When you leave the Work….Part One

The other morning, while praying, a former sister worker came to mind which hadn’t crossed my thoughts in a while. She hasn’t been out of the Work very long, just a couple of years. We never labored on the same Staff but the few times I did see her through the years, there was a close bond with her.

Pleasing God is much easier than pleasing people.

Thinking of her out of the Work now, I couldn’t help realize how relieved she must be (like me) to finally be “out”. Away from the ceaseless striving be good enough she endured for over 20 years. The ceaseless striving to please people, co-workers and overseers that never thought she was good enough. When all along, God was more than pleased with her. Pleasing God is much easier than pleasing people. What a relief it must be to her now, wherever she is and whatever she is doing, to just be able to be herself and to be free from the endless expectations of people. To have her own nest. To be able to decorate her apartment or home, to cook, and nurture herself. To be normal. To rest, recover, regroup. To have things the same for a change instead of constantly changing. To sleep in the same bed with the same pillow with the same noises in the house. To not have to live out of suitcase. (I HATE living out of suitcase now even if it is only for a weekend.) To not be confined to spending most of your time in a bedroom. To be the hostess not always the guest. Thinking of her brought back all the physical and emotional blessings I remember enjoying so much as a result of no longer being in the work.

It takes much longer to get free from all the psychological and spiritual ties; because making the decision to leave the Work is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in your Worker life. That one decision sets so much in motion for you within that group. Way too much. It shouldn’t be that traumatic. We didn’t take a “vow” that we would stay our whole lives after all. Yes, we purposed to do that, but sometimes you just can’t stay and truth be told, there are many who perhaps should leave but never do.

I will always have a special place in my heart for anyone who was once in the Work and for whatever reason, is no longer there. They will always have the worker “label” on them within the group and will usually be considered a 2nd class citizen after they leave. They will be misunderstood by most BUT, will be so much freer and happier I can almost guarantee. They now will only be in bondage if they choose to be.

Some have been put out of the Work by their overseers. My heart breaks for them and I can only begin to imagine the feelings that result from this. The shock, shame, pain, embarrassment, fear, isolation and panic. This isn’t something I experienced but I imagine it would be somewhat like getting fired from a job (just sort of). For those who do experience the ordeal of being put out of the Work, I would think that once you get over the initial horrible feelings there would be a relief that at least those men would no longer be able to dictate how to live your life. I remember very well what a huge relief it was for me thinking that when I left a few brother workers in particular would NEVER AGAIN have any power over my life.

Leaving the Work you get very little, if any, financial help from the ministry. Unless you have a family who is able to help, it can be very difficult to survive. I don’t remember how much money I had in my wallet when I came home but a year later, I received $150 from my former overseer. This after nearly 22 years of service! But I’m afraid the attitude of many is like one of the local “friends” here told his non-professing brother, “Well, she went in with nothing and she deserves to come out with nothing!” One couple in this field where I live helped me out when I came home. (I personally think the group should be ashamed of themselves how they treat former workers.) I have heard from workers in other states who received much more financial help and I am very glad for that.

Anyway, back to my sister worker friend. I would love to sit down with her for a cup of coffee and just share our hearts. She will always be in mine. She suffered too much for too long and yet she had some really happy times there too I know. She deserves the very best now and I know she loves Jesus now more than she ever has before.

There is life after the Work, yes ma’am there is… And it is good!

Rituals, Rhythms and Routines

The last few months I have become intrigued with these three ideas and the part they play in my life and the part I’d like them yet to play. As a young adult, I thought people with routines were boring, rituals were all pagan and paying attention to the rhythms of nature or life were mystical and therefore, silly or just plain wrong. Thank goodness I have evolved a bit from those stereotypes!

I think it was last year some time when I became consciously aware that I was creating some very comforting and lovely rituals around holidays and seasons; decorating ideas and also just some things I started doing at certain times of the year that I really liked and were fun. Things like wearing only pink, red and white the whole week of Valentine’s Day and setting the most beautiful pink and white table for dinner that night and inviting someone over! Or finding I had 7 pairs of earrings with crosses in them to wear the week of Easter. I don’t decorate for every holiday but I definitely do for Fall and for Christmas and I love it. My home becomes even more cozy and nurturing those times of year.

