Emotion

I am heavy hearted. I anticipated people being angry with me for writing my book and I prepared myself for it. I was not surprised to hear tonight that people are infuriated with me, to say the least. I knew this was going to be painful (for them and for me). And it is. No surprise.

I don't regret the book. I told the truth. I shared my heart and my testimony. I know it will help some and infuriate others. I have received so many emails from people confirming that they know I have written the truth, that my experiences mirror theirs and that the book resonated with them and triggered many memories. Numerous people have written this to me: "I have your back" and "Thank you for writing this book." One person from my past wrote to me and told me I was the bravest person she had ever known to write the truth of our lives. Others have written, "You went easy on them" or "You were so kind." But I knew it would not be received that way by all.

I had to write this book. Many people may never be able to understand why, and that's okay. I am at peace with people's condemnation of me. But I do not enjoy hurting people and I am feeling such sadness tonight in knowing that I have. Anyone who had any contact with me while I was writing this book knows the agony it was for me to write it and the many tears I shed in the process.

I was at a restaurant today and some family members came in. One of them came over to our table to say hello. The other did not. I felt very conflicted about what to do (or not do). I wondered if I should say anything to this person or just leave well enough alone. I came to the conclusion that since we were in the same room, I had to take the opportunity to tell him I loved him. As I saw him get up to leave, I quickly got up, walked over, attempted to hug him and said, "I don't know if you even knew I was here, but I wanted to tell you how much I love you." I was emotional and had tears in my eyes. I do love this person very much and I doubt that he believes I do. He probably feels that I have betrayed him and he will probably die not understanding why I have done this.

His response to me was detached and cold. He did not tell me he loved me.

I really didn't expect a warm embrace or an "I love you, too." It's hard to put into words the emotion I feel. This person has never chosen me when there was a choice to be made. And I am probably more at peace with that than I have ever been. But it's still hard. I'm not even going to identify the person. If you've known my life at all, I'm sure you can guess. I'm not writing any of this to disparage him. I'm writing because I'm hurting and I know that someone who is reading cares.

Please pray for me that I will not let people's reactions overwhelm me. I knew going into this that there would be a personal price to pay.

Comments

Shari, I don't know you but I have been reading your blog for a couple months and now am reading your book. I am about half way through and I will comment more as I complete it but after reading this post I want to encourage you and thank you for speaking up. I know it was hard and I am 100% sure you agonized over what you shared. What you have shared has so touched me. I too have experienced a false gospel, not in a situation like your church but in other churches. I am still trying to walk through it with grace and courage with one of them who has refused to work through issues and there is great risk of affecting the greater Christian community in our town as I am very connected with others now that I have separated from that church but I don't want others to get caught in between us.

I can imagine the reaction some people will have to your story because you shared things they wanted to keep secret and your perspective does not match theirs. Remember the revelation you had with your counselor when you realized that being a good person and having others think you are a good person can't be what your important priorities or you will compromise what is right to earn their respect. God and honoring him with your witness and through truth is what is important and I am privileged and honored to be reading your story and to even have a chance to tell you how it is impacting me. Thank you for helping to confirm that I too lived under a false gospel but today I am set free by the grace and power of Christ and his true gospel!
~Sherie
Shari said…
Thank you for this, Sherie. I woke up suddenly at 3:00 am with the thought that most who are reacting have not read the whole book. They have jumped around to the part they are most interested in. Once something highly objectionable is discovered, word spreads and there is collective outrage. Someone wrote to me before I went to bed that most of the people who are reacting have not read the book and certainly not the whole book from beginning to end, as it was written.

Knowing I would immediatlely go back to sleep, I got up and came to the computer, hoping a friend or two might have sent some reassuring words. There were many and I am so thankful for them.

I feel like God woke me up and reminded me of a specific chapter that I knew all along would hit them very hard. I have agonized over every word in that book this whole year and I have had time to process all of it and know the hard parts had to be in the book. They are hearing/reading it for the first time and of course their first response is anger and outrage.

All year I wrestled with fear and anxiety and not knowing if I could stand up under this when it came. But I finally got past my fears. And after I woke up feeling very heavy in the middle of the night, it dawned on me that what I'm feeling is not fear. I am no longer afraid of them or what they think of me. I am feeling profound sadness and I am grieving. They are in pain and I am in pain. I don't enjoy their pain and I don't enjoy my own. But the Gospel is worth any amount of pain I endure. I had to proclaim the truth. They may never understand that.

In addition to the many words of encouragement and love that were waiting for me when I woke up from my sleep, I read a poem my son had posted on his own blog. It was just what I needed at this moment...

He came up to say he was sorry
For our loss and that he cared
His pain was something he hid from
Our grief was too painful to share

So he told us God had a plan
And he told us our pain would end
Then he changed the subject to something more pleasant
And tried to just be a friend

As I listened my heart grew weary
Of the pious and cold reaching hand
Tho’ God has a plan and this pain will end
It’s okay to just say, “I’m sad.”

Don’t be scared, don’t run
The darkness can’t outrun the light
It’s okay to feel it, to admit the pain
Cause the day will outlast the night

There is no room for cliche for those who belong to Christ. Everything that causes pain and even awkward discomfort has been defeated on the cross. We're free to go into the darkness and let the light of the gospel shine.

http://www.abundantredemption.com/2009/11/darkness-cant-outrun-light.html

I am going back to bed and I do think I will sleep.
Shari said…
"Knowing I would immediatlely go back to sleep..."

That was intended to say, "Knowing I would not immediately go back to sleep..."
tim said…
Shari,
I read your book. I was not there for all of the events but I was there for a lot of it. I know every word you wrote was the truth. If anything I thought you took it really easy on everyone.

There will be those that God will use this book to talk to about his true gospel.
Shari said…
Thanks, Tim. I've been looking forward to hearing from you. I did try to say everything in the kindest words possible. And I think people will realize (if they even read it) that I left out a lot of juicy things that would have sold more books because that was not the point. But I know the only way I could have avoided making people mad was to write no book at all.