Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nurturing Your First Love

Some people don't have a problem picking up the pieces regarding their relationship with Christ after an abusive church experience.  They are able to carry on just as normal.   That is wonderful!  Others, like me, may have trust and abandonment issues that come into play which may make it difficult to pray, to read the Bible, to sing Christian songs, to venture into a church, to talk with other Believers, to celebrate religious holidays, etc.  Some of those activities might set someone who was spiritually abused down an emotional spiral leading to depression, flashbacks, anxiety, panic attacks, even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Yes, for some it truly is that bad.   These lasting emotional effects of the abuse may be robbing us of our first love:  Christ.

Today, I want to focus on getting back to our first love:  finding our way back to Christ after abuse.

Sometimes there are reminders that set me off and make me want to turn away from Him, however there are things that have helped me.  I'll share a couple ideas that have worked for me and another one from a reader's comment.

I used to play the piano and sing for the praise and worship part of the service at our former church and actually, I think that is what saved my sanity while there.   I disliked the sermons, but was able to focus on the music and the wonderful lyrics - especially some of the hymns with such deep lyrics:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

There are songs that remind me of songs from the former church.  I avoid them.  It's as simple as that.

Lately, I've been having a challenge of getting some down time for myself and yesterday, I grabbed my iPhone, put on Pandora.com, tuned into my preset "Fernando Ortega" radio station and vegged for a bit.   A little later, I realized that I hadn't folded three loads of laundry, so I kept the earphones in, volume turned to LOUD, and also sang loudly as I folded the clothes.  Wow, why don't I do that more often?  That personal praise and worship time was sweet and refreshing to my soul.

Ok, I just have to share this one with you:

In our former church, the pastor had a thing about New King James Bible.  Someone gifted our family with $$ at Christmas and I felt bad that our family only had New International Version bibles while everyone else seemed to have NKJV bibles.  We had NIV bibles and our former pastor did not care for NIV version.  I actually remembering him ridicule people who used it during mid-week service (yes, that should have been a red flag, not so much about the translation, but the ridicule).  So with that money, I bought brand new New King James Version MacArthur Study Bibles for our family.  I always appreciated the study notes, but I have to tell you, I haven't touched that Bible since we left the church.  With our move last summer, I don't even know where it is.  

But one thing I did do was buy a new Bible.   My new Bible is neither NIV nor NKJV.   It's a whole other translation I've never used before and I absolutely love it.  It's like reading the Bible in a new way.  I had memorized a lot in NIV, but now the new version is fresh, just slightly different wording that causes me to read more slowly and digest the meaning more carefully.  Because I had used NIV for so many years, I can sometimes read the new version and at the same time remember the alternate word that the NIV uses so I have this parallel thing going on in my mind which I find pretty cool!

I know of others who have replaced their Bibles.  They may not have changed translations like I did, but just to change to a new Bible, get a new start with clean, unmarked pages, can be refreshing.  Seeing your notes from pastors' sermons along the margins, words underlined that the pastor emphasized, very well-warn pages where the former pastor spent so much time in one place, can be more negative distractions (or even missing sections of scripture because of not going moving out of a chapter for 2 yrs!!!).  Do what you need to do to remove the negative distractions! 

Carol mentioned getting out in nature - a change of scenery:  "How about a solitary trip to a place you love (a mountain, a stream, a meadow, a lake, etc.) for the sole purpose of spending time alone surrounded by... well, surrounded by whatever comes to pass."   You can't get much more basic than that - go out into God's wonderful creation so you can experience Him.  

The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
 You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”
Isaiah 55:10-13

Do you have other ideas of how to remove/replace negative distractions and reminders?  Please share!

* * * * * *

I was recently informed that there is a financial need to cover legal expenses.  A number of you told me firmly to be sure to publicize this need if the situation arises.  It has.  There is a donation link in my sidebar.  Thank you so much.


  1. Julie Anne,

    after spending some time with you and getting to know your story, and especially after your humble appeal for some help to cover your legal expenses, I am beginning to feel that it may only be proper for your lawyer to file a countersuit for damages for the emotional and spiritual abuse you suffered at the hands of Pastor Chuck.

    I pray, LORD willing, that the Judge would award you a healthy settlement for what Pastor Chuck has perpetrated against you and your family. If I were the Judge (think of Haman’s gallows in the story of Esther) I would turn the tables and award you the $500,000 Pastor Chuck was attempting to bleed you of, and a whole lot more! Chuck is the real Perp here!

