In the last two posts, I have shared how I’ve changed within the last 13 years. So now, just in case anyone is interested in what else I’ve been doing, here goes!
In January 2000 I came back to Medford to help care for my mother. It was timely for both of us; she needed help and I needed a break from the Work. I had been growing increasingly frustrated with the crazy lifestyle and the meeting belief system in general. Seeing what it was producing (or not producing) in the lives of the friends and workers was maddening; the lack of passion for God and for the Word, the lack of excitement for life in general and the small view of God/Jesus. I had already come to the conclusion that all the outward “rules” for dress and hair for the women were not scriptural and/or necessary, and yet, if I was to remain a worker, I would have to conform to those rules, and doing so, I felt like a hypocrite. I had a great co-worker that year but she deserved someone who was in it 100%, and that wasn’t me. The Lord so kindly gave me a gracious exit that year. This was the beginning of being at the receiving end of His kindness, mercy and grace.
I brought my entire possessions home with me then because I was 90% sure at the time that I wouldn’t be going back into the Work. I remember feeling relief more than any other emotion at the time. I no longer had to pretend to be a worker. I was fully aware of the disappointment my decision had on others who knew and loved me. (Ha! Maybe some of them were relieved too!) Some of the friends avoided me after I came home; mostly I’m sure because of the awkwardness but why should it be awkward? Why couldn’t we have talked about it? (Just like why didn’t anyone ask me why I left the meetings?) The workers in the field gave me a pretty wide berth which was fine with me. After I had been home a year, I made the final decision to not return to the Work. My mother was sad but she was very grateful I was home caring for her. I’m sure she secretly hoped I’d go back into the Work after she was gone.
She passed away April 2003. It was by far the saddest day of my life and the hardest overall I’ve been through to date. I took mother to meetings as long as she was able to go but after she was gone, I started attending another church now and then. I was attending fewer and fewer meetings. I’ve already written on this blog my reasons why. The meetings just felt so dead to me and there was no joy there. I knew something was wrong. I soon got involved in the throes of the battle about whether or not I could/would continue going to meetings. It took me about 3 years to make that decision.
I got a part time job while living with my mom to help make ends meet financially and from that time forward, the Lord has blessed me with some really good jobs. Each job just got better and better. I didn’t have to incur any college debts for which I am deeply grateful; that just seemed overwhelming to me at my age. I have been at my current job as the Office Manager for a performing arts center for a little over 8 years now.
I was able to secure a mortgage on a small condo in 2006 (the same year I made the final decision to leave the meetings) and was immediately offered a position on the Board of Directors for the Homeowners Association.
I was then attending regular services at a new church and was involved in all the women’s ministry events. I met some wonderful, godly women that way. I went to the women’s retreats and loved them. They were spiritual, helpful, real, fun and relaxing. Sort of like convention but only better. AND I didn’t’ have to wear nylons and heels!!
In the summer of 2010 a good friend persuaded me into getting a puppy. I was extremely skeptical at first but soon saw her wisdom. Not only did I fall in love with that little while ball of fur (she was only 9 weeks old when I got her) but she has taught me so much about love, and how to not be so selfish. She is a faithful companion and I love her to pieces. She is half Bichon Frise and half Maltese and her name is Gabby. I am totally convinced she was a gift from God.
I have occasionally foolishly spent time and energy the last 13 years dwelling on what I don’t have; a bigger house, more money, a spouse, children, grandchildren but of course, that accomplished nothing positive at all. The Lord has blessed me over and over and I have been spared some heartaches and regrets. I pray often for a quiet and peaceable life. Quiet and peaceable doesn’t mean boring and empty to me…it means quiet and peaceable!
Much of these years were spent on cementing my relationship with God as never before. I knew the friends and workers better than I knew Him and He was begging me for one on one time with Him. Leaving the Work and then the fellowship were the biggest leaps of faith I have ever taken. It has been humbling and exciting to see how God has caught me every time. I owe Him everything. He is my life.
In the final installment of Rewriting My Story I will write about the birth of this blog and what that has lead to. Stay tuned.