Re: Has Anyone Ever Heard of Radiant Life Church in Sacramento
Date: August 24, 2008 01:25AM
At no point in time, in my opinion, will it ever be okay (nor God’s heart), to have any person walk out of a church more messed up then when they walked in. I walked into RLC a young mother and wife who was full of faith, willing and able to use my God given gifts for others, and who had my identity firmly secured in Christ and in being who His Word said I was. Years later, I left an insecure, depressed, oppressed, and condemned lost little girl who had no clue who her “Daddy” really was.
That WAS me, KATRINA MILLAR. Here is my story.
I have never been so silent in all my life, but as I read Ryan’s sincere questions (8/20) of how to heal and “Soma Notes & whatajoke’s” admitted need for encouragement from others, I am moved. I have prayerfully considered for a long time what to write, some of you may be disappointed as I begin with the “aftermath” instead of recounting what so many of you went through as well, plus a ton more that will only enrage you instead of edify (my hope is to only do the latter).
I chose to start here, as well as previously kept silent, with a great understanding of the responsibility that we all have to be accountable and stand before God with how we choose to respond (or react) when we face all that life and people throw at us. Just as “they” will stand before our God in Heaven and have to answer for all of their actions, Josh and I always wanted to make sure and feel like we would have no issue facing the Throne with how we chose to respond to what was done to us.
So we never “talked” (meaning gossiped, blabbed, or blogged) about it and despite what many of you were told, we did it all very biblically, we went to elders first, we were honest and concerned, we renounced any authority that anyone there had over us, and left with a commitment to pray for them, all of them, all of you, the church, and starting with the blood relatives that we HAD to leave behind. We were being obedient to God and we were greatly persecuted for it (probably even by some of you), which by the way, has always been fine with us (we forgave you before you did it, we knew it would happen, you were just being “obedient” too:).
If you think that the question of when to leave or at which moment to do it at was hard, you need to know that the next set of questions are way, way harder. In reading, it seems as though this is the fork in the road that many of you are staring at now.
What do you do now? Who do you trust? Will you continue to seek God? Do you even know who God is? Will you ever go to church again? Then of course…why. why, why?
I sit on my couch typing, while on the inside the Spirit within is standing tall and firm, in expectation of your answers. Perhaps you really just want to stop and breathe for a moment and not make any decisions or answer any questions. But, in all love and in the graciousness that comes only from complete understanding (as we’ve even been “accused” of starting all of this, by being the first from the “inner circle” to leave)…YOU MUST MOVE FORWARD. You HAVE to make some decisions and quick.
You sit in a dangerous seat of despair, confusion, condemnation, bitterness, anger, maybe even hatred. I will be the first to validate all of the things that you feel, that I have felt, let me not belittle you, but speak truth: this is “just” a portion of your life. It’s a huge and painful one, but there is healing just beyond it and an even better life. If you choose to stay in this seat any longer “Their” grip on you will turn into an even tighter grip of the enemy’s, I promise that.
In that first year, we made some quick decisions. We knew that if we even missed one Sunday of going to a church, any church, we would walk away for good. So for a few weeks we drove an hour and a half back to the Bay, just to go to the church that we had come from before RLC. We left there on excellent terms and we knew that they still loved us and could be trusted. We also knew that we couldn’t carry on like that. So we put up a big’ol wall and grabbed an even bigger filter and went church shopping! Fortunately, we only went to one other church before we found the one we are at now.
We struggled there. Honestly, compared to what we were all used to, it all seemed so elementary. The worship was only “fine” and the message “basic”, the people “nice” and we were “nobodies”! I knew the first week we were there, that it was where He wanted us to be, but couldn’t figure out why. As I complained to Him about it, I felt like He said “Trust Me, you need “basic”! And that we did. It allowed us to see scripture in a pure light again, in context and without a lot of finger pointing and condemnation. It started a quest for me to go back home throw away all of my discipleship, Friday Night Worship, Gap, and Josh’s SOMA notes. As the “messages” (whether the ones in a sermon or in my head) came I would run to The Word and ask God to show me His Truth in them not what others wanted me to see for their own gain.
As my beautiful sister Jen (who is much better at using a lot less words to be just as effective) said, the first year is the hardest. As you ask why, why, why??? As you want to run, fight back, back-bite, scream, cry, shout, and point fingers yourself (I will not blame you for a moment)…but I will challenge you. As Andrea questioned, I will answer, you cannot heal as you sit in that seat.
What kind of a sister to any of you would I be if I don’t stop now and try to answer the biggest question “So how do you heal”? My experience, limited biblical knowledge, and opinions to follow:
#1-Stop asking “Why” and start asking “What”. What God do you want me to do now? What do you want me to see? What is your Truth? What else can I pray for “them”? What church do you want me in? What people will you bring for me to encourage? What can I take away that is good from there? What character traits will you forge in me if I persevere through this? What ministry will you form for me out of my experience? What plans do you have for me now? What can I do to walk in your will now for myself, my family?
You get the picture. God is the God of action and of “real” forward thinking. He knew this was going to happen, He allowed it. It may feel mean and unloving, but there will always be reasons beyond our understanding and even our liking, but they are His. So don’t let your real and legitimate (I will say again) feelings stop you from seeing this WHOLE experience through to the end and it’s REAL purpose. I believe you are only half way through, only seeing half, only knowing half, in this part of your life. Is God not worth pushing through? Or at the very least aren’t you curious as to whether or not any of this pain can be put to good use? You have to get up and move forward to find out.
