Hi Jon! Thank you for expressing your deepest needs. I share the heart of your experiences even if the details are different. When I read your words, a pain body within me was touched. I felt shame as I remembered how many people heard the words I spoke when I spoke the words of judgment. Because of forgiveness, I now know who I am and why I am here.
I have seen churches destroy themselves from the inside when division over dogma and doctrine superseded love. I could no longer bear the pain that I participated in thinking and feeling wholehearted that I was serving Jesus, God, and the church. I wanted nothing more than to belong…and I would do anything to be blessed by my creator.
This response is sent to you with love and hope. I encourage you to listen to your heart, to continue the journey you are on and to live fully knowing you are connected to a source of all being. As an old friend and mentor once said to me… “God will find you wherever you are.” — Gary Leedes
As to life after the church — I left the church (after several changes in church doctrine) in 2009. I never served as a pastor, though I wanted to and offered myself to go through whatever training was necessary. I did, however, serve in any other capacity I could with great fervor. Volunteers get burned out too! It took me a very long time to overcome the rejection and to know this was the best thing that ever happened to me. The Holy Spirit, as it were, never left me.
You have been gifted for a purpose. I suspect the experiences you are having are to help you define, develop and present your gift(s) for the evolution of mankind. You are unique and yet, we are all here together.
I acknowledge and honor you in this time and space and I pray that you will see the magnificence of the gift you are!