It was late evening and we ended up alone together.
The busyness of the day had come to a halt and there was a kind of calm that hung in the atmosphere.
She began sharing and delicately removed the smoke screen of her past.
She spoke of a time when she was fully involved in Ministry and how much she loved the Lord. A relationship and connection that was tarnished because of a ‘bad thing’ that happened within her Church.
“I was in the camera ministry” she told me, pausing mid story to ask, “Why am I even telling you this?”
She looked at me with her question hanging, as if she thought I wouldn’t and couldn’t even understand.
I just listened.
She didn’t know how much I could relate to her story.
She spoke about the hurt and how much it affected her and how she walked away from the Church.
As she spoke, I looked at her and saw something, it was something that I had never seen before beneath all the insults and the bitterness that she often hurled at Churches and Christians.
It was something that would cause me to forever change the way I respond to people who express a distrust of Churches and everything associated with it.
It was FEAR.
A fear of letting one’s guard down again. A fear of leaving oneself vulnerable and completely open in a spiritual environment without knowing if you can be safe.
Sometimes we respond to persons who express a distrust of the Church community by saying, “well hypocrite deh everywhere” or “you don’t like the people at work, but you still go because you need to get paid.”
All those things are true, however on that day while speaking to her, and seeing a kind of innocence on her face, I realised that such a response was not sufficient.
I vowed never to repeat anything like it again.
Beneath the hurts I could hear her inner voice and inner child saying, “I expect more from this place. It is not like the other places. I want to feel safe here.”
And why shouldn’t people feel safe in the Church?
The Church is one of those places that can affect the deepest part of a human being (the Spirit) and that impact can be positive or negative.
If the Spirit of a man is not handled with care that person can be severely wounded.
The task for stronger believers is to engage persons who are hurting in discussion whenever we meet them and see how we can reconnect them to that which is most important – God.
There are seasons when we also need the very same thing.
It was not so long after that encounter, on another late evening, that she and I spoke again and the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray. I thought it would be awkward but she agreed and we held hands.
It was a prayer that ended in tears and a confession, “I miss it! I miss just being in a room with other persons and it just being me and God alone…”
“No tears” I told her, while trying to stifle my own.
“How can I get back there?” she asked. “Should I even be trying to go back?”
I drew an analogy of two friends who become disconnected after not communicating for a while. We talked about how awkward It would probably feel when they try to reconnect.
Then I likened relationship with God to a married couple who go through a dry spell and find that things are not as exciting as it was during their honey moon phase.
“Can they go back to the night of their honey moon?” I asked.
“No, because that period has already passed and now they have all of these experiences since that moment. But now, right where they are, they can start dating again, and hanging out, and rebuild the connection and intimacy. It’s the same with God, just one step at a time…”
She smiled and I could tell she was getting it.
“I just wonder if I will ever get pass here” she said softly.
“Girlllllllll!!!” I responded, as if I grew up in Brooklyn.
“I am sharing my experiences with you, and a time will come when you will sit with another girl who will be crying and she will be asking you the same question.”
“And I’ll say girlllllllllll” she said, mimicking me.
We both laughed, like old friends.
That evening I was reminded of how perfect God’s order is. He takes us through our different seasons and experiences and uses them all for His glory. We don’t always see the benefit of the seasons we go through but ever so often a time comes when we are able to use those experiences to encourage others.
I use this encounter to encourage you as well to push through your different seasons, as I have been pushing through mine.
No matter what is going on, rest knowing that God knows the reason for it, and in His own sweet timing He will reveal it to you too.
[About the Author: Sandie Heron lives in Saint Catherine, Jamaica with her Sister Roxanne and Dog Jackie. She enjoys writing and Video Production and desires to walk in purpose and fulfill her divine destiny.]