Confronting my Church Wounds 8. A Year of Silence


Let me start by saying a year of silence is NOT how I would have chosen to come undone. I never would have chosen for myself such a painful, quiet path for deconstruction. Alone can be brutal. In hindsight I can see how a year of silence was necessary. For too long I had allowed too many other voices to have too much say in the heart spaces of my life. They had shaped me, defined me, blinded, and confined me. Silence was an essential step in unraveling the truth from all the half-truths, lies, false teachings, striving, and hiding.

At the time the silence was haunting. It was a continual reminder of how much had been lost. Over time I realized how much I had not lost. You cannot lose something you never had. I didn’t have what I had thought. I had been holding to things too tightly. As if I needed them to survive. So I can see how it was important to have a complete removal of all the old ways in order to develop and enforce healthier, wholehearted ways of seeing the world.


A Year of Silence

I don’t know how to tell you about the year of silence. It happened so suddenly and was certainly not my intention. It was gradual and unforced. One moment I was in the buzz and a part of a group; the next moment I was out and quiet. A baby grew in my womb. I shed an abundance of tears. There was hard work to be done in processing what I had done and what had happened in return. The questions I had laid out had been hard to ask. The questions which never came were hard to NOT answer.

It was very silent for a very long time.

Keeping to the path I learned how to see again. Seeing as a spiritual act was a healing experience. It was seeing without the religious garbage, seeking clarity. I was wide open and raw. Once the numbness wore off, and I faced my place in the pit, after I took to crawling myself back out again and standing on solid ground – my footing felt off. It was shaky and unfamiliar.

Redeeming Sundays

On Sunday mornings I got up early before the dawn, took my camera, and headed out onto pitch black path to wait for the sun. And she came. Every single Sunday the morning arrived with flashes of color and brilliant flare. There was no noise, or trumpets or trendy music to awe the crowd. There wasn’t even a crowd to watch her.

The Sabbath was being redeemed by silence and solitude.

On some of those early mornings I went through the drive-thru window – buying half-burnt coffee to fuel my waiting.

Sunday morning jkmcguire

Then I caught her glistening through the dew drops on grass blades. My shoes soaked through capturing the light on fall leaves, sleeping bees, and spring flowers.

Everywhere around me and inside of me silence, solitude, and nature were healing the broken places.

The deep wounds of patriarchy and entitlement which told me I had no place here and that I was not good enough unless I showed up wearing my good Christian girl mask became the places I needed to press back into to release. Because the mantras the Americanized Evangelical Church spoke over and into my life – my whole life long – were so ingrained in my thinking I had to be baptized by something pure to sort it all out. This baptism was nature’s doing. It was a baptism of sunrises and dewdrops and fog hovering over the waters. You could tell she had met others like this before me. I was not the first in need of an undoing and I certainly would not be the last. Mother Nature met me on the path. She was up to the task.


Releasing. Loving. New Altars.

The toxic voices were losing their grip one photo, one path, one sacred in the ordinary moment at a time.

  • A Christian celebrity’s teaching did nor bring life into the broken – it was nothingness.
  • There was no special verse or holy book to meet me in silence – it was dew drops and butterflies and goose feathers.
  • It wasn’t the bosom of a church body which brought healing – it was Mother Nature’s womb.

Dew drenched knees bent on the grass on a Sunday morning replaced the prayer rooms and worship platforms of my former days. This was a whole new level of worship that can never be found in the confines of a building or a pew.

This was corporate worship; nature and I bearing witness to the Divine rhythms of seasons, and moon cycles, and the sun’s path across the sky.

There was no one there to dictate whether the rhythm was off, the song was offensive, the message was wrong, the colors overwhelming, or the performance not “welcoming enough.”

It was silence, nature, and me…


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This is Part 8 in a month long series. You can find the rest of the series below:

  1. Introduction
  2. Coming Undone
  3. Pit of Despair
  4. Healing Takes Time
  5. The Act of Seeing
  6. Mean Church Girls
  7. You are Not Good Enough


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