Then I found myself being drawn to books about spiritual rituals, rhythms and routines for the first time.  In the meeting church these ideas weren’t talked about much (if at all). We thought using any kind of repetition such as reading the same thing at the same time in a meeting or having some ritual you used in your private quiet time like always reading a devotional before you pray or lighting a candle would not help God  draw near to us when all along the purpose of rituals is to get us to draw near to God. This is why spiritual people often use rituals and as long as that is accomplished (we draw near to God) then I honestly don’t think He cares how we go about it. Rituals can also be very comforting and calming in the midst of life that sometimes feels like it is spinning out of control and where so many things are constantly changing. “Rituals can provide a structure that grounds us. They can also make us feel safe, reducing stress.” (From The Comfort of Rituals http://www.womens-transformation.com)

Some spiritual rituals I either do or have friends who practice them are things like reading a certain Psalm each night before going to bed or first thing in the morning. Lighting a candle at the beginning of your quiet time. Reading a specific written prayer back to God; a prayer that someone else has written. One of my current favorite books of prayer is called Yours is the Day, Lord; Yours is the Night by Jeanie and David Gushee. The authors have collected hundreds of prayers from hundreds of years and arranged them in a format of one prayer for morning and one for evening for the entire year. They are amazing, rich and deep prayers. Some people read from a devotional each day.

Another new favorite book of mine is “Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community. It is a collection of liturgies, prayers and meditations inspired by traditional Celtic Christianity from the sixth and seventh centuries.

The ingrained teaching against such things in the meeting church was that those kinds of books would only be filled with vain repetitions. (Matthew 6:7) Well, what did Jesus mean when He said that? As I’ve said, the prayers are amazing, rich and deep. There is nothing wrong with the prayers. They are sincere, and most are short and succinct. God is never far from us (Acts 17:27) so again, praying them is not to bring God close to us but to turn our hearts towards Him. It becomes vain repletion if we say them without feeling or to impress God somehow. Having eloquent prayers isn’t the goal but these prayers often express things far better than I ever could and I use them as a prelude to my own prayers.

Another extremely fascinating book I’ve just finished reading is Mudhouse Sabbath; an invitation to a life of spiritual discipline by Lauren F. Winner. The author was raised a Jew but became a Christian. In this book she is reexamining “the rich traditions and spiritual practices of Judaism and discovers ways she could incorporate some of them into her new life.”

Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our lives for spiritual transformation by Ruth Haley Barton is another intriguing book on the subject of rhythms. The beauty of rhythms and routines is that they are not set in stone; they are different for everyone. We can draw from many sources and create our own. We do not need to be clones. I’m reading a fascinating book called Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. The author has collected daily routines from dozens of artists of all kinds. All are different yet most of the artists (mostly writers) kept the same routine for years so that they might produce their art at the best time of day for them.

Then there is Advent; the 4 weeks prior to Christmas that some churches adhere to. I really like this one. It’s all about preparing our hearts and minds for Christmas; the birth of Christ. So what if we don’t know the exact date Jesus was born; the point is that we don’t forget. Yes, we are to remember each time we come together to worship in the act of taking the emblems and we do, but there is nothing like a concentrated month of that like nothing else we do. Discovering and participating in Advent helped me like nothing else to put the Christ back in Christmas.

I wrote in my journal a few weeks ago: “I have been reading about liturgies and rhythms to life; to my spiritual life in particular. I have a rhythm to my natural life that really works for me and a sort of rhythm to my spiritual life but I want much more because I want to feel closer to God.” A quote from Sacred Rhythms perhaps sums up why: “Your desire for more of God than you have right now, your longing for love, your need for deeper levels of spiritual transformation than you have experienced so far is the truest thing about you.”

In the meeting church there were some rhythms and routines; quiet time in the morning, slowing everything down on Saturday night to begin to prepare for Sunday, the whole day Sunday was spent in a definite rhythm; meeting, Sunday dinner around the table with family and friends, visiting, Gospel meeting. Many tasks were laid aside for Sunday. There were yearly routines; special meeting and convention. They were good things but those good things can become legalistic (as can any ritual) if we are convinced we have to do them in order to please God. Again, it’s a switch of focus off of us and on to God. I just want to encourage my readers to pursue and seek out other, fresher ways to prepare your heart and spirit for communion with God. It is SO refreshing to do so and can make that time come alive.

