Sometimes I Cry

I’ve tried really hard to write this week.  I’ve stared at the blank computer screen resting my hands against the keyboard with tears in my eyes.  I’ve felt so insecure about trying to put my thoughts out here in the open for everyone to read.  So, like any vulnerable person…I held them inside because I wanted to guard them.

I guess because my blog has finally given my concerns a voice, people think that I am hard-hearted and mean.  I always wonder who they see on the other end of their computer screen.  Maybe the ice queen from Narnia…cold blooded and hateful.  It’s a fair assumption.  There have been times when I wrote out of frustration and even anger.  Times when I received phone calls from people at our former church that I buckled under the pressure.  I buckled from hearing numerous accounts of abuse and yet because they are afraid of the consequences associated with speaking up, they remain silent.  So, they put on their smiles, and tell the pastor that Sunday’s message was wonderful and then they call me…

And they cry…and then…I cry.  I want them to be okay.  I so badly want things to change.

The me (Jana) that is writing to you today is tearful.  The 30-year-old woman sitting in her mis-matched pajamas on the other end of the computer screen is broken too.  I’m still trying to put pieces back together.  Sometimes I hate reading my Bible, because I studied it faithfully for so many years and I was still led astray.  The Bible, church and pastors were all part of that season.  The season that left me broken and confused.  All the while I was declaring that I was happy and whole.  Just like all of the other pretty little step-ford wives on the front pew.  Exhausted and lonely from keeping up appearances.  Tired from speaking up and being told that we were called to help the pastor change.  That we were helping him learn how to lead and love his staff and congregation.  That our pain was part of the sacrifice and God would eventually bless our obedience.  I was confused when one couple would confide in the pastors over a phone call or counseling session and then the senior pastors would openly discuss and critique them and their “issues” during staff meetings.  The emotional strain was enormous and it tainted my view of pastors and leaders…for years.

So, yes sometimes I cry.  Sometimes I wonder why the people who once called me family have turned on me since I have spoken up.  Even in the midst of outside investigations and the MCIN removing their MC affiliation (proof that what they are doing is harmful) they are still ignoring me and so many others who spoke up.  It makes me feel like they think this is my fault.  They were caught doing something wrong and yet, they are mad at me because I did not stay silent.  I want to scream because that mindset is so twisted.  It’s the mindset of an abuser.  I’m the outsider now and as much as I hate what they are teaching and instilling in people…I still care about them.  I still want them to be okay and sometimes I cry because I don’t have any proof that they are getting better.

41 thoughts on “Sometimes I Cry

  1. This post just resonated within my heart. Every doubt, every fear, every concern for those left behind behind abusive walls was reflected back at me through that post. I feel like I am your mirror in the tragedy that you experienced. I have not yet had the courage to speak out so openly about my experiences like you have for fear of retribution. I too have received phone calls of abusive behavior from members and I cannot do anything about it. I too desperately wanted to move to escape the constant confrontations from old church members but God had a different plan. And I too have received that call back into ministry, amazing as that is.
    Thank-you for your blog. I found it today and it was God’s confirmation to me to begin writing again.
    I was mocked and ridiculed for desiring to write and encourage women when I left my abusive church. I’ve put that dream on hold for over a year while I dealt with my hurt. Now it’s time for me to take that off the shelf and blow away the accumulated dust.
    Thank-you sis for your obedience to our Heavenly Daddy. Your obedience just prompted me to do the same.

    1. I’m so happy for you Malinda! Yes, please write, blog, cry, laugh…sing. It’s all in your heart and I can’t wait to hear what happens as you embrace the freedom to be yourself.

  2. Jana, not for one INSTANT have I even THOUGHT the words “hard hearted”! I have never even met you in person but what EXUDES from your writing and your blog is the LOVE OF JESUS. When the light turns on it makes the cockroaches run…and the backlash is the running of the cockroaches. You are struggling because you are in a battle “not of flesh and blood” but a spiritual battle and the enemy doesn’t like it. You have exposed a place where instead of the gospel, people were being hurt. Jesus is pleased, I’m sure. I wish I could give you a hug!

