When I have considered writing about my church experience, I never imagined I would begin by recounting my silent exit. I always believed my story would center healing, ministry, beauty, and relationships the church had provided me; that I would be able to “boast of Christ” by lifting up the church and her saints as I shard my journey of coming through hell by way of heaven.
Many of these things are true, which makes the exit that much more painful. I did find all the things one would hope to find in a church, hope, measures of encouragement, peace, and even love.
These experiences were life-changing and led to a great inner healing in my life. Unfortunately, these experience were accompanied by myriads of emotional pain, confusion, and frustration. I know that my experience is by no means singular. I also know that many who have experienced events similar to my own, are silent. This silence creates more pain and protects the men and women who have stolen from the body of Christ.
I will be speaking honestly about the experiences I had, both good and bad. I’m not going to change names or use code words. The men and women who continue to make decisions that benefit themselves with little regard to the damage they are doing are adults and have accepted or taken roles of leadership and need to be held accountable. I do not feel the need to protect them. I do feel an urgency to provide a place where people who have been hurt as I have can know they are not alone and are not the ones who are responsible.
It’s been a rough couple of years.
Relationships have fallen apart and away. Intentions and attitudes have come into the light, and the decisions and lack of discernment from the leadership took my church from a thriving sanctuary of relationship and healing to a superficial, unsafe, and harmful environment with a bottom line.
My experience attending church, reached a point where I felt so unsafe, unwanted, and unclear on a Sunday morning that that attending was doing more harm than good. I stayed as long as I could and then one day, I knew I needed to step out, for a time, perhaps for good.