    Spiritual and emotional abuse consequently affects us mentally and physically, and should be seen as such. I pray for a righteous Judge who will in his Judgment send a clear message to all the other vicious wolves out there who hide behind their shepherd’s mantles to control, intimidate and abuse. The fact that he has pursued you with a $500,000 lawsuit is direct evidence against this relentless man of his victimizing abuse.

    Let us pray for a godly Judge! And a sacrificial love offering to cover the sins of Pastor Chuck! I’m referring, of course, to the Smith Family’s legal costs.

  2. Oops! Correction: "I pray for a righteous Judge who will in her (or his) Judgment send a clear message to all the other vicious wolves out there who hide behind their shepherd’s mantles to control, intimidate and abuse."

    My Bad!

    1. Thank you, David. I appreciate your words and support. Just for clarification, the Legal Defense Support is for all the original defendants in the lawsuit who may need it. Defendants have been dismissed, but that doesn't mean that bills have all been paid by the plaintiffs.

    2. That’s good to know, Julie Anne. Thanks for that clarification.

      Before I read what you just wrote I was just about ready to post:

      One more Correction: “...is direct evidence against this relentless man of his victimizing abuses.”

      I need to change ‘abuse’ to ‘abuses,’ for we must not forget that this man is still empowered to abuse. If Julie Anne’s story is true—and what I have thus far heard of it I believe is true, then Pastor Chuck must be stopped! If he has the power to do what he is doing to the Smith Family, what in the name of heaven and hell is he doing to others! Yes, grammatically speaking—because it makes a world of difference—I must correct the singular to the plural.

      Uhm, Who else is out there that has a story as evidence against Pastor Chuck?

    3. Last check, I have at least a handful in my private e-mail, but keep in mind, when Meaghan dared to post her name on my blog in her comment, she, too, was sued. Not many want to take that risk and so they only comment using a pseudonym or not at all. I know of a few families who will not post at all for fear that somehow the pastor's attorney can subpoena records of Google/Blogger. Fear is a very powerful tool in the hands of an evil man.

    4. Well, actually then, when Team Chuck comes to realize they don't have a case (or maybe they knew they hadn’t a legitimate case all along, just maybe this is all but a ploy to intimidate you, shut you up, and rape you of money you don’t even have!), Well then, at some point, if they have any scruples, they is gonna drop you like a Hot Potato!

      So then, What happens when Chuckie Poo finally abandons his whole charade? Your lawyers still need paid. My suggestion is this: while the lawyers work is covered have them file in such a way that no matter what Team Chuck decides to do—whether to follow through or bail out—You, the Plaintiffs get money for damages! Not just to cover lawyers fees, but, also, And this is the gist of my advise (that is, if I were on Team Julie Anne—and HAAA!! I AM!!), I would ask for an award that further covers the enormous amount of time and energy you are having to expend day and night to fight this monster. Laying aside, for the moment, the draining of your emotional energy, I’m talking actual Time taken away from all your other responsibilities. In terms of expense, just calculate the time you’ve clocked-in here to maintain your voice on this god-forsaken world-wide-web-blog-thingy-ma-jiggy, making sure our posts get moderated through, answering all the appeals upon your person, etc., etc... If I were Team Chuck I would begin thinking about settling with you Out of Court. Lawyers: think $500,000 for an arbitrary start! By-Golly! Where, in all of heaven and earth did I get such a number!? I wonder?

    5. I'm not up much on legal matters, but what happens with the legal fees of those Chuck dismissed? If he loses against you, he will have to pay your fees, correct? But what about the ones where he said, "Oops, sorry, changed my mind!"?

      I think David has an excellent point. I'm not big into litigation - except when it helps to stop malpractice. And this is pastoral malpractice. Pastors have power, just like a doctor, just like a therapist. They have a responsibility to use that power and influence wisely and carefully. Abuse can result in expensive therapy and lifelong health issues, in addition to the spiritual issues.

      The only thing that may stop Chuck from his random lawsuits is suing him. It's the one thing that may force his supporters to withdraw their support. Everyone in that church is codependent with him. They know the truth; it's just uncomfortable and unpleasant for them to face it.

      If you are awarded funds and feel you don't want to be compensated for your time and stress, then you could use such funds to sponsor retreats for those recovering from spiritual abuse or some workshops for ministers to learn about the dangers of spiritual abuse.

    6. Hi Jackie: I don't know how that works when the two lawsuits were dismissed. It is probably more clear when the judge dismisses it in the anti-SLAPP suit. I'm sure their attorney has ideas how to recover fees, but it doesn't happen overnight and obviously there are still incoming atty bills that need to be paid, thus the request.

