About the Author

Mary DeMuth is an author, speaker and book mentor who helps folks turn trials to triumph. : She blogs at Mary DeMuth Her recent book, Thin Places, details God's surprising transformation of a life.

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  1. Wow. I cannot tell you how that hit me square between the eyes and landed in my heart just as it needed to. Thank you. And Thank you for being someone who gets that a situation that might cause you to leave a church/ministry/friend in Christ is not as simple as ‘I used to shop at Safeway, and now I go to Albertson’s.’ I am just so grateful for this post and how it met me in a tender place.

  2. Whether it’s for a special love one or maybe just for you, our gifts will touch the heart and remind you of God’s perfect love. Our Gifts display your faith and let those around you know that you are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A gift that can encourage and touch the heart makes such a wonderful gift.

  3. It’s as if….you’ve lived my life.

    I’m 4 years into this crushing truth. My family has left ministry. It isn’t that we can’t “get over” what happened to us. It’s that we can’t find our place anymore. Where do we belong?

    Sadly, everyone isn’t interested in being a friend. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong. I’m not hiding out. I’m definitely church/friend ready. This has been the longest lesson–I still haven’t quite learned.

    • Wanda, my family and I are right where you are. We’re going to try a new church after Easter. Trying to figure out where we fit in. Church, attending and serving within it, was such a big part of our lives that it feels beyond strange to be going through a season like this.

    • I very much understand what you’re saying. Jesus, I pray for Wanda, that You would tenderly heal her, help her find her place again, and do something brand new that renews her heart.

    • Wanda, I understand where you and your family are. My husband and I served as leaders in ministry. When the church needed to change and put in another leader in our place, the transition was handled poorly and rudely. My husband is still battling bitterness and forgiveness. We truly see why people leave the church permanently or go to another fellowship.

      I am definitely in a better place than my husband and have been able to forgive the past, even though I know that I am looked down on.

      Out of this terrible pain, my husband has opened up to some of the men, who are on the fringes: Men who are not the most popular but are sincere, consistent Christian. We are in awe of my husband’s new ministry because he is a very private and introverted person.

      It took a long while for my husband to come to this place. I wonder if God is doing a work inside you and your family and he is still refining you. It’s a lonely place indeed. Pray specifically for friends to come along side you. They will come but it may not be as quickly as you’d like.

      God Bless—wish I lived closer so we could have a cup of coffee.

    • You know Wanda… I think this whole article depends on how one defines church. Jesus said do not give up with meeting with other believers for encouragement and growth. The way I see it – church is in active group of people who speak into our lives. This can happen anyway as long as we continue to facilitate meeting with mentors, listening to the wisdom of others and having friends who believe. With this definition I could not agree more with this article. People are flawed, there will be misunderstanding but we can make it through. However I disagree with this article if it is defining church by an institution or building. God and healing do not just come from a worship place- they come from the spirit inside all who choose.
      I have been out of the church as a building for seven years but I have found a smaller more supportive and challenging groups of people by opening up my home to a range of people. Not on Sundays. Sunday’s is our day of test to honor God as a family and I love it. There is freedom in this way and wonderful life. It took me about three years to adjust my definitions of church and not feel guilt about going. Some still don’t understand but you have to do what is right between you and God. One size does not fit all. Just make sure that you have support, seek out podcasts from someone like Tony Campolo or Peter Kreeft free on iTunes and meet with others.
      Don’t give up. The church as an institution needs to change. Something that works with only one voice often speaking and large masses of people is going to hurt more than heal. It has it’s place but that place may not be growth and healing for all. I believe church as an institution does many wonderful things for inner cities and those who have no other community but for those who do there ARE other ways. Not better but different and perhaps better for the individual. God is still with you whatever you choose- the Divine is bigger than that;)

    • Wanda…this whole article depends on how one defines church. Jesus said do not give up with meeting with other believers for encouragement and growth. The way I see it – church is in active group of people who speak into our lives. This can happen anyway as long as we continue to facilitate meeting with mentors, listening to the wisdom of others and having friends who believe. With this definition I could not agree more with this article. People are flawed, there will be misunderstanding but we can make it through. However I disagree with this article if it is defining church by an institution or building. God and healing do not just come from a worship place- they come from the spirit inside all who choose.
      I have been out of the church as a building for seven years but I have found a smaller more supportive and challenging groups of people by opening up my home to a range of people. Not on Sundays. Sunday’s is our day of test to honor God as a family and I love it. There is freedom in this way and wonderful life. It took me about three years to adjust my definitions of church and not feel guilt about going. Some still don’t understand but you have to do what is right between you and God. One size does not fit all. Just make sure that you have support, seek out podcasts from someone like Tony Campolo or Peter Kreeft free on iTunes and meet with others.
      Don’t give up. The church as an institution needs to change. Something that works with only one voice often speaking and large masses of people is going to hurt more than heal. It has it’s place but that place may not be growth and healing for all. I believe church as an institution does many wonderful things for inner cities and those who have no other community but for those who do there ARE other ways. Not better but different and perhaps better for the individual. God is still with you whatever you choose- the Divine is bigger than that;)

  4. Perfect timing Mary….and I have been turning it over and making a conscious effort to release it to The Healer. Trusting for the good and growth for all of us!

