I worry that my church small group is making me feel worse vs. uplifted

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Jul 30, 2019
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#1
Hi all! I am brand-new, so please forgive me if I am in the wrong forum or not exactly following protocol...

I have been enduring what most of my closest friends would call a massive spiritual attack. I have endured more hardship in the past year than I can ever recall having endured. I was so low and in need of a strong Christian woman to act like a mentor to me. So when I saw a notice in my church bulletin about a small women's mentorship group, I jumped at the chance to check it out. When I attended a meeting, I felt very welcome and at ease, so it was easy for me to open up, despite the fact that I knew none of these women. However, by the end, one of the leaders asked me to share even more of my story, so I poured out my heart and shared lots of details that I wouldn't even tell some friends. While I initially felt better, as the days progressed, something felt off. The woman I talked to at the end called me on the phone and suggested that I needed to go on medication for depression. She is not a doctor. I have in fact been to several physicians and have a Christian counselor, and nobody has ever once suggested that I needed medication. Then, she shared my story with another member, who called me a few days later. Long story short, I had a miscarriage back in April and am still grieving over it. I am 40, so my time to conceive is running out. Well, this woman, albeit in her 70s, had dealt with infertility, and rather than giving me any iota of hope or encouragement to keep trying, told me that I just need to give it up (as in, forget about ever having another child) and accept my circumstances. That was a blow to the gut. Since then, both of these women have been hounding me (even waiting inside the door at church to catch me and my family entirely off guard (I have a 9-year-old daughter and she has no idea of what I've been through, and I plan to keep it that way for her protection). It was super awkward and felt very invasive.

My experience with this group of female mentors has not been even remotely uplifting or encouraging. I have other friends outside the group who are also quite spiritual, and they have been cheering me on, telling me that nothing is impossible with God, etc. I was holding onto that little scrap of hope, but now after having talked with these mentors at the church, I feel absolutely wretched and hopeless. I am torn because I felt that perhaps the Lord was leading me to this group, but it has caused me more pain than good, and I don't want to go back. Should I follow the advice of the one lady and just accept things for what they are? I am not ready to give up, yet I feel that, coming from the mouth of a spiritual leader, maybe I should listen?

This has caused me such anxiety that I have felt physically sick. Any advice or insight y'all have is truly appreciated. Thank you!
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
12,565
4,502
113
#2
Strong christian woman? Sorry is that another word for 'mum'. You couldnt talk to your mum about your miscarriage so you went to a bunch of older women you didnt know? Just want to clarify.

Im just wondering if this is the case, cos if you already told your counselor this then what is it you want the mentors to do. If they give you a hug thats fine but I agree to say you need to be on drugs to take away your pain so they dont have to deal with it is wrong. If you need a shoulder to cry on thats what is sometimes all that you need, space to cry and grieve without judgement and then you feel better.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
12,565
4,502
113
#3
When you say keep trying do you mean try and have another child. Im sorry but thing is if you go on medication that can affect any unborn child many of the drugs will do that. Some of the mood stabilisers are actually known for causing birth defects.

Maybe this lady meant just accept the miscarriage happened, not that you would be infertile forever. Having a miscarriage does not mean you cant conceive again, have known many women who have, naturally or should I say supernaturally cos they prayed about it. Miscarriages happen to many women you are not alone and it does not mean they make you infertile. As for time running out God did his first miracle with Sarah when she had Isaac in her old age, as her firstborn.

But thing is she kinds ignored God at first by having surrogate Hagar bear abrahams child. Ishamel then didnt get a look in and had to be sent away. Am just saying maybe dont ignore the daughter you already have. As a middle child whos younger brothers were favoured just cos they are male, I know what its like! Its like do I even count or matter?
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
15,590
7,702
113
#4
I am torn because I felt that perhaps the Lord was leading me to this group, but it has caused me more pain than good, and I don't want to go back. Should I follow the advice of the one lady and just accept things for what they are? I am not ready to give up, yet I feel that, coming from the mouth of a spiritual leader, maybe I should listen?
Here is what you should do:

1. Ignore all gratuitous advice from these women.
2. Stop associating with this small group.
3. If they persist in hounding you report it to the pastors/elders.
4. If there is no resolution find another church.
5. Commit your desire to the Lord and believe that He can do anything if He so chooses.
6. For the future, do not share everything with anyone unless you have known them personally as a true friend and can trust them to keep confidences.
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
692
755
93
#5
Hi all! I am brand-new, so please forgive me if I am in the wrong forum or not exactly following protocol...

