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NEVER LET A CHURCH LADY SILENCE YOU: A Tale of Defiance and Healing

I had just stepped off the stage from sharing, for the first time, my story of recovery from the abuse of a tumultuous childhood and a cult's grip. It was my first act of raw honesty outside the confidential safety of a therapy session. It left me feeling as if I had been stripped naked in front of a room full of strangers.



Relieved it was behind me, I found the anonymity of a public restroom comforting. Behind the closed stall door, I breathed out a prayer of thanks just as a voice shattered my solitude. A woman, loud enough to drown out hand dryers and idle chatter, announced how shocking my story had been with a voice that rivaled a fairy tale's wicked stepmother: syrupy-sweet but with a toxic edge and belittling undertone.

This encounter once and for all defined the term "church lady" for me.

From my 10-minute talk, she decided we must have been very new believers.

Or just weak.


Not raised in "the church."

Her tsk-tsking scorn questioned, "How could they fall for that!?"

"I would never—" I heard as I walked out of the stall and came face to face with the self-appointed authority on my life. The room fell into a stunned silence, everyone watching the showdown. As mouths fell open, I paused, met her gaze, then stepped past her, washed my hands, and left.

You could've heard a pin drop.

This wasn't mere gossip; it was a feeble attempt at a curse- we do it more than anyone realizes or admits - meant to tie me in knots and keep me quiet and tame. It was also a weak attempt to reassure herself that this would surely, certainly, never EVER happen to her, but it still stung.

Honestly, it makes my blood boil even now.

Shame leaves a residue, shadows here and there, like the scars left behind when ivy is pulled off a house. Years before, shame would have told me to duck my head, watch my feet, and slink away. But this time, those caustic words quickly showed the source and it lit a defiance in me I didn't know I was capable of. Something inside me reared up, not pride but an inner resolve that refused to cower or shrink. My defiance wasn't aimed at her but at The Liar and every ugly lie he ever tried to shove into my identity.

The enemy always punches us where we are already bruised in an attempt to exploit our weak spots. Often, he uses others to do it. We can choose to lie there and take the punches, or we can stand up and defend ourselves against the Liar and the lies. At that moment, my choice was clear. I would not allow the venom of her words to turn my scars back into wounds or dictate my worth.

Wounds may ache, but scars narrate a journey of healing- and so will it be until we are whole in the presence of Jesus.

Scars merely mark chapters in our story, signposts of survival. They do not define us, but point out our humanity.

To own your story is to embrace its entirety, even when it feeds the gossipmongers. Gossip always shows the character of the gossiper, not yours.

Shame wants to silence our stories with fear, but when we own them, integrate every part as we reject the mess, but grab hold of the treasure in the rubble, we give others permission to find the treasure in their story.

Transparency is always a delicate balance. Learning to tell our story in a way that defies the brokenness while it drips with redemption takes carefully chosen words and a healed and surrendered heart to Jesus.

Yet, this intricate weave of experiences is what makes us who we are.

In a world that identifies with their wounds, what would happen if we were known for our healing?

What if people heard our stories and were shocked because our healing is so complete?

What if we acknowledged our humanity but embraced our Healer?

Your story is what has made you who you are today. Even when it's hard, ugly, or disappointing, it still points to where your journey will end:

whole, complete, redeemed.



Hello! I'm glad you're here.

I hope my words saturate your life with God’s goodness.

I pray they express the new joy I’ve found in my friend, Jesus and the trustworthy companionship of the Holy spirit.


He really is better than we can hope, dream, imagine, or pray. 

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