A Wife Shares Her United Pentecostal Church Experience
I was seeking God all my life, raised Catholic and looking for God everywhere I could. I was only 13 when I met my half-aunt, my mother's half-sister, who was UPCI. She had four daughters, all long-haired and "holy". I was intrigued and thought it was strange. But when we visited their church and I felt God's Spirit and I was hooked on it. Eventually I had the Acts 2:38 experience and felt complete for the first time in my life.
I was led by God to a local church. However they were very cold and uncaring. I told the Lord I could not return unless someone extended love to me. I was 16. Well, someone very kind and loving met me at the door that day and I felt it was God's will for me to stay there. Over the first few years I just loved God more and more, having part in people's conversions, even my future husband's. However, I never felt the pastor cared for me and all the living for God I did was on my own with the help of a few good friends. I did the standards almost immediately after conversion, but the only one I strongly felt was from God was the wearing of pants, for reasons of a woman's shapeliness being revealed. I'm not sure where I stand on this issue anymore...
Anyway, I figured that if they were right about salvation, they were right about this other stuff too. Eventually we suffered two church splits and we were turned against any who dared leave our church (they were rebellious supposedly). Things got more and more controlling from the pulpit as time went on. My husband and I were talked out of leaving three times, one time out of manipulation and threats from our pastor. We were told that the condition of our church leadership was our fault for not praying enough and having faith.
We submitted past public humilation, lies, and any number of things. We asked God to help us and open a door for us to get out when He began showing us how wrong things were. He recently did and opened doors for us in ministry and we are doing well with Christians from another denomination, though it hurts how we've been treated since leaving, as though we were evil. The Christians we met have also been through the same...
Anyway, to make a long story short, we are free in Jesus and refuse to go back to spiritual bondage. We realize that God is no respector of persons or their manner of dress and the people we've been with of late are kind and loving people, not to mention called of God and anointed. I am still struggling to be set free from the mental bondages I've experienced, and many who have been driven from our church are still picking up the pieces after several years. We forgive all those who have harmed us and pray for them daily. We chalk it all up as a great experience of what Jesus suffered at the hands of the Pharisees.
To God be all the glory!
PS- thanks for your writings!
Posted October 29, 2004
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August 23, 1997
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