When a person leaves something as major as the meeting church, it leaves a vacuum in your life and you will fill that vacuum with something. If you do not fill that vacuum with a living and passionate pursuit of God, you will fill it with pleasures, things from the world, with bitterness, cynicism, or apathy. Don’t forget those words of Jesus about this very thing in Matthew 12:43-45.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

One last thought to consider: It is possible to let any ritual, rhythm or routine become just that: routine. An empty form. Something to fulfill out of sense of “have to”. If that happens, we’ve fallen right back into what we worked so hard to escape from: legalism.

Routines and rituals are to be comforting and nurturing. Always remember that. They are definitely worth pursuing in this crazy, evil, wacky world we live in to have something that is the same, something solid that turns us back to God over and over again.

“To infinity and beyond!”

Thank you, Buzz Light from Toy Story, for that all so fitting quote today!  Last night in Bible study, Beth Moore shared on her video about how she spent a good part of her life, because of the church she was raised in (a church she loved dearly), but like some churches, they tend to focus on certain parts of the Bible and the rest of the pages might as well be stuck together.  You just didn’t go there.  It was too scary or too “out there” and you didn’t want anyone trying to interpret it.

But she found in her own experience she had to find a bigger God then the one she’d been told about because, in her own words, “I was such a mess.”  Beth put into words what I had never quite been able to articulate in my own words.  She made it very clear though that in her search for a bigger God, she made sure to stay within the confines of the Scripture.  She said, “It is easier to eliminate (Scripture) than to examine (Scripture)”.  The Bareans in Acts 17:11 were so balanced because they “received the message with much eagerness AND they examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”   

I wanted to learn more than I had been taught all my life.  I needed more than the rabbit trail of verses the meeting church focuses on.  Beth Moore also says, “Legalism is the easier way to live; give me rules and I will follow them. It’s easier to be spiritually legalistic than it is to be Spirit lead.”

One of the greatest thrills for me when I began my journey outside of the meeting church box was having Scripture come alive in ways it never had before.  It still is.  As I’ve written here before, when I began reading other translations of the Bible other than the KJV, is when that started happening to me.  The KJV is beautiful but just reading the Bible with fresh eyes really helped.

Then I started (and I started this my last few years in the Work) listening to and examining all the yearnings of my heart that kept bubbling up to the surface rather than ignoring them or silencing them again.  In so doing that, I began a desperate search of the Scripture as never before for scriptural answers for those yearnings and what to do with them because I knew those yearnings came from God; thereby the answers had to be from God as well.  My yearnings and questions came from my heart not my head.  They were real. They were strong. They weren’t wrong.  I simply was looking for scriptural tools to get through life.  I wanted and needed a deeper level of peace than I was currently experiencing.

Once I began the search, it never stopped.  There was such a wealth to be found in all those stuck together pages.  I was finding the bigger God.  I was finding verses I could literally take ahold of and apply right here and right now into my life.  I was terrified of being guilty of manipulating scripture just to fit an agenda so I prayed constantly, “Lord, do not let me be deceived but rather teach me only Your will.”  Because I was praying that prayer with a 100% pure motive and desire, I chose to believe that God would answer it.

Again I will say “It is easier to be spiritually legalistic than it is to be Spirit lead”. (Beth Moore)  It is easier to follow all the unwritten but very subliminal rules of the meeting church.  The group wants to be Spirit lead and they say they are and I know some individuals who are at times, but in reality, you know perfectly well what is expected of you and what isn’t.  What is allowed and what isn’t.  I found myself very aware of the fact that it didn’t take faith to be in the Work because I knew what to do and the friends knew what to do.

There is today in that church a growing number of people (mostly women and girls) who are “breaking” a lot of the outward rules because they think they are old fashioned and silly.  I agree.  They certainly aren’t scriptural and they aren’t necessary to anyone’s salvation. They are necessary though to have the full approval of the group.  Big difference.

