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A sneak peak of another chapter of my new book By Bambi Lynn

I hesitate to write about the next treasure I saw within the pockets of my heart. For so long
I thought this was a precious treasure. It was—until it wasn’t. The church steeple peeked out
of it’s pocket, like it was almost hesitant.
For as long as I can remember, church was a safe haven for me. It’s where I learned about
the love of Jesus, and where I saw people that didn’t just have faith but lived it out on a daily
basis. I experienced friendships that lasted far beyond my time in church, and it wasn’t just
friends I found, but family. After being estranged from my biological family, my church
family made me feel like I belonged. I found peace within the walls of the church building. I
grew in those pews, and I cried out at the altar. I met God in ways I never would’ve anywhere
else. I raised my children in those pews with the church helping me through Sunday school,
vacation Bible school, and youth group. My children honed their talents, singing in front of
church and reciting Bible verses to whoever would listen. I sat through classes, ladies’ Bible
studies, sat under great preaching, and eventually I taught classes, held Bible studies for the
women, and preached from the pulpit many times. I had visions and dreams and gave out of
my need and heart. I served the church because it was home. It was my family. I sought out
women for their wisdom, aspiring to follow Titus 2, with the older women teaching the
younger. I wanted to be just like them and have their hunger for God and truth. I was always
searching for more of God’s love, to experience His peace and to be accepted and protected.
Jesus saved me, and I wanted Him to know with my life and actions that I was forever grateful
for His love for me in sending His Son to save my soul. Jesus was and is everything to me. His
love was more than I could comprehend, knowing I was lost, and He found me, and was blind
but He gave me eyes to see.
Within the walls of my home, behind closed doors and in secret, I was leading a drastically
different life. I didn’t have the love and the family that I had at church, but rather now-exes,
one after the other, that hurt me through infidelity and domestic abuse. I ran to the church and
its leaders only to be told that if I was better at submitting, better at praying, and better at
showing love to my husbands, these things would have never happened. They told me that
ending the abuse was my responsibility, that I needed to be silent, and that I should let my
husband win without saying a word. I was told never to deny sex, because that was spiritual
warfare. I was left alone with no help when my abusive ex finally left. One of the pastors came
to my home, talked to my daughters about the abuse that was happening, and said that
someday I would be safe; someday the secret would come out. After that, he got in his car and
drove away as if it was nothing. I gave training tapes to the pastors on domestic violence, just
to have them set on a shelf out sight, never to be touched. I taught at ladies’ luncheons,
focusing on sexual abuse, and found that it was happening right under our noses, and we swept
it under the rug. There were men that had promised to be there for my sons tell me if I’d just
submitted more, I wouldn’t being raising my children alone, and then tell their wives not to
hang out with me because I’d be a bad influence.
How do you sit in the church pews, knowing a woman is getting abused and still say
nothing? How do you justify that behavior? How do you claim to love like Jesus, but look the
other way it that situation?
When I went through my second divorce, I looked around the church building and found no
one that I would want to have shepherd my sons into manhood. I walked away from the
church in tears, reeling from a pain so intense that I have yet to return. With a new perspective

on the outside, I began to see the dysfunction, to see how protected the sins were of others in
the church, how some got help, and how others were dying inside, putting on a happy face
because there was no safety in telling the truth. I saw people protect the abusers and defend
them because they needed them for their bowling leagues, or needed their talent on a worship
team, or the money they brought into the church. I saw victims not being protected, and I
heard stories of abuse in nurseries, pastors’ offices, and closets in the church. I’ve heard
broken women disclose abuse endured at their husbands’ hands, children that bear the marks
of the failures of their parents, parents who focused everything on their leadership for the
church family, while their own families were left broken with nowhere to go.
My faith in Jesus never has faltered. I am so thankful for his love in spite of the pain I
endured in those circles. I am so grateful for the people he led into my life, the ones who
anchored me, keeping me from drowning. I’m blessed by the friends who understood why I
left and gave me space to continue to heal and to feel safe. I live in awe of God’s love for me,
mind blown at His unconditional love and understanding in spite of my humanity. My quiet
times with Him have never failed to lead me to His throne room of mercy and grace. He’s
carried me through some of the most difficult times I’ve had at church. He gave me a voice
when the world around me was silent. Most of all, He understood when I couldn't do it
My time at the altar—my time at His feet—still overwhelms my heart with gratitude for the
lessons I learned. I’m so grateful that I had a safe haven in the church for a while; a place I felt
I belonged.
Even in the here and now, God continues to lead me to a church without walls; one that
exists within the homes I go to, the stores I visit, and the people I meet every day. I am still
changing lives for Jesus. Not within a church building, but where people need it the most. On
the streets and in the homes, where not even the traditional ‘churchgoers’ would venture;
where Jesus is most needed but rarely found.
The steeple I saw in my heart’s pocket so many years ago holds countless memories, but
that treasure, the steeple, has been replaced with the cross and in that cross, I have found an
even greater treasure. At the foot of the cross, where my tears have washed the feet of Jesus;
He has picked me up and made me whole. The change in my treasure, turned from a steeple to
the cross, will forever make me smile.

Order my new book⬇️⬇️

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Beautiful. Don’t let a few bad experiences hold you from corporate worship. It’s a command from the Lord. There are good Bible teaching churches with Godly men and women out there to be found. Especially in your area.
Love you❤️


Bambi, I appreciate this story and your courage to share it. I hope that God will blot out all painful memories…. for all of us. Most of the time, I refuse to go there, but once in a while satan slams an awful picture into my mind. The scriptures teach us to think on whatsoever things are good, pure, of a good report, lovely etc. I replace the bad picture with thoughts of the goodness of Jesus and all He’s done for me. His grace, love and mercy never fails to beat the enemy! As you well know!

Jackie Strickland

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