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My Jonah Story

Loyal
The Lord Jesus led me to read Psalm 119:105-112 ESV.

Back in the early 1980s, when my children were still quite young, and I was a young mother of four, I had a situation in a church with the leadership misjudging me, and honestly, not being very nice about it, either. The pastor said to me, “Would you say that you have been crucified with Christ?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Well I say that you haven’t.”

Wow! That hit me like a ton of bricks. My heart was broken. It was crushed, in fact. So, what did I do? I ran! I mean, what else could I do? He had sealed my fate, and there was no other way around it, right? I felt I had no other recourse. So, I just played the game “I’m ok.” “You’re ok.” And, then everything was fine. They were happy with me, but I wasn’t happy with me.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.

Then, one day I was reading the story of Jonah to my children, and God spoke so clearly to my heart that that was me, that I was running from God, not for the same reasons Jonah ran, mind you, but still I was running from the situation. So, he told me to get back in there and to fight this thing through.

And, then I said, “But God, you don’t understand!” The thing of it is, I really believed that. I believed God had no power over my situation, but that this pastor did, and that there was nothing I could do to change it. I was doomed!

But, the Lord kept encouraging me to get in there and to fight this thing through, so I went and talked with a good friend of mine, who was also the wife of one of the church elders. I told her my situation, and she told me that I came across too much like I “had it all together.” So, she tried to help me identify where that was coming from. But, I kept saying, “No, that isn’t it.” It wasn’t until she said, “I know what it is. It is a spirit of fear,” that I knew this was it. So, we prayed for God to deliver me, and he did.

I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.

But, what came next was something I would not have ever imagined. I had been severely abused by my dad in my childhood, but I was told I just needed to stuff my pain, basically, i.e. to forget it. I had no one I could talk with about it, so I thought I was doing the right thing by just trying to forget it. But, I wasn’t forgetting it. I was just hiding the hurt deep inside me.

So, when God delivered me from this spirit of fear, all these memories and hurts began to come to the surface, and I began to weep out loud to God. I didn’t know what to do with what I was feeling, and my friend didn’t know either, so she suggested I talk with the pastor. “Oh, no, I couldn’t do that”, I said. “He hates me.” So, she talked with him for me, with permission from me, and she told him what my deal was, i.e. about my childhood.

I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.

Well, this same pastor who had been so cruel to me now called me on the phone. He told me he was sorry. He told me that, as my pastor, he is supposed to be a spiritual father to me, but that he hadn’t been a very good one, and he asked me to forgive him and to give him a second chance. And, so I did. I did cry, though, when he told me that. I couldn’t hold back the tears. No man had ever said such words to me, that I recalled.

So, I told him about all these memories that were surfacing, and I asked him what to do with them. He told me to cry them out to God, and then to just release them to God and let him have them, rather than to stuff them back inside, so that is what I did, and God began to heal me.

Then, this pastor gave me an assignment within the church to observe another woman in the church teaching a class, and to see what I could learn from her. I submitted to his request, did what he said, and then he and I met a few times to talk about what I was learning, and to see how things were progressing with me and with my healing process.

Just think of it, if I had hung in there with the whole Jonah thing, I would have totally missed out on all that, and so would have this pastor.

Well, to make a long story short, the Lord took me through a long healing process, because there was so much damage done to my heart and emotions and mind, but this pastor was there to help me through the beginning stages of it, anyway, until we moved away from there, and through it all we actually developed a friendship. Weird, huh?

Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.

Anyway, when we run from things God has allowed in our lives, for his purposes, we miss out on all the blessings he has for us through them, and so do many other people for whom the Lord wants to do marvelous things in their lives, too.

For example, this pastor finally admitted to me that he was threatened by me because when I shared during group Bible study discussion, I spoke with too much authority for a young woman. He told me, at one time, that I should wait until I had gray hairs on my head, and then people would listen to me. But, now he was admitting to me that he had misjudged me; that they, the elders had misjudged me. Now he could truly see my heart.

