Some wonderful good news for those who have been considered “hopeless outsiders.” This is the hope you have that you will not be a “disappointment” to God.
Here’s the joy for those who have been cast out of congregations because you won’t reconcile with someone you consider unsafe. Your hope is not in the modern Western organizational church. Your hope is not in what other people have determined about you. Your hope is in Jesus Christ alone. He alone has the power to rescue you, transform you, and bring you to His banquet table.
You may even discover, after being cast out in agony, that you come to know Jesus Christ better than you ever have before. You’ll find as you get to know Him that He is not disappointed with you. Instead, He is your nearly-incredible inheritance.
Rebecca your post makes me cry.
At 45 I feel like an empty shell. No man ever thought I was worth marrying except an abusive drunk. I dodged that bullet. Chronically ill I am almost homebound with my elderly parents and cats for company.
Had “godly” women tell me I had failed God and was not a real Christian woman because I’m not a wife and mother. It is true I have no place or function at church. They don’t want anything I could offer and I hate going. It’s a distasteful duty I perform for Jesus though no one seems to benefit.
I’m still glad I’m not as bad off as most of your readers who may be in danger for their lives. But it hurts how Christians blame women like me for doing something wrong to make God withhold husbands and families from us. Why are church people so fond of shaming those who suffer? Whether lonely old maids or battered wives.
Oh, friend, my heart hurts reading this.
What I’ve seen is that even in the churches that decry the “prosperity gospel” (which is not a gospel), in so many of them there is still a form of prosperity “gospel” being taught, and you’ve described part of it right here. “If only you lived your life in xyz way, you would be fulfilled in the physical realm.” This is “prosperity gospel” thinking, and I deplore it.
Rachel, my heart goes out for you.. the same for me. I could have married the wrong man several times over, but chose not to – but then I see divorced single mothers re-marrying great men and having their dream life and ministry. In my country and elsewhere. and we who never married, are blamed as spinsters and crazy cat ladies (in my case, I am the crazy gardening lady…at least something nice I can do in my life, haha)
The church often forgets that not only our own choices, but also the choices of others are what affect us. Yes, God is able, to intervene. I pray that for you, for myself, and many other single women in the church. The Lord has promised, ‘Those who hunger an thirst after righteousness, shall be satisfied’. He still has a purpose for us!
I know the feeling. People have shamed me for my rough way of talking, hinting that it either keeps men away or that it results from men staying away. I am 53 and never-married partially because Yeshua pulled me out of the way of the bullet of marrying a narcissistic man like my father. Let the men stay away if they cannot handle me. The institutional church just wants to control the ladies. I am deployed at my present church, but I can emotionally leave at a moment’s notice. The institutional church hurts ladies who hurt, sometimes purposefully. Both men and women in the institutional church hurt the single ladies in more ways than one. Often either sex is quite mean. Some pastors must have had the lady of their dreams turn them down (or something) to be so ridiculously (and often incorrectly) focused on seeing no singles in the congregation. (Some people should not remarry for practical, protective or theological reasons. ) Many pastors ignore and practically preach against the Apostle Paul’s acknowledgement of singleness as a viable option (1 Cor. 7). (We have to follow Yeshua’s rules for our protection, but it does not change that singles can honor Yeshua in their singleness.) I thought about becoming Catholic or Anglican to become a nun. I found a nunhood that accepted Protestants, but I am beyond their preferred age range. My father and mother are older and have no grandchildren from me thanks to their coordinated narcissistic abuse and my response to it. I firmly believe Yeshua is judging them and the institutional church that is dying with proud pastors going down with a useless, sinking ship. (Mark Taylor talks about this on YouTube. ) The Lord, Jehovah Gibbor, is making war for the revenge of those hurt, and we do not have to do so. Rest assured, dear hurting sister, Yeshua is not happy about how you were and are treated.
Thank you Maggie. My age and health prevent me from joining a convent. (45 but feel 75.) But I can still become an oblate with a local order. So could you.
Yes, there is a reason the American church is dying. We have lost our first love and no longer bear the mark of Christ. (They will know we are His if we love one another.)
Dear hurting sister, I forgot to add that I am not happy about how you are treated either!
Wow! That is really unacceptable Christian behavior to tell someone that! Maybe you need to find a new church! I am single by choice and although lonely it is better than to be in a bad or loveless marriage. Your health comes first anyway! If you have a good relationship with your parents, you may actually enjoy spending time with them as an adult. It’s all in how you look at it! People can only make you feel bad if you let them shame you.
As someone who normally spends a lot of time with her parents and especially now since they have been ill, I have seen how that is also often disapproved of.. It is almost like seen as a flaw that a single woman is helping and spending time with her folks. The Western society AND church as well obviously would prefer it that singles are alone and have no company and fellowship whatsoever..! (in my case, I can always use it as a defence that I have also lived thousands of miles away from my parents at some point.. )
Thanks for this, Rebecca. Just recently, I learned that some people I would really like to meet and fellowship with (I got to know them last year), are coming to my town – but, as they will be associating with my ex pastor, I do not consider it safe. I do not want to risk having to meet my ex pastor again, or him trying to take this opportunity again to bring me under his control and manipulation.