    1. Sarah, you are so AWESOME!! I am so happy your summer break is over (although I was so happy you took one) but now you are back in action and it makes me smile!! 🙂

  3. Hi Jana, it’s a pleasure to read your blog, and thank you for this post! There are so many of us who just want an end to the same kind of exhaustion you describe here. Tonight my own weariness led me to your blog, actually, because I felt quite alone. I needed to hear from others who’re also in the fight against spiritual abuse, and I really appreciated your post and all the supportive comments here. 🙂

    I’ve just added a link to your blog over at mine, http://intruthandlove.wordpress.com. Thanks so much for your advocacy against spiritual abuse! 🙂

    1. Widsith, thank you so much for the comment and the add to your blogroll. I’m about to do the same over here. I look forward to reading your blog…I took a few minutes to look around and I was so impressed with your heart to reach out to others! It does get lonely and some how finding others who understand is always comforting.

      1. Well said, Jana. The other day I wrote to some of my friends saying, “How do you spell advocacy? L-O-N-E-L-Y”. It’s amazing how sometimes the silence of our friends and people we respect sometimes hits harder than the angry comments other people lodge against us. So many Christians seem doubtful about this advocacy thing, unsure whether it’s godly or whether it shows lack of trust in God, so they stay quiet and watch from the sidelines. That has drained me, I think, more than the attacks I’ve weathered. Anyway, thanks for being a beacon and an encouragement, Jana. I look forward to reading more of your posts! 🙂

  4. Jana, it is because you have such a big heart and you care so deeply that you are so saddened by the abuse, that was not only done to you and your friends, but so many more we don’t even know of, and it continues…
    I have been out for 5 years and it boggles my mind that it got worse after we left! I felt so alone for so many years…still today, because I live in the same town, and am reminded at work daily of people I lost there…(I’ll tell you about that in a e-mail)and when I hear a new story of abuse it hurts my soul so deeply. We were betrayed… by a man of God no less,our unique minds and thoughts were abandoned, our hearts not seen, our reputations dystroyed. I used to think when I read in the Bible about the end times, that “they will turn to false teachers” was talking about inbelievers…never could I believe it would mean in the church itself!
    Jana when you think about how much you’ve cried imagine Jesus, how His heart must break! To me what happened to the kids in MC is the worst..those hyoun in the Lord just wanting to serve…and have a church treat them badly is an abomination! I would love it if you gave some of them a voice to share on your blog because it is healing. Look at all the comments next time you get sad, you and Lynde, Mike , Sue ellen… are our therapy, we need you..don’t forget the difference you are making with all us…leave the rest in the church to Jesus!!lov ya’s

  5. Jana, I can relate to this….alot. I have never heard your words as hurtful or hateful. In fact, you are one of the few people I have met who have gone through really tough things and seems to offer grace, love, and compassion. You care about all the people involved and want truth and healing. You want people to be in right relationship with the Lord. That is beautiful!

    On Monday morning I finished reading Anne Jackson’s book Permission to Speak Freely which is about being transparent, sharing our pain and struggle, and inviting others to share with you and to go second after you have opened the door. I think you have done that wonderfully over and over again with your site. The book was very good, but since reading it I have been in such deep pain … pain from realizing how much healing I still need, pain from how much I love those involved in my story who seem to hate me in return and who refuse to forgive or release me, pain from knowing God forgives me and loves me but feeling like God and his family don’t. Realizing that for the last year and half I have been carrying the weight of my sin (a burden I can’t carry!) because my church continues to tell me I am not repentant and therefore can not be forgiven, associated with, or cared for. Relationships here on earth are so difficult and get messed up so easily. We won’t be able to fix them all, and that limitation sometimes breaks my heart.

    Hang in there during those tough times. Don’t ignore the pain, allow yourself to feel it for a time, but then find those things that pull you out of it and remind you of joy, hope, promise, grace, compassion, and the life changing Love our Lord has shown for you.

