About the Author

Anna works full-time for DaySpring from Minnesota, where she lives with her husband and four kids. Anna is the author of A Moment of Christmas and Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul, and she shares the good stuff of the regular, encouraging you to see the ordinary glory in your everyday.

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. After my divorce and remarriage, the church I grew up in turned its back on me. I felt so alone and adrift. But friends from another denomination invited us to attend with them. We did, and almost immediately felt like we belonged and were completely accepted. God places the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). The love of our new church family helped to heal the pain and hurt our other church caused.

  2. I too have experienced this in my life. May the Lord continue taking you deeper, using your pain to bring comfort to others who need it and fixing your eyes on Jesus. He never fails us.

  3. Oh Anna, my heart aches for you. I, too, have been through the trauma of being ‘hurt’ by my church. It’s a long story that I have come to terms with – it was a man made/caused situation – nothing that had to do with God. I left a parish that I was born and raised in for 66 years, the only church family I had ever known. I still find myself (like now) reliving that hurt. BUT I have never let their (clergy) betrayal separate me from God. If anything, it caused me to go deeper into my faith. It took me a while, but I have joined another parish, but I am still not comfortable in it. The institutional church needs a revamp. I am still disallusioned by the things that the ‘good ol boys’ or ‘brothers in black’ let slide. Thank You for sharing your story. I KNOW there are a lot of ‘us’ out there who have been hurt, and who need to know we are ‘not collateral damage’. God sees our pain and brings us healing.

    • PHYL. Thank you for sharing your hard-won words here; you spoke SO many thoughts I’ve held and hoped for as well. There’s a tender place in God’s heart for us hurt and harmed, I think, and I’m both sorry and grateful that you understand the pain so well too.

  4. Hi Anna,
    Thank you for sharing this most trying time for yourself and your family. When christian writers bare their inner most experiences that have hurt their hearts and souls, we readers can relate in different ways and pray for your healing, as well as, our own.
    I’ve been attending a “new to me” church almost one year ago now. (Easter Sunday) Many people have been friendly, but recently, 2 ladies have snubbed me when I say good morning. I have no idea what happened! That being said, I have decided to try to be part of 3 groups within the church. I realize this will take time to fit in and be excepted as one of the group, so I’m praying that God will be with me during these gatherings. Being a single, middleaged woman, who is also shy at times, has made fitting in more difficult.

    Praying for continued healing for you and your family.
    Shalom, Sandy

    • Thanks for sharing, Sandy. It’s a scary thing to bare ones soul, and to enter into new arenas. I’m so proud of you for trying, and I’m so sorry you weren’t welcomed. But look at you being all brave and going back! Well done, you. I’ll be praying for a warm welcome.

  5. Anna,
    My heart hurts with yours. As the saying goes, “If the church was only for perfect people, the pews would be empty.” But, that’s of little comfort when you or a family member feels like collateral damage. The church, in which I’d raised my son, was the same church (sinful and fallen people) that sent him bolting out the church’s front doors, vowing never to set foot in a church again. The anger, grief, betrayal I felt over that can easily well up. My son — true to his word — went on his prodigal journey for almost ten years. But God…I’m so thankful He keeps wooing us back, never forsakes us, and is faithful to bring beauty from the ashes. Perhaps that’s why my heart leaps when I see him using his God-given musical gift once again (back in church) as he helps to lead worship. I have brush burns on my knees from years of prayer. May God heal your still-open wounds and embrace you with His never-ending love.

    • Bev HI! I’ve been so glad to see you here. Thank you for sharing the story of your son. I’m glad for the work God did in his heart, and for the space you gave him to see it. Grateful for that hope.

  6. The same happened to our family, but God is so very good.

    We have found a Church now, that has open arms & a great community service. Of which I have missed.

    I to have the same feelings, but I know that God places us where he can use our family for his greatness.

    • I’m so sorry, Donna, and so glad you’ve been welcomed into a new place. We have been too, and it’s brought a depth of healing I didn’t know I needed. Thanks for being here today.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    I am experiencing grief, loss over a job I have held during the pandemic right now.

    Collateral damage is what this feels like as well. Maybe heightened by the pandemic but yeah, it feels like collateral damage. I had expectations this job would be different and I would be able to learn how to stay employed for a few more years to pay down my debt.

