And even though this week was hard, there were also good things to be discovered in it.
1. It re-confirmed my heart in writing this blog: to counter the lies that abuse sears into your soul and to speak hope and life in their place.
When you have left (or been driven out of) an abusive church, you find yourself on the outside - no longer welcome. No-one understands because no-one wants to believe your story is true. You are unacceptable proof of the bankruptcy of their system, an undesirable reminder of its failure. You are an offence and so you become the object of repeated rejection.
But I am shouting from the rooftops that this is not the truth.
You are NOT the problem. You are NOT a troublemaker. You are NOT insane.
If someone chooses to bully you, that is not your fault. There is no excuse or justification for abuse. None.
And I want you to know that in the very depths of your being!
2. It reminded me that there are some brilliant people in my life who I love dearly and who genuinely love me. They are people who are willing to embrace relationship beyond the superficial - even when it gets messy or painful. They don’t just give up or walk away when it’s not easy or comfortable. They are brave enough to be real, to challenge, to disagree, to accept, to change, to engage regardless.
There are people in my life who approach relationship as a two-way adventure - who happily give and willingly receive. They demonstrate mutuality in their friendship so I can know the joy of being blessed as well as the pleasure of being a blessing.
3. It reaffirmed that it's ok to be who I am - that being myself is totally legitimate. I am valid and I am engaging in the here-and-now in the way that is best for me. I'm not perfect - I have strengths and weaknesses - but it's ok to be me.
4. It reassured I am not stuck in one place, nor have I been forgotten or abandoned by God. He is still gently and patiently leading me forward. There is a hope and a future. And even though the next step in my journey feels scary right now, I don’t face it alone. He will give me the courage to keep going.