I was at grace for 14 years before I walked away. I guess I gradually faded out. In the beginning I was valued. I served, was an intern a few times, worked full time, had a leadership role, went on multiple pilgrimages. I loved being part of this and bringing others to know Christ. There were some things that I look back on now and wonder how I didn’t see the control and manipulation.
We had to know how a certain system worked at church. But every week one of the leaders in the church would rewire everything and leave us to try and solve it Sunday morning. I would be emailed at work about a situation and told I needed to leave to take care of it at church. My job didn’t allow for that but I would take personal time to go and help out. If I made a mistake in ministry I was questioned on what sin was in my heart that would lead to a mistake. But I didn’t see it yet. Then I got married…only slight changes happened then. But once I had kids everything flipped.
I was still working full time and I would be asked regularly about staying home. I know I am called to the job that I have. But they (leaders wives in particular) would say that a woman should be the care taker of the home. I remember one of the women gave me the helpmeet book and the child training book mentioned on this site. I almost called off my wedding 10 days before. I couldn’t be what this woman was or parent the way this book said to I felt like I was never good enough. Luckily, my now husband told me to burn the books and forget about them.
We stayed in the church after we we’re married for almost 7 years after we we’re married. I faded out of ministry after I had my first child. I dealt with ppd and had a lot of support at the church at first. But when I tried to re-enter ministry the way God was leading me to use my gifts I was repeatedly shut down for 2 years. Leaders would not return my emails or avoid me at church. Eventually the leaders wives would tell me that it was my own sin that was keeping me from serving in this way. They believed I should be serving in children’s ministry. If you know me that is so not a good fit. I was not made to be with small children. I love my own and thank God for that. There were some other interactions dealing with my children, my role as a wife, being told that I couldn’t hear from God because I was not the leader in our family, etc. Then a major medical and financial event occurred and we reached out asking for help but didn’t get it. Leadership claimed they helped (I think one emails said that a wife had brought back meal) but really it was people outide of grace who helped us.
I was very depressed and needed someone to meet with, but I was told that they were too busy unless I joined children’s ministry. Basically, if I was of no use to them they had no time for me
it was a way to manipulate me into compliance. Eventually one of these women questioned what I had heard from God and said I should trust her hearing from God on this issue in my life. After that 2 other women said the same thing. I kept going to prayer meetings and was constantly told to “come under authority”. It was like the mantra of anyone I encountered. I felt crazy and lost and hopeless. From there I continued to see clearly as if a blindfold had been removed. Unfortunately my husband didn’t see it at the same time.
He was counseled to really pray about leaving. This leader had told him he had considered leaving but God had him come back. Luckily, 6months after I told my husband I felt God leading us away from grace church, after a lot of discussions, a lot of prayer, counsel from others I had stayed friends with that had left, and a close friend and lead elder disappearing in the middle of the week with his entire family (that was the big red flag for my husband) we left.
It has been several years now and I still have to work on recognizing true grace and re-learning the love of God. I think I cried the first month at our new church. I felt so light and free …I felt the love of God from the people, but so lost and uncertain. It was emotional. I learned so much and grew so much at grace. I have a lot of good with a lot of bad. I am still trying to untangle the 2.
I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God hears us and is working in the spiritual realm to fight the darkness and remove the blinders that are on those still at Grace. Some of us are praying every Thursday at 8pm. Join us wherever you are. Get together in groups. And if God calls you to speak to someone do it.