Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I've wrestled round and round with this piece.  I wanted to find a way to make it tactful. 
Something wrapped pretty, with a big bow.
And for no one to send me awful messages after they read it. 
I wanted that. 
I always want everyone to like me. 
But this has been like a fire in me. 
And something that I need to own.
Church that helped raise me, it wasn't ok what you did.
Can I please shout that from the rooftops, its not ok what you did to me?
It isn't ok what you've done to others.

You never really knew me, you know.  You didn't know my heart.  Ever.  In 28 years or so, you never knew me, the Andrea that is.  The person I am.
I wore a mask because I was raised that I needed to do that. You taught me that.
It wasn't even in those final meetings that the deepest scars were born. 

Perhaps it was the time I shared for the first time in my life about my abuse.  And that was met with conversation that somehow when it ended, I believed it was my fault. That I deserved that.   I was made to feel shamed.  I was made to think it was ok, that somehow that Jesus thought that as well.  And before the next Sunday, I learned that it had been already shared with others.

Perhaps it was when I was told to just be positive.  And for years, I stuffed every question, and every doubt, and just happy clapped my way while wearing this mask and never acknowledging what I felt, because somehow, that was bad.  A sin.  I couldn't feel what I was feeling.  I couldn't process, and this girl had so much to process through. 

Maybe... maybe it was when I would question my pastor... I was met with the fact that I wasn't being submissive.  And that what I was doing was rebellious, and again, forcing me to be put under that yoke of shame, and that  me owning my feelings was wrong.  Because it did that.   Please, show me the heart of Jesus in that.  Show me.

All of that was the most heavy load to bear.  So heavy.
And those moments and more, every time, they made me bleed. 
And I did become cynical, rather than vocal about how things could be changed. 
I will own that.  I was so cynical.  I still struggle with not be cynical.

And then that meeting.  The meeting where I was told I could bring no one, but so thankful for a woman who stepped alongside me and insisted that she come.  Because I didn't want to stand up and say that's my right to do.  To bring someone with me.  I was afraid.  I knew that it was my crucifixion, you know..  I walked in with a jury present.  Call it what you will, but it was a jury.  I listened to the charges against me. They were written all down on that legal size yellow notebook.  I was divisive, I didn't get along with leadership, I wasn't submissive, I was rebellious....  I could continue, but I won't.  Even told that some of those things were rumors, but somehow, they became fact.  It was decided before I ever came in that room, and I knew that not one word of defense could make it better.  So I didn't.  I sat.  And listened.  What you didn't see was the fact I could barely walk to the car I had come to that meeting in.   The wave of emotion that hit was unlike anything I've ever experienced.   I felt emotionally raped.  I said those exact words that same night to my friend.  She sat and wept with me, and truthfully, I don't know here I would be right now if she wouldn't have been there.  I said that I wished that I'd been physically assaulted, physically abused because I knew already how to deal with that kind.  I didn't know what to do with spiritual abuse. 
I sat while you, church, you told people who sat with me in those meetings, if they wouldn't stand by me, if they wouldn't be my friend, that they wouldn't have to come to meetings anymore either.  That was perhaps the worst part for me.  Being alone in that.  I told them they could, you know.  I told them they could walk away.  They didn't.
You left me to bleed, church, with no hope of restoration, and no binding of these wounds.
And I continue to process
All of it. 
However many years later.
My first step in healing was right before I moved to Oklahoma, and simply walking back into there, and finding some closure and being able to come to a place of forgiveness...but this is the next part.  This fire in me that I couldn't write about anything else until I wrote about this.  
To bravely say that it was not ok what happened to me there.  
Because it wasn't.

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