I walked out of church today. I have never in all my life walked out of church in the middle of church. It was a perfect storm that I hadn’t seen brewing.
I was there without my kids. Again. Hands down, of all the things that are shaking out in my divorce, this is in my top three things I hate, that I mourn regularly.
It is Father’s Day. And needless to say, Father’s Day on this side of our new family dynamic leaves a bit of a sting.
But those reasons weren’t why I left.
It is baptism Sunday today. I love baptism Sundays. I love that family members and friends come up on stage and surround the tank in support of their loved one. I love that we sing while the people are being baptized and the shouts and whoops of celebration after they come back out of the water. I love that it represents new life and hope and that Jesus does still call, does still heal. And I love the stories.
But today was different. At least half of those being baptized this morning were grown men. And there’s something about a grown man telling his story of brokenness and coming to Jesus and being in the process of being made whole that gets to me. And boy did it get to me today. Seeing one man after another walk up those steps and into that water was too much for me to handle.
I tried. I really did. I kept singing. I stopped looking at the stage. But I felt near sobs rise up and stick in my throat. And there was no way I was going to start crying in the middle of the service, sitting alone. Yes, yes, church is supposed to be a place where you can cry. And trust me, I have cried my share of tears in that place over the past eighteen plus years. But I wasn’t going to cry today.
Because what would I have said? That though it’s wonderful for them, it’s far too painful for me to watch grown men say they need Jesus and have turned to him and asked for help and got it? Then why don’t all men do this?
I knew I couldn’t sit there. And I knew I couldn’t stop myself from crying.
So this forty-one-year-old woman picked up her purse and left in the middle of church. I knew Jesus would understand.
Pain is very real. Jesus walked out of church with you today. He also stayed with those men and their loved ones. And He pursues the men who should have been there. And underneath all the pain and rejoicing are the Father’s everlasting arms. Breathtaking!
good for you. There are times to acknowledge the pain and tend to it.
You are still in the healing process and sometimes you need to protect yourself in order to continue to heal. Jesus would understand. Thinking of and praying for you.
You’re in a very complicated situation, sweetheart. You are feeling the pain for all three of you. I know what that feels like, all mothers do. (Grammys, too.) I pray that the Lord will cushion your heart for the rest of this day. I love you, sweetie!
I am so sorry for your pain.
I too am sorry for your pain. I also would have walked out. The bitterness of broken relationship is real. Thank you for sharing your honest heart. I pray God meets you where you are at today.
This is a beautiful and brave acknowledgement of how hard this is. Thank you. I think you made a good choice for the right reasons and I pray with you that comfort will come for you, softly at first and then clearly and loudly, as you walk through this tough, tough stuff. And I hope you let the sobs come after you left the building…when hard, horrible things happen, we need to cry. A lot.
Today was hard. It really stinks when something beautiful is being celebrated, but, it triggers my pain. You weren’t alone. If you didn’t notice anyone else in your church, then know that it happened all over. I was singing in the choir when it hit me. It was right after a prayer over all the fathers. My son was with his dad. Arrgh!
hang in there
I know it’s probably not right, but I don’t go to church on Father’s Day – one, because my little girl is growing up without her father and it tears me up inside and I know it tears her up inside to hear all the talk about Father’s day from every angle. Two, because I lost my own father to cancer 13 years ago. I have had to run out of church many times, so I can understand. Just saying I’m right there with you.
I just found your blog and I wanted to walk out of church this week too. Not for the same reasons, mind you, but for the pain. If one more person told me about their wonderful family how their kids were getting married or having kids I thought I was going to scream. I’m hurting too. Thanks for sharing so openly.
I can so understand and I know God can too. He hurts for you. I have watched my exhusband lead worship eloquently claiming his faith while he was doing unspeakable things to destroy our family. It will scab over, but it may always hurt!!!!
Thank you Lis for sharing that story! I am going through a tough time with my husband; its very complicated and I know how you felt. I enjoy reading your stories because it encourages me from one single mom to another…
Thank you for being brave and for blogging what you go through..it helps me a lot!!
Elisabeth, I found you from the incourage blog.
While the topic isn’t divorce, but abandonment, I wrote a post on my blog called “Guest Writer: Christan’s Mom”. In it she describes a tension-filled church experience,too. In the end of her story, there’s hope. And I am believing in hope for healing for your heart today.
I prayed for years and years for my husband to turn to Jesus like the men of your church were doing on Sunday. Kept praying for it through and after divorce til I could pray no more. I was beyond exhausted emotionally, spiritually and physically. God brought healing to my life as I moved on and eventually brought a man into my life who admits he needs Jesus. Who doesn’t have just a religion but a relaationship with Christ. I went to church with him on Sunday while my ex and our children went to my home church. Where for the first time ever, my children’s father went forward with the other fathers for the pastor to preach some more and pray over them. If I had been in my home church, I would’ve walked out at that point. There have been many Sundays that I walked out of the sanctuary but couldn’t leave. I was a mess and couldn’t pull myself together – had to stay – my daughter was on the praise team. God bless you for posting the truth of the pain of this world. For continuing to do it even when some have admonished you for it.