  5. You must have had an ear to my thoughts yesterday morning as I struggled to walk through the church doors. Things being said without thought to those involved. Assumptions on my part and theirs. Oh, the struggle. Then the sermon was preached right to my heart. I’ve wrestled with it and given it to the Lord asking Him to free my thoughts and heart from the bitterness that was trying to take root. Your words have ministered to me this morning. Thank you.

  6. So glad to have had this in the early part of my day.
    Thank you for taking on this subject with tenderness and truth. Amazing how paradoxically He teaches us, so very very often. With Love and Mercy, always.

  7. These are such encouraging words to those who are hurt, and I pray that each hurting person who reads this today will take that huge step of faith and trust God with their healing, and believe that He will move them forward and beyond all that lies behind and that He will be with them each step of the way through it all. And I pray for freedom from any bitterness that is trying to take hold.

    • You have a tremendous heart, Kathy. Keep up the prayers. I have a feeling there are many who can relate to this post and are nursing painful hurt.

  8. Lived there. Preacher’s wife. Professional brick builder. Each time you *choose* to be vulnerable again, because He asks you to for His sake. So you trust, and open your heart knowing it will be broken again, and faithing He will heal it again. Scars? Yes. Tender always to touch. But loving and living in joy. (If I may? Another book that helped me find healing in profound ways was “A Tale of Three Kings”, by Gene Edwards. A book even children get.)

  9. “God often uses the very thing that harmed you to heal you.”….he has used these things often to grow me…even when I have hurt others…and repented. He is transforming me…and i love how he loves me!

  10. Boy, does our LORD provide! Thank you for blogging this. For me, not in relation to ‘church’ women, but for me — family. A family member, just this morning, apologized to me (he who is never wrong). Sent him off with the feeling of not getting another chance from me. And then I came back to the computer, found this blog & wept … … were your words that got me. My LORD died on the cross for my mistakes (and his), and am commanded to forgive him. Done, called him, hashed it out & thanking our LORD for his great mercy this Easter.

  11. *Then I came back to the computer, found your words – or will you acknowledge the pain, hand it over to Jesus, and dare to risk again – and those words got to me.

  12. Yesterday I go to church and am praising God, leave for a second to go to the bathroom on my way back, a sister in the Lord says some pretty hurtful things… I have been struggling with it ever since. When i woke up this morning and read this, I knew God was speaking to me. I definitely don’t want this to be a distraction in dealing with my walk with Him (or hers for that matter). Now I am trying to understand how to walk through this situation in a manner that is glorifying unto Him. Thank you for this post and for allowing God to use you to speak to me.

  13. Thank you for this. Im a Pastors wife whos husband was asked to resign about 9 mo ago… for no biblical reason… was an ugly situation with lies… and greed… pride… was very hurtful. We are in a great place now tho because of what happened there… a place of healing and refuge… the Lord used that terrible situation to bring us to this place.. we now know what was meant for harm… from others… God meant for good. So thankful.

    It is hard not to get bitter tho at the ones who betrayed you and were so hurtful… def. is a process…

  14. Thank you for this. I am currently working through the crushing hurt from a church family. We stayed at the church for a year praying and seeking resolution, and were told it would never come. It even came to a point where they wouldn’t allow us to work within the church in our calling. There were a lot of control issues. This being my second huge betrayal from the church, for a time I was ready to give up church altogether. But…by the grace of God…one of the ladies that had hurt me reached out to me, and I’ve been able to talk to her about what happened. Although she doesn’t understand my feelings, and she’s not anymore interested in resolution than the others who had hurt me, it’s brought me to a place where I can begin to heal. I know healing will come. I will continue to pull into the safe place of my Jesus and trust Him to restore what has been taken and more.

    • Jenny,

      What’s hard about your situation is that others don’t “get” your hurt. I’m so sorry. Jesus sees. May He heal and bring a new joy to you in the aftermath.

  15. Living overseas, I know that part of my story of being in leadership and being burnt badly is unique. As unique as everyone reading this. But I also know that parts are as universal as the air we all breath. I’m coming out of over two years of being (what has felt to me) like a being put in the corner and told to be a “good girl” — recently “God has been whispering to me” (http://wp.me/p1Ut5W-7u) and the message of hope points in tandem to yours, Mary. Pain is real, but it’s not the last word. Blessings, fellow soujourners! Amy

  16. I’ve been there and it has left me feeling lost and not knowing where to go from there. Trust is a hard thing for me sometimes. But now I am going to wait for God to lead me to where He really wants me to be, where I can flourish and grow.

