That said, this is an outlet for me. And, I know I've mentioned before about what we've been going through. So, if you're interested, feel free to read it. If not, I'll be back on Sunday with one of your Thankful Lists and Monday with more pretty things.
As you know, we left the
And, I know a lot of you have church experience, but this probably isn't what you've been through (or, maybe it is, and I'm glad you're reading).
It happened slowly. We were warmly welcomed in to our new "family." They were there for us during hard times and good times adn supported us and loved us.
But, they, also, subtlety manipulated us into breaking off all of our other relationships. We didn't hang out with anyone who wasn't a member of the church or a potential member and we most definitely, definitely did not hang out with anyone who had left the church. We were (directly or indirectly) told how to live our lives. If we didn't invite a certain number of people or show up to a certain event then we were "in trouble." (Everyone there is always afraid of getting in trouble). We were put down, shamed, punished, and threatened.
I feel like the people around me and even my own head thinks that I should be over this. But, my heart knows that coming out of an abusive situation/relationship of any kind is difficult and there is a road of recovery that needs to be traveled. I know that I'm not the only one either. There are so, so, so many people that have left "the cult" that are struggling and hurting and broken.
We when started attending and all along the way we burned so many bridges. I stopped hanging out with my bestfriends, with mentors, with a lady that was like a second mom to me (my "spiritual mom"). I know I hurt so many people. Then, when we left the church we were completely ex-communicated. People were told not to talk to us or hang out with us, so we were left with almost no friends (I'm so thankful for those few, though!!)
I've stayed (mostly) silent about all that has gone on all of this time because of fear. But, lately, I've decided I'm going to stand up for what is right. The reason that these things happen is because people are afraid to stand up to the abusers. (Their bark is a lot worse than the bite, though. At least in this case.) Honestly, I haven't done much, but it's already brought a lot of healing. I'm surprised at people encouraging me and contacting me to share their story and to ask for help.
God is doing a good work and I trust that everything does work together for those who love Him. I know that I'm still on this journey, but God has brought us into a safe place and for that I am thankful.
Have you ever heard of this kind of thing? Or been apart of something similar? I didn't even know something like this existed and didn't realize the extent of it until we had already left.