Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I've talked about and hinted about my struggles with resettling into church life for a while now.

Sometimes I worry that you're getting tired of it.

Sometimes, I actually picture you out there saying, "Oh, for pity's sake, it's been TWO AND A HALF YEARS! GET OVER IT!"

And other times, I remember that I am (sadly, sadly, sadly) not alone.

Some of you are struggling too.

And sharing struggles as well as victories is part of being real and authentic- and though I'm just as tired as you are of hearing those hashtag phrases, there's a reason that they've become so popular in churches these days. 

hint:  possibly because there's been WAY too much fake perfection going on, and it's simply doing more harm than good. Being #real or #authentic is better than being #sickandtiredandburntoutfrompretendingallthetime

So, anyhoo, in the interest of full disclosure, I share with you this:
Sometimes Oftentimes, I have hard time wanting to connect with my church.

When a person goes from being a church staff member, a ministry leader, a very connected part of a church body for 18 years to a new church where literally 2 people know your name.... well, that's the making of what "they" call a rough transition, my friends. Making all new connections is hard work when you're not eight years old anymore. Especially when you can't really want to.

Truth be told, we did this kind of on purpose. We needed a place where we could blend in and chill out and, frankly, heal.  Nobody asking me for more dirt on the scandal, nobody trynna pressure us into ministry too soon, nobody asking us to take sides. Nobody to disappoint. Nobody to disappoint us. We chose a large-ish church in a far-ish location, and we hid out for a little while and enjoyed our zero-risk-for-heartbreak membership. (I should mention here that in addition to  anonymity, the church also offered fantastic Bible teaching, heartfelt worship, and very darling, welcoming people.)

It wasn't long before I found myself circling an ad in the bulletin. The listing mentioned that the church was looking for people who would be willing to do some copy editing. Though I had given myself permission to take a year off of ministry, I felt compelled to move. I was excited to use my red pen addiction for God's glory. Plus, if you want to know the really real truth... I liked the idea that I found a loophole! I could serve in the church without really getting to know anyone at all! Whoo hooo! I could be helpful AND anonymous! No interpersonal connections, FTW! 

So, that's what I did- and have been doing for a while now.  It's been lovely.  And kind of fun. And safe.

Imagine my utter turmoildisdain, chagrin, surprise when I was invited to a social gathering with the rest of the communications team.  CUE THE DRAMATIC MUSIC!!!! This is how I will surely die!!! 

I wrestled with the idea of not going.  But then I got to thinking... the simple fact is that when you're part of a family, there is a certain amount of vulnerability there. And you miss out on the whole point when you come home and go in your room and shut the door in self-protection. You miss out on the responsibility and risk, yes, but you also rob yourself of all the benefits of being part of a family.  And that's just dumb. 

At some point, you've got to stop worrying about protecting yourself, and let God do what He does best.

So, I went. I sucked it up buttercup, put on my big girl chonies, and I got in my car and drove way-the-hay out to my far away church and spent a couple of hours with my church family.

And you know what?

I had a really good time.

I met some really neat people. I got to hear some really great vision casting. I geeked out about grammar with others. I enjoyed good food and thoughtful decorations. I was reminded about the true heart of servant leadership. 

And I didn't die.

Instead, I took another step toward being a healthy person who can actually be a part of a church family again.

Will these people disappoint me, too?
Will I disappoint these people?
for sure.
Will my heart get broken again?

Will it be worth it?


Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

    do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT



Bernadette Valdez said...

I thought I was the only one that feels this way.. I am and have been struggling with the same feelings.. Thank you for this post. I pray that one day I can resettle in a church.

Gretchen said...

Last I checked, there was no timetable on healing. :) I don't think anyone is sick of hearing about your struggles, because we've all had them. Praising God that He has brought you to this new level of dependence & surrender. Not because it's fun to be completely dependent upon Him--girl I get that. But look at what a beautiful thing He's creating, out of the ashes of your pain? You're finding new framily, & your sharing has already encouraged at least one other ^. Make that at least two others. :-)


Jenster said...

I'm so excited for what God has planned for you - at this church and/or elsewhere. You're a brave girl, missy, and that's just one of the many things I love about you. And all that stuff that Gretchen said? Yeah, that.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Hey girl...been cleaning out my blog reader and imagine my surprise to see YOUR BLOG HAS ACTUAL POSTS!!!! Yay!

I so relate to this post. We sought anonymity and healing after a painful ministry experience and gave ourselves permission to just be pew fillers for a year. God nudged us out of that after several months and it felt good...really good, actually. But it also felt good to sit back and soak for a bit. I think when it's a Spirit-led re-entry the blessings and JOY follow.