Darla’s Bio

Paul, the apostle, wrote about himself In Philippians 4:4-6:

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

My story fits right in there.  Let me paraphrase:

I am 4th generation professing on my father’s side, 3rd on my mother’s side; Professed at the age of 12, baptized at 15.  I was referred to as a “sterling” young person in the fellowship.  (Even though I wore jeans to school which the professing world did not know about!!)

I offered for the “Work” at the age of 21 and went into the “Work” at 24.  Came up through the ranks pretty much on schedule and was popular within the circle of workers. Through the years I learned scripture (within the 2×2 interpretation) and articulated my thoughts well. I stayed for nearly 22 years.

In Philippians 4 Paul continued on with:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ.

That’s it!  I had my own righteousness and plenty of self righteousness.  I was a good Pharisee. However, I did not have a righteousness that came from God based on faith. But through the years I began to feel more and more frustrated with my own life within that church.  I wanted so much more of God; of Christ than that group was talking about or even knew about.  I didn’t want the “world”, I didn’t want sin, I wanted God.

I was beginning to understand that there was more to God than I knew.  He was much bigger; uncontainable actually.  He wanted a relationship with me that was extremely personal and involved.  I needed to surround myself with other Christians who were feeling the same way.  I was speaking about these feelings and desires in the meetings and while the friends seemed to appreciate it, no one joined me in the pursuit.

I did not walk away from God; I walked toward Him.  I found out who Jesus really was/is and putting Him in His rightful place of worship changed everything.  I discovered the Gospel of Grace and everything finally made sense.  Galatians and Romans finally made sense. (More on that later!)

I was excited about everything that pertained to God.

My journey of leaving the meetings is what this blog is going to be about.  I will share my journals and my journey with my readers.  Why?  Because I long to share it with others who might be considering taking a similar journey or maybe who already have but feel alone in it.  It took me several years to make the final break.  It was the hugest thing I have ever done and if I can support anyone else in their journey, I will.

This is not going to be a blog about bashing the workers or friends; there are already several of those out there.  This is just about getting answers to everything I had been taught and taught myself as a worker and finding out what really was Scriptural and what wasn’t.  About finding the courage and peace to do what was needful in order to survive.

It is about getting the message across that God and Jesus were never the problem.  The meeting system was.  The workers chose to promote legalism not freedom in Christ.

Leaving the meetings is traumatic because of how indoctrinated we were while there.  Breaking free is liberating and wonderful but we have to work through a great deal after we leave because the system is so extremely toxic.  If we don’t work through those things, we will end up cynical, bitter, lonely, without God/Jesus, and living a very shallow life.  We were created for so much more!!

Coming to peace with our past within the church is vital also. God can and will redeem everything for His good and His glory.  That is so hard to learn and believe.  It is a process that I am still on.

Once again quoting Paul from that same chapter in Philippians:

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I’m still in the process of breaking free of anything and everything that was between me and God.  I need a place to share this journey rather than bear it alone, and that is another purpose of this blog.

Note: To contact me personally, leave a comment with your email address and I will respond privately. This will not be published on the blog.

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50 thoughts on “Darla’s Bio

  1. Didn’t know until stumbled on Brad Lewis blog that you had also moved on. Don’t remember where we met – OR, CA – some conv. I’ve been out of the work and out of the church 20+ years after 19 in the work. Diff journey for me and diff reasons for leaving. Not raised in it do it n some ways not as entangled and not so surprised to be disappointed in it. But I love reading everyone’s story. Don’t know when you left, when you wrote, but appreciate your sharing.

    Kathleen (Kat) Huggins
    P 1971-1996, W 1978-1994, WA, Japan

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    • Kathleen,
      I remember you! We met at conventions somewhere….Montana, Washington? I had no idea you had left the Work much less left the group! Everyone’s journey is so fascinating I think. You left the Work in 1994…I left in 2000. I do now remember also that you were in Japan. Hope all is well for you now and glad you stumbled across my blog! All the best.

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  2. I think I knew Darla before she went in the work don’t know if she remembers me just remember to keep close to god always../

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  3. Hi! I live with my mom, and I recently broke free of meetings and have found my life in the freedom of God outside of meeting. My mom is still very much in the system, and persecutes me a lot. Two sister workers will be staying at our house this week, and I need advice on what to say to them! It is a huge chance to help lead them to God who can open their eyes.