  17. Mary,

    I never really thought much about it. I’ve always attended big churches with several Sunday AM services. Enjoyed some of the friendships I made, but just never felt like I quite fit in.

    I went to my husband’s small church out in the country and immediately felt welcomed and loved. We have gone there 8 years now and I just love the people and the pastor and his wife. We all share burdens. They make all newcomers feel welcome and loved–as it should be.

    It is a shame when good Christian people hurt others by what they say or how they act. It shouldn’t be that way, but in this fallen world we are all human!

    Praying for peace for everyone!

  18. Giving it deeper thought and inspecting my own heart and my own words to see if (where, aren’t we all guilty at some point?) I have been the perpetrator of such pain and going on bended knees and begging mercy and grace.

    • This is where I start when I am “feeling hurt”. I ask God to reveal truth to me. Is what was said true, Lord? Can I see how that person came to that conclusion? How did I contribute to the situation? Do I clearly understand what was said? Do I need more information? Show me my sin in this ,and grant me repentance. Then I have to go directly to the people that are the source and ask forgiveness (if I have sinned) or confront those making false statements. If they will not repent of their false accusations I need to follow Matthew 18. The goal for me is not necessarily to “feel” better, but to be at peace with my Savior. I have often been in the wrong somewhere. I have many time misunderstood a situation and made a fool of myself. But putting off all that bitterness and seeking the truth with humility is the only way I am able to restore relationships and peace.
      This was a great blog post that I heartily agree with because we are so sinful and so ready to release ourselves of any blame. I have been in service in the same church for 12 years and have experienced many temptations to sin by harboring hurt. I pray that the Lord will help me to continue to serve peacefully with all ,and that our body of believers continues to seek King Jesus instead of king “me”.

  19. For so long I have felt like I am the only one who experienced the hurt from a church. The uglyness that we went through seemed unbearable. Loss of church and friends. We tried a few churches but could not escape the constant questions of ‘what happened’ with the other church. I was told I was not a ‘Christian” because of how we handled a situation. Sadly my family had been put in a dangerous situation. No one asked what happened to lead us to our actions. It has been about five years now. We have talked about going back to church but have not. Reading this today really has made me start thinking about how God has helped me grow and what the plans he may have for me instead of what I lost. Thank you for the post.

    • So so sorry you walked through this. Perhaps God will use this heartache to make you a salve to others who experience the same pain.

  20. Incredible timing for me to read this beautiful post, right now. THANK YOU!!!

  21. I’m focusing on forgiveness this Lent, & forgiving is such a wonderful gift to give not only to the person who’s hurt you, but also to yourself. You are right that everywhere we go where there are other people, there is a big chance of getting hurt. Enjoyed the post.

  22. I have been dealing with this since September. My best friend hurt me more deepening than Ive ever been hurt, by a friend. She has apologized and I have forgiven. But I don’t know how to begin the relationship again. I just avoid her, which is also causing me to avoid our bible study and a lot of our mutual friends. I want to be the brave girl but I honestly don’t know how to even begin. Thoughts?

    • Here are my thoughts: Sometimes you just have to do it. If you can’t figure out where to start, just go ahead and start! Healing takes time and forgiveness is a continual process. As you continue to engage and interact, things will begin to fall back into place.
      These are my thoughts, feel free to use them as you choose. Good luck! 🙂

      • Thanks Missy. I’ve been feeling like I should just jump in – it’s just hard! Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Reeve, that is so hard when it’s a close, close friend. It’s hard to climb out of that. May Jesus be the very best friend you need right now.

      • Thanks Mary. I so appreciate your encouragement and prayer. I keep asking God to help me to love her better. If only I could just let go of my own stubbornness.

  23. I have been one who unconsciously built walls around my heart. This was mostly due to being a Third Culture Kid and learning to protect my heart from Goodbyes. We returned to the US four years ago and I have opened up and made friends. And..I have been hurt. It caught me off guard and threatened to shut me down again. Then, I realized that deep friendships are worth the risk and I am working on my heart opening again. It is a continual process but I made a decision to really think about women first and make a conscious decision on who I wanted my close friends to be rather than letting it totally be a heart thing. I want to be brave too!

  24. I was deeply hurt at our last church as a ministry wife by multiple individuals. It is hard to open up at our new church. I feel torn between wanting to be completely myself and protecting my family from further harm. I’m not sure where the line is drawn.

    • I would recommend the book Safe People as a place to start. It helps you form appropriate boundaries and helps you see if folks are worthy of your trust. You don’t want to plunge back in to an unhealthy relationship.