  6. Jana, I pray that the Holy Spirit surrounds you with tangible peace and comfort and love today! It is hard to speak the truth when people don’t want to hear it, and the backlash is unfair; I’m so sorry that has/is happening to you. You are precious, and your heart is precious. This isn’t your fault (as you know), but it is to your credit that you helped bring it to the light. I love you!

  7. oh, precious. god used you. and he is using you. and whatever is still going on there, and whomever is choosing to stay there – it’s their own journey. they all have their own story. what you have done is amazing and admirable. but you can’t save all of them. thank god, you saved yourself and you are reaching people now through this part of *your* story.

    i love your brokenness and your tears and your reflections and your honesty and transparency. and your mismatched pajamas. 🙂

    i’m in the same place with reading my bible that you mentioned, by the way.

    anyway, you can’t save everyone, sweet friend. but god can. and he will. and he does. he loves us too much to have let us stay there, and he loves your friends that much, too.

    you are wonderful and beautiful.

    love you.

    xo

    1. So true…He loves them too much to let them stay there forever. I guess I can get a little side-tracked and forget that He deeply cares for them and the situation they are in as well. It’s not up to me…I need to keep saying that over and over again. 🙂 Thanks MK…Love you too my friend!!

  8. Jana, I only recently discovered any of this went on to this level. I too have friends there. Even some I grew up with. I continually think of them throughout normal activities of the day. I am concerned. Thank you for such elegant writing. I too see no bitterness or offense in your writing. Your pure heart is shown through your writing.

  9. Jana,

    As a previous member of the church in Lafayette for 6 years, I have only wonderful memories of you and Barry. One of my first memories of my time there is from a production where Barry portrayed Jesus. He was a glorious vision just as I pictured Jesus to be. My eyes have been closed for a long time but now they are open thanks in part to your blog (and others). I have felt uncomfortable there for a year or two and just left within the last six months. I have been church shopping but have not found my new home yet. I missed you and Barry very much when you left and asked a few times where you had gone. This could never be answered by people in the congregation. I think even then that I knew I could not get a straight answer from anyone on the staff so I did not ask them. My experience as a new christian would not have been the same without the two of you. Just a positive note to give you some encouragement. Keep up the great work of healing yourselves and others.

    1. Thank so much Ron! I remember you and your kind heart! I am so hopeful that you find a wonderful church to call home. Any church will be blessed by having you in the congregation! Best wishes in everything and thank you for your heartfelt encouragement. It means so much to us!!!

  10. Jana, you are wonderful. God created all our emotions and in Scripture all emotions are spelled out. Anger does not have to be seen or used as a negative. As the writer above said, it can be a motivator. Bitterness is the illness. With complete forgiveness that can be overcome and the anger is just a tool to make a voice heard to help prevent some from falling into such horrible clutches and help others to remove themselves. Stepping out of comfort zones is very difficult and this is why many remain there, the fear of the unknown, of the possible ill treatment, is worse than what they are currently experiencing. Your words have and will bring forth justice to those your words are meant for. God is using you. Keep fighting the fight that has been laid before you. We love you!!! Wish I could just give you a hug and say “thanks, you are awesome”

    1. Oh Dawna, I can totally feel you giving me hug through your words! You have always been someone I admire and your love and care for Barry and I through the years is so appreciated!! Thank you for taking the time to comment…I always love hearing from you!!

  11. I just want you to know that I love that tear-stained girl in her mismatched pajamas. I am so honored to call you friend, and I am so thankful for all that you have done. I know the price you have paid. Keep your chin up. I keep telling myself that this too shall pass. Big love!

