I recently got a word about letting go of different things from my past. Those of you who know me know when people start talking like that, I start rolling my eyes, as a general rule. As is cliche in church, I find that to be a vague and nonspecific word that is not particularly helpful. WHAT of your past do you need to let go of? What exactly is it that is the problem? Telling someone that is like saying “You need to go to Europe.” WHERE in Europe? And WHY do I need to go to Europe? And WHAT am I going to do while in Europe? You’re going to get lost really quickly by following that advice. This word I received, however, was spoken by someone I know and dearly trust, and knew that if he was telling me that, there had to be something to it. I have never been one to deny that every one of us, myself included, can have issues that hold us back. When I say “hold us back,” I don’t mean they are causing us some sort of emotional upheval or making us afraid or some of that jargon we often hear about potential. I mean that things in our lives can cause us to hold on long after other people have let it go and moved on. We want to insist we were right about something, we want validation for what happened to us or how we felt about it – and we start seeking that out from other people. We tell our story, maybe too much, to too many people. We wait for that moment when we will feel right, or what happened to us will feel different.
Eventually I would like to think that we reach a point where we realize no matter how much we recount our stories or tell other people what happened to us – and no matter how much validation we receive from them – it won’t make what happened to us feel different than it does. Whatever came against us, hurt us, came after us, or caused us whatever it caused us is what it was. We felt the way we felt about it – whether that was offended, hurt, sad, angry, grievesome, or pain. Some things that happen in life are just awful and they are just what they are – and nothing anyone says to us about what happened can make it feel, seem, or be different than it was. Accepting this is the first step to letting go of some of these issues, but it is certainly not the end. We can still be searching for something in that void to change it or somehow restore who we feel like we were before it happened. We need to reach a point where we don’t feel like less of who we are because of what someone else did.
In 2010, I was “released” from the ministry I had been under for three years prior. I knew it was coming, I knew time was up – six months earlier, in fact – but I didn’t leave when I should have. I didn’t leave because I loved my leader and was comfortable where I was. Yeah, I am going to use that word – comfortable. I was able to absorb into her work and not focus on my own, as the work God called me to often has left me frustrated over time. It would have been enough for me to walk away released on good terms, but rather than do that, my former leader concocted a series of lies and accusations against me. If that wasn’t bad enough, she went public with much of it. To say I was hurt was an understatement. I had invested many years into her work and ministry and trusted her in many areas of my life. She wasn’t just my leader, in some ways, she was also considered a friend. She was also, in the truest sense of the term, a “spiritual mom” to me, one who helped me develop my apostolic call, understand it, and set me where I needed to go so I can be where I am and am going today.
I knew it was time, I just didn’t know the way it was going to happen was going to be so offensive. But I suppose in a certain way, it had to happen the way that it did. I have always believed that God didn’t separate me from her, he separated her from me. Where I needed to go, she was not equipped to come. It wasn’t anything against either of us except that our season was simply over. Had she not done what she did, I probably would have never left and launched out. Even in that difficult situation of release, I can see how God worked it out for my good, especially looking at where I am now. Even though I haven’t had contact with her in some time, I know from the grapevine that ministry did not turn out for her the way she’d hoped, nor planned. Of the two of us, my ministry has been more effective in reaching others. It might have been hard, and unfair…but it was the way it had to be.
I would have never suspected any issue I had with her all those years ago to remain an issue that I was carrying. I believe in acceptance – I can’t change what happened. It was what it was. I don’t talk about the situation much anymore, I have reached a point where I don’t hold any animosity. I, as a leader, cannot condone what she did, but I am not embittered by it anymore. But embittered or not, there are still times when thinking about it, remembering it, and seeing the way I am sometimes treated now, it still hurts because it was still a wrong.
By accident today, while looking for something else, I stumbled upon a public statement she made about me in 2010 when she “released” me. Behind the scenes, I was trying to defend my integrity and the accusations she was making against me. I was worried that the other statements – the ones I knew about – were going to affect how mutual people felt about me and my ministry as I was now very much on my own. Interestingly enough, however, this was a statement I hadn’t seen:
“During the last 3 years, Ap. Dr. Lee (Ann) Marino was placed as Apostle in Office at (ministry name removed) and trust with the administration of (ministry name removed) and other (name removed) networks. We have been very grateful of the experience that the Lord allow us to walk while Ap. Dr. LAM was with us. During that time she was mentored and covered by us, however she is not under our covering any more. Her ministry finally started moving towards the direction that God called her to minister. We are very proud of her growing process while she was with (ministry name removed) as well all what we have deposit in her as an apostle and in her ministry. May God blessed you Lee Ann.”
Why in the world did I find that today, over four years later? Because God wants me to put her – and any hurt I might have had – to rest, once and for all. Despite all the thoughts I might have had, my concerns for public image, even the other statements she released that were less than truthful – the truth WAS there. Every accusation WAS made-up. She knew who I was, and in the process, she didn’t uncover me – she uncovered herself. She released me because I needed to be released, because it was time. God wants me to know that He has me in His hand, and any avenging that comes against me or this ministry – He will take care of it.
In many ways, I am at another pivotal junction in ministry, even though it doesn’t have to do with a leader this time. I am confronted with situations that are leaving me uncomfortable, leaving me at turning points, at junctures where choices need to be made and it’s up to me to decide what to do. There are people talking about me, once again, misrepresenting the ministry and the leadership therein. Just like back then, God is moving very fast and many changes are coming – some are already here – and other recent changes are already starting to turn. In my extreme discomfort, I’ve called out to God, more than once, asking Him for the very thing I was given all those years earlier – release. I know that to move forward, I have to be released from some things, some situations, some past ideals and concepts, and yes, some people. Sometimes we just need to be released from people, places, things, and concepts – and sometimes we need to release ourselves. In the release from where we do not need to be, we unhinge ourselves to be exactly where God needs us. We need to not just let go of our past, we need to release ourselves from it. Leave it as what it was. Whatever hurt, it hurt. God’s got us, and we got Him. The rest He can take care of.
And for this revelation, I am truly grateful.
(c) 2014 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.