This week will mark four months since being removed from my church, and two months from having the pastor tell me that there is no avenue for reconciliation and restoration. It has been a long journey, and one I have anguished and grieved over how to walk through this and communicate about it because I desire a heart of love, grace, forgiveness, hope, and mercy.

On Friday I finally shared my story with family and friends. Until that time only four people knew what had happened and two of them I had shared with face-to-face just recently. Since the very beginning of this journey one goal has been on my heart – I want to walk through this in the way that Christ would, I want to live in a way that is worthy of the name Christian. It would be very easy to take on bitterness, anger, malice, slander, gossip, and to walk in brokenness, but that is not what God would call us to. I knew that when it came time to share with those in my life I would be sharing with non-Christians, Christians who have been hurt and abused, Christians who were disillusioned, Christians who do not have a strong faith or Biblical foundation, in addition to some very godly people. I wanted to walk through this in a manner that would be a light and witness to everyone.

One of the biggest questions was what to share and how much to share. Due to the nature of my story and the fact that others have not been willing to walk through this with the same commitment to Biblical standards, reconciliation, and restoration there is still brokenness that exists. I have waited this long hoping that would or could be worked through, or that I could at least testify that we were working toward it. Unfortunately that has not happened. So, I was faced with the dilemma of how to share with honesty but with a heart to not hurt, slander, or cause disunity. I don’t know if I walked that line well enough. Some would say yes, others will say no. I have had to lay it at God’s feet and ask him for forgiveness and further training if I made mistakes. I do think I walked through it well enough to be a positive witness.

This weekend I received emails from a variety of friends, but it included a Jewish friend and a non-Christian, both of who I have known and walked with for over 13 years. The reinforcement they gave about my heart, my witness in their lives, and the love I have shown them I have for people and for God deeply touched my heart. I love the encouragement and support from God’s family, but there is a piece where I sort of expect it to be there. (I am not sure that is good, I am just being honest here.) To have the words shared by those who do not have relationship with God and to know that my life is a witness to them is deeply encouraging and reassuring.

Now that the news has been shared I feel like I can finally really step forward and move on. I have decided that I will not hide my story. I have no desire to hurt those involved in any way, and I am praying that God sanctifies my tongue and heart to keep them pure. I will not live in bondage and secrecy either. There is freedom in being able to tell my story, and with that freedom comes healing and hope. I have already had people asking me to share my story and my journey, and I want to turn the tragedies in my life into a witness that brings hope and healing to others.

The goal of this blog is to help others find a path of restoring their heart and coming back to God and hopefully to the church. As this chapter in my life has now closed I am really looking forward to embracing the opportunity to be more of a light to others and to focus on them instead of my journey. I do believe though that I now have even more practically knowledge and wisdom about how to walk through restoration and to find hope again. I praise God for that everyday!