So, the last year+ background revolves a lot around the loss of my BIL, Jeremy. He died while responding to an EMS call in December 2005, Middletown, Indiana. Since then, our lives have been a roller coaster journey. Sometimes more harried than others. Other factors have played into this craziness like Dave's job (him being very unhappy where he is and seeking a new job), my health (recent diagnosis with hyperthyroidism, which took a long time to diagnose), and then just normal craziness is life.
One of the things I've struggled with for a year now, is our church. Admittedly, we have not been as involved since we lost Jeremy. We got the news of Jeremy's passing on a Sunday morning, and quite honestly--for a LONG time, we woke every Sunday morning feeling like we were caught up in a bad dream. So we found it difficult to get out of bed and go to church. And as Dave would say, we didn't want people staring us down with that "oh, are you all doing alright" look. KWIM? I realize that grieving is a white elephant in the middle of the room. It still is for me when other people grieve, makes me uncomfortable, though now it makes me more sad, cuz I've been there in a real way. So we kind of closed ourselves off in some ways. But not to everyone. Only the ones who wanted us to mysteriously "pop" back into normalcy. The part where is gets difficult is that some of those same people, have accused me personally of running away from God. People who have really made NO attempt to be a part of our lives since our loss. No card, no phone calls, nothing. One of them being the leader of our women, and the other being a friend. They are not the only ones to left us hanging... by any means, but they are the ones who accuse me of being disobedient for various non-issue things. The biggest one being on whether or not I attend a women's retreat. That was last year. This year, when I didn't go, the other EMAILS me to say, she "noticed I wasn't there, so she can only assume that I'm still struggling with my spiritual life or 'church' or both". WHAT? You can get all that about a person that you've had NO contact with in at least 5 months and very little contact with in a year? I DO NOT understand how people work. Especially when they make statements with "I can only respond to what God lays on my heart".
Um, God never lays on our heart to lay into a person and tell them what they assume about that person, or to tell them through email either. Scripture is very clear on confronting other Christians. In Matthew 18:15, we are told how if another believer is in "sin" that you are to go personally to them and correct them in love. However, my not being at a retreat and dropping back from church activities is not SIN. Clearly, I am not in sin on this church issue. I know there is sin in my life, as I am human. But my husband and I and a few family and friends are in prayer for our decision regarding whether to continue as members of the current church we are in, or to leave and seek a new church. This judgemental email I got last week was the answer to that prayer. We will no longer be going to that church. Hurtful as that email was, another dear friend pointed out to me, that I'd been asking God to show me whether to stick it out or just leave and get out of a toxic situation. God showed me how toxic the situation is. So Dave and I feel that is our answer.
Now the daunting part is explaining to our kids that we'll be moving on, and that we will be asking Jesus to show us to a church where not only Mommy and Daddy can grow in faith in a loving environment, but where they can make new friends and learn new things about Jesus too. And have MORE FUN! Any who are reading this who believe in prayer can be lifting us up as we begin our search. That we wouldn't carry this hurt around and that it would not scar us to the point of mis-trust no matter where we go. That we could find joy in worshipping on a Sunday morning again and not dread it so. And that our kids would be comforted and trust that God will show Mommy and Daddy where to go. And that He will take care of us all.
So, a new path begins. The hard part here is walking on it, even tho we don't know where it may lead. Time to boost the faith muscles!