I talked about some things on the Jamie Ivey podcast recently I hadn’t intended.

Turns out, when you feel comfortable in a space with a Jesus girlfriend, you open up old wounds.

It feels like a zillion years ago, but it was actually only 6, that I wrote about some of this in my book, {w}hole, the first and only of all my books to go out of print — which feels weird, too, since it’s more about my life than any of the rest.

I refuse to read into that, by the way. :)

I have a tendency to be before my time, and maybe this book was, maybe the Church wasn’t as ready in 2011 as we are now to finally stop keeping all the secrets.

My father lost his church, lost his way, and so did I. Church people hurt us both and we both hurt church people. We are all the Church so we hurt, all the way around.

The truth is, when church people throw stones, we hurl them at ourselves.

It will make better sense to you if you listen to the Jaime podcast, or if you want, you can read the story in part, HERE. But the basic gist is this: the Church was a place that wounded me. And yet it was the very place God used to heal me and show me the beauty of His face.

Truly, it is as St. Augustine once said, “In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it dazzled me.”

Because I am simple and overloaded by information at the same time, I like to bottom line things…break them down into everyday illustrations so they feel easier to take in small bites and sips. Maybe you can relate to this or maybe you will find I am too simple for you. If it is the latter, I totally understand.

But this church wounding would be difficult for me to both understand and digest, so I needed to find the illustration that helped. I found it, unexpectedly, the other day when I was talking to a friend who was struggling with a hard life something that’s solution to me was crystal clear.

“Go back to where you lost your keys,” I say to her. “Where did you lose them? Retrace your steps, find them, so you know where to go from here.”

Of course, her actual keys weren’t lost. Maybe because I have teens who drive now and hear myself saying these words so often “retrace your steps…where did you lose your keys…” that the words roll off my tongue, even now in illustration. I just knew that the place where my friend became lost in her life, where things broke her in the heart, is where she would need to begin to heal. Lost keys gave a simple, everyday visual.

It was the same for me, with the Church.

I’ve had some counseling, both in my master’s studies, and on the couch side of the desk, but I’m no licensed expert. But I am degreed in what Jesus has taught me. I know what I have lived.

In order to heal from what was broken from the Church, I had to go back to the Church and start there. Staying away permanently wouldn’t help. (Short reprieves are fine and sometimes, necessary.) Shying away from community to self protect wouldn’t solve my inner woundings – it would only increase my loneliness and put me at risk for isolation.

Pain didn’t let me have enough sense to know this. Jesus had to do it, behind the scenes, or I would have said no. He had to use sending me off to speak to the very Church people I was either angry towards or afraid of, thinking I was just obediently using my gifts, when actually, He was doing surgery on my diseased heart, saving my life.

Every unexpected kindness. Every smile and gracious, affirming word. Every immaculate Holy Spirit moment beyond any capability of my own. Ministry that my human pessimism couldn’t kill and didn’t end in disaster. Jesus showing up in my deepest wounding and dazzling me to the deepest core.

He took me back to the place I lost my keys, gently helped me re-trace my steps, and moved me forward. My life has never been the same. But He knew: I had to find my lost keys first.

He knows the same about you.

  1. Go back to where you lost your keys.
  2. Ask Him to dazzle you in your deepest wounding.
  3. Go from there.

p.s. I love you. Jesus loves you most.

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