i walked away

Written by Crystal Rowe

Crystal has a heart for making the church and the Christian faith real and relevant to the world around her and is passionate about serving others in the name of Christ. Crystal is married to her perfect match, D and is Mommie to A and the two sweetest kitties on earth.

August 30, 2011

I said my final goodbyes and began to walk out the door. As I walked through the double glass doors, tears rolled down my face. I wanted to collapse on the cement and never leave. But I pushed forward, vowing to never look back. To move on to the new life I was beginning and to put the past behind me.

As I started the engine and drove away, the tears came harder. It was much harder than I ever imagined it could be. It may have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You see, this place I was leaving … the place I was walking away away from … it had become my God place.

It was the place where my community lived. It was more than work. It was a way of life. It was a calling. And even though I was confident that in walking away I was answering a new call, I still felt a pain that was beyond imaginable. I guess freedom isn’t always easy.

That day was a dark one. A day full of anger and hurt. Tears and prayers. Unanswered questions.

What will my future look like? Will I be able to achieve my dreams? What if I just made a huge mistake?

But I did my best to trust and believe that Facebook status I had posted just months earlier:

Sometimes God calls us to the unknown … and doesn’t promise it will be easy, but does promise to be faithful.

I woke the next morning with tear-stained cheeks, vowing once again that I wouldn’t look back. The words to Matt Maher’s Hold Us Together were the first out of my mouth that morning when my sweet husband asked, “How are you?”

This is the first day of the rest of your life.
This is the first day of the rest of your life.
‘Cause even in the dark, you can still see the light.
It’s gonna be alright. It’s gonna be alright.

This became my theme song. The darkness got a little bit brighter. And I began to realize that I can’t leave the past behind me. The past is a part of me. It has made me who I am. I can’t walk away and never look back.

The old will never disappear. The relationships will still exist. They may look different, but they will be there. And it will be alright. God will remain faithful.

I will find a new God place. I will find a community of believers that I can thrive in. A community that will accept me for who I am and encourage me to celebrate God’s calling in my life.

But I will never forget that place or the people in that place. The place that made me who I am. The place that helped me believe in myself. The people that cheered me on and pushed me forward.

And I won’t forget how I felt the day I walked away.


  1. Andy Carlson

    I have a tendency to go off on tangents…I hope this is not one of them..

    There are many truths
    in your personal reflection.  It is
    admirable to acknowledge and understand that it is our past that has brought
    through to place we are today.  Not all
    of our past is stellar, polished and without blemish. Yet, even in these
    experiences and memories of people I have found their personal and intrinsic
    value of my own character is not something I can or ought to deny.  To deny or attempt to forget the value of
    others is a sad attempt at self centered glorification. Frequently we lead  life the in the  Bondage of Regret and the Tyranny of Memory which
    may be extended into
    our present Search for Security Between the Invisible Walls of Our History and Limitations
    to the Opportunities of His Success in Our Lives Which He has Placed In Front
    of Us.  Your comments remind me of the “quest”
    for forgiveness, both to give and  a desire
    to receive.  When we are enlightened to
    the truths of another’s value, that they are God’s creation, and take the step
    into fearful places of conversation (in His trust for our best – and with
    accountability) there is a release of His own Holy Spirit in us that frees us from
    those Bondages or Regrets.  Our paths
    into His purpose, peace and grace are illuminated in the acknowledgments of our
    past and their molding of our future.  In
    my own recognition of those truths the clarity of His revealed purpose for me were
    nurtured and strengthened. Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow. / Your
    recognition of the value of your prior place and the people of your employment is heartfelt and a
    blessing for all to share in.


    • Crystal Rowe

      Andy – not a tangent at all! I love the image of a quest of forgiveness … there certainly is amazing freedom that comes from it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Eileen

    Great post.  This line is how I feel too. “And I began to realize that I can’t leave the past behind me. The past
    is a part of me. It has made me who I am. I can’t walk away and never
    look back.”  We don’t look back in a stuck sort of way…we look back because of how you said, to remind us how faithful He is.  The past (good or bad) shapes us into who we are today.  I often look back because looking back keeps me on my knees. 

    • Crystal Rowe

      What a beautiful way of thinking of it … “looking back keeps me on my knees” … it reminds me of the Israelites in Egypt or during the Babylonian exile … we so often forget what God has done for us because we forget where we’ve been. Thanks Eileen, for this wonderful thought!

  3. Duane Scott


    I know what that’s like to have a God place. And to have to walk away. You wrote this so beautifully! And I love that you used my same favorite words from Hold Us Together. Such a powerful song!

    Much love to you,


    • Crystal Rowe

      Thanks Duane! This was a hard post to write, but once I started, the words just seemed to flow … raw emotion can be a powerful thing sometimes, huh?

      • Duane Scott

        That’s when writing is the best….

        • Crystal Rowe

          So very true!! 

          I’m so thankful for your writing friendship 🙂

  4. Julie Williams

    oh wow Crystal honey.. i have so been there one too many times and have had to walk away.. this just spoke to my heart so much and blessed me beyond belief as you spoke the words i have never been able to speak

    • Crystal Rowe

      Oh Julie thank you! I am so glad you found yourself blessed through this piece. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

  5. thomas nzau kenya

    This is good dude,you know it has also moved some tears from my eyes,as i write am holding back  because of many dissapointments we often come across especially when you have given yourself to certain services and then the hands of men destroy the progress such that there is nothing you can do to start again.But i have this one thing to say ,lets use the stones thrown by our enemies at us to build a wall such that they cant reach us anymore.

    • Crystal Rowe

      Thomas – thank you for this beautiful comment. Disappointment and hurt are such true emotions, and ones that I think we don’t talk about enough. Shalom to you as well!

  6. rupzip

    I dont know your situation or what – or who – you walked away from.
    There is a difference between walking and running away, and I feel you have come to grips with that. Maybe someday, you can return with a whole different perspective

  7. Ayomide Akinkugbe

    Ha Crystal, I love how you wrote this. Beautiful. And funny enough after the hard winds of the past few months, I know i have to walk away too. It’s my God place but you just breathed on me a blast of fresh air for the journey ahead through this. I think i’m ready for the journey. Thank God for you 🙂


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i walked away

by Crystal Rowe time to read: 2 min