Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sister- in- waiting....part two.


(Please read part one if you have not)

I want you to know that I wrote the last post because it is a story that has been growing in my heart and life unknown. A story that has been developing since I began blogging.

The timid step into the lives of others. Stepping forward to find some doors open and a gentle heart waiting. And at other times finding a door not yet ready to be opened and polite goodbyes were given.

The thing that has always remained on my mind was the hurt that often bound the closed door.
Having felt the huge hurt that was caused by others in the body of Christ.....my heart, now healed..........hurt for those who because of games of satan had left the church body.
There are many who have been hurt.....and still remained.....I was one.
Until the time that my body and spirit were weary and the hurt came once again.
I left the church and had no real feeling that I wanted to return.
And although we visited.....that church was no longer our home.
I knew according to scripture that I should not neglect the gathering of believers......but, I was tired. And I had had enough!
And so we spent a few months out of church....reading the Bible and praying at home.
Encouraging the believers when we could and all the while allowing Him to heal our hurts.
During this time I thought of all the women I had met here and how so many were doing the same thing. It was not such a bad life was it?
It had its ups and downs.....but we were doing alright.
Weren't we?
Most everyone would say, yes.
But I knew me and I would say that the answer was..........NO. Why?
Because besides God and my husband (and he did not know my heart) no one was holding me-the real me- accountable. There was no one who looked into my face and knew me well enough to know if I was just playing the game of righteous living.
And I know you know we can all do this.
So what is a person to do?
How do we take a step past the past hurts and become real with another?
And does it really have to be done?

For those of you that I blog with
that no longer attend church because of past hurts......I will step out on a limb and tell you that it is imperative that you rejoin the body. You know what I mean.
I have been without an eye to eye person now for 5 months. It has played havoc with my relationship with God. It allowed me to ignore and hide what God will not have. It allowed me at times to step away from my reading and fellowship. Hey, I was doing"o.k".......that is what I thought. Had there been an eye to eye person.....they would have called me on it.....just as the Spirit tried to do. But you and I both know how easy it becomes to ignore His voice when you give it a little practice.

Even when you rejoin the body you are going to have to make a choice to be real.
And you know what......He may not even use someone from that body to be your eye to eye person. It is really about be willing to be one with the body again. You can not say you love God whom you have not seen and not love the one that you can see. We will be known by our love for the brother. Yes, even the ones who hurt us.
Hey you have joined with me and you do not KNOW me. I don't know you and yet I love you.
I pray from many of you......and we have seen answered prayers. If you can believe it when I tell you...I love you.....you can reach out and believe another sister.
I have been there.....you can!
Why write all of this?
Because I would pray this year that some of you will take the step to rejoin the body.
There is a sister waiting for you.
One who sits on her couch -hands folded-waiting for the sister she has longed for.

I have spent a long time sitting on that couch wounded and weary. I have wondered if there would ever be another that I would want to trust.......you know...why bother?
God knows our hearts and its hurts.
And He will not ask us to do what we are too wounded to accomplish. Like Beth Moore says, wounded people do attract wounded people.
But could it be that your wounds healed long ago
and yet in stubbornness you are just unwilling to be obedient?
I have heard women here tell me how lonely they are. And my heart understands and hurts for them. I have spent many years there on the couch lonely.
And I am reminded that-
1 lonely woman +1 lonely woman= two women joined arm n arm
working together for God.
:)
There are other women out there who will love you face to face.....just like He does.
Maybe you are in church and you still don't have a face to face person. Again I would remind you
that maybe she belongs to another body of believers. Maybe you will find her at a Bible study.....or at an in home church. Maybe you will find her doing volunteer work.
But you have to step out in faith.
We all have to have someone who knows us and who will lovingly give us a kick in our patoot when we are acting in rebellion or just being lazy.

How about you?
Do you have an eye to eye person other than your husband?
Or is there a sister in waiting out there.....one who is waiting for you?

21 comments:

Holly said...

You have blessed me Sister so very much. I love you, too!

As for eye to eye people, I have about three, who unfortunately live far away. One has known me for over 17 years now and we have travelled the roads together, encouraging each other along. In fact, she and he husband are going to minister overseas today through next week, and my heart is pulled to pray for her every step of the way. That's what sisters do.

By the way, I am so blessed to be your friend and sister. Praying you along on your journey, too!
Love,
Holly

Janera said...

Sharon, I considered emailing you about this story, but I'm going to step out on a limb with courage and respond here.

You are talking to me, dear one, in this post. I have shared on my blog, very briefly, in passing, that we are currently not attending church. This "currently" has grown into a couple of years.

My heart longs to go back. For years, I was unequally yoked. Still am to a certain degree. But what keeps me from going back now? One thing is that I don't want to be the one taking the responsibility for it as I almost always did before.

The other? The main one? Laziness, shyness and fear.

I'm praying about it, feeling lost and guilty about not going, afraid of starting over. Afraid of rejection again.

Silly me. Bound by my own weaknesses.

Thank you for this post.

Sandi said...

