I promise this story has a wonderful ending. I realize that posting it one chapter at a time leaves you with the feeling that nothing will ever get better in Dixie’s life. I can assure you that the Lord showed me the way out in the end. I learned some valuable things in the valley of my despair that I could not have learned any other way. I can be pretty hard headed sometimes. Please read from Chapter one forward if you are just now coming onto my blog. It is important to read the story in context.
The only life I had left was in the church I was attending and it was beginning to show signs of demise as well. The first thing that happened was for some unknown reason, I was slowly scheduled out of the worship teams. I loved leading worship and leading people into His presence. When I questioned why I was not scheduled in for service no one could give me a straight answer. There was so much competition in the music ministry. The music ministry in church institutions can easily become more about entertainment and competition than about true worship. And for some unexplained reason I was being moved out of this ministry by invisible people and no one knew why, nor were they willing to correct it. I was very hurt. I can now see that I was more interested in being on the worship team and why they had removed me, than my journey with Jesus and what He wanted to do with my life. By being removed I was once again face to face with just me with no place to hide. I was dependent on people to keep me in these positions. A close friend of mine led the sound system and thus regulated the sound of the worship teams whenever they sang. He became offended for me and approached the pastor as to why I wasn’t being scheduled anymore. He was told they would look into it. He never heard back from the pastor.
After my friend had approached the pastor regarding me being removed from the worship teams the pastor asked me as I was leaving the church if I would have a minute to talk with him in his office. I wholeheartedly agreed thinking finally I would get some understanding of the whole situation. Without any concern about needing support I went to the meeting alone. Upon entering his office the pastor turned on me before I even sat down. He became red in the face with rage and pointed his finger an inch from my nose and began accusing me of talking about him to everyone in the church. I had talked to no one except my friend in the sound ministry because he had asked where I was. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about and said so. He was so enraged that I became fearful and lost my composure. I was crying so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. He just sat and stared at me with a cruel look etched on his face. I was again totally out of control. He was completely lacking in any compassion. I wasn’t sure what was happening to me and why this man who was supposedly my spiritual leader was treating me this way with such false accusations and such animosity. How could this be? Did I not give my life to work with these people?
After the raging office scene with the pastor my ministries came under attack. I was facilitating support groups for women who were incest and molestation survivors at the time. There was a certain woman on the church staff who didn’t like the fact that I had obtained the pastors permission to have my groups with his blessing and “under the covering of the church”. She assumed authority in the congregation and the pastor allowed it. She had told me a year before that I couldn’t have support groups as she didn’t agree that it would be productive. But after a year of feeling the Lord’s urging me to do it, along with many women requesting something more intensely directed toward their recovery, I went above her head to the pastor and presented the program I had designed for the groups. He wholeheartedly welcomed the support groups and stated he would send women to me for ministry in this area. This woman in authority silently waited for a more opportune time to approach the pastor with her objections or, should I say, manipulations. He initially had approved of the groups and supported them. After facilitating and training facilitators for two years, resulting in many changed lives for women, I was called on the telephone one day out of the blue. It was the pastor. He informed me that he could not accept my ministry anymore as being from God because I would not disclose to him the names of the women in the groups and he had decided that it was too worldly. I had refused to disclose this information because the women signed confidentiality agreements that no one would disclose their names and we met in a safe anonymous place. I did offer to give him their anonymous testimonies of healing, however, but he said he wasn’t interested. He further stated that he was going to announce in the congregation the following Wednesday night at the service that he was withdrawing his support.
I was informed later that my close friends were called by him to alert them of what he was going to do. We surmised that it was to try to prevent anyone from following me in leaving the organization, should I decide to do that.
There have been many things I thought I should have done when he made his big announcement but I was so shocked and hurt when it happened that I just sat there with my mouth hanging open and did nothing. His announcement was an alluding to the fact that I was into new age and therapeutic practices, such as hypnosis. Reality was that I wasn’t trained for such things and would have no business doing them. I was leading the only support group at the church when this announcement was made so everyone knew he was talking about me even though he didn’t mention my name. I felt totally blindsided as if hit by a baseball bat.
I knew at that moment that I would not be returning to my church home of 25 years. How could I come to a building that would support a pastor who could do such hurtful and unjust things to his members? How could I ever sit under his teachings and be in subjection to a man who could treat me the way he did? I found out later that all the major ministries that were operating successfully when this particular man came in were eventually dismantled in pretty much the same manner. There was another mass exodus of people from that fellowship as in years past when we immature believers all left for the circus year, only this time it was the mature believers who were truly helping people and were much loved. I never returned. There were three more mass exoduses in the years to follow I was told by those who stayed longer. All of the brothers and sisters who left were scattered into other local churches and some didn’t attend any fellowship at all.
Since then I have figured out that God was always calling me outside of the local church walls. I was never meant to have a “covering” outside of the Lord’s covering. When I really looked for the command that we needed another covering other than Jesus in scriptures I found it wasn’t there. In fact, other than respecting those mature in the faith, and gleaning from their walks I couldn’t find in scripture where I was to have another man’s covering other than my husband’s. Jesus was my spirtual covering. If we belong to His body through faith in Jesus Christ He anoints us to be used of Him. In fact, my constantly trying to fit what I was doing under someone’s demand for control was always getting me into situations where I was being challenged and hurt by people. At first I wanted to trust these brothers and sisters in our work together and wanted desperately to be pulled into the safety of their guidance, but later came to realize I was really looking for a trusted “daddy” figure out of my need to be protected. So my discernment in who was trustworthy was shadowed by my own needs. This made me more vulnerable to those who sought to control others.
Jesus didn’t tell us that by having mere self proclaimed spiritual men and women guide us that it would keep us safe, but that trusting Him would. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us so that we would know the difference between truth and error. I came to understand the job of the Holy Spirit was to help me recognize when expressions of the church I shared my life with would be destructive to His work in me. I had to learn this the hard way, however. I would one day learn that Jesus is the one I had to answer to. Many of the people who sought to control me were brothers or sisters who didn’t have control in their own lives, but found a means to fulfill their need for control through the people who subjected themselves to their ministries.
Next Chapter: The Wilderness