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    • Bless your heart! It is NOT easy living with those who still go to meetings when you no longer are. Especially our family. And with the workers there this week….yikes! They very likely will not ask you any questions about why you left; they will be too frightened to do so. AND they won’t really want to hear anything you have to say either…sorry. Just be your self and let them see your freedom. They won’t understand but you can’t force your God-given revelation on them. But nothing is impossible with God! If they do ask questions, pray like mad for grace and wisdom! Keep me posted.

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    • I just want to encourage you (as Darla did) not to be panicked about the workers visiting you this week. I will be praying for a peaceful visit. In my (very recent) experience, they will not even attempt to speak about it with you. My husband and I have family still attending meetings and they don’t want to debate scripture. I have also seen workers and friends a couple times since and everything is very polite and, if anything, awkward. One acted as if he/she did not know me…weird! May the words you speak be from God! 🙂 ~Addison

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  4. Dear Darla: Glad I found your blog. I grew up with many, many of the overseers around the US having them in our home which was their stopping place for support. My family has has the Sunday meetings in the home for 86 years. I have struggled with all the things I could not accept but still tried to believe that this Way was special and the only way to be saved. All of us want that! I have spent hours reading everything I can on several sites and know the good, the bad, and the ugly false behaviors that are smoothed over to hide the truth about their real lives. I am appalled at how many of the older brother workers hide suitcases of money in our bedroom closet. I just can’t go along with it anymore but I feel lost and without help. I want God in my life and the Holy Spirit but feel from the indoctrination that I will not have that if I step away from The 2x2s. Hope to learn how to really get in touch with God, learn to have Jesus as my Savior and brother and have the Holy Spirit. I don’t feel as though I have had this much throughout my long life. 69 will be 70 this July. Help!
    Gwenna Ilene White (Michie) Fitzgerald formerly raised in KY and now living in WY. Love to hear from you.

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  5. Hello, I’ve so appreciated your blog.
    My husband and I have been struggling for months. We love the friends and workers. But we no longer agree with the core of it all. We both come from professing families. So leaving will be hard. But after our special mtg yesterday we have decided that we no longer consider that “home”
    We have reached out to several for support/help with all of this but when I hear bitterness towards the friends or workers I lose interest in having deep spiritual conversation with those folks.
    We just want to follow Christ. We have grown weary trying to look and act a certain way (“good professing folks”) to be acceptable.
    We have discovered grace. And it has changed everything.
    If you don’t mind I’d love to talk. You can email me anytime.

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    • Hi Katy,

      My husband and I recently left the fellowship (within the past month) and I can relate so much to your comment! I don’t have answers but have been longing for someone who is going through what we’re going through. I’d love a message from you but don’t want my e-mail address public. Maybe if you’re interested in chatting Darla could help us get in touch? Not sure how to do that myself!

      Love in Christ,
      ~Addison

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  6. Dear Darla, I have just come across your blog, It’s been uplifting to read so much as I am in that place where I am still going to meetings but have lost all faith in the whole “way, meetings, workers ” brainwashing!

    I was brought up in this way along side my 4 siblings, both parents proffessed, I was the only one to profess out of my three sisters and brother, I was 14, and can honestly say I didn’t think about meetings etc….. I just wanted God in my life, at the time my eldest sister was very Ill, and I needed God to help me cope with this.

    I married a professing boy, had 4 daughters, two who married into the truth, and two who have not.
    There has been a great deal happen in my life, two bouts of cancer, but through it all I have managed to hold on to my faith, despite questioning many things about this way.

    I seem to be in an impossible situation where I want out, but as others have said its hard when family and dear friends, who are so zealous and brainwashed are still entrenched in this way.

    I believe God keeps showing me the way to go, pointing me in the right direction, like coming onto your blog out of the blue!

    I am so glad I have found you, and will keep reading and gaining courage and support from you.
    Bless you ,
    Louise

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    • Louise – Betty is right! As God makes it clear to you what is right before Him, His Presence will be around you like a wall of fire. The things you aren’t sure about or are afraid of will become nothing.

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      • Thank you Darla,Betty and Sharon, it’s a great comfort to have your prayers and support, I feel God has led me to All Darla has shared, and it’s a comfort to know I am not on this journey alone.
        I love that thought of Gods presences being around me like a wall of fire!!
        Thank you so much.