You could have been writing about me a few years ago. I was blessed to have a friend who also left the church nag me to stay in a body of beleivers and she and her husband helpped my husband and I find the right church. But it was easy to sit on that couch. I'm glad for my friends push off the couch.

Michele Williams said...

I totally understand. I have been homebound for over five years due to chronic illness. I go to our church when I am able. My husband is the pastor. I feel guilty because I am not there and serving the Lord as I once was. I also have felt the hurt that many have felt too. When I became so ill that I was unable to attend, no one from our church reached out... strange for one who is a pastors wife who even taught on encouraging others within the church. It seems that people know what to do when someone is sick for a short period of time, or even surgery, but what do they do about one with a chronic illness? So, they don't do anything.... I had become bitter... This year God had worked on my soul... my heart.... I have forgiven everyone... Things are still the same... except for my heart... I can love again...I have reached out to those in the blogging world and they have reached back... I continue to reach out to our church family... still not much effort on their part... but I will continue to love them and reach out... I desire so much to have that eye to eye... I have even asked for it... I will keep praying...God will bring us together... there is a "sister" out there for me.... I know it.... I desire it....

Thank you for your open heart... it means so much to me!

Blessings....

MelanieJoy said...

Wow. Where do I begin. First, thank you for being so bold. It's encouragement to me to do the same. My heart has always ached deeply when I see people "step out" of church for what ever reason. When I left my home church over seven years ago it was over a painful hurt. When I began to miss Sunday after Sunday my mentor at work (whom I still thank my God for over and over) found out she extended an invitation to come to her church. It was a huge step for me to walk into a strang place and it took me a long while before I opened my heart again...but I kept going until God began to heal my heart and mind. When God called me back to my home church where the hurt actually acurred...it was the same process that I had to go through with my Mom....an act of real forgiveness and then letting go of the past. We hear sermons and talks on forgiveness...we say yeah yeah yeah...I know...but it's not a topic that we can just say yeah I get it...it takes real understanding.
I'm joining you in prayer...
Ladies, we do...we need each other and there are others out there waiting on us. Yes, He can use us to reach out to another...especially if it's a case we can relate to...be it a hurt or ect.

Deanna said...

Very well said :O)

I think many can relate! I can, and I do in the present. Although, I am surrounded by some very special sisiters in Christ, we (my family)are not attending "church" as tradtionally known.

We recently left our church after about a 5+ year stint of regular attendance and much invlovement. It was a very hard thing for us to do. (details are to much to describe and better kept quiet, but I will still say I love the Pastor and am FOREVER thankful for him and our family still keeps in touch.)

We had planned to venture out to do some 'church shopping' after a couple weekends to just be "off". Then found ourselves being led in a whole new direction that I never dreamed we'd ever journey- Home Church.

We meet together every Wed to share a meal and fellowship (kids and all). Sunday mornings we meet and share scripture, share things like what the Lord has impressed upon hearts, prayer, etc... we've shared in the Lord's supper as we sat on the couches together(again kids and all.) Right now we consist of about 4 families with occasional visitors. We also have done some small serving / ministry in the community as well- that's always a favorite time for me:O)

**I do want to make mention that even tho Home Chruch seems like the way to avoid any and all drama, that's not true. Just like there is no perfect church or pastor out there, the same remains for the Home Chruch. But we shall praise the Lord because when we keep our eyes focused on HIM, all things can resolve and will come to the good of those who love Him. (eaiser said than done sometimes- I know, but God is forever faithful :O)***

I agree, we have to be very careful not to let ourselves get out of the link! It's a lot easier to get out than it is to get back in.

You are so gifted with your writing, and have blessed me several times during this short time that I've got to 'know' you through blogland:O)

Thank you so much & God Bless.

oh, and thank you for the sweet comment you left me the other day! It blessed my heart to hear your words, ususally I don't receive encouragement like that from a mom who doesn't homeschool. thanx again- it blessed my heart.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I just wrote you a lengthy comment, but it didn't post. Blast. It was really good too. Don't have the energy right now to retype.

peace~elaine

luvmy4sons said...

Oh sweet sister. What a chord I am sure you struck in many. Nothing like a bunch of sinners trying to live out life together walking by faith. Love is messy. We didn't stop going to church after our hurt...a woman literally stalking me...dangerous and bizarre...something out of a novel...not real life...yet it was. But we joined a VERY BIG church. Over 7,000. As of today we remain but a number in the pew. The idea of letting someone in again...we weren't ready. Funny thing is both hubby and I started looking into small groups...at the same time unbeknownst to each other...before this post of yours. It is one of our New Year's resolutions to get connected again. Because you can be a member of a church and not be part of a church....Thanks for this heartfelt, wonderful post. Love and joy to you in the New Year.

Sherri Watt said...

What a heart felt and honest post. I just stumbled onto your blog but I really like your honesty. I spent years away from the church and then eventually away from God. What I finally figured out is, when we get hurt, we have to RUN to God not walk away. I will be following your writing. God Bless!

MJ said...