In fact, Just today I happened to see a glipmse of my ex pastor on the street.. and I have no desire to associate with him ever again. He treated people in his inner circle abominably, and has this mocking / jesting streak in him which can take a nasty turn at any minute. Sorry, I do not want him to hover over my life or try to influence my family in any way. I know the drill – he would love to recruit me again and use my skills in his projects, and I could never have a freedom of conscience .
This post today just encouraged me that I was being wise when refraining from all contact with him and his church..
I just pray that the Lord would make it possible to fellowship with the right people elsewhere, in safe locations.
Yes, I hope and pray this for you too.
The power of biblical Truth can hold us in any situation. We only need to remember and rely on it. Amen and Thank you.
This post leaves me in tears as well, and the comments even more so. My heart goes out to those who have been brainwashed, as I long was, into thinking that an institution of men is the same thing as the family of God. As you so eloquently write, this simply is not so.
Our adoption into God’s family requires no permission or approval of men. The genuine offer of forgiveness of sin and life everlasting is made to every single person ever born, and no one can separate us from this sure love and mercy of God.
I know it’s not much, but I will be including those who have commented here in my prayers. I will be praying that God will not only grant you assurance and peace, but that he will bring people into your life who accept and appreciate you for who you are. It is very difficult for lifelong churchgoers to see those who have been hurt and disillusioned by the institutional church as anything but ‘sinners’ and outcasts.
Please do not let their lack of understanding hurt or shape you. God did not call us to be church members, he called us to be his precious children. He will father us, protect us, lead us and assist us in the precious calling of becoming more and more like his Son; something that too many churches know nothing of.
This is happening in my family at this very moment. You cannot know how needed and precious these words are right now.
Pastor Crippen has put his church sermons on video and opened his church to online membership, too. If you go to LightforDarkTimes.com you can see Christ Reformation Church’s website (and blog).
As for the vast majority of men, I’d say you’ve dodged a big bullet Rachel, not that it helps with the loneliness or the (presumably) oft-repeated questions as to why you’ve not married. Maybe others won’t appreciate me saying this, but it’s true — men are more likely predators and abusers than not. Moms of sons especially get riled up when talking about the widespread-ness of men’s violence and abuse of women, but reality is reality.
That an abusive drunk wanted to marry you, to me, says the likelihood of you being a nice, caring, loving, honest, committed, godly woman is very high. Abusive drunks don’t want fiesty, problematic women who might give them any trouble.
I see battered women who become chronically ill and housebound because of the abuse and what it does to them. I am glad you are not forever tied to an abusive drunk due to having kids with him.
I’m really glad you shared. And I’m glad you have your parents. There are others who are without anyone and on the streets or otherwise living in shelters or places not fit for habitation. But, just because others are worse off, doesn’t make things less difficult for you.
Conceited women or brainwashed women (and battered women are brainwashed to different levels of severity and often become talking heads of their abusers’ nonsense) or otherwise lucky, privileged women who don’t recognize their good fortune and instead think it was their own merit and good choices look around and say such things to others who are not married. But the real biggie, is the internalized misogyny and victim-blaming of society. It’s like the just world fallacy that so many buy into and believe.
I personally think spinster is a great sounding word and although it may not be made into a cool, elevated label of “bachelor”, I say women ought to claim spinster and rock it. 🙂
Thankyou so much Rebecca for this post. I was thinking yesterday how I’d like to read your thoughts again and today your post popped into my inbox, a message of such hope. I’m so weary and hurting not just for me but for my little boy and I feel so trapped. I continually battle with the idea that I’ve failed God and that I’ve brought all the abuse on myself,the message ingrained through church teaching and counsel. The experience of living with a ‘christian’ husband who is a master covert abuser is literally draining me yet I can not shake the knowledge that Jesus is real, it must be Him holding me? I’m so conscious of my own sin yet my eyes are being opened to the cruelty in my home which increases no matter what I do. These words have been like a comforting, soothing hug from my Heavenly Father to my soul and I’m tearful as I write this because I believe He had me read this today when I feel so lost, alone, wondering if He hears me.. Thankyou from my heart for staring the love of Christ.
I’m so thankful to hear that, and I pray that you’ll feel His loving presence near you always.
Thank you for this post, Rebecca. God’s perfect timing in letting me read it as I am going through a very difficult time. God is faithful but I fear my emotional and physical exhaustion are taking a toll on decision making which leads me to doubt what I should do. (covet prayers)
Praying for all commenters. May the Lord sustain and comfort them all.
I pray our loving God will hold you through this difficult time.
[…] But oh my goodness – I never dreamed how God would use it! As I attended each week, I heard a Gospel of GRACE preached for the first time! I began to understand why the Gospel means Good News! The things I learned seemed too good to be true! […]