But, if a person in that church is now refusing the rules and getting away with it (albeit the workers are tolerating it. They most certainly are not condoning the lack of conformity), the question needs to be asked of those women and girls, do you truly have a defining moment you can point to when GOD, not your own will, revealed (this is key) to you the fact that the outward rules were no longer necessary?  Or are you just rebelling against the system?  There is a huge difference.  If you were not lead by the Spirit and you got out from the power and hold of legalism, what indeed do you have left? Where and how is God in your life now?  You will fill that vacuum with something. You are free from the “rules” but are you closer to the Lord than ever? Is He more real to you than before? More precious? More dear? Are you praising Him more? Because if not, then you have simply rebelled against the group but moved no closer to God.  I do remember some very “free” individuals in the meeting group who were free from the rules and who were in Christ like very few were and they were wonderful to be around.

I would encourage everyone to think of “infinity and beyond”!  Think outside the professing box.  Look for the God of the universe; the God of the Bible.  You will love what you find!  I guarantee.


P.S. to Leaving Egypt Post

At the bottom of the Leaving Egypt post I have added the words to a song a reader mentioned in her comment and I have fallen in love with this song.  We have also added the link so you can hear the song and watch the video.  Also, check out the comment section to that post and read what the readers comments were about the song.

Leaving Egypt or Leaving the place of bondage

I have had one of those aha mornings like I haven’t in a long while and I am excited about this post.

Sherlene pointed out a story from the Old Testament to me this morning that totally fits into the line of thought from my previous post about how hard it is to leave the meetings and for some, hard to stay away for very long (see Blessed are those Who Mourn). She has given me permission to share her thoughts and expound on my own from there.

She reminded me of Exodus 16 when after being delivered from Egypt, the Children of Israel (COI) soon after their journey started, began looking back to where they had been. They had not anticipated the long journey through the wilderness. I don’t know what they were thinking but it seems like they thought it would just be a matter of days to get to where they were going. After all, they had never been outside of Egypt, so they had no idea how big the land was outside of what was known and familiar to them. The journey through the wilderness was taking longer than anyone expected. And they weren’t happy about it. As soon as they got to the desert, the entire community complained. (We need to remember that they did everything en mass in those days.)

They’d been journeying about a month and half and it was hard. It was long, hot and they were getting hungry. They began looking back and wishing they had never left. They kept focusing on what they had back “home”; the good food, the familiar settings and FORGOT about the fact that they were SLAVES there. That they were in bondage there. That they had NO freedom.

So, God gave them something new. Something totally different. It was manna. It kind of freaked them out because they weren’t used to anything new. Everything had been the same their whole lives. But, this something new was from God. It was bread. It was life sustaining. It was enough.

The wilderness was foreign and different but it was the path to the Promised Land. The Promised Land was not heaven but it was heaven on earth for them. It took a while to get there.

God did not let them return to Egypt because he couldn’t; he had made a promise to deliver them out of Egypt on a certain day and on a certain year and he had fulfilled that promise.

But because they complained and didn’t trust God with their journey, most of them never made it to the Promised Land. They never experienced the best of the best.

It is all just such a crystal clear picture to me of how I and others often react when we think about leaving meetings or especially when we have already left and have started feeling new feelings and experiencing things we had not anticipated. Go back and read this story for yourself and see if you can identify. I have said several times how I never anticipated the loneliness I would feel after leaving. However the freedom God showed me was making enduring the loneliness possible. God was giving me the first glimpses of True Grace that I’d never seen before. The truly Glorious Good News of the Gospel! The meeting fellowship doesn’t believe in the Gospel of Grace. So, going back to it would mean being surrounded in part, if not all, (depending on where you live) by people clinging to salvation by works rather than salvation by grace.

Going back to meetings after you’ve left for a season with an awareness of what true Grace is can be done, yes it can, but you will be swimming upstream. You will be going against the current. And that is hard and exhausting to maintain for very long. You will hold on for as long as you can for your own reasons and also with the hope that maybe, just maybe, others will want to swim against the current with you. Maybe you can start your own Swimming Against the Current Club. How cool would that be! A quiet revolution. Making a difference and a statement by golly.

Screeeeeech!!! Hold it!!

You know what will happen if you get too many followers. I’m not going to even put it into words!

One last thing to remember, and I love this because it is from God Almighty Himself and it is so easy to forget these two little verses spoken to the COI soon after they left Egypt.

Exodus 13:17-18 The KJV says, “God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near, for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt. So God lead the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.”