I have been enduring what most of my closest friends would call a massive spiritual attack. I have endured more hardship in the past year than I can ever recall having endured. I was so low and in need of a strong Christian woman to act like a mentor to me. So when I saw a notice in my church bulletin about a small women's mentorship group, I jumped at the chance to check it out. When I attended a meeting, I felt very welcome and at ease, so it was easy for me to open up, despite the fact that I knew none of these women. However, by the end, one of the leaders asked me to share even more of my story, so I poured out my heart and shared lots of details that I wouldn't even tell some friends. While I initially felt better, as the days progressed, something felt off. The woman I talked to at the end called me on the phone and suggested that I needed to go on medication for depression. She is not a doctor. I have in fact been to several physicians and have a Christian counselor, and nobody has ever once suggested that I needed medication. Then, she shared my story with another member, who called me a few days later. Long story short, I had a miscarriage back in April and am still grieving over it. I am 40, so my time to conceive is running out. Well, this woman, albeit in her 70s, had dealt with infertility, and rather than giving me any iota of hope or encouragement to keep trying, told me that I just need to give it up (as in, forget about ever having another child) and accept my circumstances. That was a blow to the gut. Since then, both of these women have been hounding me (even waiting inside the door at church to catch me and my family entirely off guard (I have a 9-year-old daughter and she has no idea of what I've been through, and I plan to keep it that way for her protection). It was super awkward and felt very invasive.

My experience with this group of female mentors has not been even remotely uplifting or encouraging. I have other friends outside the group who are also quite spiritual, and they have been cheering me on, telling me that nothing is impossible with God, etc. I was holding onto that little scrap of hope, but now after having talked with these mentors at the church, I feel absolutely wretched and hopeless. I am torn because I felt that perhaps the Lord was leading me to this group, but it has caused me more pain than good, and I don't want to go back. Should I follow the advice of the one lady and just accept things for what they are? I am not ready to give up, yet I feel that, coming from the mouth of a spiritual leader, maybe I should listen?

This has caused me such anxiety that I have felt physically sick. Any advice or insight y'all have is truly appreciated. Thank you!
Welcome to CC! I hope you find your time here to be a blessing.

I’m so sorry to hear of the struggles you have had to endure this year. I can’t imagine the grief. Only God knows His plans for you. It is not wrong to hope and pray for His will.

If this group is bringing you down and not lifting you up, the best thing to do is separate yourself from them. Even if they had advice that they thought would be helpful, they haven't given it in a loving manner. Stop going to group and maybe not take their calls. They should get the hint. If you need to, talk with your pastor.

It sounds like you have a great support system with encouraging friends, a doctor and christian counselor. Lean on God to help you during this time of hurting. Through Him, you will get through this. Read His word daily and pray to Him and peace will come.

God Bless!
 

Mii

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2019
1,702
1,139
113
#6
I had my grandmother say to me I should stop being sad about being single on my birthday when I was morose on the beach. Did not lift me up at all and just caused a bit of anger/frustration.

But it stuck with me...what it turned into as of today is...trust the Lord with that. Don't "stew" in negativity. Do you believe that the Lord knows what's best for his children and will give them according to their needs in due season?

It stings when someone says it (it does for me) but it does ring true.

Note: I'm not speaking to your situation specifically as I can't ever know what that feels like. Take the good, leave the bad.

Perhaps she was suggesting for you to "leave it on the altar" so to speak and it came across as heartless because you gals don't know each other personally?
 
Jul 30, 2019
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#7
Strong christian woman? Sorry is that another word for 'mum'. You couldnt talk to your mum about your miscarriage so you went to a bunch of older women you didnt know? Just want to clarify.

Im just wondering if this is the case, cos if you already told your counselor this then what is it you want the mentors to do. If they give you a hug thats fine but I agree to say you need to be on drugs to take away your pain so they dont have to deal with it is wrong. If you need a shoulder to cry on thats what is sometimes all that you need, space to cry and grieve without judgement and then you feel better.
Thank you for your response. What I meant by "strong Christian women" is mature women who are mature in their faith. I actually cannot talk to my mother. My mother has problems (including prescription medication abuse) and has been fairly absent and neglectful. She flits in an out of my family's life, and is extremely judgmental, negative, and unreliable. I cannot trust her, and do not want my daughter to see this type of behavior, as she has been repeatedly let down since I have tried many times to make the relationship work. My mother actually did know about my miscarriage, and the first words out of her mouth were to blame me for waiting so long, that I should know better than to try to get pregnant at my age, and that what happened to me was my own fault. That is why I went to other women. I need a mother figure, so to speak -- someone who is maternal and willing to take me as a mentee under her wing and dispense sympathy, empathy, and prayer. My counselor isn't able to do this, as she is still a psychologist, is close to my own age, and can't quite be the older mentor that I am seeking. I hope that gives you a bit more clarity. I would love to have my mother to talk to, but if she isn't willing or able, I have to have those needs met elsewhere. :-(
 
Jul 30, 2019
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#8
Welcome to CC! I hope you find your time here to be a blessing.

