In our continued series on Resurrection, Diane Janzen shares her painful journey of rejection, abandonment and loneliness, as well as the hopeful and “holy resurrection work” God is nurturing in her.
Thank you, Diane, for writing with such transparency.
Both are Holy
Both are required for
By Barb Morris
As I’m sitting with Maggie in palliative care and wait with her for a bodily resurrection, I’m contemplating my own resurrection and want to bear witness to it. Of course, that means I also need to go back to when I was destroyed.
I was a part of the same church community for 30 years and for the last 7 years I was a staff member, having a ministry to women. I had some trepidation about entering into a ministry role and so I spent time praying and listening with Jesus. My relationship with Jesus had become intimate, and as I wrestled over whether to enter into ministry, I had a list of 7 things I needed to hear from Jesus before I would say “yes”. The last issue was this, “Jesus, they kill people in the church!”, and his response was, “I know, they killed me!” So out of my love for Jesus, I said “yes” with the understanding that it could cost me.
Those were fruitful years of soul care, listening prayer, love, healing and prayer counselling. And while the number of women that I and my team were ministering to kept growing, so did the divide between what was happening in the women’s ministry and the rest of the church. I carried the burden of having a target on my back, and ultimately was terminated from my position. And in that I was destroyed.
My husband and I decided that we would leave the organized church, we were in desperate need of healing! And during that painful time of being removed, rejected and needing the care that I had offered within the church for so long, I was left out to dry, and not a single person in leadership extended even a phone call.
Everything we had sown for 30 years, our time, our talents, our gifts, our treasures, our energy, and even longstanding friendships, had turned to dust. Our friends were quiet, and all those we had ministered to and journeyed with were off the radar.
We were alone, hurting, and questioning how this was supposed to look? What was most significant in this time was that my healthy body was showing signs of distress. Every month for 2 years I was in the doctor’s office getting antibiotics for an infection and finally needed surgery. Every time I drove by the church, which was in the middle of town and hard to avoid, my body would start shaking. I understood it was showing me that it too felt the trauma of having worked in that toxic environment. My body was holding the judgements and labels that had been put on me, the rejection, the abandonment, and the loneliness. I felt the burden of the church wanting me to be afraid, wrong and small. It took a toll on my sensitive heart.
My resurrection began one day when I sensed that I needed to go away by myself for a few days to our cottage at Cultus Lake. It was March and I longed for some beauty. So, I thought that on my way I would stop at the farmer’s greenhouse in Yarrow and buy some flowers. To my disappointment, when I arrived at the cottage, I realized I had taken a different route and missed the flower stand. But I remembered that I had planted some daffodils in my flower box, so I went out to pick them, only to discover that all the tops of them had been broken off. I turned away in my disappointment to walk to the back of our property, nearer the dyke and forests edge. I stood there just being silent. As I was about to turn and leave, I looked down and at my feet were daffodils. Twenty of them! They were growing out of a pile of ashes that had been dumped there from our fireplace!
I bent over and picked every last one of those 20 daffodils! I brought them inside and put them in a vase and set them on the coffee table. I sat down and considered them, and then asked God, “What gives with the daffodils?” I sensed him say, “A lover doesn’t ask his Beloved to buy her own flowers, nor to pick the ones she planted. A lover provides them for her.”
Shortly after leaving institutional church, I took the Spiritual Direction course with SoulStream. That was a balm for my soul. I felt understood, valued and validated. It became a place of healing my heart, soul, mind and spirit. I was not alone on this journey!
To this day, I rarely attend church. I have had a profound sense that I am a part of the church without walls. This has allowed me the honour to get to know my neighbours and others in deep, loving, listening ways. I realize there may be a bigger church outside the walls than within.
This is my calling as Rumi says:
“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.
Help someone’s soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”
These days I am privileged to sit with the dying, believing this to be holy resurrection work. And attending to other’s souls in their process of nurture and being destroyed.
Both are holy
Both are required for
by Barb Morris