    However, the Lord blew up what I thought this was to be and for the better. It just doesn’t feel better right now. It will but as you said it does take some time.

    I am still at this job as I am applying for a new one and this is new for me as well. The tension of knowing when something is definitely over and waiting for the new thing to begin is been my challenge. The verse you quoted in Isaiah is one I needed to be reminded of today.

    • Oh Pam, I hear your hurt and your heart, and I’m so sorry. Hoping and praying there’s a providential and graceful path for you. You’re so right, it’s that tension in the middle that can often be so difficult to navigate. Hang in there. He’ll make a stream.

  8. The same happened to our family, but God is so very good.

    We have found a Church now, that has open arms & a great community service. Of which I have missed.

    I know that God places us where he can use each of us for his greatness.

  9. My hurt came from a woman who was a pastor’s wife. In my work place, she bullied me and tried to undermine me at every turn. I don’t know how other people feel when they are treated poorly by someone who professes to be a Christian, but her betrayal hurt worse than if she had not been a Christian. It just didn’t make any sense to me for her to be acting the way she was acting. It seems to me that sometimes people who don’t know Christ act better than Christians do! One good thing did come out of it though-God brought me closer to Him during that time and He helped me get through it.

  10. This has touched me so deeply. In 2005 my life long church and I parted ways. I’m still hurt, still looking for my place to worship. Your post has given me new hope.

  11. I understand this too well as we were not allowed to say goodbye to our missionaries during Missions Conference when we were told to leave several days after my birthday. We were told to quietly leave and say nothing. I was a junior in high school. The irony is that I now work with missionaries every day, some of which do not yet know that story some 20+ years ago. It is hard. I have been quietly following the journey knowing how hard it is. Thank you for writing this and sharing part of your journey. People went behind my parents’ back and invited me back but I knew too much! I am now attending my own church that is not a church that my father pastors. It took such a long time to get to this point. Praying for continued healing for you and your family. Please continue sharing as you feel led to do so. It’s healing to us, too.

    • Heidi, I’m so sorry that you understand this so well, and I appreciate your comment more than you could know, especially that last line. That was my prayer and I’m kind of overcome that God would be so good in using our stories like that, for healing. He does. Grateful for you today, Heidi.

  12. I really needed to read this message today. Thank you. I don’t have church hurt, but I have been healing from a lot of other hurt in the past year. I thought I was just about on the other side of it only to realize I’m not! I’ve often asked similar questions: am I the only one still thinking about this? Is my hurt the byproduct of an unfortunate season in someone else’s life? Does the hurt it caused me even matter, or am I just collateral damage? Whatever the answer, I have to heal and move forward. It’s just been a very, very hard week.

    • Ugh that’s exactly it, Angela. And for us overthinkers, it’s so painful to go back and back. Praying peace for you, and healing in your hurt.

  13. Sweet Anna, I understand the feeling of not wanting to go back to church. And I’m so thankful you did.

    Just as deep wounds on the body take time and heal in layers, so too, does Healing and forgiveness in your soul. I didn’t know that about layers at first. I thought it was a one-and-done kind of thing.

    You are on the path Christ has for your family. You are loved. You are provided for. You are held in protection by His angels. He is with you. And you know that. ❤️

  14. I left my childhood church as a third-generation member after 45 years. As long as I could do what they needed without asking for anything in return, it was fine. When I lost my job after 25 years, had chronically and terminally ill parents, and a terminally ill uncle that I was caregiving for, the church offered no help, assistance, or encouragement. I found another church and became a pew warmer for 5 years just to heal. I’ve been there 22 years and am more active and appreciated as their Lay Leader. It took 20 years to feel comfortable enough to walk back into my childhood church and not feel the human-inflicted pain. It has been a struggle, but God is good all the time.

    • A pew warmer! I love that phrasing, Karen, I really do. And there’s nothing wrong with being one, either. I can’t imagine walking back into my former church building, and the courage that it took you to do so is commendable. Thanks for being here and sharing your story.