  25. I have to forward this to my husband. To make a long story short, we’ve gone to the same church along with his brother and my in laws. We had a major disagreement with my in laws and are now working on mending things. In the meantime his brother became very judgemental and angry at us for something really silly and we’ve not spoken to him (or his precious children whom we love) in almost 2 years. my husband is in a place where he feels he cannot free his mind while at church because he is always wondering if his brother is there and where they are sitting etc… we’ve not been to our church in over a month and I SO miss being there! I don’t feel like we should have to leave the church because of the rift between he and his brother but, I almost feel like that distraction wouldn’t be there.
    what an amazing article! thank you so much!

    • I’m so sorry you’ve walked through this, especially with family members. May Jesus give you the discernment you need to see what is next.

  26. Thank you!!! So what I needed to hear today. As I am walking out of the pain trying to heal, connect, and trust again. I was hurt, gossiped about recently, and now trying to handle this in the helthiest way I can.

    • Gossip is the worst! I’m so sorry you had to have that happen to you. 🙁 Remember, Jesus, had the same thing happen to Him. He knows how to come alongside you.

  27. So, so true, Mary! Our citizenship in this “crazy, fallen world” is a surefire guarantee that we will be hurt . . . . even by those who love Jesus.

    Encountering painful relationships within the context of the Church has potential to be so very much *more* disheartening, simply because believers are supposed to be the “safe” ones. How ironic that this isn’t the case for many people.

    I’ve certainly on the receiving end of such pain, and, sadly, I’m sure I’ve doled some out as well. We’re all just humans, after all . . . . humans whose hurts and flaws can somehow–miraculously, really–be redeemed for His purposes.

    Thanks for this post.

  28. Been there/done that, many times! But I don’t want to be a bitter, angry person; I want to reflect my Saviour. I am still working through some of it and have not quite settled into a new church home yet, but I have been looking. I have been allowing the Lord to search my heart more and more of late and it is not too pretty a lot of the time…

    I have had numerous instances of gossip about me (and slander). And I do have a question regarding gossip.

    What do we do about people that have gossiped about us? Yes forgive them, but one of them was a very close friend of mine and now I feel as if I cannot share much of me with her as I don’t trust her anymore. How do we handle that?

    Thank you for the needed post, Mary!

    • Try the book Safe People.

      Or the book Necessary Endings.

      Just because you’ve forgiven doesn’t mean you blindly trust untrustworthy people.

  29. This is so true! The very compassion and sensitivity that broke my father, a Christian, because of his big and broken heart for the things he’d survived and done to his loved ones also caused his friendships to be innapropriate. He needed to feel that he was not alone and be forgiving, yet put those people around us who would harm us by his acceptance and forgiveness of them! They were “Christians who harmed us”, from the childhood family doctor to the university student who lived with us when we were children to another friend who spent time in our home. Together they could be ‘happy’ but together they could also not set boundaries because they were still in a place of shame and denial instead of where Christ can bring them to: in need of mercy and grace enough to make change/reparation and bring healing.
    Our family gave grace and acceptance but in setting boundaries I was disowned and treated horribly, an outcast for protecting my siblings and setting safe boundaries for my own child.
    I have seen for myself how God can heal one’s heart through learning to forgive and move on, how problems are sometimes not solveable in our own time but how we need to wait on God’s healing and each person’s willingness to accept that healing for him or herself.
    It is a huge thing to be unwanted by one’s own family, to live with their derision, hatred, physical and emotional anger for setting standards for one’s own body and child; to need to seek the adoption of a Father who’s love is big enough to receive us, certainly as we are, but with growth that does not harm but seeks to heal all the lonely and hurting places.
    We had grace in a family that ‘lived with it’ and grace for the perpetrators. God wants grace for everyone where we can all heal and be safe and protected.
    It is a bigger picture and one that isn’t always possible in this life but can always be hoped for, prayed for, and strived for.
    May God bless your blogging, it has often given me insights and enjoyment !

    • Liz,

      You rock.

      Truly.

      Kudos to you for setting appropriate boundaries to protect the innocent. That can be a very lonely place. I’m so sorry you had to walk through this.

      It’s an important reminder to us as parents that we must accept people, but that doesn’t mean we invite them into our homes and allow them to hurt our children.

  30. This post is so true & needed! I too have gone through devastating disappointment, gossip & heartache at the hands of other Christians. Although it has taken (1) God removing me from the situation when I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) remove myself and (2) time alone with Him to be able to forgive and more forward. It’s so easy to forget that Christians are still sinful humans and they will hurt and disappoint you, even if they “know better”. I praise Him today for allowing me to walk through that time because it allowed Him another opportunity to mold me into the woman He wants me to be! Thank you for sharing. Dear Jesus, I pray for the women who will read this today and painfully identify. I pray that you will use the words you gave to Mary to bring healing and forgiveness to many. Thank you for “making all things work together for our good!” In Your Mighty Name, Amen!

    • Love your prayer and heart, Torrie. Beautiful.

      It is such a painful journey sometimes, but I find that when I’m hurt, I feel a deeper kinship with Jesus.