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  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love the positive encouragement and focus on God. I’m looking forward to reading more. I can enter in to so much of what you share. I would love to correspond if you have time.

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  8. Dear Darla, I want to thank you for your blog! I was given the link by some former professing friends. I left the Fellowship in 2004. During my 36 years of professing there were some good days but mostly I felt discouraged and didn’t have any joy! I always figured it was my fault, but lately I realize that during my professing time I was trying desperately to save myself ! I’m in a great church now with a great pastor who has helped me to understand who does the work of salvation in our lives! God bless you for the help you are providing!

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  9. Darla;
    I was also raised in the same church as you, and married within the church. The first day of the honeymoon I realized it was a huge mistake. Ten years later I came to the belief that the lord would no longer punish me for my mistake in a mate, and to retain the minute amount if sanity I still left, I left the marriage and the church never to return again. Many years later I was introduced to Unity, and felt very comfortable with their non judgemental and non condeming message. Finally, I am completely at piece and without any guilt, or fear of going to hell. I have found a new home.

    Howard Ploegsma (nephew of Grace)

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    • Hello!

      I grew up near Tacoma, with a bunch of relatives in the work.,
      I’ve been “out” for 40 years though! Yay! took me a few years to get past the images of burning in hell, Whew, that’s been a long time back.

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        • I read a lot as a kid (no TV to divert attention!). I remember reading about kids in the South Pacific when I was 5 or so and asking a worker if they were all doomed to eternal life in hell because they weren’t “lucky” enough to have met any workers? The worker told me that I needed to grow up and be a worker and go save those kids. Really? This just merciful God they spoke of sounded awful that whole nations would perish for lack or workers.
          about age 11 I remember a similar conversation during a walk to the beach with a worker. the answers didn’t sound right, but I did try to conform and professed through Agnes Branda and Pat Daniels.
          I didn’t last very long without more questions though.
          Lucky for me, my Dad got ahold of Heresies Exposed and the story of the beginning of the cult. He asked questions of the workers and before long was asked to leave. By that point I was off to college and pretty much hadn’t gone to meetings since age 16 or so,
          In Chemistry class for Nursing School I got assigned “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach. I Loved the book, it was the beginning of actually exploring the subject of spirituality for me. after all those years I had no idea what that meant!
          there were no web sites then to find kindred souls! this would have been early 70’s. I had some troubled times getting past the “brainwashing”, but listening to what felt right, some serious soul-searching, studies of major religions all helped sort things out. I lean metaphysical, am very comfortable and happy!
          (and flying a Champ I bought from Richard Bach many years after that first book assignment!)
          DenHerder, I remember the name. it goes back a ways in the family, was in my Aunt;s diary from the 40’s!
          Thanks for the blog Darla!

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  10. Ahh, Darla Bobarla, You have begun a journey that will not end until our Lord and Savior welcome you home and your testament to that journey won’t end even then. You are truly in a unique position to minister to others who have walked the same paths that you have walked. You have given them a forum to process their own journey.

    As you know, I did not have the same experience that you had, yet you stand as a shining example of how to survive confusion (of any kind) and search for the truth at any cost. I know your love is pure and that you are ever searching to give more of yourself in the form of a ministry.

    As your friend, I am awed by your heart and your ability to bring that heart to the page. As a “Believer” I rejoice that you are here for me to learn from.

    Lindsay

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  11. Happydaze, God’s love is not that small! His love and forgiveness is immense. We all have need of that. Man’s judgement does not signify. When we are in a rich relationship with our Father the shunning seems so small, by comparison. As Darla so wisely mentioned, we ARE pilgrims and strangers.

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  12. I’m glad someone showed this to me. I don’t want to go into details about my situation but after having a baby outside of marriage years ago I started taking steps away from truth. I’m married now and we go to a “worldly” church. I have so many confusing feelings, sometimes guilt, anger, resentment. I love the friends dearly even those who shunned me.

    But I have a hard time accepting that god made heaven so small that only a tiny population will be allowed to enter

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  13. P.S. I just spoke with Debra. She has the link now to this blog and is looking forward to reading your posts. She could not seem to find the link in your e-mail for some reason.

