Friday, October 31, 2008

Do Bad Things Come in Threes?

I hope so.

Because this is the third blow in a row, and then it should be over, right?

A letter in my mailbox this morning - one of our friends from our married Bible study when we were first married - killed in the war.

His face swims in my head, laughing, tossing his little girl up in the air. His wife saying she was so blessed with him. If she didn't cook, he actually loved to eat cereal for supper, and would happily pour two bowls of cereal without a fuss. He was a gentle man, kind and strong.

Four kids now without a daddy.

It hurts.

How are things here?
On the good side, we've had a few good visits with my husband. I know he'd like to just stay, but it is still a relief to me when he goes. It is some safety. When he is here, it is ok, but if he gets angry, it doesn't have to stay here. I don't have to invite him over. I don't think he will normally be over this much, but we just had two events back to back at the school, and he needed to be there to see his kids.

I just wish there was a roadmap, a way to do this marked out. I don't know what I should be doing. When he is nice, he is very nice; but the littlest things can make him angry for weeks. So when do I trust him?

I've said to myself that trust will not come until I have seen a real understanding of how anger hurts us and sorrow over that. Expressions of love, time with the kids, gifts - all these are not what I am looking for, although they are nice and can be enjoyed, but I want to see a repentance.

I'm willing to forgive and to work on things, but forgiveness, although waiting, can only be given when it is asked for in this case, I think.

Pray for wisdom and guidance for me. Pray for peace this next week while he is here, and for a good two weeks while he is gone - for real working during that time.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back on the Roller-Coaster Again

What a day! If I was able to explain it all to you, you would have a hard time believing it all.

I can't explain it. But let me say this simple statement which holds the truth about as well as a sieve holds the beach's sand - my extended family is facing unimaginable pain today. Eight simple words that can not hold the weight of what is behind them.

Back on the roller-coaster at high speed - like those type which take sudden plunges in a dark tunnel and panic sets in over and above the normal terror.

Frustration - intense frustration of years of trying to warn people and being ostracized and accused for it. Today, justification, but not the type of justification that there is any delight in, but a sickening realization that you were right, and no one listened.

Also today, intense frustration again, the two frustrations mingling together and growing like cartoon characters rolling down a snowy mountain.

My husband came over the other day. Sat on the couch, watched tv, no response to the kids, no conversation, no spark of life, nothing. I told this to our leader (the main one dealing with things), and got accused of giving negative reports....

umm.... well.... it is factual.... and if the facts are negative.... ???

He didn't stop to say, "and what about that concerns you?" It is not that I hate my husband. It is that I have been banging my head against a wall for three years trying to tell people that he is showing serious signs of depression

ok, let's review:
  • Disturbed thinking - ?
  • Feelings of sadness or irritability - yes
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activates once enjoyed - yes
  • Changes in weight or appetite - yes, lots
  • Changes in sleeping patterns - yes, major
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness - yes
  • Inability to concentrate, remember things or make decisions - yes
  • Fatigue or loss of energy - withdrawal - yes
  • Restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others - yes
  • Complaints or physical aches and pains for which no medical causes can be found - yes
  • Thoughts of suicide or death - yes
  • Feeling overwhelmed - yes
  • Depression, if not treated, can last many months or years. - OK, it has been three years since I said, "hmm.. this doesn't look right."
What crosses your mind when I state "he sat on the couch and watched tv the whole evening without saying much or showing any interest in what the kids had done or showing any emotion, and then got up to leave without saying goodbye, but simply had a flat expression the whole time and stared at the tv listlessly"? Does it really sound like I am criticising my husband or that I am stating facts because I am concerned?

If I wrote that in a nurse's note, no one would accuse me of hating or being critical of my patient, but simply recording true information in an unbiased way.

But it is like banging my head against a brick wall. The response I get is that the main leader talked to the other leader (you know, the one with vision problems) and he said he doesn't believe my husband is depressed.

Really? And you get that from what? The two times a year you see him at board meetings and the e-mail business contact you have with him?

Frustration. Intense frustration. Again trying to warn people before harm is done - harm is already done - but before more is done, and no one listens.

The poor leader got my frustration today - I don't care what you think about how I say it, just listen to what I am saying! I think he is clinically depressed. And yes, that is a negative report! But given because I do CARE!

It was just one of those days when three people questioned my honesty and motives and reality.

A day for tears and chocolate, but I had to hang on to the rollercoaster too tightly.

Then, another leader, the one who needs glasses, talked me and accused me of not making an effort to connect with some women. I had just come back from meeting with them... I knew they cared and if I did not go, they would assume I was not interested in them. Reality was that I was reeling from the morning's news, but it was not news I could explain, so I packed up my tears in a box, jammed the lid on tight, taped it up with duct tape, and sat something heavy on it to keep it in, and went to laugh and visit and pray with these women. And then I got accused of not making an effort to connect.....