I’m so sorry to hear of the struggles you have had to endure this year. I can’t imagine the grief. Only God knows His plans for you. It is not wrong to hope and pray for His will.

If this group is bringing you down and not lifting you up, the best thing to do is separate yourself from them. Even if they had advice that they thought would be helpful, they haven't given it in a loving manner. Stop going to group and maybe not take their calls. They should get the hint. If you need to, talk with your pastor.

It sounds like you have a great support system with encouraging friends, a doctor and christian counselor. Lean on God to help you during this time of hurting. Through Him, you will get through this. Read His word daily and pray to Him and peace will come.

God Bless!
Thank you so much! I think you hit the nail on the head; there are more loving ways to lift up a sister and give her hope. While I am open to giving the situation up to God, I don't need to hear that I need antidepressant drugs or that at 40, it is too late, so I should just stop trying to conceive now since there is no hope at this point. Instead they focused on what was wrong with me vs the possibility that there still is hope and that God is able if He so chooses. I just wanted a bit of help to actually lean on God, because I am still struggling to process why He allowed this to happen and I feel a wide gap in my relationship with Him. I don't feel peace at all and wanted help in knowing how to immerse myself in the word.

My biggest concern with this whole scenario is this: why did God lead me to this group if it turned out to be such a negative experience? Or did He even lead me to this group? I don't know what to think. I was so excited at the possibility of having a much needed mentor figure in my life, and walked away so saddened. I regret having opened up to them, but then again, in the heat of emotion, things just sort of tumble out. I feel like they pity me more than they want to pray for me. Regardless, your feedback makes me feel better when I consider walking away from them. I don't know what sort of learning I should gain from this, but I suppose there is a reason...
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,654
1,887
113
#9
Here is what you should do:

1. Ignore all gratuitous advice from these women.
2. Stop associating with this small group.
3. If they persist in hounding you report it to the pastors/elders.
4. If there is no resolution find another church.
5. Commit your desire to the Lord and believe that He can do anything if He so chooses.
6. For the future, do not share everything with anyone unless you have known them personally as a true friend and can trust them to keep confidences.
I agree with Nehemiah on all of this.

Ignorant humans exist... and...
they are not all OUTSIDE of the church.

..
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
12,565
4,502
113
#10
Well the spirit led Jesus to the wilderness and then he got attacked by Satan...kind of. But then Jesus fended him off and he didnt bother him for a while. At that point I dont think Jesus was looking for a mentor he had to go straight to his Heavenly Father for guidance and the scripture words he had memorised. . So maybe you dont need a mentor.

You just need God. When I look to the faithful, the first place I look is not to church people but in the Bible for heroines of faith. Theres Hannah who prayed for a child, Elizabeth, who conceived in her old age, Sarah, and even Rachel tho she died in childbirth, she did mourn over what never was when she was infertile. Those women are recorded in there for a reason, their stories are raw, human and they are full of longsuffering. Get to know them.

I dont have a mum I can tell everything to...she wouldnt understand a lot of things I go through in life either, and shes not connected to God in the way I am. I just go to God.

Maybe one or two female friends i've made through Bible study but even so I dont tell them every single thing and every bible study we just put it to prayer rather than judge each other. We dont mentor each other.

I had experience mentoring in my studies for my career and it wasnt really helpful at all, because mentoring basically meant discouraging you the younger one from ever trying anything. Why because the older ones think its too hard. This happens on church too the elders just stop the younger ones from ever doing stuff cos they themselves never succeeded. But actually nothing is impossible for God.
 

Locoponydirtman

Well-known member
Oct 9, 2018
2,872
1,728
113
Texas
#11
Here is what you should do:

1. Ignore all gratuitous advice from these women.
2. Stop associating with this small group.
3. If they persist in hounding you report it to the pastors/elders.
4. If there is no resolution find another church.
5. Commit your desire to the Lord and believe that He can do anything if He so chooses.
6. For the future, do not share everything with anyone unless you have known them personally as a true friend and can trust them to keep confidences.
This is absolutely unbiblical advice.
Jesus gives a direct way to deal with these things. First tell them that it is a problem for you, and why. They may be able to explain what they are saying and doing and why.
Then if they continue in an offensive way you take a few others to explain to them why what they are doing is harmful, and then if that don't work you get the church elders involved.
If all that fails then by all means find a new church.

