Betterton Beach ~ One of Bill's and my favorite spots, here on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake
"I know what it’s like to be marginalized. I know what it’s like to have God’s people turn their backs on me and think that God has turned His back on me. I know what it’s like to be condemned. I know what it’s like to be so certain that God shouldn’t love me that I actually tried to get Him to stop loving me, for His own good."
If You're Weary, Welcome Home
March 11, 2016
So, if you’re reading this in early March (or possibly even late March, if I haven’t gotten it done as quickly as I thought I could), you may have noticed that this website isn’t quite operational. Oh sure, the home page is starting to look like a home page; and if you click on some of the links, they work and might even take you to partially complete pages. But if you’re looking around the site on your phone, you’ll notice that it’s not mobile-ready and many of the links don’t yet work; many of the pages are completely blank.
I probably should have waited until my website was complete before inviting anyone to read something here. Well, that’s what the perfectionist part of my personality would prefer. But the realist asks, “Will I ever, really and truly, be done? Will I just use that as an excuse to never actually take this thing anywhere?”
More important, there is this. One of the things that’s super important to me is that you know that I’m a real person: Imperfect, typing in my pajamas (or worse), messing up (a lot), rarely dusting my house (if ever) … and so on. It would actually be counterproductive for me to present you with a perfectly “finished” website.
Because here’s what it’s about: Whether you are on your way out to conquer the world … or whether you’re coming back to home base, in need of refreshment, encouragement, or perhaps to lick your wounds … you are crossing a threshold. This is a place where you are welcome as you are, and where you are. No, you’re encouraged … begged ... to be as you are and where you are. Truly. Because that’s what integrity is all about.
Integrity literally means being whole and undivided: One piece. That means that the face you show the world is who you really are inside. Or at least you do your best to do that.
Sometimes, it’s not safe to have that kind of integrity. One of the places famous for a lack of safety is Church. Not every church, but many of them. I wish it were different, but churches are made of human beings. And human beings have a tendency to want to look better than each other, to deflect, to condemn, to be power-hungry … well, you get it. We all do it.
If, though, we have grace … If we are humble enough to receive God’s grace … to truly receive it … then we are also able to give grace. We can allow people to be imperfect (which, by the way, is part of being human). We accept people where they are in their faith walk … Maybe not even believing yet. We don’t force them into the place where we are (which actually isn’t as complete as we think it is). We accept them and love them and allow God’s Holy Spirit to draw them and love on them and grow them in His own time … as He draws and loves us and patiently waits for us to grow. We may see sin in them, but gee whiz, there is sin in us, too.
If you belong to a church that’s a safe place to be who you are … oh, I am so happy for you, and you may not need a place like this, though you are certainly welcome here. But for those who have been wounded and marginalized, I want you to know that you’re safe here.
I know what it’s like to be marginalized. I know what it’s like to have God’s people turn their backs on me and think that God has turned His back on me. I know what it’s like to be condemned. I know what it’s like to be so certain that God shouldn’t love me that I actually tried to get Him to stop loving me, for His own good. (How screwed up is that, right?)
God patiently continued to love me and woo me and take care of me. He walked beside me, even when I tried to get Him to go away. He cherished me when I thought He should hate me. He celebrated me when others turned away from me. He adored me when others used and abused me. And He had a plan for me when most people in my life told me I was worthless, completely undeserving of love. Oh, by the way, those were His people.
I learned an important lesson during that decade. God had not turned His back on me. He never stopped loving me and didn’t listen to me when I tried to get Him to leave. He had a plan for me and it was good. I was not garbage to Him. I was worthy in His eyes.
His people (including me) aren’t always His best representatives. That’s one of the things we often forget to warn people about.
My purpose in sharing that about myself is to say: You are accepted as you are and where you are. You are welcome to express doubts and fears and imperfections. You are encouraged to be honest about who you are and what you’re struggling with. (The only limit I will put on that here is that you do not put down, condemn, or display other people’s dirty laundry on the public parts of this site. When it is necessary to share those things in order to work through your hurt, you are welcome to share them privately with us. When sharing those things publicly to help others, we will help you find a way to do it without striking out or seeking revenge.)
I promise you that I will also do my best to be honest about who I am and where I am -- maybe even before you’re ready to share that with me. I promise you that I will share with you my doubts and fears and imperfections, and the way God is working in my heart. I plan to share my struggles with you -- those from the past that have been or are being resolved … but also those I’m presently dealing with, though I will be careful not to hang out anyone else’s dirty laundry in the process. I will also probably apologize often … because I’m not perfect. Never have been and probably never will be, on this earth.
And I want you to know that despite what anyone else may have told you or shown you … God does love you. He does want a deep, in-person relationship with you. You are His cherished child.
You’re safe here. We’re in this together. It’s okay to cross the threshold. I hope that eventually you will feel safe enough to say, “Hineni.”
Alyce-Kay is the founder and director of Threshold of Hineni. She has been divorced (twice), was a single mom for 10 years, and is now married to Bill, the undisputed most wonderful man in the world. She has experienced hate email, having her books and tapes burned, being told she had to submit to abuse and keep her children in an abusive situation, as well as being told she couldn't take communion until she reconciled with and went back to the abuse. That's just the beginning, but you get the picture. Her heart's desire is to help hurting people see past the mistaken condemnation from those who call themselves (and often are sincerely trying to be) representatives of God, to see the genuine, patient, and lavish love that He truly has for them.