In the summer of 2019, we experienced a trauma with our church community and decided to leave. It was a heartbreaking choice that rocked our entire family to the core. The timing was so complicated, the loss was so deep and wide, and yet, it was what we needed to do.
I was pregnant with our last baby. I was having panic attacks every Sunday. I had intrusive thoughts and made calls to the suicide hotline.
We had the added stress of losing part of our family income because my husband resigned from his position at the church. He was scheduled for surgery during this time and developed psoriasis due to the added stress during this immunocompromised period. Our four oldest children (all under 7 at the time) were broken-hearted and angry at us for "taking away" the only church home they remembered.
The church community our family had invested in for more than five years and the people that had been there for us during all the ups and downs, felt so far away. They had made us meals when I birthed our children. Just 9 months prior, they had supported me so well during my second trimester miscarriage with our 5th child. This community, our church family, was gone and I'd never felt so alone. I was pregnant with our Rainbow Baby and I wanted to die.
This painful time shifted slightly in November 2019 when our sweet baby girl arrived. In the meantime, we had found a church we really liked, but my anxiety on Sundays was through the roof. The arrival of Covid-19 and the stay-at-home orders offered me 7 weeks of sweet relief from the panic and fear that filled my body every Sunday.
In 2020 we took major action in our life, while still broken from what happened the year prior. We left our home state of Wisconsin and began full-time RVing. We decided to stay in Arizona after wintering there as planned. We‘ve tried several churches, but have not yet found one where we feel safe. We aren’t giving up on church community, but we also haven't found it and are still healing.
When we experience wounds and traumas (big or small) it takes both time and intention to heal, to feel whole again. Time alone does not heal wounds. It is VERY easy to stay in the anger, the sadness, the disillusionment, the fear.
If you’ve experienced church trauma, I want you to know that feeling better, feeling good is possible for you. I know that, because I am there. I, who less than two years ago wanted to die…. I now feel hope. I continue to experience painful memories and triggers and still… I believe.
Join me as I share how I got from calling the suicide hotline and feeling so alone to loving life again and holding faith as I deconstruct.
The live event has passed, and you can get the recording by hitting the registration button.
Enter your name and email to receive the link to the video where I outline the steps I took on my journey: mind, body, spirit, community.