What to do, what to do

I’m a little sad this morning.  So much has changed in my life recently.  Not bad things necessarily.  More like, things taking on a different direction.  With the store opening, trying to find a new church, finding that my views aren’t jiving with the norm anymore.  It’s unsettling to say the least. 

I just learned this past week that the 12 Step group is going to take an 8 week hiatus.  I was told it was because the leaders were burned out and needed a break.  So I offered to give the women the opportunity to continue to meet with me leading until the hiatus was over.  I don’t think it’s a good idea to just set everyone out of a group that they are used to coming to on a weekly basis for 8 weeks.  I tried to voice my opinion but it hit a wall and fell to the ground.  And now, the reason for the hiatus has changed from “we need a break” to “it’s better for the women because they will have to learn to reach out in other ways and they won’t be so dependent on us.”  This is all so backwards to me that I can hardly stand it.

I have thought about it, prayed about it, and I keep coming up with the same answer.  It’s time for me to branch out on my own.  I’ve always been afraid to step out there and take on the ministry that I know I’m supposed to be in.  Instead I have waited in the wings.  And it’s been made very clear to me that I am not to be in ministry with this particular church.  I can literally look back and see the footprints of failed attempts on my part.  The first group I was in that was in need of an apprentice for instance.  I inquired about apprenticing and was promptly talked out of it by the leader.  She went on and on about how as a leader I would be held to a higher standard and judged more harshly by God and that I should seriously reconsider.  Next thing I know she’s asked her sister-in-law to apprentice. 

Another group asked me to apprentice and then within months, the leaders decided to quit leading and the very idea of having me take over that group was never even mentioned. 

With this 12 Step group, I was asked to apprentice, I accepted, and then the powers that be over all small groups in the church decided I had to wait.  It hurt my feelings but I waited and accepted the fact that the church was being careful.  By this time I had been through some heavy stuff involving some others in the church and I spoke out against what was going on.  My reputation preceeded me it seems. 

I’ve poured my heart and soul into this group.  I’ve written weekly and bi-weekly devotions for this group.  I’ve kept up with the contact list, welcomed every new member with cards, been faithful to be there on time, every single week.  And when it comes down to the leadership needing a break, not one mention of me leading for this particular 8 weeks has been mentioned.  I was not even included in the decision!  I was just told about it and when I offered to take over, it was generally dismissed. 

I feel very hurt, betrayed even.  But I know that there is nothing I can do or say to change things.  Whenever I’ve tried to voice a concern it’s been dismissed.  But if someone else voiced a concern about me it was quickly brought to my attention that somehow I had failed and that I should take it as a lesson in not being so overly sensitive!  Yes, I’m angry.  I need to deal with that anger.  But I know that it’s not going to be dealt with by confronting or even trying to speak to these people in love.  Trying to do that in this situation would only leave me feeling more beaten up. 

So, God willing, I’m going to branch out on my own.  I don’t know where the ladies will come from but I believe it’s time and God will provide.  I strongly believe that this is what I am supposed to be doing. 

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2 responses to “What to do, what to do

  1. John French

    All my 19 years experience as a member of a 12 step society cringed at this story. The 12 step philosophy is based on rotating leadership, and leaders as servants. In my experience, leaders (chairpersons, secretaries, treasurers, etc) are replaced every 6 months by vote. No changes are made without the consent of the group conscience.

    Or are you talking about some sort of different 12 step program than the kind originally developed by AA?

    Can you copy any replies to my email address?
    john.french@jffrench.com

  2. Hi John,
    The 12 Steps I’m referring to is based on the book, ‘The 12 Steps, A Spiritual Journey, A Working Guide for Healing.’
    It is a bible based 12 Step for codependents based on the original 12 Steps. This particular group is one of the small groups at my church so it follows the basic guidlines of the church small groups in that leaders go through a basic training and apprentice leaders are brought up from within the group.
    The problem is that the church does not seem to recognize that our group is far different than the usual bible study group and we are not affored the luxeries that this kind of group would need. That is why I’d like to start a new group in a new place.
    The general thought for this group is that we work the workbook, move towards healing, then leave the group with the understanding that the door remains open should they feel the need to return and that the 12 Steps are a life long process, not a one shot deal.

    The announcement was given via e-mail yesterday to those who missed this passed group that should they need any of the leaders during this time, please call. Otherwise, they were encouraged to get involved with a different codependency group. No one seems to have responded to that e-mail so we don’t know how everyone feels.
    I was told that these ladies need to know that we can’t fix them..(they know that already,) and they need this time as motivation to work their steps.
    I feel like I’m doing nothing but complaining right now.
    I hope I’ve answered your question.

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