So, instead of running, we need to see what God wants to do through our circumstances, and believe that he is completely sovereign, and that he does truly understand what we are going through, and that he has a plan.

But, to be perfectly honest, that is not the last time I ran from God. You would think that I would have learned my lesson, and I did for a long while. But, there were other times in my life when the pressures of life got me down, and instead of running to God, I ran from him, again.

Some of those situations had to do with other pastors or church leaders misjudging or mistreating me. There were many of them, in fact, more than one could possibly imagine would happen to just one person. Some of these situations had to do with other people abusing, betraying and/or using me for their advantage. So, God had to heal me of those heartaches, too. I had to learn to trust fully in his sovereignty, and to rest in his promises, to rely fully on his grace to help me in my time of need, and to keep pressing on, in his strength, in being the woman of God he created me to be.

Praise the Lord, I stopped running from God quite a few years ago. Now I run INTO his arms, which is the ONLY place to be ever!

Jesus, I am Resting, Resting
Jean Sophia Pigott

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Friday, November 17, 2017, 9:45 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for how you spoke your words to my heart this morning, and thank you for putting this song in my mind when I awoke. I praise you, and I thank you. Love, Sue
 
Loyal
@Sue J Love

Thank you for sharing your heart and those experiences with us here. Likely someone here who reads it will be blessed as it helps them understand a difficult situation in their life.

Pastors, even good ones, are sometimes quite wrong, because they let the "old man" nature in them move to the forefront... instead of the Holy Spirit. This is what can happen when anyone [including you or me] quenches the Holy Spirit in them. The apostle Paul warns people not to do this [I Thess 5:19], but sometimes we get ahead of God and go based on our previous experiences or our own logical conclusions instead of listening to hear what God would say to us now.

I have had more than one very negative personal experience with a pastor over the years of my walk with God. This does not always mean to forever reject them [although in the worst case it may work out that way.]

Remember that God has given us ministers, including pastors for a very definite purpose:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" Eph 4:11-14

If a pastor is really working to lead people astray we should take it to God. He does know about it and He knows what we need to do... to leave or to stay. Remember David the anointed of God being pursued by King Saul? The king was wrong, but David still refused to put his hands on God's anointed or to allow his followers to do so. This can be a hard lesson to learn. In your case the pastor became aware of his error and begged you to forgive him. For that we give God the glory.

I continue to keep you and your ministry here in my prayers.
 
Loyal
@Sue J Love

Thank you for sharing your heart and those experiences with us here. Likely someone here who reads it will be blessed as it helps them understand a difficult situation in their life.

Pastors, even good ones, are sometimes quite wrong, because they let the "old man" nature in them move to the forefront... instead of the Holy Spirit. This is what can happen when anyone [including you or me] quenches the Holy Spirit in them. The apostle Paul warns people not to do this [I Thess 5:19], but sometimes we get ahead of God and go based on our previous experiences or our own logical conclusions instead of listening to hear what God would say to us now.

I have had more than one very negative personal experience with a pastor over the years of my walk with God. This does not always mean to forever reject them [although in the worst case it may work out that way.]

Remember that God has given us ministers, including pastors for a very definite purpose:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" Eph 4:11-14

If a pastor is really working to lead people astray we should take it to God. He does know about it and He knows what we need to do... to leave or to stay. Remember David the anointed of God being pursued by King Saul? The king was wrong, but David still refused to put his hands on God's anointed or to allow his followers to do so. This can be a hard lesson to learn. In your case the pastor became aware of his error and begged you to forgive him. For that we give God the glory.

I continue to keep you and your ministry here in my prayers.
@amadeus2 - Thank you for those kind and thoughtful and inspiring words. I appreciate them very much. You have a lot of godly wisdom.