  31. OH how VERY true this is indeed! have lived this; have been guilty of blame and using the excuse and being bitter – oh so bitter – and I have worked through it all through humbling myself and God’s grace! I feel, in the end its between me and God and must be right before him in ALL I do – i cannot blame anyone else for my lack of growth!

    Thank for this reminder!

    Blessings to you!
    xoTiffany

  32. I read incourage regularly, yet life has been hurting lately. And I haven’t read. A friend directed me here today. For which I am thankful.

    Deep deep betrayal by two different people I trusted. Accused of something I did not do and lost a job because of it. I am working through betrayal in a marriage, but still want to work it out between us. I just hurt deeply right now. I am angry. I am even angry at God right now and question if he is even there. Yet I know the truth… He is. He is there. He has been there. I do love him even if I am questioning again.

  33. I was encouraged by your words and like so many others today, have felt that what you wrote was for me. My struggle is not within the church but with some personal issues that are just too large for me to get a handle on. Am trying hard to hand them over to the Lord but somehow cannot give up “control” – that is my conflict. I’ve been looking for some sign of hope, that I was heading in the right direction, so thank you for an important lesson.

    • Look at control differently. Instead of something negative, view it as Jesus extending His hand to you in invitation, and the invitation is to dance.

  34. After reading various responses to the post, it seems that satan does his best work through other Christians. It’s very sad, but don’t give up hope because ultimately Christ will return and sort all of this out and this sort of thing will never happen again.

  35. I definitely would rather be the “risky one”, than the “bitter one” I’ve been hurt by other Christian women in the church. However, I’d rather forgive and trust in God’s promises, because those are true…rather than let bitterness take root. it isn’t easy. it’s a choice I have to make daily…but it’s worth it. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  36. Great post…my struggle is the one who offended doesn’t see her manipulation….this is so painful….I am grieving this loss because that’s what it is….I know God is the Healer and my Healer but progress cannot be made if a person is blind to it.

    • Only God can open her eyes.

      Progress can be made because it depends on you.

      Sometimes you’ll not know the answers. I’ve walked a lifetime waiting for one particular person to “get it.” Eventually I realized that waiting held me hostage. I had to say, “Jesus, I recognize that she may never understand what she did to me. That makes me deeply sad. Please heal me. And please help me live in light of You.”

  37. So well said, as usual, Mary. And timely. I’m wrestling with these very issues personally and in my writing right now. It’s just heart-wrenching to see how many people have been wounded in the very place that should be a refuge, a place of love and healing. On the other hand, I suppose it’s not so surprising that Jesus’ modern-day followers don’t get it right all the time. The men who walked with him on earth, who were closest to him while he was here, bickered among themselves and fought for place and were “mean” to each other. For now, we know Him and hear Him by faith only; they could touch him and hear Him speak in person and still didn’t “get” it. I think we all just do the best we’re capable of at any given moment, and you’re right . . . holding human weakness against others doesn’t help us a bit.

    Thank you for this post.

  38. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

    The hard part for me wasn’t the hurt. It wasn’t even forgiveness. It was realizing that the perpetrator didn’t want to be forgiven and didn’t desire peace…the realization that, for them, the relationship was already over…and they were glad.

    I wasn’t left with bitterness. I was left with the belief that I’m not worthy of deep, authentic, loving relationship. I was left with the belief that I deserved the “high-maintenance” label and that the label was reason enough for people not to desire friendship with me. (Afterall, I don’t desire high-maintenance friendships, either.)

    Brave? No way. Cautious at my best. Cynical at my worst. And, for now, I’m okay with that. Because if I become vulnerable and get hurt again, it might kill me. (Literally.)

    • Anonymous, mind if I pray for you?

      Jesus, thank you that You see her, that You understand the sting of betrayal. Thank You that You can make this into something beautiful. But in the meantime, my sister is aching way down deep. Show her now, in a unique her-shaped way, that You see and You love her. That she is worthy of love. That she merits affection and kindness. Renew. Strengthen. Enliven. Amen.

      • Thank you for the prayer. Oddly enough, I don’t doubt God’s ability to love me, and I don’t doubt that Jesus doesn’t find me too high-maintenance. And I don’t even doubt that the Holy Spirit is willing (and ready!) to use me. I just doubt humans. I’m trying to have the faith that God will move me past that at some point.

  39. Thank you for this encouragement. I am thankful to have wonderful friendships and family relationships in my life, but there are definitely times when I have been hurt by people I thought would never hurt me. I think somehow we expect church to be perfect when it is made up of imperfect sinners – um, people like me. I smile when I see the phrase, “Love like you’ve never been hurt,” and it’s something I aspire to, even though I know it’s hard to do.