Hang on tighter, brace for the unknown...

Then in the evening, I phoned my husband - who out of all these three men, responded the best. When he heard my voice, a simple "what happened?" I said, "_____ phoned with news." He did not talk more, but just said, "Do you want me to come over?" "Yes." To come over, hug me, and listen. To listen. To hear.

He stayed for the evening, took us out for pizza, and chattered to the kids through their event in the evening. He wanted to stay the night, but no... this is a motivation for change, and as proud as I am of him today for winning first place among the men in best response, I have been told to go slow, and wait for long term change. So, very sadly, he left again at late evening. I would have liked him here, but... I would rather him continue to work on things rather than have comfort for one night.

So the night did end with a little bit of an up. But what a ride today! I don't just want off the ride - I want out of the park. Next vacation for me - butterfly watching, please!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


(Ok, I confess - I do not like words I am not sure about the spelling of. Slightly OC when it comes to spelling.... how do you spell yay! ? Any ideas?)

But - Hey, good news!

My husband phoned today! Wow! First somewhat civil speech he has had with me in over a month. Well, he came over last night for supper and to visit the kids, but he simply sat on the couch, watched tv, and barely spoke. The kids were disappointed.

But he phoned today!

Our mission has a in-depth program where they pull people off the field and put them into - not only when they are having problems, but simply as a step to going into leadership or simply just because - as a preventative step. They meet with mature Christians trained to work through issues in their lives. My husband has been offered this many times over the years, but he has turned it down. He was simply too busy, or he had no problems, it was just his wife who had problems. Always some reason.

He phoned to say that he has been suggested to go to this again, and he is going to go. Leaving next week. Yay! The first positive step! He was worried about missing a family event that he had said he would be here for this year. No problem! I rescheduled it, one week ahead. No one will mind.

Today, I have a smile on. Good news. Ah! Good news is wonderful. Of course, no program can fix people's hearts. They have to be willing to change, but at least he is putting himself in a place where he can be ministered to. And I believe in God. I believe He can move mountains, speak a world into existence, direct history, and even speak to one stubborn kid of His. I know, because He has changed me, and I still could take a blue ribbon in stubbornness! I've only changed enough to be stubborn about choosing to follow God. Still stubborn. Still hard to change my mind. But my mind is now set to a different leader.

So, celebrate with me! Who know with what.... chips and salsa, a cup of hot chocolate, a run through the park in the wind, whatever you do to celebrate, do a little of it today, and smile up at God. He is working.

And keep praying. He will need it over the next several weeks! Change is tough.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Deserve a Medal

Hey people, I think I deserve a medal today.

Do you know how hard it is to find pictures to illustrate a blog when you can't use any of yourself or your family?! Especially with some difficult topics. Try finding a picture for the Bayith of Yayin, expecially when I couldn't find my book today!

So I think I deserve a medal today! :-)

I think all of you deserve one, too. For praying, for your encouraging notes, for being friends to some stranger you never met who needed people right now.

One round of medals all round, please.

The Bayith of Yayin

The what?!

Let it roll off your tongue - you get used to it after awhile. Begins to sound nice, comfortable.

My sixth grade teacher read a book to us that became the basis of me wanting to know God. It didn't bring me to God, but it created this tiny spark of longing and hope inside me. I never saw that book again, although I looked for it for many years, until recently. Then I grabbed it and read it to my kids who loved it, too.

As I read it as an adult, I loved it even more.

It is called "The Tower of Geburah" by John White. (Worth finding - there is even a series of them.)

In the story, there are many adventures and trials and difficulties, but there is one interesting thing. The Ba
yith of Yayin.

It is a place where Gaal (the God figure) meets people. It is not a physical location, but it simply appears where and when it is needed. Sometimes Gaal invites people in, pulling them from
trials and walking with them through the gates. Other times, people seem to simply be picked up and
dropped there in times of great need.

In the Bayith of Yayin is a pool. Gaal asks you to walk through it. Down you go, on one staircase - you can breathe in this pool - and up the other. In the pool, the filthy, ripped, soiled clothes you came in disappear, and you are dressed in clean, soft, spotless clothes. Wounds and hurts are washed away. At the bottom of the pool, there is a mirror, and often as each person passes, a vision appears - to each person individually. In fact, even if you walk into this pool together, you are alone once you enter it. The vision contains what they need to heal, to endure a struggle ahead, or to give guidance.

After going through the pool, the Bayith of Yayin is simply a place of refreshing. There is always a feast set, music playing, people to be with while you sit with Gaal and rest. The world outside is not even able to be seen or heard, and time is not rushed. It is simply a place of refreshing in the middle of nowhere - Gaal's Bayith of Yayin.