As far as pastors, elders, and deacons are concerned, in my life, this one I spoke of is the only one who apologized for his mistreatment of me. There were at least 16 or more who didn't apologize at all, and some of their mistreatment was a whole lot worse. And, I am not talking small stuff nor am I being petty. I am talking about serious abuse of power, misjudging, lies, slander, deception, etc. Yet, the Lord allowed all this in my life to show me how bad it is in the church right now, and to make me strong in him through it all, for his purposes. So, good has come from it all.
 
Active
Hmm I've only really known three pastors and sometimes when they preach you get the sense they are really preaching to themselves somedays! Cos pastors are human too and they might need pastoring themselves.
I havent always got along with some always but they are the ones God has put in my life.

I dont know if its just churches in america are different or maybe its a male thing. Some men might have this attitude that women should never speak in church but I havent really come across that in my walk..have been asked to read scripture a few times in church and asked about teaching and been blessed and prayed over.

When people are in positions of authority or in charge sometimes they can act bossy but they in that role for a reason, if they fail its really between them and God to deal with.

As for lies and mistreatment etc. sometimes God shows us things but He will give us a way out of any trap. I have come across many pretend christians who latched on to me professing faith and then tried to take advantage of me, and wondered um why does this keep happening, is it me?? But its not however I have learned discernment through this and to realise I dont need to stay naive!

I dont need to believe everyone just cos they confide in me and shout me lunch and seem all nice. You kind of learn when some people are too flattering and praising you for something that doesnt need to be praised..instead they should be praising God not you or themselves.

Also some people can be real busybodies and you think they must got nothing better to do than criticise everyone else and be real nosy. Some people just make it their business to make you their business.
 
Loyal
Hmm I've only really known three pastors and sometimes when they preach you get the sense they are really preaching to themselves somedays! Cos pastors are human too and they might need pastoring themselves.
I havent always got along with some always but they are the ones God has put in my life.

I dont know if its just churches in america are different or maybe its a male thing. Some men might have this attitude that women should never speak in church but I havent really come across that in my walk..have been asked to read scripture a few times in church and asked about teaching and been blessed and prayed over.

When people are in positions of authority or in charge sometimes they can act bossy but they in that role for a reason, if they fail its really between them and God to deal with.

As for lies and mistreatment etc. sometimes God shows us things but He will give us a way out of any trap. I have come across many pretend christians who latched on to me professing faith and then tried to take advantage of me, and wondered um why does this keep happening, is it me?? But its not however I have learned discernment through this and to realise I dont need to stay naive!

I dont need to believe everyone just cos they confide in me and shout me lunch and seem all nice. You kind of learn when some people are too flattering and praising you for something that doesnt need to be praised..instead they should be praising God not you or themselves.

Also some people can be real busybodies and you think they must got nothing better to do than criticise everyone else and be real nosy. Some people just make it their business to make you their business.
Lanolin, Thank you for sharing some of your experiences you have had with other people. Glad the Lord is teaching you, too, through the situations of your life, and that through them you are maturing in your walk of faith. Thank you for sharing that with me.
 
Loyal
@amadeus2 - Thank you for those kind and thoughtful and inspiring words. I appreciate them very much. You have a lot of godly wisdom.

As far as pastors, elders, and deacons are concerned, in my life, this one I spoke of is the only one who apologized for his mistreatment of me. There were at least 16 or more who didn't apologize at all, and some of their mistreatment was a whole lot worse. And, I am not talking small stuff nor am I being petty. I am talking about serious abuse of power, misjudging, lies, slander, deception, etc. Yet, the Lord allowed all this in my life to show me how bad it is in the church right now, and to make me strong in him through it all, for his purposes. So, good has come from it all.
Unfortunately, your experiences are not isolated ones, but as you say, "good has come from it all".

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28
 
Loyal
Unfortunately, your experiences are not isolated ones, but as you say, "good has come from it all".

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28
I know that. Abuse of power is as "old as the hills," as the saying goes, but it does seem to have risen to a very high level in the church these days. But, yes, we can hold to that promise in Rom. 8:28. Amen! Thanks for sharing.
 

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