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From "Under Authority" to Owning Myself Again

By Muse77 ~

In 2005, I was a deaconess in a small full gospel church, my husband was head deacon and together we did bible studies for couples and I was part of the music team. That year, my husband fell in love with his secretary and left me and our three kids, then 14, 7 and 18 months. As you can imagine, this was a very painful time in my life, but the worst was yet to come. My pastors talked to my husband and came to me, convinced his wandering ways were my fault for being a rebellious 'Jezebel' and that I should immediately submit to counselling and prayer ministry (read that, deliverance ministry). At that time I was desperate to save my marriage and I did submit, for a while. When the humiliation grew to be too much, I started bucking the system, only to be told I was in rebellion and that I needed to be 'under their authority' if I had any hope of being 'spiritually well' and saving my marriage. My husband had refused counselling, seeing through their motives and he left the church for good. Between the heartbreak over a broken marriage and the emotional beating I was taking at the pastors' hands, death seemed a better option. But I had three kids to look out for, so I summoned all the courage I could and left the church and the all the friends I loved in that church, behind.

The pastors warned the congregation not to associate with me because of my so called 'rebellion' so I didn't hear from them. At all. My dearest friends abandoned me because they were afraid to go against the pastors' wishes. It was indeed an especially lonely time in my life. I did, after some time, join another church where my children and I found some healing. I was even coaxed into music ministry and found some satisfaction in that for several years. What was the turning point for me? Pastors who still wanted to manipulate and control for one. Inconsistencies in what the church claimed to believe and what they lived out day by day. And then, meeting a man who was not a Christian but who is the sweetest, kindest and funniest person I have ever met. He respected my faith, but when we had discussions about Christianity, he would ask me questions that I could not answer. I mean, I could give out pat answers as I'd been coached to in church, but those answers sounded totally non credible as I tried to explain them. He encouraged me to think more deeply, to think for myself. I think every Christian has had their share of doubts and questions that their religion does not answer satisfactorily. And I began to question, why doesn't the church have solid answers......?

The lack of logical answers and the plethora of ministers who crave recognition or who are greedy or power hungry are the main reasons I left mainline Christianity and the church. That and the criticism and judgmentalism that goes with it. The 'we are better than you because we have Jesus' club. Who needs it? The hypocrisy is untenable for me any more.

So where am I in my faith? I am not sure. I'm slowly piecing together a new life on a daily basis. I'm happier not living on a steady diet of guilt and condemnation. I like owning myself again. Though it's been hard, I've tried to come to a place of forgiveness towards the Christian community. If they knew better, they would do least, I hope that is true. It's been a blessing to come across the testimonials here. It is comforting to know, I'm not the only one.