When it is time, again, Gaal would send people out again, back into the conflict and trials. But they would go rested, refreshed, clothed again, and he would give them gifts. The gifts were things that would give them protection and power against the enemy. Books that the reading of the words in it would chase away all evil attacking. Circlets for their minds made of preciou
s stone which would guard their thoughts. For each one, what he needed.

In the middle of all the storm around me recently, there have been times God has picked me up and taken me to His Bayith of Yayin. His place of refreshing in the middle of nowhere.

I'm thankful for those times.

I stole the picture from IVF's website.
It is really a great book, one of my favorite ever written!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Peaceful Day

I really wasn't expecting today to go well, but it did.

Yeah, we had a bit of a meltdown with my middle son when I asked him to bring the contents of his desk home so we could get back on track with being organized and caught up, but it settled as soon as we sat at the kitchen table to work.

We made cookies together when we got home. Cookies are always good. Then homework, play, supper, devotions, and kids in bed.

A quiet day. Only a few questions about daddy, but peaceful one.

Tomorrow could be another section of the roller-coaster. I don't know. But I was thankful for today.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tears and Big Questions from Small Minds

How do you go about telling small kids that daddy is not coming home - at least not now, and you don't know when... forget about the if ever which looks likely today?

I told the oldest two first. Then the youngest two with all of them together. Different reactions. Silence from some, clinginess, others distracted frantically trying not to think about it. The youngest just cried, curled up in my lap and cried.

Questions I can not answer. How long? Why doesn't daddy stop being angry? Their little minds trying to wrap themselves around things that have no answers. Their opinions of what makes daddy angry - hoping we can do something that will change and "fix him". More tears. More unanswerable questions.

I've spent the last two hours running from one bedroom to another comforting, praying with, trying to console the unconsolable. One is in my bed, unable to face being on his own. I'm thankful he is now talking and wanting to be with me. Most are drifting off to sleep now, with only my oldest awake. His is a different set of questions. He wants to know how he is supposed to act. He wants to be the oldest and step in. I've told him not to take on the position of the man in this house. Let God fill that role. He wants to and He is able to. Just be a kid still, and let God and the few men that are in our lives take on those jobs.

It has probably been some of the hardest hours of my life. I never wanted this.

I'm sitting eating soup now. Soup seems to be one of the only things I can eat. It is hot and goes down easily. There is some comfort in a warm bowl of soup. I'll take all I can get today.

Tomorrow, I have to get up and be mommy again. I will likely spend the whole day at the kid's school in the staff room. I can mark papers, spelling tests, cut out crafts, anything. I think I need to be available and visible to them right now. It is also prayer morning with the moms, and I can think of at least three who will come and sit with me tomorrow and pray for my kids.

Home Again

I'm back from the meeting. It didn't go well. It also didn't go as badly as it could have gone.

Two things to be thankful for. I held my composure and managed to be calm and gentle despite all accusations and insults. And my husband, thankfully, proved why he should not have access to the kids at this point. I went in ready to fight for that point, but I did not have to.

I only stated that I wanted the kids not in a place where they are witnessing or in the middle of words between parents or about parents.

My husband clearly showed that he could not be trusted to keep his tongue or control his anger. So, as of now, there is no discussion of him having the kids.

Now, today, this evening, I have to tell my kids. They are with friends, but because of one glitch in the plans, a friend of theirs from school who is too young to not talk knows their daddy is home, so I need to tell my kids.

Pray for wisdom. I am suspecting both reactions at the same time - grief and fear, and relief and safety. I went through both, and I expect they may also.

Time to buckle four little innocent kids into the roller-coaster ride. At least I have been on it myself, and will ride with them. But it hurts me. I can't bring myself to get up and walk out the door to go get them. I think of their happy laughter playing with friends at their "sleep-over" homes, and I dread crashing their party. I wish I could freeze time for a few days and let them play.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Am I or Was I or What?

Ignoring the fact that tomorrow, I have probably the most important meeting of my life, and I am not sure how it will turn out.....

I was thinking today as I was driving home. I wondered, "what am I?" Am I a missionary? Or am I not? Am I now in a place where I say, "I was" or am I still? Theoretically, it doesn't mean much to me. There are problems in my life so much bigger than figuring out what I am. But the question still came up.

Yes, there is shame in becoming a "I was". If I am a "I was". But there are times that pain is so much greater than shame. It just remains an interesting question. Someone asked me today what I do. I didn't know how to answer. I live today. That is what I do. Today, I do laundry. Tomorrow, I don't know how my world will look like.

I don't think I could say "I am" when I am not so much right now. But, neither can I say, "I was" because I have not quit, either. I think I am just here - in the middle of nowhere. Strange when I named my blog, that was not where I was thinking that title would land me.

