Recently a comment was made that said, “For me, it has certainly been a journey of two steps forward and 1 step back, sometimes with the steps backwards happening in succession before moving forward again.”

I can relate to that today. One of the struggles on this journey of recovery are the steps backward and what forms they come in. For weeks I have felt like I was improving and doing better. I was hopeful for healing and that some reconciliation would be possible with my old pastor. Last week when the meeting didn’t go well it took wind out of my sails. This week as I met with my counselor (who had met with the pastor, elder, and I) we had a very frank discussion and he shared openly about his feelings regarding my situation. He feels the pastor’s communication and actions toward me are unhealthy, that his charges toward me show no credibility or substance. He feels that I have definitely shown a faith in God, and a heart that is turned toward God and believes that the elders have made sinful decisions and actions toward me. Finally, he said that he would describe what has happened to me as spiritual abuse, because what could be more abusive than having my walk with God and salvation judged by others.

One of the known issues with abuse is denial. It is very common, especially with domestic abuse for the victim to deny abuse occurred because of their love, connection, and commitment to the abuser. The same thing can happen in spiritual abuse. It is really hard coming to terms with the fact that others believe I have been abused again. I don’t want to describe the situation with those words because I love that pastor so much, and I believe that deep down he has a good heart. The reality is we can believe whatever we want about abuse, faith, life, etc. Our beliefs don’t change truth. Truth is truth. People don’t believe God exists, but he does and those who don’t believe pay the price of their salvation. I can not believe I was abused and deny the hurt and betrayal but the one that most hurts is me.

I have taken two steps forward (maybe even more), but this is one big step back that is going to take some time and work to get over. My heart is broken again and only God can provide the true healing I need. I am very thankful to know the truth that he is where I need to turn and that I have the faith to trust that. Accepting truth can be hard but it is only through doing that where we will move forward in our healing and find true hope.