It has been quite a while since I posted on my blog. 2015-2016 were crazy years for me and my family. Surgeries, new jobs, health scares of family. Quite a bit in a short time. One of the groups of pieces I wrote was my divorce in the church series. I thought I would delve back into this very painful part of my recent past and let you know where things stand. I honestly don’t know how many people actually read my blog or follow any of this. But my prayers are that it helps people, so I will continue.
So, where did we leave off? I stated that my husband and I were the “walking wounded” and were irreparably damaged by what happened to us. We had parted ways with a pastor and the process that ensued leading up to this was terribly painful. But God is in the healing business and there is no such word as “Irreparable” to Him.
It hasn’t been easy. Far from it. We haven’t left the congregation I mentioned here. We have been more absent, if you want to call it that. In truth, we have not been attending worship much at all. I could easily blame it on my health. I have had my struggles there, and there have been legitimate times when I just couldn’t make it due to fatigue. Those times will happen again. But what has been happening is that we have nursing our wounds and healing. I didn’t really know that was happening, if you want to know the truth. I thought we were trying to make up our minds what to do about leaving or staying. Starting over, or continuing. In His normal, wonderful and loving way, Christ was giving us time. Allowing us to figure it out, while he held our hands. His schedule is not our schedule, His ways are not our ways. So what does that mean?
To the non-christian, if there are any reading this, you probably won’t understand. You may say I finally went through my final stage of grief and have moved onto acceptance. Maybe. But the author of the universe sometimes has other plans. We tried to force it before it was time. We tried to push through the grief process. We tried to move on, we even considered turning our backs altogether. But something held us there. Many have left, many have moved on. So, Debra, you say, “Where is this going?”.
God has healed my heart. I believe he has begun to heal my husband’s. We have realized that perfection is not attainable by us or anyone else. Will things be perfect? Probably not. But that’s O.K.
Now, to get down to business. If you have read these blogs I write, you know I love lists. So here we go. Keep these tips in mind if you plan to return to a church that you almost left and are planning to get back into the “Family”
- Don’t expect too much of yourself. You will be tempted to jump back in with both feet. Get to your previous level of participation. Volunteer for everything that comes down the pike. Whoa, there Trigger. You have just come out of a very bad stretch of ups and downs. Take it one day at a time. Make sure your worship time is getting back to where it is, get back into fellowship. Don’t become super Christian just yet.
- Don’t expect to much of those around you. Yippee! You’ve decided to come back. Welcome me with open arms! Again, whoa boy. Though they will be very happy to see you (probably), remember there may be unresolved pain you caused someone else. Be patient with those around you. Let them warm up to you again. If they wrap their arms around you like the prodigal, good for you. But don’t be upset or hurt if that doesn’t happen right away, or ever.
- Don’t expect too much from the church. If a church has survived a split, it is probably struggling in some areas. Things may be different than when you attended. Key people may be gone and they are trying to make things right again. Don’t throw in the towel because your “experience” isn’t what it once was. You are there to worship the Lord, not be entertained. I have a problem with the statement, “I’m not being fed.” Well, children need to be fed. Adults feed themselves.
- Don’t expect too much from the Pastor. Give grace to the new person. If your pastor left or was asked to leave, this will pertain to you. Don’t judge the new guy on the first day. Give him time. “Well he doesn’t do thus and so like the old pastor!” Well you aren’t the same either, remember? If you have a comment similar to “I’m not being fed…” Well refer to number 3.
I’m not an expert or a theologian. I’m just a church member who has gone through the fire and come out the other side alive. God’s will can be weird and wonderful. But His will be done. If everything was rainbows, we would never get the opportunity to grow and help others. By His stripes we are healed. Amen.