We didn't leave in a big hurry. We had been feeling led away for quite sometime, but we tarried because we love those people. Eventually, choosing even brothers and sisters over the Lord becomes idolatry and all those prayers for direction start bouncing off the ceiling.
We've been worshiping elsewhere. It is a good church; we are getting excited about working with a body of believers again. We still love the other church. We still pray for the other church, everyone. There has been peace after the grieving and hurt.
Lately, though, friends who have missed us are popping up (at Target, and restaurants, and on the phone). . . and asking questions--where? why? . . . and sharing tentatively little pieces of their stories. And all this mess and hurt and confusion is spilling over into status updates and conversations we aren't looking for. I don't want.
In the beginning, I wore a bracelet. A dear friend brought it from Africa last year, picked out for Abigail (but I claimed it). I would wear it and remember to pray--
when I was angry-pray,
when I was hurting-pray,
when I was sad-pray,
when I was lonely-pray.But when the dust settled and peace reigned, I chose different adornment, and I had left the habit behind. Only to find in all the popping ups and status updates and undesired and awkward reunions and conversations, the peace fled and all the angry, hurt, sad, lonely came rushing back.
On Wednesday, I put the bracelet back on. To remember that all those feelings can be temptation too great to overcome. Or they can be an invitation from my God who is always faithful to work on behalf of those who love Him. An invitation to bring everything to Him in prayer and to wait for His answer knowing that He is, and His ways are, always good.
He knows every heart.
He knows every motive.
He knows every hurt.
He knows every single thing.
He is always working to redeem our lives.
And in His strength, that is where I leave it.
To answer a few of the questions popping up--
Where: we are going to a local church, more pentecostal than we've gone before.
Why: We shared our concerns with the proper leadership authorities of the church, and found them unresolved. We regret that we had decided to leave before sharing those reasons and have sought forgiveness for this mistake. The issues remain unresolved. We did not leave because of bitterness toward any leader of any ministry. I disagree with a few of the leadership decisions and doctrines put forth. That is all I will say. I will not be sharing our reasons for leaving with anyone as I am not the Holy Spirit and I do not feel it my responsibility to provide you with reason to remain where you are or to follow Him where He is leading you. I will be a listening and praying ear. I am good with your decision to be wherever it is you are convicted to be.
For my own peace of mind: I continue to love and pray for fellow believers in the church we left. I do miss you and the familiarity of worshipping beside and with you.