      I've always been of the thought that Christians ought not sue other Christians. But I've never read a more compelling reason to counter sue. You've given me a lot to think about. Do I really have to be an adult and think about this? LOL

      When I read about the emotional trauma so many people are enduring at the hands of abusive pastors - years of therapy, sometimes in-patient care, just so they can function normally, wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to anonymously help fund someone's recovery bill?

      I think I'm going to copy your comment and put it in my *important read* file. A heartfelt thanks to you, Jackie!

  3. WOW!! This sounds just like Jeremiah was talking about the preachers of our day.

    Jeremiah 23

    1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.

    2 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.

    3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

    4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.

    5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

    6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.

    7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

    8 But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

    9 Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the Lord, and because of the words of his holiness.

    10 For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.

    11 For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord.

    12 Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord.

    13 And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.

    14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

  4. God will deal shepherds that abuse His people:

    Jeremiah 23:
    15 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.

    16 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.

    17 They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.

    18 For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?

    19 Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.

    20 The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.

    21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.

    22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

  5. Julie Anne,
    Your comments reminded me of many of the comments of the participants in my study who said that they had a hard time reading their Bible since they could still hear the preacher's voice in their heads when they came to certain passages. Unfortunately, some had to stop reading the Bible at all for that reason. They allowed some time to pass before picking it up and reading it for themselves. Another one of the losses--through the whole process of healing from spiritual abuse.

    Yes, trying different versions is one way of breaking the cycle and hearing the Word in fresh new ways. This also worked for a number of people. This will work for others as well.

    Seeing and hearing the Scriptures in a fresh new way can be enriching. Bible Gateway allows people to 'listen' to the Scriptures in different versions, with different voices. All good ways to learn and grow.

  6. Beloved in RecoveryJune 6, 2012 at 5:01 AM

    Julie - my heart goes out to you. I have been through a few of these. The first one the worst in that the loss included family that I had been very close to. That one - I couldn't even go anywhere. My husband did the shopping. I cried every day. I'd call the kids to gather 'round for some homeschooling, and just find myself crying on a stool in the kitchen, children scattered. I wouldn't even remember how we went from one activity to the other (the other being me crying again). When I began going out again, which came with some contact with the family I had lost, the first time I went to the local Rite Aid I walked into a totally different store. Meaning it was completely renovated. I asked when they did it and the looked at me like I was crazy and said "Last year."

    The second time I went through this, in a way it was worse because there was a legal threat. That really, really upset me. At first because I was terrified. Then, I realized how pathetic the pastor was being. Truly - his threats suddenly were just ridiculous to me. Like, he looked like a clown to me. Then came the anger. That he knew all I had been through in my life, and he would do this. He actually told us that the authorities were contacting him asking him what he was going to do about us. And it was crazy. He was the one who had really done something illegal, in an illegal meeting that he held that basically became a church takeover by him. We were on to him, and trying to expose him, and with that came a legal threat. And "the authorities were contacting him ..." Yeah, right. In other words, he ran into his buddy the Dep. Sherriff, and that guy asked him how things were going. I was angry at myself for being duped by this clown for so long, angry at him for acting so like a pastor, only to show his true colors. I was angry that we supported him for ten years.

    But the second time I had something I hadn't had the first time. The knowledge of what this kind of thing can do to you. I determined that it would not entrap me again. At least, I would fight that for all it's worth. And it's worth a lot.

    (to be continued)

  7. Beloved in RecoveryJune 6, 2012 at 5:02 AM

    Part 2.

    Here is what I lost the first time. Time. Time raising my children (I was in a corner crying). Time embracing each day with joy and love and thoughts of goodness. I heard recently that you can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you don't have to let them make a nest in your hair.

    Also, I will tell you that when my husband contacted an attorney to find out what we needed to do to protect ourselves from this ego-maniac ... and this attorney was a brother in Christ ... he gave some of the best counsel. He said to have as little contact as possible for one thing. If we were contacted in any way, to let him know that he needed to contact our attorney with any further communication. He said "I've dealt with enough Pastors, and too many are ego-maniacs. They seem to love the drama. The more you can minimize that, the better." My husband wanted some possessions that the pastor was holding, and the attorney simply said "Let it go. It will bring more drama, and you don't want that." He also let us know that the charges the pastor was talking about were ridiculous, and that we really had nothing to worry about. Nothing was going to be done, and no DA would ever want to bring such charges, and the pastor would be laughed out of the office.

    So all of that helped me to "move on" at least to the point that I did move on. I'm still grieving and healing from loss. I'm still angry at myself for being duped not once, but twice. But I am not the mess on the floor that I was the first time. I am tired. I am weak. Like I said earlier, when I host home church, it wipes me out for days. So I guess I am being robbed to a point - but it is knowing how much I lost the first time that keeps me from allowing it to go that far again.