  12. Jana, this story made me cry! I have too felt this pain and it relives the very same thing in my life. It was a wilderness experience when my family left behind a church in which we once called home and the people,some of my closest friends and some family still sitting in the pew in the midst of turmoil. Religion! They turned their head when we ran into them because there were told to have NO contact with us, when we had actually brought over half of them to God. We felt betrayed, alone and isolated. We kept looking toward God and moving forward. It took over ten years but the people eventually started coming back and saying they were sorry for the way they acted. There is not one member now who still ignores us but they see our fruit. It is not about who was right or wrong as long as you are right with God concerning the situation. We spoke up cause we knew it was right, God was on our side. The pastor left the church several years later due to infidelity so his fruit was exposed. It has been 16 years since that experience but I still feel pain at times over it all. However it strengthened me to love others even when they were told they couldn’t love me, or I was the outcast, the bad one because we spoke out revealing truth. You will make it girl, just let God give you the compassion you are feeling and know that there are people like us who need encouragement and need to know there are “real” people who will do anything for God, even being rejected.
    Love your blogs, so keep writing. You are a really sweet person and hope we can meet someday.

    1. Melissa, just reading what you wrote made me see that I am not alone in these feelings. Your words brought comfort. Thanks so much for sharing and I love what you said about how it strengthened you to love others even when they were told that they couldn’t love you. I may need to print that quote and keep it by the computer. It’s so true and at times, so hard.

      I hope we can meet someday too! I’m a big fan of your blog!!

  13. I know exactly how you feel, it’s so very hard to let go of the people and the season that defined you in many ways. I know too well the pain of seeing people do unhealthy things but knowing that I have to let them go and leave them in God’s hands. The key is not to stop crying, you need to grieve in order to let go so cry until you’ve let it all out. The key is to let go and move into the new season which God has given you. From what I have read thus far I can see that God has given you a beautiful new life. You have used your voice to speak up and bring about amazing change from the past things but perhaps now it’s time to let go? Shall we hear some stories about the season you are in now, to be honest I don’t even know much about what you are doing and what your future plans are.

    You have done an awesome thing here on your blog Jana, well done for speaking up despite the high price you had to pay. Please keep writing and tell me about the Jana who has a future and a hope, I really want to know more about her 🙂

    Lots and lots of Love
    Angela
    xxx

    1. What you have shared is so true Angela and thank you for being a friend. 🙂 I guess I feel that this is part of my season in life right now. All the feelings and emotions that come along with recognizing what went wrong, addressing it and moving forward. Letting go of dear friends is very hard. Many of them have been friends for 12 years or more. They were in my wedding, they were my neighbors, my family…my best friends. So, I’ve been sad for them…and hurt that they have made me out to be the bad guy. This is all still very fresh in the sense that a glimpse of change was just seen this past week after years of speaking up.

      I have wrestled with wanting to just post cute stories about Rowan or just write blogs about the dreams that God is bringing to pass in our lives…but that takes vulnerability too. We are just now really living out our dreams…I guess I keep waiting to make sure that I won’t wake up from them. We have definitely moved on…but I feel that I am still walking the fine line of what my blog is about. Telling the story of a decade takes a while and seeing change takes even longer. So, it is coming…the posts about our wonderful life now. God has redeemed us and brought us to a new place. But, when I sit down to write, this still pours out of me and I can only hope it’s for a reason.

      Much Love,
      Jana

      1. I totally feel you pain for people, I too have had to let go of precious people that I used to call friends. It is one of the hardest things I have had to do. I trust God is allowing all this to pour out of you not only for others benefit but also for a full and complete healing for you. You will know when it’s time to stop and start writing a different kind of story 🙂 In the meantime know that many of us are praying for you and grateful for all you have taken the time to do. Be encouraged my bloggy friend lol 😉

        Much Love
        Angela
        xxx

  14. jana, I want to say that anger isn’t always a bad thing. It isn’t necessarily a bad motivation. Writing out of anger or hurt is not a bad thing sometimes. It’s theraputic but it also bringing things to the light. I’ve for years struggled with guilt over being easily frustrated with my children. I would feel bad and like a bad mom. One day, old daughter said something hurtful and cut me to the core. I was hurt and angry at her. At my child. Then the guilt and accusation started in. But you know what happened? A lightbulb moment. It dawned on me that God has been angry with his kids before…he mentions in the OT that He was so angry at mankind that at one point he regretted creating them! I’ve never once regretted having my kids! But God did!! And He’s just and righteous! I realized the that anger in itself is not sinful or a sign of evil in my heart. Even acting on it is not wrong if my action is bringing deceit to the light and fighting for justice. May God give you strength to type and peace to trust him with those who remain in bondage…even those who CHOOSE to stay there.

