Someone on another forum was talking about their struggle to venture back into church after bad experiences, and I felt prompted to share some of my own experiences, including a glimpse of what I went through when I ventured into a home church looking for the loving community I longed for. After a bit of autobiography, I continued with this:
It’s over 7 years since I left, and the healing is still happening. I now know that God loves me and that, however flawed I might be, I can still be a channel of His grace simply because I am in Him. There are a couple of friends that are real grace-givers to my life, and who, amazingly, actually seem to want MY friendship. I am still cautious in relationships, because of my past history of falling for abusive people, but one of the things that’s convinced me that real change has happened is that those patterns seem to be finally broken. It has taken me 50 years (slow learner) but I finally have a monster radar that blips internally when someone is being manipulative, dishonest etc. Or maybe I’ve finally begun to believe more in my own heart than in what other people with their own agendas tell me.
I can’t see that anything I’ve said is even relevant to your pain, except that I can personally say to you that my experience says that God is still there with us as we struggle with all the junk and that dipping back into relationships again can be a little like the story of the disciples who’d been out there fishing all night and caught nothing. Not only do we keep coming up empty, but we’re getting snagged and snarled and broken in the process, and we know a painful session of net-mending is in order. And then Jesus tells us to dip in one more time, and everything inside us shrieks out that this is wasted effort. But, hey, this is Jesus, so, in spite of ourselves we say, “nevertheless at Your word” and do it, with every muscle screaming out in protest.And this time the result is very different ..