I grew up knowing we would go two places religiously.
Church and Church Camp.
They were my places, they were filled with my people.
Church was where I was baptized and Church Camp where I recommitted my life… every. single. summer. The two places are so intertwined in my memory I cannot think of one without remembering the other.
No matter where we moved, Fairview was home and Wesley Woods our home in the woods. I was my most brave self in these places; my most vulnerable and innocent, most trusting and free spirited.
Church and Church Camp were also two places I was most deeply hurt.
Church Camp was the thing that made me the topic of a mean girl’s xanga post in sixth grade.
Church Camp was the place I was told someone had “run out of grace” for another.
Church was where I was told to, “get the hell out of my pew.”
Church was where I shared that her placenta had maybe torn and it was whispered in my ear, “perhaps it’s for the best.”
And of course it wasn’t The Church or The Church Camp who hurt me- but in the same way the smell of chlorine makes me think of Thanksgiving, or a single line in a song makes me twenty-one again… the hurts and the memories and the people and the places are all tangled up together in this mess of emotion.
I don’t think it’s a surprise or coincidence or even that poetic to be deeply hurt in places where I once felt most at home. I don’t think it’s a mistake or incredibly unjust.*
I think this world is fallen and we are broken.
I think this in not our Eden.
I think the places our hearts are most vulnerable are the places at most risk of being deeply hardened.
And more than that- I believe we are a culture more concerned with finding a cure for our hurts than healing from them.
Today, and every day, you have permission
to not be tough.
to cry if you need.
to question and doubt and be confused.
to have an extra cup of coffee and sit with Jesus.
to seek more than just a cure.
There is grace enough for your hurts at the cross.
And there is grace enough here for you!
Healing will look different for each of us, and it will take a different amount of time, but the same Christ. I love you girls, and so wish I could sit with you through the hurt and heartaches. I wish relationships were easier and childhood memories were always innocent. But I pray healing will come so fully and so deeply that you will be even more yourself at the end of this journey than you are today. I pray for peace and courage that surpasses all understanding to surround you today. I pray your own Church and Church Camp places will be restored.
“I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.” ― Wm. Paul Young
*note:: if you are being abused or neglected, physically, sexually, emotionally, or otherwise- please seek immediate help and shelter from someone you can trust. this post was written from the perspective of hurt feelings, mean girls, and people who just say the wrong things sometimes. YOU ARE NOT ALONE