The Voice translation puts it this way:

“God did not take them by the coastal road that runs through the land of the Philistines, even though that was the nearest and easiest route. Instead, God said, ‘For if they see battle with these contentious Philistines, they might regret their decision and then return to Egypt. So God chose a different, longer path that lead the community of His people through the desert toward the Red Sea.”

I write these words with so much passion and love; (not at all out of anger or frustration). It’s just so much of what I wrote in a previous post, “No one said leaving would be easy” We need to follow God wherever He may lead us as individuals. We can trust Him. No two journeys are going to be identical; just the desired destination is. In the Old Testament, they followed as a group and were lead as a group along the same path, but we don’t see Jesus doing that. He alone knows how best to get you to your desired haven. Maybe this is your time for great things! For a walk of faith as never before. Maybe even for a leap of faith! Or maybe just a few baby steps of faith. Our faith is supposed to keep growing. It will be made to grow into a huge tree like Jesus talked about.

Trust Him with your journey. Yes, it won’t always be easy or comfortable but there are great things ahead! There is so much ahead of you that you never knew even existed before while you were still in bondage! Are you willing to face the wilderness, knowing God will provide everything you need while in the wilderness? Can you follow until He leads you to true rest and your desired haven? God is faithful to deliver.

“Painting Pictures Of Egypt”

I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me
Either way
And the places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling out to me
Like a long lost friend

It’s not about losing faith
It’s not about trust
It’s all about comfortable
When you move so much
And the place I was wasn’t perfect
But I had found a way to live
And it wasn’t milk or honey
But then neither is this

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacks
The future feels so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I’ve learned
Those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned

The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy
To discard
I was dying for some freedom
But now I hesitate to go
I am caught between the Promise
And the things I know

If it comes to quick
I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time in sand?
And if it comes to quick
I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time in sand?


Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted

Last night at about 2:00 a.m. (I woke up and could not get back to sleep), I was thinking about some of the personal emails and texts that I had received after yesterday’s post about convention.  Suddenly God reminded me of His wonderful words, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”  I got up and added that verse to the very end of that previous post, even though few would ever read it at this point.  But God had given it to me not just to write about but also to remember.  So, I prayed then for His comfort to come in to that loss; into that area where I still mourn once a year.

Afterwards, my thoughts turned to the wonderful promise and power contained in those words.  Hebrews 10:23 says, “For He who promised is faithful…” and 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises.”

I thought about my readers who are not just frustrated with the meeting fellowship but have received a God-given revelation of how some things are just wrong, period; not according to Scripture.  You are perhaps finding it harder and harder to go to meetings because there is this ever widening gap between what is taught and believed and what you now believe.  You want more than what the group embraces.  You want more of God but hardly know what that will look like. You want more of Jesus. You want deeper and more relevant fellowship than what you have been experiencing.  You want to be around people who are open about their walk with God and know He’s very much involved in all of their life.  You are asking God the difficult and scary questions for the first time and the answers are exciting and terrifying.  You want to make a decision to leave and yet when you start to count the cost of that decision, you just can’t.  It will just be too hard, too lonely, and it will hurt too many people.

It is at this very point where Jesus begs you to step fully into His arms and into His words when He said, with all his heart and passion (I don’t believe he just recited those words in a flat-lined, rote voice), “Blessed are you when you mourn because you will be comforted.”

Comforted by the God of Heaven, by Jesus Himself, by The Comforter the Holy Spirit.  That, my friends, is Comfort like you have never known before.  Not even close.  That is comfort better than your spouse, your best friend, the workers or anyone else in your life can give.  Than anything in your life can give.

Jesus was making a promise that day He 100% intended to keep.

When was the last time, in your fears or in your pain that you fell into His comfort rather than just reverting instead to your comfort zone where things feel comfortable and familiar and you told yourself that because it feels so comfortable and familiar, it must then be the place God wants you.  You chose your comfort instead of His.  Trust me, I have done it and I still do at times.

I think we don’t grasp what His comfort is going to be like.  It is NOT going to feel like correction, or like a scratchy blanket.  It is NOT going to feel awkward.  It is NOT something you have to “act as if” you’ve experienced.  It will be real.  It will be palatable.  It will be felt.  It will settle on you and around you as the softest thing you have ever felt. The words you need to hear will be right there.