What a beautiful post. I, unfortunately, do not have an eye to eye person anymore. I thank you for all the support you give me in our blog world...you are very special and I really appreciate it.

Denise said...

Beautifully awesome post my dear sis, you are speaking to my heart. I love you, bless you for being you.

Halfmoon Girl said...

What a great encouragement. We need each other. We need to be real, and we need to challenge each other. Thank you for being brave enough to be transparent and share what is on your heart, Sharon!

grey like snuffie said...

Interesting post and all the comments. I find it interesting that so many find themselves in this place. In our little town I know of MANY who have been walking with God for a LONG time who have stepped out of "church", for all sorts of reasons. So far they are all growing in their relationship with God, almost like being re-established at a new personal level with the One they kind of lost contact with during years of "doing" church in the box.

For me burn out in leadership left me dying---LONG story. But two years with God has left me rested, healed, restored and hungry for Him...God in that passionate Jesus Freak way of the 70's when we all fell for Him hard. It is so sweet to have that intimacy back. It's like being re-centered on the right thing.

I have stepped back out and I'm "doing" what He calls me to, I have a couple of eye to eye sisters... What I miss the most--worship.

I am still wary about "church" and the little boxes of how to be a Christian but we're going to search for a new home--trusting in Him for where we are to be planted.

For me it's been good to be shaken and challenged in how I was living---not so much that it was wrong but that I lost the intimacy of Jesus.

I can't even imagine what God has for my days but we shall go forth.

Sharon said...

My sister, I will have to catch up on your site.
Happy New Year my friend looking forward to sharing more of God's word with you next year.
God Bless
Love
Sharon

try2bAsunbeam said...

Sharon,
I would've been one to answer "no" to your question. The believers are to be in fellowship with one another. Iron sharpening iron. Matthew 18 can't happen if you are alone.
My church is small but we all act as that eye to eye person for each other. And, yes, there are a couple ladies who know me, sinful and all, whereas others don't know quite so much about me. They are my support beams where my foundation is Christ. They hold me up when I want to fall.
I was thinking, that even though a person goes to church, it doesn't make them part of the body. You have to put yourself out there. I am picturing some people in our church who come week after week but do not participate. A verse comes to mind (go figure, I don't know the reference) that talks about putting on love. It is something we have to do. We really shouldn't be the one who sits with folded arms waiting for someone to come to us; we are to put on love and open our arms to everyone else. Easier said than done, but it's something we have to work on.

(hugs)
Becca

Mary said...

Sharon,

You are a blessing and always an inspiration to me. I do not attend church because of the cliches that gather in His name. I find that many within the walls of what we call God's house do more harm than good to those who are trying their best to walk with God. Therefore, I have chosen not to attend, but do indeed see your point.

This is food for thought and prayer. Thank you for being such a terrific teacher for Him.

Happy New Year, my friend. May you be abundantly blessed by Him throughout 2009.

Hugs,
Mary

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Sharon:
Reread your post this morning. I so need the accountability of the body. Mine is kind of built in, as we are a clergy family. Still and yet, it's easy to be removed from the context of community, especially when we choose to simply "play church" rather than truly "being the church." As strange as it may sound, blogging has given me some measure of accountability.

Sure, I can shut it down when I want, but I haven't. God has kept me to my "journaling" via this crazy route, and I know I am the better for it. If I didn't have my sisters keeping me motivated to write and to be involved here, I'm sure my lazy would take over in quick measure.

I sense community here, and while not face to face, relationships are growing (slowly at times), but I think they're real. Thank you for bringing your real to my life this year.

Let's keep to the road together, arm in arm and with Jesus as our guide.

peace~elaine

Connie@Little Red Hearts From God said...

You know... I actually stepped out of church... but for reasons that I didn't want to be accountable... I had some major issues...
Then God made me face them....
I am back in church now and I am being held accountable...

what you say is TRUTH....and very powerful....

thank you for reinforcing what God has been saying in my life over the past months....

blessings
Connie

Darlene said...

Girl..have you been the fly on my wall? I hope you have heard the saying. We have not attened church regularly for 2 going on 3 months due to the embarrassment and not wanting questions asked about our daughter. This is so hard ...a road that if I had to chose would not be traveled. When I read this post...I looked around thinking is she in my home or my head! My husband and I both feel so down in the pit ..we feel like we are being drugged through the mire and muck and can't seem to pull out...just when you think things are turning up for a change it feels as though we get pushed futher down again. I agree with you ..we need to get back into the body...I also agree that this is the year for the YES answers to our prayers! Thanks for this heartfelt post....I believe it was for me!!
Praying for you and yours!
Darlene

Amanda said...

Oh my, I feel as if that post was written just for me. It is certainly what I needed to read, and to know. You have been given such a wonderful gift, you have an amazing talent for connecting with people through written words. God bless you sis. May you receive as many blessings as you bring to those around you. xo

Denise said...

Powerful stuff...... We are out of church and praying for God to lead us to the place that HE wants us to worship.......... I will move into this new year with hope.......... Blessings girl for the year that lies ahead of us......