I can’t speak for anyone else, but 2018 has felt like the longest year I’ve ever lived! So much has happened, both good and bad, it’s difficult to even recall it all. Some will be leaving 2018 on a high, while others will be more than ready to say goodbye to it. No matter how your year was, New Years is a great opportunity to take stock and reflect. For me, this was a year of healing.

Setting the scene

If I rewind back just a little further to 2017, there were some tough times to say the least. In late 2017 the church I grew up in, since about the age of 10, ceased to exist. To cut a long story short, the church leadership was found misusing their position to manipulate people and steal money from the congregation. It was devastating.

I thought the church may have a few problems, but nothing to that extent. I, like many others, was shocked, angry, disgusted and confused. But the worst thing was how my faith took a hit. It’s easy to profess that our faith is in Christ and Christ alone, but when something so deceitful takes place in what you call your spiritual home, it’s difficult not to be shaken.

After effects

While I still looked to God as my loving Father, I couldn’t pretend that my trust in the wider church wasn’t damaged. It took me awhile to even want to step into one again and when I did, I often felt uncomfortable and on edge. But through it all, I spoke to God and felt Him near. I learnt to be honest with exactly how I was feeling and invite Him to meet me where I was at.

It’s not that I blamed God, but I had so many doubts and questions that floated around unresolved. I battled the anger I felt towards those who were supposed to lead us, but instead left deep wounds. Even when I thought I was over it, I found myself periodically erupting into unfiltered rants with friends. But in many ways I feel the honesty, with my friends and with God, were part of the healing process.

Making new ground

As time passed I found the wounds began to hurt less. Through prayer, seeking God in His word and community with friends, I felt comforted and heard. God’s grace was there when I wasn’t sure I wanted to be. And I’m so thankful for it. At times I wasn’t sure if I’d ever want to return to church, but I managed to find one perfectly suited to where I’m at. A small community that meets in a cafe and has an authenticity that can’t be manufactured.

By the grace of God I’ve found myself able to relax again in the presence of other believers. It’s been a tough journey and it still isn’t over; I still have doubts and questions and even find myself triggered at times. However God has been faithful through it all. He is much bigger than the doubts I have and more than able to deal with them, even if they’re not always answered.