  40. I wish that I could say that I’ve never been hurt by leaders or people in the church, but unfortunately I have. In fact, that hurt caused me to leave one church and relocate to another. Honestly, God did use that negative situation for good. Switching churches caused me to grow tremendously in my faith. It was just what I needed during that stage of life. Although, I wish that painful situation never had happened, I wouldn’t take back the growth I received as a result. Later on I was hurt once again in my second church. This time it wasn’t so direct and personal, but I was hurt spiritually nonetheless. Once again God stepped in and used that situation to strengthen my faith. He introduced me to some wonderful people to mentor me. My husband and I have grown more than ever in our spiritual walks. I know have a boldness and a love for Christ I never imagined was possible! God can use any negative situation for good. You just have to take the risk of trusting that He is in control!

  41. Oh my goodness, did I ever need read this!!!!! It just hurts so bad, you know?! But then I think, it was the holier than thou type that pursued and eventually killed Jesus…

    Jesus never ran and hid…. but gosh that’s what I want to do. I want to avoid. But yet God manages to use it all for His glory and for my healing… Gosh the refiner’s fire hurts!

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  42. “I didn’t realize that to grow meant risk.” This is so true. I’ve resisted growth before as well because of the challenge of it. It’s “easier” to stay in solitude but oh so un-lovely and lonely!

    I’ve stepped out and grown so much in the last several years. Thank Jesus for being gentle and patient.

    You’ve reminded me not to be discouraged with the people in my life still refusing to grow. It IS hard. I’ll keep praying!

    • And you can’t make them grow (which is maddening). All you can do is choose to grow yourself (which I see that you have already internalized.)

  43. Oh Mary, that last question just sums it all up, doesn’t it? Will I be defined by risk or bitterness? Which would my children say of me? Thank you for the gift of this post. So incredibly happy to see you here! Much love to you and yours.

  44. Thank you all for your comments. They encourage me so much. Please pray for me, for healing and that I would abide in Jesus. I want the pain to be gone but I know Jesus has a purpose for my pain.
    I just found in-courage and I am encouraged…thank you

      • Thank you for praying. God is good. He truly is helping me and delivering me, even this week is so much better. And I’m thankful cause I can’t go on the way I was. He knows that. Helping me to face the music of what the truth of this relationship really was, instead of what I thought it was and hoping it was. And my own unhealthiness in it, too. God is in the business of resurrection but it’s up to Him. I’m at peace with that cause my peace is Jesus, not what He may or may not do in my life. He is healing me and I’m moving on.
        Thanks for having this blog.

  45. I wish I could believe that it gets better…
    I’m always relieved when I read about how people surrounded you after your return from France…when you write about healing in a place where you are loved…
    And then I get this wistful wonderment feeling that dreams of what that would be like…and I really can’t imagine it…
    I am in a place of hurt…ongoing hurt…not just one ‘situation that I can’t get over’ but repeated betrayals…a heap of hurt that digs deep holes in my heart…
    Not bitter and unforgiving, but not trusting either…more of a ‘no man’s land’ (no woman’s land?) where I decide moment by moment that I don’t need to be mean because that’s not who God made me to be…but that doesn’t stop the meanness…and it doesn’t bring me those ‘sent by God miracle friends’ that I read about…and I keep asking God what’s wrong with me…and He remains silent on that subject…and I remain muchalone…not for lack of trying…it just seems that I lack.

    • I’m so sorry for your pain. Jesus sees it all. And He cares for your suffering heart. These seasons of pain are, well, painful. In my experience, there are no ‘miracle friends.’ I prayed for that miracle friendship and my heart elevated the friendship to an idolatrous level which is part of why I am suffering right now. I had to go back in to my childhood and deal with issues. God knew all of this even before it happened, it was ordained for me…for my good and His glory. But there is a miracle God. He can and WILL heal you. I am seeking to ask God “what” instead of “why” all the time. He knows what I need and right now I need this pain to grow. I will have scars but they will be a testimony of HIS healing in my life and He will not waste my pain or yours. Keep crying out to Him. Jesus will not ignore your cries. I will pray for a trusted and wise friend for you who can be an channel of grace. Most of all I will pray for more awareness of His presence. May I suggest fasting? I know…it’s hard (for me anyway) but it helps me get my focus all on Jesus.

  46. It’s so important in the forgiveness and grace process to also remember that I have and will hurt people, too! I’m not innocent, and that fact helps me give grace!

  47. So sad, but so true. And more shocking yet: Sometimes we (finger pointing in my general direction) are those women, when we are still feeling pained by past hurts. Thankful for the Grace of God to help me forgive, and his Faithful Mercy when I need to be forgiven. It\’s a powerful testimony to rise above hurt, and love beyond pain. When you can act out of love to those that have hurt you, that’s when we “heap burning coals upon their heads.” And that’s how we break the cycle: Love and coals 😀

  48. I loved this post! I think it’s just a fact of living and loving that people will hurt you. It’s part of allowing imperfect people into your life. It’s part of two imperfect people mingling. In my life it’s been something God has used to help me remember that “my heart and my flesh faileth, but God is the strength of my life.”
    I believe that God wants to be my anchor, and so He allows no one in my life to be perfect. Of course, it goes without saying that I am equally imperfect.