    I am the only mother my children have. They are getting older - the years we will have together will be brief, then they'll be gone. So truly - the less time you have to spend on this, and the sooner you can get on with your life - the better. I will tell you, Julie - this ministry that has been birthed - for the moment, it may be right and good. But you may want to let it go to others who are doing similar things, and just point people "over there" after a while. Just so you can heal with your family and "move on" to all that God has for you. Like a girl who "likes" an unsaved guy - she has to step away and leave it to God because she'd be too entangled with her emotions. Or a woman who's been raped - she may not be able to help rape victims for years. Ministering in this way could cause you to get into a loop. Just sayin' be discerning. I think for now it's good, because you are gaining so much in being ministered to as well, while you walk through this situation. You're still in it.

    Distractions -- well, they say with death or calamity, or any difficult trials, that the best thing you can do is your routine as normal as possible. It is great for the kids, and pushes you forward to the next thing. I don't succeed well in that, because I am a writer at heart, and when something is bothering me, it seems I have to write about it. I'm in my own head too much. And that is part of the problem - because when we have a big problem like what you're dealing with - sometimes it's all we're looking at. The loud music, singing, etc. - songs that focus on HIM - is probably the best distraction, while you're going about your routine (as much as your routine in part is cleaning, or gardening, etc.).

    1. Beloved - It's amazing how God prompts things in my mind and then others speak the same things to me, underscoring those same ideas.

      Your words on time with children spoke to me loudest and since my life abruptly changed with the lawsuit, I am realizing that I am going to have to shift things around to better handle all that is on my plate. While the interest is very much alive because of the ongoing case and media still wants to cover it, I will make myself available because this is such a prevalent problem and needs to be exposed. After a lot of the dust settles down, I'm sure things will lighten up.

      Regarding the spiritual abuse: I've been working through this for a while now and feel that I am at a comfortable place. Like any abuse story, there will be reminders that you hadn't thought of. I feel confident that I have the tools to get through those bumps. If I can't get through them alone, there are friends and now new friends through this experience who have availed themselves to me. The spiritual abuse network of friends is amazing. It's interesting that those who have gone this path have chosen to stay in it and be a help to others who are years behind them in their process. I hope to do the same. It gives the pain some redemptive value, you know?

      This is all good - reflecting, challenging, rethinking, growing. I so appreciate you sharing your experiences and thoughts with me. It was very helpful to read and made me do some soul searching.

    2. Beloved in RecoveryJune 6, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      Julie -

      Do you like to go by Julie or Julie Anne?

      I do not mean to speak so much into your life as to share from my own and you then take what you need and leave the rest. So forgive me if I came off preachy or "you ought to" or "should." A saying I picked up at one time was "Don't let anybody should on you." Except God of course. And that is the thing that these controlling people try to take away from us. That is to say, our own relationship with the Holy Spirit, and that He actually can guide our lives! My daughter moved to the other side of the nation. Our relationship is great - but our pastor really frowned on her moving. I know that part of why she moved was the church we were in. Our pastor was of the Gothard belief that a daughter lives at home until marriage, and obeys her father's choices in her life. I like what is happening in her life so much more. She did choose a church that I would not have had for her - but we didn't harp on it. Just had open discussions. We listened to her pastor's messages, and honestly, they were great. We were helped immensely. For other reasons we had concerns, and I don't want to step on any toes so we'll just leave it there. The point is ... and imagine this ... SHE has the Holy Spirit too! And SHE is learning how to listen to His voice in her life. SHE is becoming very discerning. I think that a lot of that is lost when we demand blind obedience. "Don't think about it, just obey me." It actually robs us of our relationship with God.

      Enough said - just saying all of that to say that I am sure God will continue to guide you in this ministry and in your life. Back to gardening ... (MY therapy :) )

    3. Hi Beloved in Recovery:

      I prefer "Julie Anne", just like my User Id :) Thanks for asking!

      I didn't take your comments as preachy whatsoever - it was more confirmation of what I've already been sensing, so that's great how that works.

      It sounds like we have a lot in common. Part of me wants to hear more about those "other reasons". We've done the Gothard thing and know exactly what you're talking about - as if we "own" our adult daughters at the age of 21, 25, even 35. I'll refrain for obvious reasons. In abusive churches, one thing that was severely lacking was allowing the HS to work in our lives. How could we? Pastors become the Holy Spirit in abusive churches and you really can't think for yourself.

      Glad to know your daughter is doing well :) Gardening is lovely therapy - so many spiritual illustrations: planting, rooted, growing, blooming, fruit, etc. My husband and son have been working on our raised beds and have things planted, so it will be fun. Can't wait for tomatoes!

