So, I emailed the pastor….now what?

So, I emailed the pastor. I’m regretting it at the moment, because I haven’t received a response yet. While I kmow that it hasnt even been 24 hours since I sent my email, and that this isnt the sort of email you send a casual reply to, and that everything is probably okay, I am really wishing I had listened to my instinct to hide, not sent the email. Anyone invented an unsend button yet?

Anyway….here is the email I sent. I feel like I shared too much information, and am feeling over exposed and vulnerable right now.

Dear Pastor,

I’m writing because 2 sundays ago, during the first talk in the church vs hate series, at the end of that talk, you said if anyone had something they wanted to talk about, something they needed help with, that you were inviting them to start a conversation. You gave out your email address. I’m hoping you meant it, because I do have something I need help dealing with. I’ve been praying and wrestling with this concept of reaching out to someone else, and I’ve felt compelled to write today.

There have been some really serious topics at church lately. Topics that have just really stuck with me, but more than that, they have brougt all this hurt and pain in my heart to the surface. The RPMS series made me see that this is not a church or a ministry that avoids being real, that only wants to touch on the shiny surface. Then came the starting over series, where the whole idea of needing to start over from something that was done to you was brought up. And the story that was shared was a woman who was sexually abused as a child. Then on another Sunday, part of the testimony in the Larry Nassar trials was played. And now, we have the separation of church and hate series, and both Sundays I have cried and felt my heart just rip in pieces because there is so much pain beiing touched upon. The last two Sundays, I have felt that if I made a choice to, I could talk to someone at church, I could tell my story, with all the ugly pieces, and it would be okay. That I wouldn’t be condemned, or hated, but that there could be a conversation about these beliefs and hurts and fears and confusion and struggle with believing God loves me and I’m forgiven that I’ve been carrying around almost my whole life.

But I’m not sure where to even start. These aren’t things I really ever talk about, because they aren’t easy, nice or neat things. They are hard and messy. I don’t need a therapist, I have someone I see twice a week. She’s the one who encouraged me to go back to church, and while we have talked about God and my feelings and hurts and fears, ultimately she is a trauma therapist and hasn’t studied the Bible and Christianity and she lacks the ability to really answer questions. It has taken me five years of therapy to even be ready to find a church. (Church) wasn’t the first church I visited when I started looking for a church. It was the first church that felt comfortable and safe. I’m really happy being back in a church. It feels like I am exactly where I am supposed to be in my life. I never stopped believing in God, but I have been struggling with these feelings of not being good enough, with this fear– this belief– that God can’t love me, can’t forgive me because of all the bad things in my life, this fear that even though I believe Jeuss died on the cross and rose again, believe He is God’s son and that through him there is eternal life that I am somehow exempt from salvation and lastly, I am grappling with anger. I am angry at God. In some ways, according to my therapist, my anger is legitimate. She says God can handle my anger at him in the same way I handle my daughter’s anger towards me. I’m not sure that she is right, but I hope she is.

I grew up in church. Youth group was my social life. Lock-ins and outings and small groups and retreats and summer camp. I was a junior CIT and and CIT at church camp in the summers during my teens. I’ve been the one in the position of counseling another who is grappling with their faith. It’s been a long time, I havent been in a church to worship Jesus since I was 19 (I’m 35 now) but I havent forgotten everything. I understand that there is this thing called freewill, and that freewill means people can make choices to hurt others and that pain and hurt are not God’s fault. I know that God can– and will– use all things for his glory. I know that our pain is never in vain; God will use it. I know that we can be given tough situations because it is those hard things that draw us nearer to Him.

I know these things, I even believe these things. That doesn’t take away this hurt and pain that I hold. It doesn’t stop me from being angry and disappointed and confused. It doesn’t change anything. And I have prayed and prayed and yet, I’m still lost. I don’t know what to do with all of this. My therapist believes I won’t be able to heal until I fix my problem with God. She says I need to be able to accept that God loves me, and has forgiven me my sins.

Somehow, this feels like I have simultaneously written too much information and not enough information. Unfortunately, I need to keep things vague right now. I suppose I am testing the waters a little bit, seeing if you think you can even help me find answers.

Best,

Alice

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16 thoughts on “So, I emailed the pastor….now what?

  1. Wow. So fantastic! This is so perfect, and just what the pastor was asking for, for those in need to reach out. The reason no answer has come is many. Pastors are usually very busy, but more so, he is taking his time to respond and that is a good thing because he will do it thoughtfully.
    Just incredible. Asking for what we need is hard, yet you once again you mustered up the courage to go after what you need. Wow, and wow, and wow!

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  2. It doesn’t sound to me like you shared too much. This seems like exactly the kind of issue that should be addressed with a pastor, and he had put out the welcome mat. It’s great that you were able to reach out for help this way.

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  3. To me, it sounds like you shared exactly what you needed to but didn’t give anything away. You’re safe Alice. It was perfectly worded but rather than detached and sterile, like ms. Perfect would have it, it was flowing with emotion and connection. Reaching out is TERRIFYING to me as well but you have learned a valuable skill there and have executed it with grace and compassion for others, as well as yourself. Well done. Just in sending it, you did great.

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  4. Seems like a really smart letter Alice. The pastor will know pretty much what you are getting at concerning your own past, and you’ve avoided going into any kind of triggering specifics. Well done. The pastor may not necessarily realize how scary this is for you and that you need to hear back right away, so is not in a rush to respond. I’m betting this will open a door for you.

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    • Hi Ellen. ☺️ Thank you for calling my letter smart. I wantes him to have an idea of my problem without having to actually spell it out. And I did not want him to feel like I was looking for a therapist, or something. 💜

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  5. DV says:

    This is such a huge step, to reach out in this way. I think you’re really brave to take what must feel like an enormous risk, and as everyone else has said, I think you got the letter just right. I think you’ve given enough information for the pastor to give a reply that isn’t just generic reassurance and so you’ll be able to judge much more clearly if they understand yu situation and if they seem ‘safe’ – much more so than if you had written a letter without that amount of detail.

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    • DV. Thank you. ☺️ It has really helped to hear over and over that I got the letter just right. I NEED some not-generic answers, so I knew I had to be a somewhat real, but it was a scary thing to send anyways. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

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