I was twelve when my Dad was ordained. The weekend our church had that ordination. . . well I don’t really remember much about it. Except that the night when the people were voting, and we were on our way home in the van somehow. . . I knew it would be my dad. I had a deep premonition in my spirit that that’s who it would be. I didn’t tell anyone about it until I found out that that is really what had happened. I feel like God told me, my little girl heart, what was going to happen.
My life and the life of my family changed dramatically that weekend. When your dad is in the spot light, the fact that He has to follow God no matter what the cost and is responsible for the souls in his congregation (to a certain degree), it affects a group of people instead of just his little family. People get nasty. I don’t say that to get sympathy or a reaction. It’s simply human nature. We don’t like to submit to who God has placed over us. NO ONE is going to tell us what to do. If you doubt this truth watch your children sometime.
My dad is a serious defender of Truth. He follows God with everything that’s in Him. He WILL do what He feels is right no matter what the cost to him. I love that about him. He has taught me so much about putting God first, before friends, family, etc. That being said. People ARE cruel. The body of Christ has a way of destroying people in ministry and their families. If your friends parents don’t like what your dad said in church, suddenly your friends treat you differently. When you are young all you want is acceptance and unconditional love. That doesn’t happen very often if you are a family in ministry. Everything your parents do is suddenly critiqued. Everything you do is suddenly put out there for people to make fun of, get upset about, judge. etc. That hurts. You have no idea how badly that hurts. Not only does it hurt. It has the potential to destroy. There are two different pains that come from it. Yours and the fact that people are hurting your family. The people you love dearly and would defend, engage in battle for. . . Oh goodness, while I feel like I have finally found healing from so much of that pain. Looking back on it right now, looking back at the little family we were. My brothers, my parents, me. Oh it hurts, and I’m crying again. It’s a pain only another family in ministry can understand. You get eaten alive, over and over and over and over because sadly you can’t die from that sort of pain. You end up a bloody mess and people continue to eat you for Sunday lunch, Monday supper. Then they act surprised when out of all that pain comes a major reaction. You no longer want anything to do with the church, and quite frankly you don’t want anything to do with God. When the very people who claim His name on their lives, bite and devour you, why would you want anything to do with Him?? When they claim to love you one day and the next day stab you in the back?? You kinda lose your faith in people and in the God they claim to serve.
Some of you reading this are probably angry right now. May God give you the grace to hear my heart. Some of you understand and have experienced a hurt even deeper than mine. May God grant you healing.
Honestly every church God led us to felt like a repeat of the last. The pain. Oh the pain. The rejection. The words. The attitudes. I can’t imagine the pain of a family in a national ministry. Suddenly it’s not just a couple churches, it’s the whole of American eating you. It’s wrong, people. It’s SIN and it absolutely breaks the Father’s heart.
I was not only a victim of this, I am more than ready to confess, I also ate people. I looked around and was more than happy to pick apart the lives of the critics or those in ministry ‘above’ me. What have we become???
Finally last fall, when I found myself at the very bottom of a dark, dark pit. I looked up and saw Him. HE is not a critic, He doesn’t pick apart my every action, I don’t have to perform for HIM. My Jesus. His blood is enough to make me righteous and worthy of His name. Oh people, the marvelous, matchless grace of my God!!!! If the very definition of Holy and Righteousness calls me, Beloved. . . Treasured. . . Precious. What others say about me is absolutely without value. Because of His great love I see in my life, I can now look at others with so much more grace. I have been able to forgive the ones who hurt me so terribly. I have been set free from the bonds of rejection and fear. I can look you in the eye and rejoice that while neither one of us will ever be perfect in what we call perfect, HE CALLS US PERFECT. His Heart is for you, His deepest desire is to fill your every need. And friends, He is big enough for your every need, every pain, every wound, every sin. HE IS ENOUGH. I understand now what my Dad understood so many years ago. If you have God, if you are doing what He is asking of you, you really do have everything you need.
I don’t really know why God wanted me to write this, this week. Maybe you needed to hear it, maybe I simply needed to write it. But I do so desperately want you to know that God is not out to get you. He is the only one who can completely understand you. He weeps when you weep. He loves you when you behave in an unlovable manner. He dances with you when something beautiful happens. He is right there. Every. Step. Right there. When I understood that my pain, was also His pain and that He was the only person who could redeem those hurts. I finally found freedom. I could dump all that pain at the foot of his cross and the wounds in my heart could now find healing. I am no longer bound by guilt, fear, shame. I am righteous, redeemed, forgiven and FREE. Oh so extremely FREE. Because of HIM. My Jesus.
[please, don’t think I wrote this for sympathy or out of spite or anger. I didn’t. I wrote this because I felt like God wanted me to write this. It is a real problem in the body of Christ, this biting and devouring one another. But it is a holy God who redeems and heals. Oh, friends, He is so good. He is MORE than enough for any pain. He truly does give beauty for ashes!!!!]