Journal Entry, April 1, 2010

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Uncategorized, When Church Hurts
Tags: , , , , , ,

If you’ve ever wondered what goes on inside the head of a person who is mired in spiritual abuse, this is an example. It is an entry from the journal that I would take to church and write in during services. This entry is from Maundy Thursday, April 1, 2010. I sat in the very back pew and observed the service. I could not participate. As you will see, I was convinced that God had completely rejected me because of the way the leadership had been treating me for about a decade. This journal entry documents the level to which spiritual abuse had taken me. As the leaders and congregation moved through the service, this is what I wrote:

“Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary . . . . ”

I remember when I sang this song with my whole heart. Look at how He (God) has answered this prayer in my life: rejected, unwanted, untrusted, tolerated (out of obligation).

Chuck (the worship leader): “Let go of anything you’ve brought into this place tonight.” Well, Chuck, I didn’t really bring anything because I don’t have anything that anyone wants – especially not God. He continues to make that very, very clear through each day of lack of invitation, of lack of embracing, of lack of repentance & restoration on the part of those who have so intentionally diminished me.

Jonathan: “Offer up silent words of praise to the King.” You are God. You can do anything You like and what You like in my life is to continue to belittle me through those who are called by Your name.

This is what is wrong with the church today. They confess their sins privately to God but don’t confess to those they have harmed. What an important part of scripture that is ignored. How damaging.

But You are God. If You wanted it to be different, wouldn’t You make it so? This is why I am so convinced that You have me exactly where You want me to be and You are content that I stay here.

Jonathan: “It was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer.” It was the Lord’s will to cause ME to suffer and to crush ME.

Jonathan: “By Jesus’ death, your conscience is made clean.”


Your conscience is clean after murdering me? Just because you believe? You have no responsibility to me? Only Jesus? What about the Jesus who supposedly lives in me? In you? Would the Jesus in you be so passe about the damage you did to me while He was dwelling in you?

Jonathan: “Your life reflects the reality of God” (indwelling)


If this is the reality, I’m not sure I want any part of it.

How can I “feel the power of forgiveness” when I am so rejected by those in whom He dwells? I cannot reconcile this dichotomy. How can one be true and not the other?

In some sense, I wonder if I am trapped in a “time loop” of sorts – I’ll be invited when I exhibit healing. But where is healing in not being invited? In continually receiving the message that I am only tolerated – an obligation who can’t take the hint that I am unwanted?

I can’t find this love of God that moves beyond obligation in the pages of books. I have tried. I need to see it and touch it and hear it and test it – over and over and over. I need this love to say, “I am sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing. Please forgive me. Please come and rebuild a relationship with me. Please help me realize this great love of God that should be lived and acted out and shared and trusted.”

So, I sit here and wait – foolishly? And hope – foolishly?

I am nearly dead inside. I at least used to weep over this. Some sorrow. I barely feel anything now. Some sorrow. A tiny bit of hope yet. Not much else. Not even the slightest desire to pray . . . to sing . . .

All I really want is to be held and told, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry this has happened to you.”

I watch people who have crushed me and caused me to suffer with hands raised, exalted to high places – and I wonder, how can they do that? Do they not know? Do they not care?

And then I remember that I don’t matter. I don’t have the right looks, the right figure in my bank account, the right last name. I don’t live in the right neighborhood or in the right kind of house. I don’t drive the right kind of car or wear the right clothes or eat in the right places.

God lives in those who make these things important. God judges me through them. God withholds His grace, His forgiveness, His restoration, His acceptance, His invitation from me.

(As people went forward to take communion, Elliot, the senior pastor, came up behind me.) “Ellen, I just want you to know that I see you and I am praying for you.”

(I write:) Oh, Elliot, surely you are not so unknowing? Surely you know that prayers without action are worthless? Surely you know that I am aware that your words are worthless because you don’t follow through with actions?”

No invitation . . .
No place . . .
No part . . .
No . .

  1. husband poems says:

    i read your words with sorrow, sorrow mostly that this kind of abuse does sometimes lead us away from God instead of to Him. to be truly free you must accept your own responsibility, your own dark areas of sin and weakness. none of us are free of these things and the Lord allows us into situations for one reason only. to set us free from ourselves.

    i´m 56 years old and have not had one healthy church experience. is that possible? oh yes. but something happened in my last experience. after about a year i made an appointment with the pastor and the leader of the elders. i said exactly what i had witnessed. i wasn´t asked to leave but i was forced to resign from my duties. ten years later the Lord told me to do an on-line search. i didn´t realize it but i was about to go into years of serious persecution for my faith. i guess the Lord wanted to remind me of His strength.

    when i did this search i found that the pastor in question had been forced out a year later and that the new pastor had molested several of the church´s children and was then in prison. i had moved on and not looked back but never forgot one day in the library, before i moved, seeing a woman i had known. it was in the library and her little boy pointed at me and started to say hello. she pushed him on and completely ignored my smile.

    and the pastor of that church? it breaks my heart to say that this brilliant 46 year old man was dead at 56, addicted to pain killers and choked on his own vomit.

    God is not mocked, what we sow we reap. i would caution you about only one thing. make sure you are writing what the Lord wants. It is still His church, His body, and He will see to everything by and by.

    and you are in my prayers, may the Lord bring you peace. may He bring us all peace…

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