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  14. It did not dawn on me until later that you may be Debra’s friend! How small the world is because of the internet. I am so happy to meet you here! Debra, like yourself, still has the heart of a true servant. I appreciate so much that she was never focused on the traditions of the “Fellowship” to the exclusion of the teachings of Christ. Over the years she has ministered to my soul when I needed it most. I think God has had a hand in promoting the kind of thing you are doing here; bringing those who seek the “real” Christ and a freedom from wrong teaching back into fellowship based on love. I think for many of us, being cut off from most of the the people and social interactions we’ve known our entire lives brings a deep grief and leaves a hole in our hearts. I thank God for every opportunity to interact (fellowship) with others who have been through this devastation but want to move on to a deeper personal relationship with our Father through His Son. I am so happy that you are not bitter and judging harshly what we’ve left behind. I look forward each of your posts.

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    • Craig,
      I am thrilled for a chance to get to know you better as I have heard Debra talk about you for years.

      You mentioned the devastation and grief of leaving the fellowship….I totally get that and am working on writing a post soon on that very subject. It’s going to be a hard one to publish but it will be worth it, I hope!

      I could not afford to be bitter about what I’ve left behind; that would never accomplish anything good. I have many precious memories of that part of my life and miss some of my friends there very much. I never in a million years thought I would leave the group but I had to do what I had to do to have peace of mind and heart. The Lord has stood by me in such a tender, real way that has helped immensely in living with the losses. He has blessed me with new friends that are AMAZING people. These last 10 years or so have definitely been the best years of my life. Who would have thought??

      Darla

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      • Darla,
        I look forward to getting to know you, too! Debra has mentioned you often through the years. She mentioned a book you were reading “Confessions of a Pharisee”, I think it was. I was fascinated immediately. Unfortunately, I never got around to reading it.

        I often wonder if the folks, like us, who have left or been forced out of the “fellowship” now out-number those remaining? I may never have been willing to really search for my own personal revelation any other way. When I found myself judged and rejected I realized it was just me and the Lord. He never forsook me
        and sent strangers (Holy Angels?) to minister to me. I feel so much more aware of people of all sorts looking for the Lord’s return. I’ll never forget the first time an “unsaved person” spoke to me about their love for the Lord and His love for me. The timing could not have been better but I was so shocked at their simple faith that the encouragement was overshadowed by my amazement! I remember thinking about how those who were suppose have the care for my soul were so cold and yet this “unsaved person” had demonstrated the true marks of Christ. That was when I knew how hard a judge I had been and how self-righteous I had become because of wrong teaching. Despite all that, some of the finest people I have ever known were in the “fellowship”. I now know that they were not that way because of the “fellowship” but because their own relationship with God super-ceded the doctrine.

        I will speak more later. I look forward to more from you.

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        • “Their own relationship with God super-ceded the doctrine” or something like that.I can say “Amen” to that ,Craig
          When we have a personal relationship with GOD, HIS LOVE overshadows everything. When we are recipients of this Divine Love ,we cannot help but love others .Jesus said by this shall all men know that you are my disciples,when you have love one to another.How can we say that we love God who we cannot see and hate our brother ? We would be lying ,as it says in the epistle of John.
          We can read about the definition of Love and see what it really means to truly love.
          I like the words of a Hymn….and our love for one another manifest our love for Thee

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    • Thank you Craig. Yes, how true it is – that is, (for me), ‘… being cut off from most of the the people and social interactions we’ve known … brings a deep grief and leaves a hole in our hearts. I thank God for every opportunity to interact (fellowship) with others who have been through this devastation but want to move on to a deeper personal relationship with our Father through His Son.’ Many thanks to everyone who shares their experiences. It is so helpful!
      Lotso luv
      happydaze 🙂

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  15. Darla, your honesty and eloquence are bread for hungry hearts. I went through very similar experiences in my spiritual journey. Although not a “worker” I was born and raised 3rd generation and certainly was marinated in the “doctrine of men”! I thank God for my dear childhood friend, Debra, a former worker who allowed me to express myself without her judgement. What you are doing here is still God’s work. Keep it up. I will be praying for you!

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    • Craig,
      Thank you for your words of encouragement. It really means a lot. I especially appreciated your validation that what I am doing on this blog is still God’s work because that is how I view it also. I know some think it’s foolish but oh well.

