Tuesday, September 23, 2014

*The Real Church by the Glades Sample Road*

Ok, so I haven't been inspired to write in awhile. A lot has changed in my life since the last time the pen hit the paper. I'm happily engaged to be married to my best friend and we are expecting a child in five days. How amazing is that? I stayed away from my writing, my thoughts, my dreams that I shared with the world, etc. It had nothing to do with my followers or my fans. As the sun rays have hit my face or I found myself staring at Facebook for countless hours, writing crossed my mind many times. I temporarily disconnected from everything I believed in because of judgement passed upon me in a church that I loved. It broke my heart that people could be so cruel and quick to criticize a person because of their life choices. I never passed along my problems to fellow members and I never shared my situation with students. These individuals called themselves people of God and I tend to fully disagree. When I initiated the position as a teacher assistant to pre-k at Church by the Glades, I explained to the director that I was pregnant. I told him that if there were any issues, I wanted him to know immediately. He told me that it was great that I was pregnant and he was happy for me. He failed to ask the "vital" questions, which I was later hounded with. "Are you married?, when do you plan on getting married?," etc. After approximately three months of volunteering my time every Sunday to a position I adored, I was approached by one of the teachers whom I originally admired. She told me she had heard I was pregnant and if that was the case she wanted to know if I was married. I told her that my boyfriend was planning on proposing very soon. Her response was, "Well, how soon?" I could sense that she was passing a judgement on me by the way she was looking at me. I began to feel butterflies in my stomach and became extremely uncomfortable with her insinuations. I asked if there was a problem. She began to explain that it was a problem because I was not married and that I could no longer volunteer. I felt a whole in the pit of my heart and stomach. I could feel my lips quiver and tears formulated in the ducts of my eyes making my vision blurry. I asked her how dare she pass judgement on me as a woman of God? I explained that the director already knew my situation. She explained that she was not passing any judgement, but she was. She told me that I was not following the role as a leader at the church and that people would be uncomfortable if I taught their children. I was completely mortified. I immediately took off my volunteer lanyard with my name on it and handed it to her. She began to get upset. She asked why I was crying and leaving. I responded that she made me completely uncomfortable and that I've never felt so terrible because of her approach. I know my decisions aren't perfect, but church by the glades' logo is, "No Perfect People Allowed." I know that this doesn't make sense to many people, but because of this one individual, my feelings were destroyed and I chose to stay away from a church that I loved with all of my heart. I felt unwanted and betrayed. I know that I've gotten pregnant out of wedlock and that is a sin in the bible, but if that is so, so is being a single mother and many of the volunteers at the location are in fact single moms. This woman that approached me wanted to rush marriage in my life and attempted to preach to me. She told me I was an "unqualified" leader and that leaders are expected to follow the word of god. If that is the case, then why is their motto, "No perfect people allowed?" Why have they chosen to accept all people? I've written a blog about this before, but I had to share it with the world again. I know I will receive a lot of feedback on this, but I don't care. Everyone deserves to know how this church made me feel. After leaving the church, I sent a long message to the director explaining how hurt I was and how judged I felt. He said that the woman had no right to judge me and that he didn't feel that my situation was so serious. He was new at the position and didn't think that my volunteering was a big deal. After discussing my situation with the head pastor, he told me that they wanted to explain to me in person why I could no longer be a teacher. I felt that it was completely inappropriate and I didn't want to be judged or ridiculed again. He explained that I could come back to volunteer, but not as a teacher. I didn't want to do anything else. I was getting my CDA and I needed to be in a preschool setting. His response was to "pray" for "my sins." I cried that entire weekend and found myself in a deep depression blaming myself for the situation. I was devastated and prayed about it on many occasions. I decided to send the woman an email that attacked me and told her exactly how she made me feel. She responded by saying that she never attacked me or judged me, but she did. I asked her how she could act the way she did when she had children of her own. How would she feel if that happened to one of her children? She ignored my questions and said that she continues to pray for me, but I don't need her prayers. My fiancé proposed to me that day. He had already had a ring and it wasn't the ideal proposal that he had wanted to give me, but he was upset because of my feelings. He blamed himself. You see we have been together for 8 years. It wasn't a one night stand. He wanted to take his time and he told me he should have proposed a long time ago. I don't think so. I think when he was ready was the best time. When I told my mother what had happened to me at Church by the Glades, she was mortified. She immediately told me that we were not going to give up a fight. We went to the main location and told them what had happened. They told me someone would contact me. The pastor from the location where it happened did. We got disconnected and he never made an attempt to call me back. So, the issue is unresolved and my feelings are still of betrayal. I cannot walk into the church that I love without feeling judged or frowned upon. I'm sharing this because I don't want this to happen to anyone else. I don't want anyone to feel as insecure and belittled as I did. I don't want anyone to give up on their dream like I did because someone judged them. Maybe by exposing this church, they will fix their attitude. Maybe they will reconsider what they did to me. All I would like and appreciate is an apology, which I never received. Guess what Church by the Glades Sample Road? I'm getting married in May of 2015 and I didn't choose a pastor from any of the locations like my original plan because of how you made me feel. Guess what? I am a stronger and better individual because I am imperfect. In my opinion, you should practice what you preach and follow your motto. I may have sinned, but you committed a greater sin when you passed judgement on my choices and forced me to stop doing a job that I loved. My heart will never be the same because of you. You said you prayed for me? Guess what? I pray for you!!!

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