  49. Wow. My husband and I were up early this morning discussing a very painful church situation in our family’s life. We have struggled with forgiveness and God has mercifully brought us far. Now we are praying about next steps. God has indeed used this situation to help me grow and admit my sin. I’m thankful that God can bring good out of bad, but we still hurt and feel no sense of trust in the leadership of the church. Thank-you for your encouraging words and prayers. Like water for the soul!

  50. It’s so sad that this happens. And it really does. We’re all living in this broken, fallen, messed up world together where no one is perfect and relationships will never be perfect. We’re just human. The only thing I can think is that I guess we just have to give people grace. I don’t like hanging on to bitterness and resentment, but part of me wants to because I feel like I have good reason to, and I feel like it’s justified. But then it only hurts me in the end, even though the reason I have it in the first place is because someone else hurt me to begin with. But I just have to let it go, and forgive, and just know that no one’s perfect. It’s a hard thing to do. And I have to remember that some people really do care.

  51. I used to ask myself naively “why would people know we are God’s children if we love one another?” It seemed that Christians are the ones we should be guaranteed to get along with. But I’ve learned that its hardest to trust and love your family (blood, and spiritually) because they are close to you and have such an ability to hurt. Satan can use them too, and they are still beings in the process of sanctification. Being able to trust people in my experience comes from being able to trust God to heal that pain and comfort you in your grief. I have not gotten there yet. I don’t have Christian friends that I’m close with, though I am in ministry at my church. My goal, though I do have hard days, is to begin to trust Jesus enough to be enough for me. and to give my heart to others even when I expect them to hurt me. That’s impossible without God! It sounds crazy, but that is what Jesus’ love for me and all of us is…Crazy.

  52. Thank you so much for this post. I was a bit sceptical at the ‘Title’ when it was suggested I read it but I am so glad I did. I have been there, at both ends of my walk, as a fairly new Christian and recently as a quite mature bereaved Christian and it is so painful, but as you say we are humans in a fallen world and we have only to TRUST and all shall be revealed. Easier said I know but believe me it will be worth it. God Bless

  53. Thank you all for sharing these insights. I seem to keep finding myself in situations with Christian women (at work) that just want to get rid of me. I don’t know what I do….I am truly tired of going through this in the workplace, and want to learn what God wants me too!

    One place was a large church, and the gossip was horrible. No matter how I tried to stay to myself and out of their game, I became the object. I lost that job and now find myself in a secular situation but with a woman who is not my boss, but it has become uncomfortable. (she boasts about her church work constantly) I am just praying through it, I need my job and for whatever reason they don’t like me, I am praying for peace! I am divorced (have been for 20 years) and they have families, I cannot imagine any jealousy? But they want to cut everything down that I do. I am tired of feeling paranoid and need my job, I see this as a pattern and want to change anything I need to?

  54. I loved reading this post. I have recently undergone a hurt of my own. I left my job for reasons I will just leave alone. I don’t want to speak negative words or encourage them spoken. Leaving my job brings me to my point, people that I thought were friends and sisters in Christ do not speak to me anymore. Though it hurts, it’s okay.
    Shortly after this event happened, I was reading in the Bible where it talks about brothers fighting brothers and sisters against sisters. You get the point. I realized at that moment that it didn’t just mean your biological family, it meant your family in Christ would turn against you. However, if you trust in Jesus, then you have a friend that is closer than a brother. Isn’t that what the Scriptures say? There is no better friend.

    • Thank you for your comment, I seem to think that our sisters in Christ are always true, and forget that we are still imperfect, I am encouraged by this blog, I have been single for many years and find being alone can make you crazy! God Bless you all!

  55. Laura, wow…You are such a strong woman. I was just talking to my heavenly Father today about my choice to commit to trusting Him…even if I can not fully trust other people. God is in control…we just need to stop being “back seat drivers”. You are an amazing woman, and I am so impressed by your courage and strength.

  56. I am in the “I can bearly breathe” phase of being hurt and betrayed. when your teenage child is hurt by others, used as a scapegoat to ruin a youth pastor’s ministry. It is like a very bad, hurtful dream. why? I can’t begin to understand. The hurt is unbearable.

  57. How did you know exactly what I’m going through at this very moment? It’s as if you wrote this with me and my former church in mind. This has happened to me twice and I am not sure if I will ever recover from this. I am not giving up on God or church, but we are definitely not going to be in the ministry anymore. You give and you give of your time and efforts serving the lost, and it’s sad that it’s your fellow “believers” (if they even are believers) that will hurt you the most.

    • These fellow ‘believers’ should be known as imposters because they don’t have the love of God living within them. They will not inherit the Kingdom of God because He has told us that only the PURE AND THE HOLY AND THE LOVELY live there. Who wants to be in Heaven with people who hurt you.

