Hello everyone. I'm a long time lurker here.
I'm not and never have been a JW, but I am trying to get an understanding of what it means to be disfellowshipped for the sake of someone I know.
My husband and I pastor a small church, we're nothing special, just a group of people who get together to seek God. We're open to everyone and people pop in as they want to. Recently a woman in her early twenties has started turning up. She's very pleasant, reserved, obviously a private person and i respect that.
A couple of weeks ago we were having a cup of tea after the meeting and she stayed behind this time and started to chat to me. She told me she was an ex-Jehovahs witness and that none of her family, mum, dad, granddad, sister and niece, will talk to her or have anything to do with her any more. She was obviously really emotional. She said it feels like being dead only without the oblivion. She's a really lovely person. As far as I know (and I'm not pushing for information) she's been feeling the WT's doctrines are wrong for a few years, and she got to the point where she couldn't believe they were God's only church any more, so she's basically been looking for a new place to come.
I want to help her, but the pain of being cut off from her family needs more help than i can give. I'm happy to chat to her and listen to her story at her pace. As a Christian I do believe God is already at work in her life, but I feel trite, spiritual answers are nowhere near enough when someone has lost their family.
So how can I best help? I've read here a while and I chose this site because there is such an eclectic mix of personalities and beliefs. She is positive in her own mind that God called her away from being a Jehovah's Witness, and I have seen amazing glimpses of joy of being "free" to worship as she wants to, but that joy is matched by grief, like a berevement only she says there isn't the chance to move on because her family are all still alive.
I feel out of my depth. I'm a mum and a primary school teacher and a pastor - I'm not a psychiatrist or any sort of therapist. I can't just pat her shoulder and tell her I understand because patently I can't understand what it must feel like to have the people you love and trust suddenly treat you as if you're dead. I have kids myself and I would love them if they became full-blown satanists. (I wouldn't be madly happy about it mind you) I don't have all the answers she needs, I wish I did. Sometimes a hug seems to help, and we're becoming friends too, she doesn't seem to have many of those.
Any advice would be really appreciated. Thank you.