Empowering women who have been spiritually abused by someone in their church, to discover their path through healing toward unleashing their Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ, gleaning tools for wellness from current research, Christian Spirituality, and Holy Scripture, so that we can once again serve the Lord with joy.
My name is Dorothy Gremillion. For the past 18 years, I've served the church as an Episcopal priest. And I'm a spiritual abuse survivor. Through much struggle, trial and error, counseling, spiritual direction, and heart-felt prayer, I have found healing. I've begun to catch glimpses of what it would be like to live life from within my Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ. I've created this website for other women, who, like me, are seeking healing and a return to joy from the heartbreak rendered to us by someone in the church. If this is you, I say "Welcome!" Join me on this journey by subscribing to my free blog.
A Classroom Beckoning You to Join Us for an Exciting Adventure
The ideas for Spirituality Classroom were born out of my life experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've known great heartbreak and abuse heaped upon me by church people.
But I've also known great joy and I've experienced spiritual growth and healing. Even though I share some things about my life on this page, this page isn't about me. It's about you. If you have suffered spiritual abuse by someone in your church, then this is your website. I've created it -- and the entire website for you.
Unlike websites that focus on psychology or self-help only, Spirituality Classroom begins where you are, laying out stepping stones that build prayer tools to relieve your stress, reignite your hope, and renew your prayer life. You will have opportunity
All that and more is offered here, in community with like-minded women who yearn for similar results.
The Wilderness Quest
I've chosen the metaphor of a wilderness for an upcoming membership opportunity -- the wilderness of spiritual abuse. We didn't choose to enter this wilderness. We don't want to be in it now. However, The Wilderness Quest Membership area will host the online courses I plan to create, with paths to each, and spiritual tools to learn that can help us find beauty in the wilderness and eventually find a way through. So get ready now and watch for the announcement of The Wilderness Quest Membership Area.
For Now Read my Free Blog
Let me explain. The core of Spirituality Classroom is a free blog. My intention is that this blog will contain three main themes:
1. What does the Research Say About Spiritual Abuse?
I hold three Masters Degrees. Some people might call me a "professional student." I love to learn. It's an understatement to say that I love reading research articles and books by various authors who are experts in their field. I love synthesizing what they have to say. A growing number of researchers and authors are studying the phenomena of spiritual abuse in churches. I will bring you the "nuggets" of what I learn from their research about Spiritual Abuse.
2. What Does Christian Spirituality Say About Wholeness?
I've done extensive reading and teaching on the writings and lives of the saints who've lived in various centuries after Christ until now. In this part of my blog, I will bring their wisdom about discerning how to grow through life's inner spiritual events that are painful. I will also bring what they say about joy.
I will also share personal reflections on different ways to pray and the effect they've had on my healing. You will be invited to reflect on how you can grow in Christ by applying your insights to your own story.
3. What does Holy Scripture Say About Healing?
The Bible is rife with stories of miracles that make people's lives better. Stories of healing prepare the healed person for living in the Kingdom of God. Some of my blog posts will be based on those Scriptures.
I love the Bible. It contains the Word of God written. It also contains the way to find the Living Word of God, Jesus the Christ. Many people have found comfort and healing while drawing closer to Him through reading the Bible. There have been many times when I've depended on Scripture for hope, encouragement, and comfort.
From time to time, I will offer a book or an online course for your consideration. For now, subscribe to the blog by clicking on the button below.
Click the Subscribe Now Button and you will receive email notices when I have posted a new blog, and you will receive a free pdf entitled "Women Authors and Their Take on the Journey to Wholeness."
One of my times of being spiritually abused by another Christian happened in the late 1970’s. The abuse was so sudden and uncalled for and unjust – you know, all those ugly kinds of things -- that I entered the desert of emotional shock. I was fully aware of not being able to feel any emotion at all, and it was horrible. I would have been relieved to feel anger or fear or embarrassment or anxiety – anything. But there was nothing. Zip. Total void.
I was also fully aware that I had entered the desert of spiritual shock. I couldn’t pray. That was one of the most painful results of the abuse. I was, again, fully aware of being in shock. It was as though my breath had been knocked out of me. I had lost my breath. I had lost my prayer.
As it turned out, I had just learned of the Jesus Prayer only a few weeks before. It’s easy to remember –
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
I decided to try it. I had also learned a melody to chant it to. So, silently and interiorly, I began singing the Jesus Prayer in rhythm with my breathing. What happened next I can only attempt to describe. It was like in my spirit I was physically and desperately clinging with all my might to the cross of Jesus, with him still on the cross and not yet dead. I was clinging not only to the wood of the cross. My arms were wrapped around his feet and legs up to just below his knees.
The Jesus Prayer took over in my spirit. I heard it being chanted somewhere deep inside me, nonstop, day in, day out. It never stopped, not even when I was asleep. I know that this is true, because whenever I turned over in bed, in that twilight zone in between deep sleep periods, I could hear it being chanted exactly in rhythm with my breathing. It was there when I woke up each next morning.
