This is going to be a very self-analytical post, so … you really don’t have to read it.
Our church here in Chattanooga has been going through the 9Marks booklet about church membership called, Committing to One Another: Church Membership.
I know I’m not the only reason God has our church doing this study, but I think the timing (while we are here) has been *just* for me 😉
When we came back to the U.S. at the beginning of November, I walked through the Atlanta airport and … never wanted to return to Ukraine. … Ever.
It’s not that I wanted to stay in America. But just the emotional relief of getting out of the stress we were under in Ukraine … Stress I never really knew was even there to that level.
It wasn’t until the beginning of February I began to bear the thought of returning, then gradually, a desire to return resurfaced. This was a weird experience for me because generally, while I don’t love everything about Ukraine, I love living there and being in ministry there.
Our church started this study on church membership a few weeks back, so I’ve been applying it to my church membership in Ukraine. It’s one of the main, lingering stressors looming over me regarding our return.
I had a little breakthrough today, so I’m ready to put words around some of the stuff I’ve been trying to work through.
This last term I was a pastor’s wife. Well, Vitaliy was ordained in 2008 or 9, but I wasn’t really the main pastor’s wife until, by “default,” Vitaliy was given this role.
Let me resign yesterday.
The stuff that came out of our church during these last 3-4 years has left me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I kid you not. My heart is pounding as I type, and I would be crying but that I am sitting in a public place.
I realized today, as we read together in Sunday School Romans 12:9-11, that I have very little emotions for my church now. I have a wall. A wall behind which I think lies a deep sadness and shock that I haven’t let myself feel for a while now, and so I have stopped feeling most emotions about my church all together.
It’s hard for me to rejoice or weep with anyone in my church in Ukraine. I just sit as a sympathetic zombie listening to their problems, their joys … but I have closed something down about getting close to people and really feeling what they feel.
So … I think, in order to move on, I am going to go back to where I stopped it all up. And I’m going to let myself weep about their sins and hardships. Mourn for their repentance or lack thereof. Let myself feel what they should be feeling. Forgive them, not for sinning against me, but more for myself, so I can let go the hurts and betrayal and shock.
And move into love. Really loving them. Somehow. With God’s Spirit. Less of my love, with its hidden expectations. And more of His love. With my emotions, too, as they are united to the Lord. And letting them love me. Humbling myself, letting go of any pride.
I don’t know all what I need to do. But God has been leading this whole thing already. I’ve seen small breakthroughs in the last few weeks….
Read Full Post »