#2-“Abuse” this scripture…Romans 8:28 “And we know that God CAUSES EVERYTHING to work together for the GOOD of those who love God and ARE CALLED according to HIS PURPOSE for them.”
I say “abuse”, because above all other scriptures, this is the one that became a “mantra” in my healing. It’s simple and if scriptures can be, overused. Every time I wanted to go back to asking “why, instead of what”, I felt a gentle (maybe sometimes hard) nudge back to this Truth. I would even say it became the “excuse” I gave God (not that He needed one, but for my own sake), when I couldn’t make heads or tails of the situation.
It points me back to God and my lack of understanding of all that He does and why He chooses and allows the things He does. It causes me to trust Him, more importantly. It’s saying “God, I don’t understand what (or why) any of this has happened, but I trust that You WILL make good on Your Word, and make this into something good somewhere, somehow. I love you God, you called me, you have a purpose for me, and though I don’t like some of it, this too, must be part of the bigger plan.”
#3-ALLOW God to…work in you, answer your prayers, hear the cries of your heart, see you lay bare before Him in your pain, speak to you, direct you, teach you, use you, most of all allow Him to just Love you, then you WILL Heal. It all takes time and it is a choice, your choice. Also, allow His voice to speak louder then “theirs”, the enemy’s, and your flesh. A lot is being said…choose wisely what to hear!
#4- Don’t “throw the baby out with the bath water”.
The best thing that God ever did for me in my relationship with Him is take me to RLC and then the very best thing that He did after that was take me out.
Do you really think that it was ALL bad? That none of it was from God? That you never really felt His presence? Never heard His voice? Didn’t really learn to worship and pray at a new level? Give God & yourself some credit! It is a lot of filtering, but it brings a lot of maturity in your faith to do it. You and I both experienced some amazing stuff, and the most amazing thing now is what God CAN do with ALL of it IF you LET Him.
I say this with all sensitivity knowing that I am almost 4 years out, some of you may still be questioning, or have just left…if it wasn’t for ALL that we experienced, good & bad, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Had I not been beaten down the way I was, especially as a wife and mother, I wouldn’t have been properly equipped to lead a women’s ministry and be used of God in others lives in a way that only God and real experience can.
Had we not been kept in a “bubble” and been taught how every other church had it wrong the way we had, I would have completely missed the calling that I have on my life that is just now starting to walk itself out by leading a community bible study where (if you can imagine) a group of women gather together weekly from many different churches in our community and we don’t even say what church we attend or came from (some may not even have one) or give a rip who their pastor is, we just study the Word of God and talk it out as we encourage each other on the road!
Had it not been for all the junk lumped in with (and overshadowing) real truth, I wouldn’t know and love the Bible like I do now, as God pushed me (and I chose to) dig through, digest, and delight myself in it.
#5-Forgive. PERIOD. Because you have been forgiven and because forgiveness begets forgiveness as well. In His loving kindness God leads us to repentance and then forgives us, and in a moment of maturity when we can choose to forgive (especially first) then the loving kindness that have the OPPORTUNITY to show by forgiving can lead others to want to repent as well, ask for forgiveness, and be freed too. I believe that you can’t truly heal, until you learn to truly forgive. Choose to Forgive. Period.
My last challenge to you (and for some the least you want to hear): if you haven’t already, find a church. Again, with all love and sensitivity, find a church. It’s fine to go in untrusting, in fact, go in knowing that they are ALL imperfect and so are you. But our God is Holy and Perfect and He CAN be found in a body of imperfect people. Put your wall up, grab your filter, don’t even say where you are from or that you have any leadership experience, BUT GO! If you think that you can “do this” without being in a fellowship, I highly, disagree. Just you and God huh? Check His Word out. What does it say about that?
See from the bible that I read, WE are to ALL “do this” TOGETHER. I have shared in your sufferings, I have suffered to, I have needed much prayer, I pray for you, I have trusted and been hurt, now I trust again, I have healed, so can you. However you can’t do it without God and without letting others back in. Remember we are all part of One Body, this body is incomplete without YOU. God’s Kingdom is incomplete without you. The Millar’s are incomplete without you.
I am Katrina Millar and this is what I know…
Our God turns:
Mistakes (ours & others) into Ministry
Pain into Passion
Condemnation into a Cause
Fear into Freedom
And Hurts into Healing…
I type with tears as I beg you, allow God to move you from this place and to use these very hurts for good, for others. Your family needs you. I need you. More importantly God wants YOU! I know most of you, just like us, you gave your time, money, strength, decisions, trust, love and more to “them”. Don’t allow “them” to take any more or to keep you for one more minute from what God has for you next in His Plan for your life.
I humbly pray that I encouraged you in some way and that what I have spoken has brought peace, love, and truth to the Spirit within you. If you feel otherwise, please forgive me, you have no idea how much it took for me to put myself and my life on display before all of you (yet again). I am just trying to practice what I have preached and feel that I had to write in order to allow God to use my testimony for His good.
I have never been so burdened…I sincerely pray for you and your relationship with God. It’s there, in His arms, that you will heal.
By His Grace & in His Grip-