No Longer Afraid... A Follow-up

As always, I can't ever believe it when I once again get back to this blog, months have passed. I need to get past the need to apologize, but it's a compulsion. 

So, I'm sorry it's been so long. And, like I always say, I'll try harder to post more consistently.

(But both you know and I know that this won't happen.😏)

If you aren't a regular reader of this blog, go back and look up my "No Longer Afraid" posts. There are four parts: part 1, part 2, part 3a and part 3b. You'll need that background to understand what I'm writing here.

Okay... so it's been over a year since I wrote those posts, sharing what happened in the hardest time of my life and admitting/confessing what I did to cause it all. 

I finished the first post of that series with these words: "I'm finally free." I'm still free, but I'm still human. The anxiety/fear still rears its ugly head on a regular basis. There are a lot of issues where I still have walls up. 

But... God... 

Even with all of my failings, mess-ups, and frankly, crap, He hasn't given up on me (even those times I've almost completely given up on myself.)

There are some subjects that I've wanted to write about but haven't. So I'm going to sum up some really amazing stuff that God did in me to get me here. It shouldn't be summed up - there are a lot of really cool details - but I need to get to what happened today, so I'll sum up anyway.

- At K-Love this year, God did a work on my heart. After years and years of having a massive wall and being completely against going to church, I left the weekend wanting to find a church and attending.

- So, I wanted to find a church. But how does one do that outside of recommendations of family or friends? That was a dead end. I use the mighty Google for any other search, so of course I thought about doing a web search. But churches are so personal and websites are so sterile... how would I find one that way?

- I thought I might as well try. What would it hurt? I don't even remember the search parameters I put in, but whatever I used brought up just under a million options. (It's the South, remember?) 

(I just realized that this is NOT summing up.)

- Anyway, I clicked on a website or two then saw one that intrigued me: A2 Church. I looked at their website, and it wasn't that different than others, but something drew me to it. (Yes, yes, I know it was God.) I was even more intrigued and told my husband about it. 

- We skimmed through a video of a recent service and I started getting excited about this possibility. 

- But what's really just short of a miracle is that, when the next Sunday came, even after a really busy weekend where typically I would have easily made an excuse to stay in bed... me, a huge social anxiety sufferer... me, someone who usually avoids the church like the plaque... me a very tired, old, physically and emotionally exhausted human... woke up excited to attend the 9:30 (yes, I said, 9:30!) service.

Fast forward a few weeks to this past Sunday.

For reasons I simply don't have time to go into now (I'm already way past summarizing), I have avoided holding babies like the plague. I've avoided children because of "the incident." (See the first "No Longer Afraid" post). 

Even though I have led the children's ministry in a couple of churches, I've hid that information as a tight-lipped secret from anyone in the few churches I've attended the past few decades - and became even tighter-lipped after "the incident."

Something happened this past Sunday. I saw a tiny baby in the aisle across from where I was sitting - and I actually wanted to hold that adorable infant. I had the thought, "Maybe I should volunteer for the nursery."

But my past was hanging over my head. What if they did a background check and found out what happened? It's not like I hurt anyone, but I lost my teaching license anyway. I was still terrified that I would be found out. It wasn't worth it.

Sometime during the "year of hell" (again, see earlier post), my best friend - who was also a teacher -  told me that she found out that there was a way to get my license back. Because undiagnosed mental health issues were at least some of the precipitating factors of "the incident," I could appeal to the administration using recommendations from mental health professionals I was seeing.

Ironically, for the first time ever, after seeing therapists for decades, my therapist just last week dismissed me. She said I'm doing amazingly well and that I don't need that intensive therapy any more. 

Go back to the Sunday service and seeing the baby. I immediately decided to research what it would really take to get my license back so that this fear would be gone forever. I had a burning desire to do it right then. I couldn't have put down my phone if it was on fire.

I found out what I needed to know - and realized it could still be a fight. I simply don't have the mental and physical capacity or the time and resources to dedicate to this venture right now. I don't want to teach again so it's really a matter of pride more than anything. 

I then decided to give up. I realized it didn't matter. It's not a big deal.

It was at that point that I finally tuned into the message...

... only to have my new pastor look my way and say, "You don't have to hide anymore."

Oh... my... gosh!!! What? Did he really just say that? 

I started bawling and as soon as the service was over, I rushed to talk to him. I was still somewhat blubbering so there was no way I could tell him what happened. I asked if there was a time this week we could meet.

About 3ish hours ago, I shared all this with him. And he didn't judge me! 

It never ceases to amaze me about what God has done - and what He is still doing every day - even to someone as messed up as me.


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