Where are you most likely to speak with God? Is it even possible to talk with Him? From an experience of deep pain I want to explore reasons for the decline in religious affiliation in recent decades. I will discuss how we can strengthen our self-worth, and feel more satisfied with life. The book titled, The Shack by William P. Young was a powerful tool to help me begin to understand my relationship with God.
As I walked out to the garage to tell John lunch is on the table, I noticed he turned his back to me. I glimpsed the dark tinted glasses instead of his contacts. “Of course! He’s high.” I thought. As my eyes swept the room, I saw the partially stashed bundle of cash and his suede pouch. Weeks ago, he had promised the chaplain and me to stop selling and using. Again, he lied. Anger surged within me, and I spoke. “You promised you weren’t doing this anymore.”
“I’m not. I just found some stuff out here while I was cleaning, and I’m going to trash it.” Again, a lie. An argument ensued. Within minutes, I was shoved against the cold, concrete, garage wall, and muscular hands squeezed my throat while the man I used to love screamed obscenities and spit in my face.
Fifteen years with my dear John destroyed my faith. We prayed as a family each day morning and night. We attended church every Sunday and Wednesday. He and the boys wore white shirts and ties, while my daughter and I dressed in our best dresses. Each of us served as we were asked. Our only activities outside of the church were the kid’s sports. We appeared to be a devout church family who chose to serve God just as the biblical leader Joshua said.
Joshua 24:15 KJV
Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Various church officials counseled us through the years. They encouraged us to put God first, repent, and forgive. Our marriage did not survive. I finally escaped with the children and entered a domestic violence shelter. At last, we received excellent therapy, and I divorced John.
I continued membership in the same church, as did John. The kids and I continued to pray together, attend church, study the bible, and serve as needed with one change. I piloted our lives as I determined our needs instead of relying on laymen of the church to guide me.
In the women’s shelter, I learned that I had replied on people in my church who had no training nor licensing for helping me. They were serving their own interests and that of the church. I needed police officers, licensed professional counselors, lawyers, judges, and safe houses to stop my suffering. I was married to a drug dealer/family abuser.
Churches want to help, but many times individual do-gooders take on too much responsibility. I witnessed people leaving churches for the following reasons: