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Tempted to Leave

Tempted to Leave

Why keeping away from my church community wasn't such a great idea
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A number of years ago I started to withdraw from God's people.

Being involved in church seemed impossible because of family problems. My children had abandoned their faith. My husband's passion for God had cooled, and our marriage was taking such a hit that I wondered if it could survive much longer. My prayers seemed futile.

When I went to church, each time someone asked, "How are your daughters?" or celebrated their children's godly lives, my pain rushed to the surface.

When someone asked, "Where's Steve?" or bragged about their wonderful marriages, self-pity threatened to smother me.

No one else is suffering like me, I decided. I'll just stay home seemed like a brilliant idea, but the Lord urged me to stay involved.

Reluctantly, I returned to church, and over time, to a women's Bible study. Slowly, I discovered God desired to use his people—even at their most imperfect—to help me navigate rough waters. Here's what I learned along the way.

Be honest about struggles.

Often I was tempted to keep problems hidden, pretending, "All's right with my world."

Yet as I mustered courage to open up, I noticed my honesty freed others to remove "my life's perfect" masks and share their heartaches. This caused me to feel connected.

Some people seemed uncomfortable when I bared my soul (maybe they didn't want to "catch" what I had) but most thanked me repeatedly for my transparency.

Allow others to minister to you.

My honesty led to people offering me counsel, hugs, prayers, wisdom from the Word, and at times their tears.

As I humbled myself enough to listen, godly women helped me view my pain and hard times from God's perspective—a testing of my faith and a means to grow. I repented for believing the lie that all my difficulties were God's punishment for my failings as a wife and mother. I allowed women to help me win the battle against fears, doubts, and unbelief.

Caring believers encouraged me to stay in prayer and the Word and to trust God's timing. I embraced James's words: "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed" (James 5:16). I felt my soul being healed and matured—instead of just feeling grieved that my loved ones' weren't.

Fellow Christians also helped me see how God was answering prayers for my family life—a little at a time. Gratitude grew.

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Displaying 1–3 of 10 comments

Sister Carletta Lundy

June 27, 2013  4:15pm

Very well said. It is always encouraging for me when I read stories such as this because it reminds me that there will trials but God our Father, Lord and Savior reigns over it and us all. He didn't say we wouldn't suffer and have heartache in this life. And so, I will be sharing your words of encouragement with a Sister who is on my heart who needs to have God deliver her from people. Bless you and your family...

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canada post

June 21, 2013  9:15pm

My most recent rejection ocurred when I shared a burden with a Christian "friend I feel rejected and stupid for sharing. Obviously I went to the wrong "friend".

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May 01, 2012  11:46am

Good article. Yes I agree its so much easier in the first instance to lock ourselves away when we need to be sharing to benefit ourselves and others as a result. I dont agree with you Ruth, on several points: "I have more reason to write than any of you" who are you to say this? Do you know what has gone on in each one of our lives and hearts? no. Only God knows. I think you missed the point on the reason for going to church too. Yes we need to worship at all times not only the good times. But not only worship. Do the Lords bidding, share goodness, care, love etc etc Jesus did not soley worship God I will follow his lead.

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