Forgiveness/Cults and Promises

  The past four years of my life have been the MOST eye opening! I’m currently working on a blog about identity and there are so many layers. I think with everything that’s transpiring with a certain purity ministry that I was HEAVILY involved in so much that I had suppressed is resurfacing. I was in mourning for a long time, I lost a lot at a very fast pace in a very short amount of time. I lost friends, I lost “connection” all within the time I physically lost one of the most important people (my grandfather) all within a years time. So if I seem “different” or I don’t appear to be the person you thought you knew I can’t apologize for anything because I didn’t even know that person! I genuinely suppressed, conformed and became someone that I never really was inside! What I have ALWAYS been is pure at heart and that will not change. 

I found myself at a standstill this morning, I found myself sitting and laying in a position that I had not been in a very long time. I was originally preparing for yoga which I do a few times a week when a link was sent to me that brought up some feelings, some pain and I immediately fell on my face and just cried. I sobbed uncontrollably for a good hour before I could even open my computer. I turned on a worship playlist to calm myself because that is what I was 'taught." 

When I was 24 I found myself spiraling, struggling with my beliefs and with my faith. I wanted so much more out of my walk, to be surrounded by like minded individuals and to go DEEPER in my walk. I did not have a lot of Christian friends, I had my sister and my best friend but I longed for connection. I was introduced to a movement called "No Randoms' which was basically a stance against entertaining friendships/relationships that were not God centered or faith filled. Sounds innocent right? It was innocent! From there it transformed into a bracelet which I wore faithfully for years until it was very worn. I was apart of this ministry before it even really launched or became an organization. I pledged my loyalty to it and every second Saturday I hosted bible studies. Even after I moved away from my hometown I got connected with other young women within the organization. Life was good, I had friends, I belonged to a body that embraced me!

I remember the last conference I attended which was always held in ATL and this was in 2015, we struggled in so many ways to get there, I blamed the "enemy" but now looking back God was trying to get my attention. When I came back from that conference it's like everything around me started to fall apart, once again I blamed the enemy. My "leader" assured me it was a test, that's what we were taught whenever life did not go our way, we were being tested and just keep our eyes on God. I spent so many nights crying out to God in my 'quiet time" I will pause here and say that even though I was deceived in so many areas of this ministry there were things I was taught that I STILL cling to! I was taught how to seek God for myself, how to study the bible, how to be still and discern. It is ironic that I did not discern so much though and I think that is what is bothering me lately. I was so wrapped up in being accepted and being "'discipled! I did not see it or maybe I did not want to see it

 2016 started off very strange OVERALL and I was just in a very dark place. I was being challenged spiritually, at odds with a friend who had left the ministry and kept pointing out things I did not want to believe. People were walking away at an alarming rate and it terrified me because it was what I had began to cling to. I worshipped the organization in itself and I couldn't see that it had become an idol. The 2016 election in itself changed my relationship with a lot of people but THIS was just the straw that broke the camels back. I remember in 2015 during a seminar at one of the conferences in Atlanta where I was "bothered." A young woman asked a question about abuse, she was being abused by her husband and her church was not helping her at all. Now this ministry was OUR safe haven, it was where many of us had come for refuge and community. Our leader instructed this woman to stay with her abuser and that  BOTHERED me deeply, it still does five years later! I often wonder if that young woman is still alive, still fighting or what became of her. Anyway back to 2016 when opinions about the election were on HIGH! I watched our leader side with a stance and position I did not like. Myself and many others GENUINELY wanted answers! Instead of giving us that (although very public and vocal) our leaders chose to shame us, make us feel as if we had to take their side and when challenged many of us were "blocked" or what I now know after studying cults is that we were EXCOMMUNICATED. I later learned that many were instructed to not even engage with those of us who left the ministry. That my friends is CULT LIKE BEHAVIOR! If you EVER leave a ministry and the remaining members are instructed not to speak with you that is a cult.

 I was very broken... I lost 30 lbs at the end of 2016 (due to diabetes that I was unaware of at that time) I shaved all my hair off, the plans of a big move to a new state I had fell through at the end of that year. I moved back to my hometown BROKEN, I had no friends, no job prospects and no money. I moved back in with my grandparents January 2017 after having been gone nearly four years. I was 29 and life just seemed so dark... only to get darker, my grandfather who was the only source of male stability that I'd ever had took ill then passed away. I told God that's it, I am DONE and I don't want anything to do with you or ministry. I found myself wrestling with God, in the process I found a church home (so twisted right)? All that I KNEW was church, all that I knew was ministry, all that I knew was this world that I literally was born into! I did not even know myself but I knew CHURCH and I knew how to dress it up, I knew how to cover it with "Selfie Sunday" photos of perfection and a SMILE! I was broken, I was so broken and lost. I was angry with God yet I needed him to help me because I had no idea how to function outside of  "ministry." 

I started therapy in fall of 2018, I had never sat down and dealt with my childhood issues let alone my adult issues at ALL! Through all of my 'busyness" nobody ever told me to SIT down! I was busy in my 20's, whether it was school, several jobs, ministry honey I was BUSY but I was not sane. I never took the time to sit still, to really address my issues or process my pain. I had been living my life by remaining busy so when seasons of quietness or stillness came depression would grip me, I questioned my self worth as well because I did not know myself! I was questioning my sexuality (hello I've shared this with no one not even my therapist) because I have never viewed men or relationships in the way my peers have. I was questioning life which was leading me to a second suicide attempt. I was just a shell of a person altogether! I began to really find myself, I began to really deal with the ugly parts, the things I hid from myself and I have been on a journey to "self" for a year and a half. In that time I have managed to start a business, took on a full time job for awhile but 6 weeks ago I walked away from that. Life was getting to me again and I had to regroup. This pandemic has not exactly helped with "sanity" so when this PUBLIC rebuke of a ministry that shaped me in many ways came to ahead last month I began to grapple/struggle again because there was so much I had suppressed. I have been wrestling with God again but one thing I am sure of and that is the fact that I am LOVED, I am WANTED and his promises will never lead me astray. When my world is literally crashing, the CREATOR of heaven and earth is steady! The Creator is consistent, the Creator is honest and will never leave me. I have so much to say but I will end this... for today that is. Until next time! CDJ💕


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