    4. Beloved in RecoveryJune 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      Oh, the sun is hot. In for a drink. I am loving this back breaking work though. I will much more appreciate it next year when we won't have broken new ground (how's that for opportunity for spiritual application). The other reasons are ... it was very, very charasmatic. I come from a charasmatic background. Since I was 16. Then when I was in my early to mid 30's, we left and were more in a fundamentalist baptist type of church. The daughter I speak of has only known the latter. I felt that the whole charasmatic thing was out of balance, and while I still had questions about a lot of things, I shelved them and embraced learning God's Word over experiences. There are wonderful people in my old church who love the Word and are charasmatic, so I am not trying to paint with a broad brush. Anyhow, the church my daughter went to was VERY charasmatic. She didn't tell us a lot until she was leaving. I'll just leave it there for now :)

  8. Beloved in RecoveryJune 6, 2012 at 5:03 AM

    Part 3

    I could go on and on and on, so it is probably a good thing that my routine is calling me right now and I must get back to it. My children have been robbed enough, and I want to get clean clothes in their drawers, and figure out what we'll be eating later. I know that my children suffer from having a Mom who's been distracted, and they deserve so much more. Church abuse has taken more than enough. I've been robbed! Enough already.

    I finally went to the Dr. about my pain, and they have me hooked up with a digestive specialist. I cut out coffee yesterday and just drank tea - and was doing so much better. Could it be that simple?

    Praying for God's grace to lift you and carry you above the storm where you can carry on no matter what is happening down below. He is able - I've experienced that too.

    1. Beloved, ouch. It is heartbreaking that you've gone through your experiences. Praise the Lord that you are still in fellowship with Him.

      Just want to share some encouragement about your kids. God promises in Joel 2:25 that He will restore the years that the locusts have eaten.

      Despair not. Love and hugs to you.

    2. Beloved in RecoveryJune 6, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      Thank you Jenn :)

  9. I understand exactly how you are feeling about things that were once positive becoming negative because of the associations you have with them. I think songs (as you mentioned) are especially difficult. Sometimes I will hear a song on the radio or Pandora that we used to sing at my old church - and I think of all of the people I no longer get to be with, the things I no longer get to do.

    I try to turn that around when possible. (Some days it doesn't work like this, because hey, I'm human). Instead of dwelling on the relationships I don't have anymore, I pray. I might say, "Hey God, I'm really missing so-and-so today." Or I might say, "God, please turn this situation around. Convict so-and-so about this or that."

    I'm not going to lie, it's hard! The bottom line is and what has taken a ton of time for me to accept (this summer it will have been three years since my last church "burn") is that God is Sovereign. He is over everything. Nothing happens in my life that escapes His notice or control. He never promised me that life would be pain free, but He does promise that He works all things together for good - and that good is that I will be conformed (made to look) like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29).

    So give it time. And trust God's promises. Faith is trusting that God will do what He says He will do (see those Jeremiah verses above)regardless of all evidence to the contrary (Heb. 11:1).

  10. I am currently attending a wonderful church, meeting new members and reuniting with friends who have left.
    I read the Word everyday now and meditate on God's holy Word, reviving my hope in my risen Savior, Christ.
    He is my hope and healer ultimately, but He also provides godly men who specialize in treating abuse victims. I am not a victim, I am healed and getting healthier as each day passes. God is so gracious! He is giving me compassion for my previous church as I lean on Him for guidance. I appreciate you Julie Anne for your courageous lead on revealing the pain and humiliation spiritual abuse causes in the lives of those who think they are being 'shepherded' and find out too late that this isn't what was happening at all. Hindsight is always 20/20~I have learned quite a bit, one for sure, I will not be silent....may be what I say can help someone else find the peace that only Christ offers.

    1. Meaghan - our relationship grew through the muck of the difficult church experience. If we hadn't gone through what we went through, we probably wouldn't be nearly as close as we are. And you are one person I treasure. I know you are helping others! You help me!

  11. Hi Everyone!

    I am delighted that my pal has posted my two new articles on my ChurchExiters.com website.

    The first one is entitled: "Their Story of Spiritual Abuse." It is about a couple who were at a church 30 yrs. They were both involved in church leadership when the woman thing in the church and spiritual abuse ended that fellowship. Maybe others might be able to identify with their story.

    The second article is entitled: "Spiritual Abuse and Why Do I Feel So Alone?!" I am sure that will resonate with many as well.


  12. We took a break from church for a while before trying to find another one, and not setting the alarm on Sunday really helped. Also, we spent some time together as a family on Sunday just doing nothing in the same room together.


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