We all have a history. We all have a past. Some of us have been raised in the church and been hurt, and hurt so badly our aching hearts have wandered beyond the wooden pews and air-conditioned walls never to return. The one place that we should be finding solace, salve applied to our woundedness, and drinking from the well becomes a place of cold unacceptance, obliterating judgment, intolerance, lack of compassion for wounded hearts, and the kind of piety and hypocrisy that sets itself up as one step closer to The Savior than you because you have different convictions.
Yesterday, I went to church. Yesterday, you didn’t see the tears that had caused my mascara to run. Yesterday, I needed understanding, a soft place to land my hurting heart. Yesterday, you told me that I wasn’t strong enough, that I hadn’t forgiven enough. Yesterday, I went home feeling defeated.
Yesterday, I went to church. Two days ago, my family fell apart. Yesterday, I heard how I wasn’t living a godly enough life, and that is why my family is broken. That it was somehow my fault that reconciliation could not be reached. Yesterday, I needed to hear how sin affects us all. And yesterday, I needed to hear that Jesus hates the loneliness and pain I am going through as a result of it. Yesterday, I needed what the church claims to be: a family. Yesterday, I heard that I wasn’t a part of any family, that I wasn’t welcome in any family. Yesterday, I went home lonelier than I felt when I entered the doors.
Yesterday, I took my two little girls to church. Alone. Yesterday, I struggled to get their hair fixed and breakfast fed. But I did it. Alone. And I cried because this isn’t what I wanted, to do this alone. I needed to know that Jesus was there with me. That He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Yesterday, I was proud of myself for taking my girls and myself to church. It was something I wanted for all of us. Yesterday, I walked in with my hands full of two rambunctious girls who were missing the daddy they barely knew. Yesterday, I was met with cold judgment. Yesterday, I felt unwelcome. Yesterday, I heard, “Where is your husband?” Yesterday, I needed to hear, “How can I help?” Yesterday, I left feeling that church was the place for intact families. Yesterday, I left feeling that the divorce was my fault that there must have been something wrong with me and that is why he left. All because my girls were giggling in the back row. Yesterday, I needed compassion. Yesterday, I didn’t receive it. Yesterday, I left feeling like I wasn’t needed, that I was permanently flawed, and that I was the reason my life was in shambles. Tomorrow, I don’t know if I will be able to get out of bed. My heart is breaking.
Yesterday, I went to church. Yesterday, I heard about how disgusting homosexuality was to God. Yesterday, I heard how my sexual preferences were too despicable for Jesus to redeem. Yesterday, I heard how my sexual preferences were the problem with America. Yesterday, I heard ignorance from the pulpit. Yesterday, I left feeling angry. Angry because these Christians don’t get it. They don’t understand how your sexual preferences develop in adolescence and sometimes you have no control over how those develop. Especially if your first sexual encounter was by some older male authority figure in your life. Yesterday, I left feeling hurt and misunderstood. And yesterday, I left feeling that I was so far from the throne of grace that I might as well quit trying.
Yesterday, I received a pastoral call. Yesterday, this pastor told me that I had to have a relationship with my parents because of their position in the church. Yesterday, I heard that it didn’t matter what federal or state crimes they had committed against me, I had to forgive them, have a relationship with them to preserve the peace and unity of the church, and meet with elders on a monthly basis so they could determine if I had forgiven them or not. Yesterday, I left feeling misunderstood. Yesterday I left angry and hurt. Yesterday, I left feeling that there isn’t a single pastor in the United States who understands the gravity of sexual, physical and emotional abuse on the life of a child. Yesterday, I left feeling that the church had not only failed, but also was grieving the heart of the Father.
Yesterday, I went to church for the first time in years. Yesterday, no one said a word to me.
Yesterday, I went to church and pulled out a cigarette. I felt the scorn of the holy ones. They don’t understand how hard it is to break the cycle of addiction.
Yesterday, I went to church.
Tomorrow I won’t be back.