Running to Someone, and moving into something, rather than running from something is the first step to freedom from any kind of abuse.
When Tim and I left the Mennonite culture, it was because we felt God’s call into ministry, not because we were completely stripped. Yes, there was more healing to come, but there was no resentment, bitterness, or Spiritual Abuse hanging over our departure.
We attended Koinonia Christian Fellowship for four years, where Pastor Steve and Beth Fleming were instrumental in bringing further healing into my life. The teaching spoke to the pain and, more than that, it stirred in me a new passion for that ‘inner calling’ to ministry, giving me purpose in my pain.
I observed how Pastor Steve interacted with his church family and watched how he dealt with people in difficult situations, and I couldn’t help but notice how gently Beth led people. (They probably had no idea how closely I watched!) I saw mentoring, accountability, care and compassion. Sure, they had their imperfections, everyone does, but it stood out to me that Pastor Steve talked about them in his preaching. He wasn’t trying to present himself as flawless. He allowed us to see who he really is. And that gave me permission to be real, to be human, to struggle and to invite God into that struggle.
When we ‘transplanted’ to Wilmot Centre Missionary Church at the end of the four years there, it was in obedience to what we sensed as God’s call, not necessarily because logic supported it. Driving further to a country church, in the wrong direction—away from the rest of our world—made no logical sense but when God speaks it’s best to go. Not so much because He is chasing with a big stick and will smack us if we don’t, but because I don’t want to miss what He has for me. His leading is always about bringing His good plan and good purpose in my life. So we followed the call.
That was six years ago. Our leaders have walked me through deeper healing and, what is more, they have encouraged and empowered me as a woman of God. They have launched me, as a team of elders and pastors into the very ministry that one of the leader’s wives spoke over me when we watched Lisa Bevere. They have called me to accountability, and have done so gently, and have given me permission to be human, imperfect and still they bless me.
My current pastors and elders know me better—the good, the bad and the ugly—than any church leaders have known me ‘heretofore’. (Love that word!)What is more, in spite of that they believe in me. They see God’s call on my life and they don’t demand perfect performance to make me acceptable. They know I repent quickly when I sin. They know injustice makes me ‘rage on the inside’. They know that when I see someone struggle, I will abandon my comfort zone to be there, to walk them through it.
Why do I tell you all of this, in stark contrast with some of my previous posts? Because this is how leadership should look. Never should we feel oppressed, put down, or inwardly crushed, fearful or destroyed by leaders. A true leader leaves a healing touch in his or her wake, not a broken heart or destroyed life. That is abuse, not leadership.
I also tell you all of this because it shows that healing happened in every church I was in—including the one where the worst abuse happened. I found Jesus in the good. The enemy is always out to kill, steal and destroy. We have to choose our focus—Jesus—and choose our healing—forgiveness. If our environment is abusive, it is up to us to find one that is not. We were created for relationship with God and one another, not abuse or violence or any form of oppression.
We get to choose whom we will serve, whether God or religion, but as for me and for my house, we will serve the One True God and Him only. We will run to Him and run passionately into the plan He has for us. It is a good plan!
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Go to First Post In This Series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/
Yes, amen! I love this, especially the last 3 paragraphs!!