A Transparent Life (part 2)

It was 2007 and I had just recuperated from a painful miscarriage.  After almost five years of marriage, I was ready to become a mother. My arms were empty and my heart was aching.  I spent months planning and preparing my body to be able to carry a child to full term.  My eye was on the goal and I was not about to be distracted.  After many heartfelt talks Barry and I set a time frame to begin trying for a family again.  Everything within me rejoiced at the thought of finally becoming a mom…there were no words to describe the excitement and peace I felt at the prospect.

I was cleaning the house when Barry walked into the living room.  He looked somewhat downcast, but then again our season of life was proving to be more difficult than we could have ever imagined.  I had become accustomed to this look of defeat…it was almost expected.  He grabbed the bleach stained rag I was holding and placed it on the counter.  In one motion he reached for my hand and led me to sit down.  With determination in his voice, he asked if we could talk.  I was a little taken aback, after all I was normally the one asking this question.  But his eyes were wet with tears and I could feel the tension in the room escalate.  I knew he was about to deliver a devastating message to my fragile heart.

I left the room in sobs and quickly dialed our pastor’s home phone number.  It was an act of desperation, a moment in which I wanted to be heard.  I knew once he talked to me, he would understand and recant his uninformed advice.  After all…maybe he just misunderstood. 

When he picked up the phone, my voice shook.  I felt a tide of emotion rise up within me as I struggled to speak what was so heavy on my heart.  I was left very fragile and bruised after the events surrounding the loss of our first child .  I needed reassurance and understanding.  I needed to know for myself why he told Barry that we should wait on starting a family.  I had to know why he denied our request for health insurance.  I just needed to understand why my husband who was so dead set on becoming a father came home questioning his ability to lead our home.  I needed answers, and I wanted them to come straight from the source.   

As I sat on the other end of the phone…I wept uncontrollably.  Instead of hope, I received a rebuke.  Instead of reassurance, I received correction.  Instead of understanding, I received harsh words and responses that left me battling fear.  I had no resolution, just an ever-increasing feeling of being trapped.  I was told I was a Jezebel.  I was told stories of wives who acted like me and how their husbands left them.  I was informed that we were ungrateful and burdensome.  I was told to repent.

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Looking back I cannot justify the words that were spoken to me that night over the phone.  Nor the times that followed.  My heart was not perfect, but it was pure.  My pastor was in a tough spot.  He was trying so hard to lead a number of growing churches and staff members.  He had numerous people pulling for his time and attention.  It was easier to dump water on a spark than to try to extinguish gently.  His words were not meant to sting or hurt and for that I cannot fault the man we served under for many years.  However, I can say that I do not stand behind that method of correction and I am trying to learn from those moments… as hard as they were.

Some of you may have read an earlier post that I did on repentance titled More Than Forgiveness.  In that entry I recalled one of the most heartfelt and endearing moments in my Christian walk.  It was one in which I gently felt my Heavenly Father pointing out areas in my life that He wanted to work on.  Areas in which I not only needed freedom, but I whole heartedly desired it.   Even now, recalling that morning brings absolute joy to my heart.  It was one of those life changing times…so tender and beautiful.   It was correction at it’s finest and that is what I would like to focus on now.

God knows every area of our heart and He is more than capable of pointing things out in the right timing and in the right way.  It’s exciting to think about God’s way of correction.  It always brings hope and it’s always done in love.  It may not be easy, but God is trustworthy.  He is committed to forming us into His image and for that, I am very thankful!

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I wish I could wrap this up.  I really had no intention of dragging this out…but I feel I need to write a couple of more things before I can hang my hat on the subject.  This is one of those vulnerable entries…one that makes me bite my nails after I post it!  I can only pray that it is read with the same heart that it is written. 

Next week, I really want to talk about what the Bible says about this topic and discuss ways in which we can lovingly bring correction if needed.

So, until then please feel free to leave your comments.  I always value what others have to say on my entries.