  15. if you still think it is your fault then they are still in control. We serve a God of Love not guilt or condemnation. you have spoken the truth and it should set you free. Please keep talking and thank God you have a heart and you feel. You have compassion and you feel You have You have love and you feel. What you have been through could have easily detached and quit feeling. Sorry for your loss but at the same time count it as a gain. Count it all joy for He has brought you to a place that you can speak health to others. I have always believed that nothing I go through is for nothing. Every experience in my life is for something and for someone. All I go through God has a time, place and person for me to share with and let them know they are not alone nor is their experience for nothing. We share to help those who need to hear from us and to give a hand up so they will go and share with someone. Your tears are not for nothing and they do not go unseen. You are a jewel. a precious person and i am honored you are in my life. You have handled yourself with virtue and grace. Love You. Just remember when “they” make you angry, cry or doubt yourself “they” still have control in your life. DO NOT LET THEM HAVE CONTROL! just saying!hugs and kisses. MUAH!

    1. Jana,

      I’ve never seen you as hard-hearted, mean, or hateful. Ever.

      I agree with Beth, you are worth so much more than the hurts and you are such a valuable part of the Kingdom of God. We’ve all been through hard seasons of life, and the one you just came out of was brutal. But now is the time for you to stand and, through the tears, reflect the truth—who you TRULY are; not the person you were portraying, not a cookie-cut out woman, not submitted to THEIR authority but to God’s. You are too wonderful to let them have the upper hand in your heart and mind. I know it’s a rough road back, but you’re getting there and it’s okay to cry through it—sometimes that’s where the most healing lies.

      I love you and I’m glad to hear/read/see your story.

      1. Amanda, this is such a beautiful comment. I keep re-reading it because it hits right to the heart. I loved this sentence:
        “But now is the time for you to stand and, through the tears, reflect the truth—who you TRULY are; not the person you were portraying, not a cookie-cut out woman, not submitted to THEIR authority but to God’s.”

        I feel this is for all of the gals that have been through a difficult season. Well said Amanda…well said indeed! Love you!

    2. Ms. Beth…I love you a thousand times over and then over again!! You are such an important person to me and I can totally hear your voice comforting me and loving me through your comment! Thank you for hanging in there with me, praying for me, loving me and caring for so many others. I won’t let them have control…I promise!! 🙂

  16. Jana I know all of this is so difficult but I feel that you are doing the right thing in a very respectable way. I don’t see anger or bitterness, but I see a hurting heart for others. I’m glad things are changing and hope that the truth is totally revealed.

    1. Hi Alana! Thank you for the encouragement. I know we are all hopeful and praying for change. I’m very thankful that I’m not alone in this. As hard as it is…having such a great support system does make the tough blows a little easier to handle. Love you guys!!

  17. i would have to believe that the people who think you are mean and cold hearted are still stuck in cultville and are being told that all on the outside are trying to destroy “all the good stuff” thats been done. they have turned on you for the same reason they turned on eveyone. i have heard him tell kids (teenagers) that if their parent wasnt saved to disassociate with them..they will continue to ignore and talk harshly of all who have spoken out, guaranteed. it is so obvious that your heart is for the people still in there not to be devastated and crushed, but you and mike and lisa are getting the word out, and it is getting out. keep on blogging , keep on letting your light shine , and keep on telling the truth..them pulling that affiliation was so huge, and done so quickly . i applaud all the bloggers and the MCIN for rising to the occasion. so cry for the ones still there and for the ones that are thinking about being there, not because you think it is your fault..amazing how that mindset of so much damage can dwell oh so deep sometimes isnt it…silence is NOT GOLDEN!!! blessings to you and your husband

    1. Loved this post… your are so genuine in your words. Keep doing what God tells you to. Your obedience to God is first. You never know what is on the other side of obeying what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do. Stay encouraged and know that your words are setting people free. Be blessed.

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