The entire time this was transpiring, my emotions were being “loosed” in a hurricane of feelings. I knew that to stay sane, I needed to find a way to express each one of my emotions. So I “entered” each emotion to the extent that I could, to allow myself to reflect on it at least intellectually, even if I couldn’t feel it. After I made myself do this discipline, I wrote a short poem on each of them. And all the time, the Jesus Prayer continued being chanted somewhere in my interior.
The good news is that it worked! I found my healing because of the Jesus Prayer!
After the passage of a large amount of time – (years actually), I gathered up those poems that I had written during that experience and named them “Pathos Through an Autumn Looking Glass.”
I share all this with you, in an effort to let you know that you are truly not alone in the after-suffering of spiritual abuse. I’m your sister. When I say I understand, I mean “I understand.”
Here's who I Am:
I’m a compassionate listener
and a gatherer of stories.
I will hold your stories in my heart
and in my prayers.
And I’m trained to be a compassionate listener
in five different disciplines.
I love learning new things. I hope we get to continue learning in heaven, and that the Lord will grant me access to heaven’s library.
My education has a purpose: I’m excited about learning who you are and building relationships with you, creating online courses from my life experiences with you in mind, and cherishing what you teach me in the process.
My educational qualifications:.
• I hold a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies in Spiritual Direction from Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana.
• I’ve been a spiritual director for thirty-five years.
• I served on the faculty of “Formation in Direction,” the school for spiritual direction in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas for 10 years.
• I hold a Masters Degree in Psychology/Counseling from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
• Both of these degrees, the one from Loyola and the one from McNeese, focus on deep reflective listening to the needs of others.
• I also hold a Master of Divinity from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.
• This training offered even more opportunity to learn to listen, in this case, to church members with pastoral care concerns, especially the pastoral care concerns created by spiritual and emotional abuse.
Spiritual Life Coach
• I hold a Life Coach Certificate from the Life Coach Institute of Orange County
• As a life coach, I listen to you with the aim of helping you discover your goals and dreams. I stand with you for accountability, as you develop and carry out a plan to accomplish those goals and dreams.
• Life Coaching is goal- and results-oriented.
Certified Daring WayTM Facilitator - Clergy
• I’m a Certified Daring WayTM Facilitator - Clergy, qualified to use Dr. Brene Brown’s research on shame resilience and vulnerability.
• I’m qualified to lead people through her curricula: TheDaring WayTM and to facilitate workshops in using her research.
My Point of View
I believe that every human, every woman, every man, every child, is created by God and loved by God. Each of us is unique and each of us can grow to beautiful maturity in our soul and spirit, because that’s how He made us. In Him, we can find inner healing and spiritual wholeness. I believe He never leaves us, not even when we think we can’t find Him.
Not only do I believe that that’s true, I believe that He calls us to be co-creators with Him. He gives us our own unique set of gifts and expects us to use them to love Him with, to love ourselves with, and to bless others with.
Co-creating my life with the Lord
is the most exciting adventure
that I know anything about!
I believe that could be true of you as well.
My full mission statement reads, “Empowering women who have been spiritually abused by someone in their church, to discover their path through healing toward unleashing their Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ, gleaning tools for wholeness from current research, Christian Spirituality, and Holy Scripture, so that we can once again serve the Lord with joy."
However, not everything in life is beautiful and peaceful and loving. Sometimes things go wrong – maybe terribly wrong – so wrong that our hearts are broken, our emotions smashed, and our beliefs crushed.
I believe that even when those toxic wounds happen, the Lord still loves us, and that He wants to lead us through that “valley of the shadow of death,” into green pastures, as the 23rd Psalm says. The Lord wants to comfort us.
He wants us to learn new gifts from the brokenness so that we emerge stronger people than before, with a wisdom that we couldn’t have known any other way.
And then He calls us to help other people who have been hurt to find their way. That’s what has happened to me. So I hope you'll subscribe to my blog, and we can take the next part of our life's adventure together.
10 Quirky Facts about Me You Wouldn’t Ordinarily Know
. I pray in Welsh daily. My family tree contains Celtic, English, Germanic, and French genes, but I feel closest to my Celtic roots.
• I’m an artist who sometimes watercolors with my not-so-graceful-non-dominant hand – for fun.
• I’m a musician who rarely listens to music because it gets stuck in my head, I can't turn it off, it keeps me from focusing in the present moment, and it tends to drive me crazy. I need internal quiet.
• I’m an avid crossword puzzle worker.
• I love relaxing to a good "who dunnit" mystery on TV.
• My favorite novel genre is fiction/mystery/detective stories.
• My personal library contains about 2000 books. I thirst for knowledge. Most of the books I own are research oriented.
• When I’m not in clergy clothes, I’m in blue jeans and a sweat shirt.
• I’m a native Louisianan and I make the best chicken and sausage gumbo for miles around.
• I once took 6 weeks of adult ballet lessons & learned that ballet and my body don’t go together…Hmmmm. Tai Chi works pretty well though.