When Your Pain is Heard

Everyone should have someone like Rhonda Chambers in their life.

Today she asked if there was any way she could convince me to be Methodist. 😁 (Last semester someone wanted to make me Pentecostal). I told her you have no idea what this means to me to hear churches like me. Baptists like me too.

I jokingly (but I wasn’t joking) said now I know God likes me.

Rhonda took me by both arms and had me look at her. She said the most beautiful words, and I will cry if I write them. But she emphasized God has always liked me. Always delighted in me. Was always by my side- and it has always been true my whole life. I found myself wanting to hug her and do other things than take this truth in. It is hard for the younger Lindsay to hear these words and believe them. I know I am in seminary for many reasons, but one is for God to tell me how much God has liked and loved me my whole life. This is huge when I have felt so rejected for so long.

When I tried to write my pain about what was happening in soccer-and what was happening politically – I was met with silence. Even people who agreed with me would only message me privately b/c my pain was too controversial. Theirs was too, and that is why they couldn’t communicate openly. Their communities would yell at them.

I told Rhonda Chambers I realized no one in my life cared I was hurting. My pain was too controversial. When I wanted to tell the church we need to change the direction we are on in light of what has been revealed politically – I was told too many people would leave; slow transformation of the mind. What I heard was – we believe you, but you aren’t worth the risk for our community. I cannot tell you how much the silence hurt – way more than the people who fought me back and told me I was unloving b/c I am intolerant of abuse.

I was ignored and shoved aside for 40 years. It took a toll on how I see myself in the world. People wanted me around, but only in a certain context. Not as me. Who I am if offensive to people. But Jonathan Martin on Twitter heard me, and he cared. His words were so beautiful and powerful. I told him I have been in so much pain and his words are what are getting me through the day. He responded and walked me through my crisis for 2 years. I needed this in flesh and blood. I couldn’t follow Jonathan around the country to hear a healing word. I did follow Jonathan to Jen Hatmaker’s church in April 2017- I was desperate for church again. I found Wilshire October 2017. I go to Wilshire, and George Mason hears me immediately. It threw me off. This is not how this works. This shows you the difference it makes when men value women. George built me up, and he wanted to know what I heard and what I was going to do with it. I had never thought to consider that question b/c that was never an option. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking George is going to run when he really knows me.

George never left my side though. I gave him every reason to think I am too much. I told him he is going to channel Paul and rethink his position after he deals with me. 😆

He has been really gentle and patient with me. It is why I trust him, and he can ground me when I start getting anxious.

Also, I thought Jonathan Martin was just being nice to me on Twitter. He would tell me things like: I believe in you; I am proud of you. But now he is part of our Board for the Baptist House of Studies, and he said he adores me and Larry Crudup.

What a healing time this has been. And I know so many need this too. To know God delights in us–and we need to experience this in a human way. What the gift of love and friendship alone can do. It has the power to change someone’s whole world. And that affects everyone around them – it is never just one person.

Here is what I hear God saying now: I love and like you. And everyone leaves b/c of my delight in you-then they can leave.

So many people need to feel this.

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