      It is just dawning on me who you are! Debra is my friend too and I remember her talking about you. I have sent her the link to my blog also; I don’t know if she is reading it yet or not. Thanks for your prayers!

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  16. Thank you Darla for your natural and spiritual honesty. I am going through a similar heartache and your words resonate deeply within me. I know God’s will for my life and that is to help “break down the walls” that man has constructed in God’s name. My main heartache is working through the question of “is it meant for me to do this in this particular church?” and I am not alone in this as have a few close friends who believe that the changes will not come by leaving. We can be the change that we want to see, and help free so many people from bondage. While I am spiritually happy and content and have complete peace about my life with God, I do have a struggle with the people and their doctrines. I have no problem accepting their thoughts or decisions and I simply do not care what they think they need to do. To me, we are all souls all on a journey and we are all at different spiritual levels. The struggle comes from their religious zeal that they are “right”, and the energies I pick up from them towards me. A lot of it is negative, toxic fear. My gut tells me I don’t need these people in my life. My heart wants to help them. I would love to talk to someone, even a current “preacher” who feels identical to me. It would even help more if this person was an “intuitive” and a “seer”. Yes, you are getting the picture…the spiritual versus religious struggle that has gone on for 20 years in my life. Thank you for reading, and I am so glad I found your blog today.

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    • You are not alone, Chrissy! Focusing on the commandment to love is like taking a deep cleanse. We purge all of the toxic stuff and rejoice in the renewed health and improved function of our natural spiritual state. You are beautiful and loved by God and all who love Him.

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  17. Jane,
    Thank you, my dear, for your words of encouragement and love. The pilgrims journey you mention is the topic of a future post I am working on right now. The loss of friendships and the ensuing loneliness.

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    • Darla, there is IMMENSE loneliness even in remaining (in). Sadly, once your eyes have been opened, a continually widening separation begins to take place. It may be lonely to leave and face all you face with that separation, but believe me, the burrowing deeper into Christ and His Truths, changes things with people you were once so close to, forever.
      Thank God for His grace and understanding!
      In retrospect, a certain amount of loneliness is great gain, as it forces us to grow more and more intimate with the One who understands.
      Hugs

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      • Amen, amen, and amen. What you have said is oh so true. The fear of loneliness keeps alot of people in the system but that is really a lack of faith in God who WILL keep and DOES keep and brings immense riches out of the loneliness.

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      • Amen, Caroline. I have felt the loneliness of leaving and of having spiritual thoughts I want to share and no group to share with. But also I have felt a quiet loving voice telling me it is for my best and that He has my path planned. I have loved getting to trust Him more and more as I have fewer and fewer people to lean on. I feel excited to meet with Him again each day to see what He wants to open up to me next. I have recently been so blessed in having more and more people to share with that I would never have thought would even want to share about God. So rewarding. So, as we have always known but love to prove more and more as we walk along with Him – He will never forsake us but will plan the best for us.

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        • Betty, It is so true that The. Lord has a plan for each of us and his thoughts toward us is for our good.We are all on this journey of life together and the sooner we get to know our GOD in a personal way,and prove his awesome Power,our lives are enriched beyond what anyone can ever do for us.
          Deepak Chopra said we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
          When our spirit connect with The Holy Spirit we are truly “connected”.
          And yes, Our Lord will never leave us or forsake us!
          We must not forsake Him either,if we are to experience the fullness of his Great Love!

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  18. Darla,
    Blessings on you for your courage to articulate your feelings and record them. The journey you describe is very difficult, yet rewarding, as you say. Freedom from a system to truly find and reach God! You write in a very eloquent way, and are able to voice what many of us feel, but have lacked courage to write it all down. I suspect it would be a cathartic experience if more people could do what you have done; it would help those who have left the fellowship to avoid the pitfalls of lonely, cynical, bitter feelings that are inevitably felt. We do need to move on, in spite of the loss of so much in terms of friendships……it has been such a painful experience to see the walls go up between us and those we still love in the fellowship. Our love for them hasn’t changed at all, yet we are now considered dangerous to their beliefs. Friendships are strained at best, so as you say, it is a difficult journey…….this thing of being a pilgrim and stranger becomes very real in this setting.

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    • Amen, Jane! I share much of your experience, too. I applaud your desire to leave the bitterness, disappointment, and loss behind and to reach for greater joy. You have come to a good place, here, I think:)

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