My really tough year started almost a year ago.
It's been a tough year. It's been one of those "one thing after another" kind of years.
Many times I couldn't grasp how God would use those bad times for good. I knew that He would, but I just couldn't see it. Sometimes we don't get to. Thankfully I am seeing it. And I am reminded that it's not just for my good, but for the good of His Kingdom. That is His foremost motivation anyway. It's always, ultimately, about Him.
One of the areas where Rick and I have really struggled is in the area of church. We have been hurt the most by those who call themselves Christians. Isn't that the way it usually goes?
What has become abundantly clear to me is that the church doesn't want anyone to have or go through a bad time, or maybe they only want them to if they get to be the ones to take credit for fixing them.
That is what has happened to me. I have had a hard year, one where I can honestly say I have conjured up a lot of anger and bitterness and frustration. Some of it was thrust upon me. Some of it I brought on myself.
I was given permission by the church, and my Christian friends, to feel that way for about a week or two, and then they were done with me. It was time to straighten up! Well, actually, most of the church just ignored that I was having any problems. But, the ones that acknowledged it told me that they were there for me and they weren't giving up on me, which is exactly what they did when their agendas with and for me weren't being accomplished.
So I have been driven into more anger and bitterness and frustration.
Rick and I have not actively attended a church in a year.
I never, ever, ever thought it would happen.
I just don't want to be sitting in any pew when God finally says, "I've had enough! You have used Me for your own agenda long enough and I am done with you." Of course God isn't going to do that, but you get the point.
I cannot think God is very pleased with the state of his Church. Is this really what he intended?
I know there have to be churches out there that are doing it right in God's eyes. Where are they? I pray they are out there.
I know for a fact that I have made others feel badly and abandoned during periods of their bad times. I have been judgmental, frustrated and have given up on some. And I have done it all in the name of being a Christian. I have read through some of my journals from my past and really wanted to punch myself when I read what a judgmental jerk I was.
After experiencing the abandonment I have from the church this past year, I see clearly what I have done to others in the past. And I see clearly that if being a Christian means I make anyone feel the way I have been made to feel this year, then I don't want to be known as a Christian. I deserve the Hell that God created.
If I have made you feel abandoned because of your tough times, I apologize. If you have made me feel that way, I am still working through the area of forgiveness. I'm not there yet. If you are a church who genuinely loves the Lord and wants to do His will, then I hope I find you.
God has used all of this to, hopefully, change the heart of one woman in His Kingdom towards those going through tough times .. whether those tough times are self-imposed or thrust upon them. It really doesn't matter.
If I have been silent this year, and haven't given you the attention you have felt you needed, then I am sorry. As you see above, I've been having a tough year.