  58. Thanks for writing about this! I’ve been really hurt and felt gossiped about and torn down in church. It’s not right. 🙁

    • Heaven is for the hurting Nathalie, not for the hurter. My heart goes out to you and I hope you and all the others who have suffered under ‘persecution’ take it to the Lord and let Him have His way with the ones that bear bad fruit.

  59. I have just been so hurt by someone I helped so much for over 4 months. She just started to ignore me for no apparent reason. But God was on my side and after 2 days of grief and the outpouring of my soul to a friend, God has stepped in and given me your blog to read. For the first time I feel my joy in the Lord returning from the thief that stole it.

  60. Some women act so bitchy even professing Christians, They pay lip service to being in the world but not of it. They believe in worldliness but call it something else. Christian women see you only as raw material to make something else out of. They swear they love you but their actions don’t match their words. Outsiders have been kinder and more reliable than so-called Christians. I’m pretty far in life to be suffering such a disillusionment crisis.

    • Some of the most jealous, unloving women I have had to deal with are in church. I don’t know if these women just don’t get the whole “love thy neighbor” thing, or if they are emotionally stuck in junior high school where they’re still in competition with other “girls.” What I always have to remind myself is that ‘man’ is sinful by nature and that is why we need Christ every moment of every day. And that we are to look at Christ at all times as our example – never other people. We’re considering visiting other churches right now because I am being totally snubbed by our church’s Praise Team minister and her clique. I have a very pretty voice, yet I’m rarely scheduled. Yes – very frustrating not be able to use your passion and spiritual gift. But I am looking at this trial as a growing experience and do try to monitor my thoughts so that I don’t think negative thoughts about them or the situation. It is sad how petty and control-obsessed a lot of women (and probably men) are in the church. But, sad to say, you’re NOT alone. Try to find a couple of quality, truly-loving women who can be your friends and just don’t let the “mean girls” affect your joy. I just steer clear of them whenever possible. ((Hugs))

  61. Thank you for your post. I am experiencing something very similar & it hurts deeply. Something in my spirit has changed & I’m thinking of leaving our church. It’s the only one I’ve ever really known so it’s a little scary but we are praying. Waiting for confirmation from the Lord.

  62. I am in this situation now. I rarely go to church because it is always the same: cliques and gossip from women. Women Christians stink for the most part. I know this statement does not please God. Perhaps I should say women tares in churches stink. They are to be avoided.

    I am at a point in my life where I trust no Christians at all. I wonder why even go to church if it’s all a bunch of gossip, cliques, and sin masked by preaching and a bit of worship.

    The answer to me is finding an on fire church filled with the Holy Ghost, and being discerning. I am questioning God right now about all this. Why go to church if it’s all gossip. A pastor’s wife works sunder me at work. She is lazy and a gossip. Yet God uses her and she has a wonderful family who love God. I think God is more merciful than we are.

  63. I have something that’s been weighing on my heart for 8 years now… and this seems like a supportive place to share. I received Christ 8 years ago, just before marrying my husband (a believer). Before our wedding, he revealed a secret to me (that he lied about a major aspect of his life). He made it sound like the issue he revealed could be fixed within a few months. I felt incredibly betrayed and ashamed and this kept me from sharing the issue with my family (since I believed it would be quickly resolved). Fast forward, we got married and 7.5 years later the issue has still not been resolved. I have lived in isolation because I could not speak to a single person about this problem that at times made me feel like I wanted to end my life. My spiritual growth as a ‘baby Christian’ was stunted until recently because they only Christians I knew were him and his family and no one in his family has ever spoken to me about this issue, although they know I suffer. No one discipled me or supported me in faith. None of them even spoke to me about my new faith when I first accepted Christ. They watched silently while my husband lied to my family and ever person in his life about our situation. The only Christians in my life caused me a tremendous amount of heartache. Last year I told my husband the lying must stop. After this the Holy Spirit began to work in me and my life feels transformed. God broke me to teach me that I can only on HIM. I have forgiven my husband, truly. But I just cannot seem to forgive his family, especially my mother-in-law, who is moving in this summer and cannot let her son ‘leave’ so he can ‘cleave. This secondary issue of course compounds the deep bitterness I feel towards her. I feel strongly that she would never treat her own child the way she has treated me, to let them suffer alone for years. I feel she only cares about her family, of which I am not truly a part.

    I have never shared this openly with anyone so would love some words of wisdom.

    Thanks.

    • Still Hurting,

      I’m so sorry you’ve walked through this alone. I believe it would set you free to find one trusted Christian friend, possibly a mentor, who you can tell this whole story to in person, so she can bear the weight alongside you. You’re not meant to bear your husband’s secret alone.

      As far as the mother-in-law, that’s a huge issue. Leaving and cleaving is so very important. Is there any reason why your husband chooses not to emotionally leave? Has he said why?

      Warmly,
      Mary