Our feelings are not the measure, they are only an indicator. The measure is truth, the feeling only indicate that something is affecting you and lets us know we need to evaluate.

I don't have the whole story so I can't speak to the events, other than that.
 

Bingo

Well-known member
Feb 9, 2019
4,651
3,323
113
#12
"A 'perceived' spiritual attack may occur when influenced by negative surroundings that
are focused on a physical or materialistic solution, to what is primarily a spiritual problem.
I have learned there are times to be away from people, places or things that are not compatible
with my spiritual relationship with God. Often it is wise to better turn to the effort or trying
to live life with God's 'principles' as a guiding light. Come close unto God, and God will be close
to ones own self. Being ever mindful that discipline and commitment are required, and it is not
meant to be easy. I hope you find what is truly needed in your life. And with God, we find our
strength and courage to sustain ourselves."
'Praise God'
2350_4e13802c_full - Copy (2) - Copy.jpg Friendly.png
 
7

7seasrekeyed

Guest
#13
Hi all! I am brand-new, so please forgive me if I am in the wrong forum or not exactly following protocol...

I have been enduring what most of my closest friends would call a massive spiritual attack. I have endured more hardship in the past year than I can ever recall having endured. I was so low and in need of a strong Christian woman to act like a mentor to me. So when I saw a notice in my church bulletin about a small women's mentorship group, I jumped at the chance to check it out. When I attended a meeting, I felt very welcome and at ease, so it was easy for me to open up, despite the fact that I knew none of these women. However, by the end, one of the leaders asked me to share even more of my story, so I poured out my heart and shared lots of details that I wouldn't even tell some friends. While I initially felt better, as the days progressed, something felt off. The woman I talked to at the end called me on the phone and suggested that I needed to go on medication for depression. She is not a doctor. I have in fact been to several physicians and have a Christian counselor, and nobody has ever once suggested that I needed medication. Then, she shared my story with another member, who called me a few days later. Long story short, I had a miscarriage back in April and am still grieving over it. I am 40, so my time to conceive is running out. Well, this woman, albeit in her 70s, had dealt with infertility, and rather than giving me any iota of hope or encouragement to keep trying, told me that I just need to give it up (as in, forget about ever having another child) and accept my circumstances. That was a blow to the gut. Since then, both of these women have been hounding me (even waiting inside the door at church to catch me and my family entirely off guard (I have a 9-year-old daughter and she has no idea of what I've been through, and I plan to keep it that way for her protection). It was super awkward and felt very invasive.

My experience with this group of female mentors has not been even remotely uplifting or encouraging. I have other friends outside the group who are also quite spiritual, and they have been cheering me on, telling me that nothing is impossible with God, etc. I was holding onto that little scrap of hope, but now after having talked with these mentors at the church, I feel absolutely wretched and hopeless. I am torn because I felt that perhaps the Lord was leading me to this group, but it has caused me more pain than good, and I don't want to go back. Should I follow the advice of the one lady and just accept things for what they are? I am not ready to give up, yet I feel that, coming from the mouth of a spiritual leader, maybe I should listen?

This has caused me such anxiety that I have felt physically sick. Any advice or insight y'all have is truly appreciated. Thank you!
first, I am so awfully sorry you have had this experience and then been attacked by people who should have upheld you and people you trusted and then have betrayed that trust

in my experience when a person feels like they have been hit in the gut...they have...but spiritually...this woman is someone to avoid at all costs but first, understand that the word mentor can give self righteous individuals the idea they can tell you what to do

the spiritual force behind this is not God and you were already in a weakened state and you were probably not on guard spiritually as you should have been

I know...been there myself...just recently in fact

these women seem more like bullies. you have a mediator..you don't need the meddling mentors..this woman you describe sounds more like a gang leader than a spiritually mature older woman who loves others and really wants to help

stick with your friends who are for you and not against you

those are friends..these other women are no one's friend and they like power and they manipulate others and call it mentoring

consider your feelings...feelings can be a source of warning and in this case, your own body, feeling anxiety and feeling like you have been physically hit, is telling you that the source of the feelings is not of God

please disengage from these old ladies who have nothing better to do and speak to the pastor if they continue their harassment and have your husband go with you. perhaps your husband can tell these women to back off...although this type usually has no respect for men anyway but will pretend they do
 

Homewardbound

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2018
1,046
568
113
#14
I am sorry for the bad experience you've had. Not good...not good at all!

Not all small groups are good, that is for sure.
Take it from a small group leader, when you find a group to attend, go for about a month.
Participate, be friendly, check things out. You may find that group to not quite be what you are looking for.
There is no shame or harm to tell the leader you are moving on. Be sure to be kind! A mature leader will love you as you go.
You will know when you find one that fits.