This kind of comfort will also extend into all areas of life where there are losses. We choose other comforts because we don’t understand and/or grasp how much better and more real His comfort is. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says He “is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…for just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comforts overflow.” Paul writes about God’s promises and how they are not wishy-washy; they are not Yes and then sometimes No but “In Him they have always been yes. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are Yes in Christ. (V19-20).  In other words, He intends to keep them all.

I have not let Him comfort me countless times because I wanted another kind of comfort.  I assumed His wouldn’t be enough.  Oh Father, forgive me for thinking like that!

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief! Help me believe that you will comfort me whenever I make a costly choice to follow You instead of this world or instead of others or instead of my own will.

Missing Convention

The time for my home convention for another year has come and gone again.  I am feeling sad it is over and that I wasn’t there.  I do this every year.  Of course I could have gone, but of course I did not.  I can only imagine the flurry for a few minutes it would have caused as word spread that I was there.  That part makes me smile.

But you know what I miss about being there?  It’s not the meetings.  It’s not the singing.  It’s certainly not most of the sermons.  It’s not really the people. It’s not the food although I do miss the smell of breakfast cooking and that smell wafting over the grounds in the cool morning air.  Its two things:  the grounds themselves and the sense of belonging I always felt there.

At this particular convention (Saginaw, Oregon), I really do not have one negative memory per se.  Yes, there were a few disappointing happenings and visits or lack thereof but for the most part, it was all good.  My mother took me to this convention when I was just a few weeks old and we went every year until I went into the Work and was sent to another convention for preps.  I know every inch of those grounds and I wish I could just walk around there one more time.

I would walk down to the old kitchen and remember how it was set up and the fun times at preps. Then up the hill to the girls/women’s dorm through every floor of that old building (there are 4!) ending with crossing the bridge on the top floor to the path leading up to the old house.

Back in my day it was main house (although I understand not anymore) and here I’d go inside where again, I have so many memories.  I would walk up the stairs to my very favorite room, the screened porch where I sometimes got to stay during preps when the mill across the highway was still running and the trains would go by and make the house vibrate.  I would peek in all those fun little closets upstairs, then come down and go up the spiral staircase to that bedroom up there.  Check out the laundry room and that little bathroom off of it us sisters would use.  I would sit out on the lawn in front of that house in the shade of those very very tall trees and remember how in my teen years, there would be a bonfire out there every evening after the evening meeting.

I would walk up the hill to the meeting hall and just be.  I know I would spend a lot of time in that room; again so many memories would be flooding my heart and mind there.  Memories of my youth; I professed in that room, the rows where us kids would sit and where I felt “called” to go into the Work.  I spoke on that platform for years, then I sat in the crowd as a “saint” my last few years there.

I would walk up to the “new” kitchen and walk thru it and the cafeteria upstairs, then out to the beautiful terraced areas where the RV’s are parked.  And then finally, I would walk that gorgeous trail on the mountain behind the grounds, and come down and look at the view from up there as you looked down on the grounds.

That’s what I would do if I could go there again. Those grounds will always be holy ground to me.  Maybe one year I will find the courage to show up for convention just so I can be there again.

Not being there is part of the grieving process I’ve had to go through since I made the decision to not attend the meetings anymore.  Yes, it is hard but what was harder was staying when I could see how wrong the doctrine is and how they don’t believe in Jesus fully and how little they make God.  How stuck they are in tradition and not open to anything new.  How exclusive they are.  How much emphasis is put on the outward and not nearly enough on the heart.

I miss the feeling of belonging I had in the group; I don’t think that will ever be replaced.  I miss the camaraderie I had with the workers.  However, when I think about it now and the quality of visits I would have there compared to the quality of visits I can have now with other Christians, there is a huge gap between the two.

The Lord truly does give and then take away.  I no longer could stay in the group just because it was comfortable there or I loved it there.  I just couldn’t.  I had to make a choice because I could not/would not compromise.  I never dreamed He would lead me where He has lead me, but I can see how totally right it has been.  I have been saved and rescued, restored and renewed. The Lord is so precious to me; He’s been walking with me all this time when others have come and gone, He has remained.  I love You so much!  My heart is full of You, Lord!

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”.