Many Thanks,

Jana

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13 thoughts on “A Transparent Life (part 2)

  1. Jana,
    Hey I had no idea that you guys had to go through that. I am heart broken to hear this news, even if it happened years ago. I would like to say that I can’t believe you were told those things, but I do beleive it, and I’m sorry. No couple should be parents more than you guys, and honestly tell me of another guy that has more of a father’s heart than barry. I don’t think I could name one. I remember when I left, I talked to pastor on the phone and he said all this was happening because I hadn’t forgivin my father, and I couldn’t help but thinking that my relationship with my father had never been better. Much of that I owed to working things out with the Lord and my dad with the help of Barry. For that I am very thankul. I look back, when reminded, on things from those years, and realize how much trash I was fed and how eager I was to eat it up. There were and are so many young people who are so eager to do something great for the Lordand the church and more and more I am realizing that this youthful zeal and naivity is being manipulated and abused to wrongful ends. I have just started reading your blogs and have enjoyed them. Keep it up, I know some of these memories are very painful to rehash and write, but they are helping many others along the way.
    Many Thanks,
    James Hoogendoorn

  2. so familiar.
    that painful judgment. feeling misunderstood.
    thankfully, i never experienced it at such a deep deep level like you guys.
    it just SUCKS that you did.
    😦
    praise GOD for his loving kindness that kept pursuing you to prove His love that is so gentle and strong, and i am so proud of you and PB for hanging on through the storm.

  3. Girlfriend I have been there and been on the end of hearing awful awful things spoken about you!

    I believe fully that is why God instructs to Guard our hearts, because it contains the wellspring of Life and if our heart is sick and bitter, well then we are too.!

    I love your openness! Your such a princess!

  4. Thanks for this post, Jana.

    So many times in the past I questioned my motives over and over and over before making a decision, only to be rebuked and corrected. Rebukes and corrections are not from God. They are the sign of a destructive way of dealing with people. God is not an authoritarian, nor is he a heartless rebuker.

    Your heart and your family are beautiful, respected, cherished and loved by all of us and by God.

  5. Jana, I’m sad to say that while your post tears me apart inside, it does not shock me. I know the shock of hearing something & whole heartedly believing that the person you’re hearing it from must have misunderstood what they are relaying to you, only to find out that they are not. I guess all that I can say is I’m sorry. Really truly deeply sorry. I can’t imagine the demons you’ve had to battle because of this experience. I had no idea that you were such a good writer. I literally felt like I was there with you guys based on your description of the situation. Could be that in some ways I feel like I have been before. Not your situation exactly of course, I can’t imagine that; but definitely situations that evoked similar emotions & responses.

  6. Sweet Jana. I am so happy you came out on the other side. I am beyond thrilled that your love for Jesus has remained intact. If only we had known. Me and you and Mike and Claude would have made a fine pairing. What you are doing with this blog is priceless. . . a gift of openness that we longed for. Thank you. I love you!

  7. Oh Jana….I felt like I was right there with you as you were describing this…ugh…it made my heart sank.

    I have been pondering this post all day….I will email you or leave a message on here later one when I collect my thoughts.

    I am so thankful for you and your transparency!

    Much love,
    Kat

  8. Jana~
    I am so thankful that you are at a place of healing from this situation that allows you to share it with grace and without bitterness. What I hear is a heart that was hurt greatly in a time that it needed compassion not unchecked correction. I understand that when those in leadership get overwhelmed and overworked it is easier to lash out at those closest to us, but it is not acceptable. Even if you did need correction, it should have come from a place of unconditional love and Gentle correction. However, broken people hurt other broken people. It is the sad truth of our sinful nature.

    While I do not relish the fact that there is more pain you must share, I am grateful for your strength in doing so. I think it is one of the greatest ways God works His healing grace is through our own brokenness. It is a great gift to minister out of our own healing and it a blessing to receive.

    It also gives me encouragement to possibly share some of the pain and trials Aaron and I went through at our last church, who were going through some pretty awful conflicts. We got caught in the crossfire and those wounds run deep for me. I pray I can share my healing as it continues to come and release all the bitterness that comes with the pain.

    Thank you again for your heart ~Heather

  9. I don’t really understand how your pastor at that moment thought it was not God’s time for you to be parents…that must’ve been so frustrating for you…I’m sorry you had to go through that.

  10. Oh my goodness I am so sorry you were treated like that! I am really looking forward to hearing your discipline suggestions. We have had to discipline in our congregation and it’s really tough but I understand that a loving parents does have to take the time to discipline and so does a pastor.
    I always make sure I communicate loads of love before even bringing up the area we have to address. I hope and pray that I have never caused hurt like you experienced and I do hope to learn from your wonderful posts to come.

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