I am stepping into a new season and wanted to let you all in on it. I am so nervous to share this as I know there will be backlash (as seems par for the course for my life the past few years) and people will begin assuming and talking. But, as Christine Woolgar continues to tell me – I have to stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks of my life. So, here goes!
After a lot of thought, prayer, and trustworthy council, I have decided to take a break from all forms of church leadership. I have been in some form of church leadership or ministry since I was 16 years old. My reasons are 3 part – Rest, Faith Reconstruction, and Healing.
I have been leading worship basically every single Sunday since I was 19. I have served churches as a worship leader, youth pastor, a young adults leader, as well as/or on a board and/or leadership team of some kind since I was 16 years old. I just need a break, time to receive, be filled, and rest. I need a season where I am not leading or being in charge of anything. I am not leaving my church as it is an amazing place and unless Jesus tells me to go somewhere else, Face to Face is where you’ll find me. Though, in the coming season, you may see a little less of me as I travel and do other things!
Also, as many of you know, I have been going through a process of “deconstructing” my faith the past few years. 2017 was the hardest year for me in regards to this – many of you who follow me on social media can probably attest to this! I grew up in very conservative, Christian culture – I was literally a walking purity culture pamphlet all through high school and the “holiness” police in my early 20’s. Over the past few years God has taken me on quite a journey – placing people in my life who have helped me break out of the confines of religious tradition, educate me on the realities of marginalization and oppression inside of the church, and help me understand the Bible through the proper lenses (all things I was missing because of my sheltered worldview). God has also placed women in my life who have given me the space to embrace being Latina, to explore what it means to be a Woman of Color, and also acknowledge the privilege I carry being a light skinned Puerto Rican. It has been a rollercoaster, for sure.
I have spent the last couple of years unpacking my beliefs and have gotten to the point where I need to be able to un/repack further without dragging anyone I care about through the dumpster fire that is my brain right now – you laugh, but it’s a pretty accurate depiction. I have officially stepped down from leading worship and from the board/leadership team at Face to Face Church so that while I work through my faith, I do not represent a Church or it’s leaders while I figure things out. I am digging into some major topics in 2019: the Bible/Scripture, Christianity and Wealth/Money, Christianity and Colonization, LGBTQ+ theology, reconciling the God of the OT with Jesus and Holy Spirit of the NT, healing my relationship with God as “Father”, understanding Christ’s death and the cross, and salvation/sonship/identity. – as well as some political stuff I have never made a priority to educate myself on.
I have lived my life giving answers to many things (mostly) based on what I have just been taught my whole life from respected pastors and leaders from celebrity seats. But, a few months ago, someone challenged me and said that I need to be able to truly understand why I believe what I believe and be able to truly give an answer from my heart and Scripture so that God can use me more in the areas He has called me to ministry in. I’ve spent the past few years changing my ideas about women and our roles in marriage/church as well as completely flipping my “end times” theology (the future looks good, btw). If I’ve changed my mind on these things, I wonder what else I am not right on?! But, in order to do that and to find truth in Christ, I have to understand Scripture as it was intended – not as a weapon, but a tool. Not as a rule book from a God who thinks I was a worthless, filthy rag without Him but a Father who thinks I am amazing and loves humankind so much. So, I go into this to form my own conclusions (based on Scripture), not just repeating popular theology and opinion without the personal knowledge behind it.
In this time, I will also be focusing on further emotional and heart healing from past abuse and assault and meeting with a couple in my church to walk with me through this.
So, as of the end of December, I am taking a sabbatical from ALL church leadership. I will be happy to lead worship at churches occasionally to keep my gift oiled but will not be in any kind of “worship leader” position for a while. I will still be running Ezer Rising since it is my ministry and the topics we focus on are all ones I feel pretty confident on (women’s equality in the church, marriage, and society).
No, I am not leaving Christianity (but probably leaving behind a lot of baggage from Evangelical Christianity) but I am working out my faith and finding myself in Christ. I am not “backsliding” or going down “a slippery slope” as people call it. I am moving in the direction towards freedom. In this season, I would also ask you to please keep any kinds of “warning” messages to yourself. I am fully capable of hearing Holy Spirit’s voice and have surrounded myself with people who are walking with me in varying levels of closeness and relationship who will bring me back from the edge when needed. I would welcome your book/teachings/blog suggestions on any of the above mentioned topics! I am also looking for some great events, conferences, and schools! I am also looking into Global Awakening’s Summer Intensive and Christa Black Gifford’s Master Heart course!
Also accepting encouraging and prophetic words as I embark on a new adventure spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I appreciate your support and patience in this season. My song for this new season is You Say by Lauren Daigle – every word is where I am right now.