Happy hunting Fellow Believer
 

kaylagrl

Senior Member
Oct 18, 2014
17,288
4,748
113
#15
Thank you so much! I think you hit the nail on the head; there are more loving ways to lift up a sister and give her hope. While I am open to giving the situation up to God, I don't need to hear that I need antidepressant drugs or that at 40, it is too late, so I should just stop trying to conceive now since there is no hope at this point. Instead they focused on what was wrong with me vs the possibility that there still is hope and that God is able if He so chooses. I just wanted a bit of help to actually lean on God, because I am still struggling to process why He allowed this to happen and I feel a wide gap in my relationship with Him. I don't feel peace at all and wanted help in knowing how to immerse myself in the word.

My biggest concern with this whole scenario is this: why did God lead me to this group if it turned out to be such a negative experience? Or did He even lead me to this group? I don't know what to think. I was so excited at the possibility of having a much needed mentor figure in my life, and walked away so saddened. I regret having opened up to them, but then again, in the heat of emotion, things just sort of tumble out. I feel like they pity me more than they want to pray for me. Regardless, your feedback makes me feel better when I consider walking away from them. I don't know what sort of learning I should gain from this, but I suppose there is a reason...

Just spit balling here, but perhaps it wasn't God leading but the fact that you were hurting and needing support? The thing is everyone wants to give advice and usually if you ask 10 people advice you'll get 12 opinions. I have a dear sweet friend that had three miscarriages. She kept trying and has two grown daughters that are now married. Until you feel within yourself that God is telling you no, I think you should continue. Yes, God can speak to others to speak to you, but it wouldn't cause such pain and upset. I just don't think that's of God. You would feel comforted by their words if it was from God. That's just my feeling.

A quick story. My aunt took cancer at 43 and passed away. We were all devastated. Her husband kept her clothes and still had them a year after she died. His family told him it was time to move on and get rid of her memory (married almost 30 yrs). Some in the church were telling him to get over it already. Some of my own family members were saying the same thing. He came to me very distressed and said everyone was telling him that he wasn't moving on fast enough. He asked me what to do. So I said "Are YOU ready to move on?" He shook his head. I said "When you are ready, you will know it. Don't let anyone pressure you. You do what you feel comfortable doing. If we see you need help, we'll get you help. But you take your time and grieve." My mother had asked that he not give away a red jacket my aunt (her sister) had often worn but asked he give it to her. One day,out of nowhere, we came home and there in the closet was the red jacket hanging. And I knew at that moment he had broken through the heavy grief and he was going to be ok. Today he is remarried and living a happy and complete life.

So I said all that to say this. People like to give advice and diagnose people. We have so much information at our fingertips we all think we're experts. Stick with the people who know you best, but even at that, listen to that still small voice within you. I think once you get past the initial grief you will be able to make clear decisions. But the most comfort you will find is from God and I believe He will lead you to the right path. I think you will know that you know, and then you'll see everything is alright and He's carried you the whole way. Blessings sister.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
15,590
7,702
113
#16
This is absolutely unbiblical advice.
Why it is absolutely unbiblical advice? The passage you are referring to (Mt 18:15-17) does not relate to this issue at all. Gratuitous advice was given. That is not a "trespass" (sin), but unwarranted meddling.
 

Locoponydirtman

Well-known member
Oct 9, 2018
2,872
1,728
113
Texas
#17
Why it is absolutely unbiblical advice? The passage you are referring to (Mt 18:15-17) does not relate to this issue at all. Gratuitous advice was given. That is not a "trespass" (sin), but unwarranted meddling.
It's not meddling. she went to them with her problem. They are over stepping her boundaries, and being pushy which is an offense to her.
 
Sep 3, 2016
6,335
527
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#18
If Christ and Him Crucified ONLY is not being preached for the ONLY answer and solution, there is death in the pot (2 Kings 4:40).
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
15,590
7,702
113
#19
It's not meddling. she went to them with her problem. They are over stepping her boundaries, and being pushy which is an offense to her.
Regardless. Your suggestion in this case is inappropriate.
 

Locoponydirtman

Well-known member
Oct 9, 2018
2,872
1,728
113
Texas
#20
Regardless. Your suggestion in this case is inappropriate.
Ok then don't do things the way Jesus said.
Don't go to them and tell them why their behavior is offensive, and don't give them a chance to repent. Just go straight to the pastor because we aren't mature enough to speak to people and handle things correctly. We need daddy to address every minor issue in life, because we don't want to do what we are told in the Book we claim to be our Holy word from God himself.