The Wilderness (excerpt from Climbing Out of the Box)

My journey led me into the valley,

Dark menacing storm clouds,

Crippling fear,

Darkness and gloom,

Travail and agony,

Desperation and brokenness.

Totally spent,

Nothing left to give.

A path that must be crossed over

To get to the other side….

Is there another side?



Across the river of emptiness

With shattered lives.

Somewhere in the darkness

Of questioning and doubt.

I find Him

Hands outstretched,

Love emanating from His being.

How did I get here, Lord?


How does one go about living when everything they believed in no longer exists?  Everything familiar in my life was gone.  My husband, my church family, and my belief system that I thought held me together all those years — it was all gone.   I found it interesting that the people who had been my friends for so many years in the church building I attended didn’t contact me after I left, except for just a few.  I was very hurt and astonished.  It was a real eye-opener for me, that there are friends who are there for life, no matter what happens to you, and then there are friends who are there because you belong to their club and you have that in common, and when you leave that club, they are gone, too.  These were people who had worked alongside me for years.  None but a few were to be found after I left.  I also recognized that, if they actually acknowledged that I had been treated wrongly, they would have to be faced with a decision as to whether they wanted to stay under someone’s authority who might abuse them, as well.  It would mean they might have to look at their own denial systems.  I forgave them and realized that God has them on a journey, too.  They have issues just like I do.   It was none of my business now.

Church institutionalism bred task-based friendships for me.  I always thought our friendships were based on loving Jesus alone and not on what we were doing.  But as long as we were committed to the same things or belonged to the same “club,” we were friends.  When I left, the friends in the church seemed as if they felt they needed to treat me like an outcast (known in church terms as “back-slidden”), so they could justify why they didn’t contact me, the “errant” one, or support me anymore.  If they did, they would also have to face the reasons why they were still there.    

Climbing Out of the Box, My Journey Out of Sexual and Spiritual Abuse, will be on the market very soon!!


20 thoughts on “The Wilderness (excerpt from Climbing Out of the Box)

  1. Dixie, I love the way you wrote a “poem” at the beginning of this chapter. It evokes images that we can all relate to. Congratulations and wishing much success on your book. I know it will touch so many.


  2. Omgosh Dixie, I know exactly what you are talking about. I remember an anouncement that came one Sunday morning or Wednesday evening many years ago that left me feeling like I had been kicked in the stomach….can’t wait to read your book. :o}


    • Yeah Renee, it is all there. Didn’t realize at the time how very many people would be helped at the end of this particular journey because of the pain I was going through. You would remember…………thank you so much!!


  3. Thanks for sharing this, I look forward to reading the rest.
    I think sometimes when we’ve been deserted by our friends it’s because they just don’t know what to do. Now, I’m not making excuses, after all, what can it hurt to ask, right?
    I think we need to start talking about how to minister to a friend when she is walking through the fire. Walking away only twists the knife, but sometimes we choose that out of fear. Let’s get over the fear and walk with our sisters.


    • You are so right Beth. But the dilema is that they know acknowledging the wrong in the way someone is treated means we have to face our own choices in continuing to be in healthy places. I say later in the book that I eventually learned to not judge others who were possibly judging me…and just forgive and pray for them on their journey…we all have our stories. Thanks for reading!!!


  4. Dixie,

    I am sorry for the painful moments, but happy you found true friendship through the trials. Many forget, that, noone, and I mean NOONE is worthy to stand before the throne of God. Thus we do not have the right to judge and criticize others, when our own sin is not clean either. Judging is a way of measuring ourselves to societal norms, but who is normal to say who is normal. I feel it is better to lead by example, rather than criticize others. All faiths, rules, and regulations of society need to be measured with a good amount of common sense. It seems many have spent that too.


    • Yes, Connie, and we are enormously thankful that because of Jesus we now have access to His throne; through His righteousness and not our own. He can see the whole person and we cannot. Through Him we are more than conquerors and have no need to do what only He can do in the lives of others…He knows the whole story!!! Blessings!!!


  5. I like to picture friendships in the church and outside of the church as the Wilderness Tabernacle. The court of the Gentiles, the Holy place and the Holy of Holies. Outside of church friends and acquaintances, I allow several to enter the Court of the Gentiles. The there is but a handful of friends I permit to enter into the Holy place. But I may have only one, maybe two who can enter the Holy of Holies of my personal life. So friendships should be placed into categories of our personal lives. That may sound a bit selfish, but it can also prevent much pain later on.


  6. Interesting concept!! I do agree that usually our friendships are on different levels and that deep friendship and trust always seems to be very few….we are blessed to have those true friends who remain. It takes a lot of discernment when it comes to who you let your guard down too,,,but because of Him, we can take the risks when we are directed to!!! Thanks Mr. Detective!!!


  7. How sad that friends disappear. But how true. If Jesus were here in human form today He would not turn away from someone no matter where they were in life or proximity. Friendships that are solely around a task are not friendships at all, are they? Yet they look and feel like the real thing while they last. Sad.


  8. True community in the body brings us this understanding. Though He loves us unconditionally Trust in community has to be earned. So often those in churches just believe that belonging to the same entity means automatic trust….until truth is exposed…and then your true friends emerge. Yes, oh that we would just follow the example of Jesus and walk as He did!!! Thanks for commenting Sherry!!


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