This process of peeling back layers of my life, my story it's vulnerable, painful, yet some how, some times exhilarating. There's something about telling the truth - MY truth - that smells like freedom. I want to race to the end, to sprint ahead, but this is still a marathon journey. I do not have the strength to sprint the rest of the way.
As I write more pieces of the truth, more pieces show up. I've spent my weekend emotionally reeling from seeing the connections between all the pieces of what I thought were highly disconnected spiritually abusive groups. I knew there was some cross-over. I hadn't connected that they were all connected, that they all trace their own histories back to the same tainted source. Whether it was the extreme charismatic signs and wonders, the never-ending worship and prayer services, the character seminars that promised to reveal the hidden principles of a successful life, or the commissioning of house churches to serve under regional apostles it all traces back.
I've spent my weekend floundering, wondering if there is any part of my faith that hasn't been tainted by this toxic teaching. Desperately hoping that there has been something from the first 25 years of my life that wasn't connected to this filth in the name of God. It's painful to face the inevitable questions - is there any of it that was real? Have I ever had a faith that wasn't tied to a cult? Where do I go now? Is there any faith community that could be safe? How would I even know?
What will I learn 5 years from now about the church that I've been a part of these past 5 years? This church that has been a haven and a family, yet that feels like it's now choking the new life being born in my deepest self. My fear and my fury are mixed together. My prayers are wordless screams again. I can't see straight about anything and I want to run. To run from anything that looks like Christianity or religion. To run to the water, the trees, the sunlight where my rawness has room to breathe.
There are so many questions: Do I dare? Do I dare follow where my heart is leading me? Do I dare try one more version of Christian community? I still need the Church. I know this to the core of my being. I need Her. I need her humanity, her history, her example. What I don't know is where to find her in a way that won't deepen my already bleeding wounds.
For now I stick with what I know. I run to the water, to the trees and the sunlight. I run to the thunderstorms and the cries of the geese. I allow my prayers to be wordless screaming and angry profanities mixed with heart-wrenching sobs. I honour the place where I am trusting somehow that Love will meet me here. And for now, that is enough.