Overcoming Church Wounds and Crude Dudes: Part 1

*Key names have been changed for privacy purposes. This post is rated R (if you are a teen, please read with a parent or guardian)

This isn’t just a story about throwing an ex boyfriend under the bus. It’s a love story of deception, Christ, church wounds and other hot messes. It’s my story about how God transformed my pain so I didn’t become a bitter old lady filled with a house of smelly cats.

This has been something I've wanted to share for months now. With my best friends, husband and through prayer, I've spent time processing through if I should actually write this. The ramifications of posting this topic or staying silent are outweighed by the freedom that God can bring through sharing my story.

The goal of this blog series is to motivate people to find redemption in Christ and to believe in the local church again. 


“Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so …” Ricky’s voice trailed off as he hugged me.  Remnants of my jagged heart lay on the bleak floor scattered in pieces.

Sobs thumped from my chest as my gut rose up in protest. "He ... he ... He" I could barely speak. "Frank broke up with me because he couldn't 'align himself with a woman who was a hypocrite'." 

Frank was away at bible college pursuing a career as a Pastor. I was here, on the cold, crusty floor, struggling through church wounds … and now a broken heart.

***

Two years earlier I gave my life to Jesus.

My friend and I sat together under the darkened lights, in the back row of the small town Protestant church. We stuck out like a sore thumb, in a sea of church hats. Rocking our boot-cut jeans and athletic tees I griped about being invited to church on a Friday night.

The church had two projector screens and uplighting that accented the stage design. Seeing quality production in church was a foreign concept to the more traditional church I grew up in. Captivated, I leaned in as the play kicked off with actor-Jesus walking down the aisle, bearing the weight of the cross. A series of different skits unfolded. Bright lights flashed as pre-recorded angelic voices sang from the speakers.  Smoke rose from the floor and a woman who just faced death was ushered into heaven.  

The minister closed the night asking this question. "If you walk out these doors tonight and got hit by a car, would you go to heaven or hell?" Side note, in my current stage of life I value the love-based approach to Evangelism as opposed to fear-based tactics. Regardless, The creativity of the experience and message of the Gospel pulled on my heartstrings.

But anyways ... so there I was in all my teenage angst, contemplating the most spiritually challenging question that I've ever faced. In that moment I didn’t feel afraid of the unknown but I felt known by the Creator of the Universe. In making the choice to pursue a relationship with Jesus, my life was radically transformed from the inside out.  

I became a Christian that day. 

The Angel

The first time I met Frank was the same day I met Jesus. He was the boy in white wearing angel wings and holding a harp in the church play. 

Frank was the Pastor’s son and thought of as a “local celebrity”. He played guitar and rocked his charm. I got involved in the church and surrounded myself with other people who were pursuing Christ. Over time a relationship developed with Frank and we dated on and off for three years. Little did we know, Frank was deceiving us all and was far from an angel. A conviction would set him behind bars with a label that would follow him for life.

Read Part 2