This is another excellent comment left in response to the post on this subject last week. Amy tells her story and her insights are right on. I wanted to be sure everyone sees what she wrote, so here it is in this stand alone post. Thank you Amy!
Oh the stories I could tell of women’s bible classes and retreats. I never did feel comfortable at any of them, but felt pressured to attend because that is what would make me a better Christian woman/wife.
I remember walking into a new women’s bible class at my former church about a month or so after my then-abusive-husband walked out and the elderly woman who was leading it started the class off by stating how there would be NO prayer requests in that class because we were not there to share our troubles. o.O This was the same woman who stopped me after service one day and whispered, ‘If you ever want to hear about how I saved my marriage, just let me know” and walked away! I was like the woman with the red letter plastered across her chest, except my letter was a D(ivorce)! Few of the women ever asked how I was or if I needed anything, and the night in that bible study class I felt the comment was said directly to me.
At a women’s retreat I attended with maybe 10 other women from my church, I felt so alone and realized that unless you followed the good Christian women model of appearing happy no matter what was happening in your marriage and never ever talked about it, because of course that would be gossiping, you make everyone else uncomfortable and are not one of the pack.
At this retreat which took place about 2 years before my ex walked out but during an extremely painful time in that marriage, there were women from a few other churches that attended it too, and on the last day before we all left we formed a circle to pray. As the leader was praying, I started feeling so sick because I knew I was going back to the lion’s den when I got home and I just started to break down. I tried holding back the tears but once the prayer ended and everyone was starting to say goodbye, I just dropped to my knees in tears and the woman from my church who was beside me tried pulling me up almost in disgust, never asking what was wrong or offering me a hug, just wanting me to get up and stop embarrassing her. Not ONE woman in that room said anything to me, asked if I was alright or needed prayer or anything! On the bus back home, not one of the women from my church sat with me or talked with me, I knew at that moment truly how alone I was. 😦
I truly always thought it was just me, I was just different, but no matter how much I tried I ,never felt I fit in during any women’s events. The last one I attended was a Mother’s Day brunch on a Saturday afternoon and it just happened that an hour before I left home my then-husband was berating my youngest son over some stupid thing and I can see so clearly now how it was my ex’s way of ruining the event for me as he always did. When I left the house that day to go to the church for the brunch, my youngest son came running out to me, begging me to take him with me. I kissed him and hugged him, and told him I wouldn’t be long. I was sick to my stomach the whole time at the brunch for leaving my son at home. I’ve never forgiven myself for that. 😦 And as I sat silently, with tears in my eyes at the brunch, not one, not ONE woman asked me how I was. I never went back to any women’s events after that.
Thank you, Pastor Crippen, for speaking up about the atrocities which happen in the church, you are freeing so many victims of abuse with your words and are helping those in the process of healing to understand the truth.