both. If we take a moment and think about it, God brings us together for a purpose. A connection within a community and we grow by hearing the word of God (Bible). You might not want to hear that Church can be a good thing, because there was a time in my life that I didn't want to hear it. But there is a reason you are reading this. A small tug on your heart or how to help a friend is the reason today. We can take a scripture and nobody wants to hear that, but we can take an example and God uses it. We are all human and have said wrong things. We are all broken and God restores us. We learn to set up boundaries in life and guard our hearts. The big picture of church, is God wants us to join together and worship him.
Hebrews 10:25 King James Version (KJV)
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
LET IT GO ~
One of my deepest hurts in life with my Ronnie and the church, became one of which I can help others. I see how the devil wants to stop us from encouraging others and to become the person God created us to be. I don't blame anyone today from that experience, but I do thank God for teaching me gently. It became time for me to let go and let God mold me. I've learned a lot over the years and it is important for you to sit down to figure out what is important to you. I never wanted my husband or kids to hurt because of me. They were already hurting inside and I had to change.
How about you who read this? There might be something hard you are facing today and starting again is way too hard. I promise you that I pray for the readers of my blog and I care. Too many people get hurt in church and walk away forever. I hope that is not you or a loved one of yours. We must keep in mind it wasn't the complete church who hurt you, but a person or a few people. LET IT GO!
LIFE MOVES ON ~
My daughter (Tracy) told us about Hillside Christian Church in Napa and we felt God leading us there. I started helping in Kids Ministry and my husband served on the Board. Later moving into Women's Ministry to help. We have been there for over 15 years. There is no perfect church, but each day we strive to be better people. People come from different walks of life, experiences and think different. Keep in mind, you are important, God hears you and it takes action to step into a new beginning. I want to personally invite you to my church: Hillside Christian Church 100 Anderson Road, Napa CA. If you can come here, then go somewhere to begin again. If you can't go anywhere right now, write me and I'll be glad to write back: Janet@youdontevenknow.org
God hears the cry of our hearts and wants us to live in freedom of mind. I believe that God has brought you to this page for a reason and to hear it's important to press forward. Once again, I had I never pressed forward, I wouldn't be writing this page or teaching at our church for over 15 years. I never knew I was suppose to write or encourage people like I do today. God has a plan even in the brokenness of life. I'm glad I started church again and living in freedom of mind. I CARE ABOUT YOU!
My prayers continue for you, your family and friends.
~ Sparkie aka Janet