  15. Anna, I’m sorry for the pain you are experiencing. It was wrong of those who were put in a position of authority to treat both you and your husband the way you were treated. They, unfortunately, were not equipped to handle to the situation properly. I worked in a church for combined total of over nine years and in my experience, not everyone who is called into ministry is also called to manage people. Understanding this is really hard. My expectations from the church staff were higher than a secular work environment because they were Christians. I had to realize that those expectations were too high. They are flawed just like the rest of us. I’m not sure that makes it any better but for me, looking at it that way helped me to be able to forgive and move on. I pray that you and your family will continue to heal and that as you have new and better experiences with your new church family that your heart will be strengthened.

    With Love, Christine ♥

  16. I’ve never felt church hurt like that, but I could feel it through your words. Thanks for being a safe place for so many, here on the internet, and obviously, in person.

  17. I was, and am, healing from being Collateral Damage. After three years of feeling I’d failed, your words have put an explanation to what I experienced. Thank you.

  18. Our church recently went through turmoil as we searched for a new senior pastor. A small group was very vocal with their discontent. My husband & I held our confidences & did not withdraw from others regardless of their opinions on the progress. However those friends in the minority group that have left the church have dropped us like hot potatoes. Your article inspires me to keep reaching out so that we are not part of isolating them. I hate the turmoil but if it’s what’s needed to expand His kingdom I won’t stand in the way. Watch, pray & offer compassion even if it’s not well received. Blessings & healings to all that are recovering, about to face the turmoil or struggling with the church hurts! (((0)))

  19. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in sharing this post. I, too, am in a similar situation with even more complication and tonight on my birthday I cannot fathom any more hurt, not one more struggle and feel like there’s no reason to live and reading your devotional, infuses life into my dead soul. I’m clinging to this “Because we are not collateral damage. We are beloved, no matter what. Beloved. Worthy of belonging. And never, ever disposable.”

    I’m still in deep pain but no longer want to end my life. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

    • Rebecca,

      You are worthy, you are loved, and you are known by God. He hears your prayers and knows your pain. I am so happy and thankful to hear that you no longer want to end your life. Please keeping reaching out to those whom you feel safe with. I am praying that your situation will change in Jesus name!

      With Love,
      Christine ♥

    • Oh Rebecca, I echo everything Christine said. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. Thank you for being here and sharing. And though it’s belated, I hope you can have a happy birthday. Sending love.

  20. Thanks for raising his important issue, Anna. I have a few questions about this. For example, what do you do when you come to realise that the fundamental structure of the current day church is flawed, with no independent accountability for its leaders. This opens the door to leaders who use the Bible to control (often subtly). Why are we so ready to refer to God’s Church as formal organisations with structures and systems that do more to put off non-Christian’s than attract them? There seems to be too much of a focus and prestige these days associated with huge ‘churches’, with the measure of success of its leader linked to numbers in the congregation. I feel so sad when I see the way Christians are locked into an organisation rather than focusing on God. Do people not stop to think there must be another way to interact with other Christians which more accurately reflects the Bible, and without creating a man-made structure that opens the door to spiritual abuse?

  21. I’m SO glad you shared this! We to have suffered from our church (one where my mom and I both grew up in) and I appreciate you sharing through the process. Hugs, A

  22. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. My husband and I are United Methodist which is going through a big divide right now. We are praying for God’s guidance on where we should be worshiping. I believe, sometimes in order to grow, God will lead us in a new direction and a new place of worship. Have a blessed day!

  23. Anna,

    So sorry you had to deal with church pain. Like you said the church is really just broken people like you & me. My mom & I attended a church one Sunday & no one not even the preacher said anything to us. It was a no for me. After I married I went to my husband’s church. One of the elders’ wives came & said hello to me. It took a little bit but it soon became family. I love everyone there. Trouble is my pastor retired & the drive out there was long. During Covid I attended my In-laws church. I instantly felt loved & accepted. That church is just around the corner from my house. I just love everyone there.

    Blessings 🙂

  24. Anna, thank you for sharing your (very relatable) pain, makes me feel a little less alone. I’m so sorry you had to go through that and are still going through it. May each one of your tears ease your pain. Big hug!

  25. Thank you so much for sharing your story, especially in real time. I am going through something similar, with my oldest at age 17 wanting to stay while we need to move on. I will reread this to remind myself I am not alone and I am loved and it will be OK. Thank you.