I have been struggling about whether to blog about this or not. So every day, I open an entry blank, and sit staring, hestiating to write. But the truth is, that I need to get this out, in writing and not hide it like it is some terrible secret. About three weeks ago, our family sent a letter to our pastor removing our membership from the church we have belonged to and been heavily involved in for the last ten years. It has been a very trying time for us as we have seen the Lord show us vividly the need to rely on Him - more than other people, more than our Pastor, and even more than the church. The Sunday after we sent this letter, and sat at home, unable to attend elsewhere because our hearts are still there - and after church commenced a church member and someone we had considered our friend, came to our front door, called me outside and proceeded to scream at me on my front stoop. Our family is the last in a string of families to leave the church in the last year, and evidently the Pastor has stepped down, causing people to place blame.
I have been snubbed in the grocery store, and generally ignored by people that were not only my friends but my "family" for many, many years. Some of these women and I have been long time friends - we have been together as we've had our babies, cleaned houses together when someone gets overwhelmed, carried meals to one another when we were sick, baked Christmas cookies, etc. - and suddenly they don't know me. My character, motives and integrity have been repeatedly questioned. We met with the elders the Monday after the Pastor resigned, and felt that we made it clear that our family was willing to return, not with an ultimatum but by rolling our sleeves up to help make the changes necessary to continue the work the Lord is doing in that little Chapel - alongside the Pastor as it was never our intention for him to quit. We've heard nothing in response to that meeting that I considered at the time very positive. I sent out an email to the body with a song about hurting and healing and my heartfelt concern for the hurting body - of which we are a part. Nothing we have extended has been received, and I know I must be at peace with that. But I have to admit I am struggling. Each day brings a new issue - the most recent is being told there was a "girls night out", but I was NOT invited because there was someone else coming -who never comes any other time- that might not be comfortable. I was invited to a baby shower - and I desperately want to attend, but wonder with others feeling like this if my presence may cause problems - and it all just makes me sick to my stomach. (Although let me just say that the extended invite means everything right now when so many others are pretending I am invisible or worse - never existed.)
The body of Christ is all who know Him. It reaches out beyond our church walls and encompasses every denomination, creed and color in the entire world. Those who should be setting the example of unity, sit inside church walls with those who they are in complete and perfect agreement, singing happy little songs and saying, "we have unity" but the truth is that they have built walls, within which there is no love for those outside.
A good and trusted friend said keep your focus on your ministry - and off of the conflict - and while I know what he said is true, it seems impossible that I will ever make it there. Our family could use your prayers right now as we travel this hard road - on our own. I only see one set of footprints in the sand, and I am struggling with this "Lord are you carrying me cause it sure feels like I am walking alone."