Cris was baptized as an infant and attended church all her life. If there is a job in the church, Cris has done it: Junior choir and acolyte, Youth groups (where she was saved at 13), church camps, usher, student evangelist, Bible study participant, nursery worker, Sunday School teacher, church secretary, Women’s ministry leader, event planner, Bible study teacher, VBS organizer, worship team, puppet ministry, pastor’s wife, speaker, lay counselor, counseling trainer and mentor, disaster relief worker and Bible study writer.
When she gathered the courage to ask her church for help with an abusive marriage of 20 years, they slandered her reputation and put her on “probation.” When she separated from her husband, she was fired from all her “church” jobs in disgrace. It felt like her legs had been cut off when she was forbidden from doing the things that gave her joy.
Cris explains, “There was no court of appeals with the church. They continued ruining my reputation and falsely accusing me of horrible deeds. One pastor told me, ‘Up until 20 minutes ago when you accused your husband of abuse, I thought you were one of the pillars of this church.’ My worst crime seemed to be that I was no longer trying to perform up to their standards. They couldn’t tolerate that, so I was punished and pushed out.”
She stopped going to church for a long time. Then God in His mercy drew her to a church where she heard the message of GRACE for the first time. It took 2 years of repetition to understand what grace really meant. Since then, she has practiced living daily in the hand of a loving, gentle God. He is gradually restoring all the ministries that were taken from her, improved. She is discovering that His mercies truly are new every morning.
If you have experienced deep hurts in the church, you are not alone. Many women have been shamed, rejected, removed from ministry and betrayed by “godly people.” But the church is still God’s Plan A- it is His only Bride. How can we live with that?
Cris shares how God can change your situation—maybe not fix the church but rise above the problem and walk worthy of your calling. (Col. 1:10) Speak truth, because it’s the only way the situation can change. Realize God is a God of grace and love. Find someone to walk with who doesn’t think you’re crazy, and who will pray for you. Remember who you are in God’s eyes. And keep forgiving.
Coming from varied backgrounds, struggles and triumphs, our speakers want to encourage you that there is hope and victory in Jesus!