Dear Pastor’s Wife,
In the days, weeks and months following my departure from our church family I spent days with tears soaking my face, pillow and Bible. I could not believe that 11 years of love and service had been stripped away in a moment.
Eleven years of building friendships, developing a ministry and pouring my life into my job running your church was taken from me because I cried!
I did not shed a tear for 6 long months after receiving my husband’s terminal diagnosis. Strength was what had been poured into my life, carry on, do not fret, do not cry, and do not let them know you are hurting.
That is what you taught!
It was no easy task but it had been so ingrained into my being that I knew nothing else. During those months, I never missed a lesson, never missed church, a day of work or teaching a study. I was faithful, strong and confident in my ability to carry on as if nothing had happened, the way I had been instructed.
Six months into that new journey
I could hold it back no longer, tears had been dammed up behind my eyes for so long, and they just spilled out. In our meeting, our private, leadership prayer group, tears fell, released from the dam, over the flood gates, and down my face. Yet, instead of loving me through them, helping me to catch my breath, or catching those tears with God, you lambasted me, criticized me, forgot that I was human and treated me as though I had broken some sacred law and was damned to hell.
It wasn’t long before you took everything away from me,
my friends, my church, my ministry and my job. All I had poured 11 years of my life into, you jerked right out from under my heart. Surely it was a mistake, a bad dream, even a nightmare. Surely I would awake to find everything was back to normal. But that was not the case. Everything I had built and clung to was now gone.
In the days that followed I took to my bed desperately crying out to the Lord. Spending those days in prayer, with my creator were the most difficult and most precious of all time. In reading the Word, I found that tears are healing, and are caught by God and collected.
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8 NLT
But mostly, I learned forgiveness.
My heart ached for the friendships I once enjoyed, for the ministry once associated with my being, yet something bigger was happening within my broken heart! A yearning to draw closer to my creator, a need to let go of the pain of my past and cling tightly to the ‘new’ began to blossom from within. Forgiveness, I learned in not a ‘thing’ I must do, but a character trait I have the opportunity to allow God to develop in my heart.
In choosing to rise above my hurt, I found a newness of life, an ability born out of adversity; I found freedom in loving those whom had crushed my spirit. Today, nearly 8 years after I walked away from all I felt defined me, I continue to enjoy that same freedom of forgiveness which has also helped me to walk through new hurts I’ve experienced since losing my beloved husband.
Forgiveness is not forgive and forget, it really is releasing our pain into the capable hands of God and allowing Him to fill us with the freedom to live in peace and I am So grateful for opportunities to learn from the Best.
Oh dear one, my heart grieves for you. It’s hard to watch a love one pass, let alone not feel the love and support from those close around you. I’m thankful your healing and journey have brought you to a place of peace and forgiveness. When people hurt and judge so harshly in their own lives, it is usually an indicator there is something within themselves that needs healing as well. Thank you for your example to forgive!
Have you ever been hurt by those you love when the timing seems to say you need them the most? Was your heart open to forgive? Oh how I hope so!
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