2007 – Broussard, LA
I woke up with dread in my heart. The night before I had spoken with our senior pastor over the phone. My heart was breaking and he held nothing back as he shattered what was left of my dignity. I detailed a glimpse of the conversation in my blog The Transparent Life. You can read that here. It was beyond one of the worst experiences of my life in ministry. I was told that I operated in a Jezebel spirit and my husband was Ahab. He told me to read through the scriptural account of what happened to Jezebel and warned me that I needed to repent and change. He told me to go sit at my husbands feet and repent for my behavior and then “reward him” for being patient with me…
I did everything he told me to do. I wept uncontrollably over the phone as I felt like I had released all hope of ever leaving. We were in too deep. The more we tried to ask questions and make sense of what was happening to our marriage and personal life, the tighter the yoke became.
Barry and I made amends that evening with our words, but our hearts were divided. As a wife, I felt like I no longer knew my husband. The handsome, energetic man I married was now distracted and tired. The smile that always melted my heart was diminishing and the sparkle in his eyes was gone. He was a shell of his former self. We were drifting apart…all in the name of doing God’s work.
Things got worse very quickly. The way in which our senior pastor spoke to me left me feeling completely misunderstood and humiliated. That conversation was followed up with several meetings with Barry, myself and any one of the pastors. Somehow everyone became involved in our life. People that I would have never spoken to about such intimate details of my marriage had full knowledge of what was going on. It angered me to no end that our group of pastors had no value for privacy and they saw no problem with openly discussing the issues of their staff with other staff members or people of the church.
After each meeting Barry and I would come home and be okay for a while. Maybe a day or two and then the misery would sink in again. We were constantly being told that we were the problem. It seemed as though nothing we did would ever be good enough and we were beginning to buckle under the pressure. I would stay awake at night and pray for God to rescue us and then one night….
One night I candidly told God that I couldn’t take it any more. With tears streaming down my face I asked God to either remove us from this damaging situation or to remove me from my marriage. I couldn’t handle it any longer. Barry and I seemed to be striving for something we could never attain under our pastors demanding expectations. My heart was breaking into a thousand pieces. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing my marriage…but even more than that I couldn’t handle losing my relationship with God. I knew if I stayed on staff then I would surely trade in everything of value for my pastor’s empty approval…even my trust and love for God. After all, it seemed as though God was failing me when I needed Him the most.