One day, I promise to write about the name of this blog. Because at present, I am not in a remote place. I am surrounded by people right now, in "the West" as we so generally say. Yes, we serve in the middle of nowhere.... but we are not serving right now. We are here inbetween saying "I am" and saying "I was". But the title came not from any of those, but from something long before my now, long before I felt called into missions. It came from a time when God decided to speak to a six year old girl before her life took a nose dive into awful darkness.

Today, I sit here in my middle of nowhere, not sure what my tomorrow will be like. It is a scary place. A few times today, I had to sit down, flushed, shaking, and dizzy when the reality of my now overwhelmed me. But I walk through today remembering a God who loved me enough to speak to me, and who throughout history has a habit of meeting His people in the middle of nowhere. He did it with Jacob - even when Jacob is not perhaps our most favorite characters. He did it with Elijah after his startling defeat and sullen pout. He's done it with me before.

So, I sit here, in the middle of nowhere, with no idea of what my tomorrow holds, but knowing the God who has proved Himself faithful in all my yesterdays. I don't have a lot of trust, but I'm using what I have to its maximum right now. And God is quieting my heart and waiting through this night with me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not Again!

So today. It is the day before tomorrow. Tomorrow my husband arrives in the country. I won't see him that night. I will see him Sunday afternoon. But today is still the day before tomorrow.

Yet today, letters. From the leader who has vision problems. He sees his short term goals. He sees his convenience, and he does not see the whole picture. He has problems believing it. He and my husband have been long term friends. He has believed what my husband said that my past (you know, traumatic MK, family unstable, etc) has warped me so that I am too damaged to be normal.

So today, letters. Deciding that my husband will be pulled from ministry, but not now, later. I need him now. I need him at least until December. Saying he has cleared this with our church leader.

Really? That is not what I was told. I will address this with our church leader tomorrow, you can be sure. This is not what I was told.

Isn't it time to take it seriously? I have been reporting this and begging for help for four years! It is always the same answer. "It is not so bad. We need him."

If you need him, then put the serious work in the situation to get him healthy. Would you drive your car with oil dripping out and the temperature lights on red?

I'm frustrated. How long?

I do still have one option up my sleeve. One more place of appeal. I will make my point tomorrow, and if there is no action, I will move farther up the chain of command. I can go to my home church pastor who knows and will act. He has the power to act above and outside of the control of the mission. He is aware, but right now, defering to their leadership, but he is also frustrated with the leadership's inaction. He sent me a message recently to not be too quick to put him back in the home, but wait for real change and repentance.

Yet, I have been told, that in every division, people will find themselves on one side or another. Few will remain neutral. So, I am expecting the ones who find themselves on the side of the line I am not on. But it hurts. And to see steps again, still again, to pull back from action and to downplay the problem are frustrating.

God, who sees, be my defense.

I Did It!

Hey - time to celebrate! And to stay off the thought that in two days, I have a scary meeting.

But today - news! I have been arguing with the government of one of my countries about some money they owe me. It is several thousand dollars that I should have been paid for my children, but they would not pay it because of the immigration status of their father. Well, what is odd is that my children are CITIZENS of this country and the laws for this money is that is is paid only to the MOTHER unless the father is the only parent. Well, why can my citizen children and their citizen mother not get their due money which has nothing to do with their father? Also, new immigrants get it immediately, and we don't?!

So, last year, they began to give it to us, after waiting several years, but those several years cost us thousands of dollars. So I filed a complaint for back pay. Didn't think I would win. No one wins against the government.

A few months ago, I got a letter saying they had reviewed my case and determined I had a good point - this is two years later, so imagine my shock. But no money appeared.

Today, in the mail, a notice that it has been deposited in my account! Wow! wow! I fought the government and won!

Maybe I should have been a lawyer after all....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bad Haircuts....

Ok, let's get off the depressing topic of conversation for awhile... I want to think about something else...

Well, I tried. I was nervous about meeting with this women's group tomorrow. I've heard them judge another woman who failed very harshly - actually, it wasn't the woman who failed, but her husband, but the wife was slammed.

So, I did what every woman does - make sure I look good!

I'm really not that much of a girly-girl. Don't do that much with hair and make up and all that. I'm learning, but I'm just me. I think I look fine, not gorgeous, but fine. But if you have to walk into a cat's lair, dress the part.

I went out tonight while my kids were in a club to get a haircut. Only, I got a bad one. I look like someone put a bowl on my head! Even my kids looked at me and said, "What happened?!"

I'll fiddle with it... hope to improve it.... but I think it is time to bring out my black slacks and black shirt with white trim... at least it looks professional and put together. Hey, when you're worried about something, wear your confidence! Now what to do about the bowl on the top of my head?

In Defense

Ok, I'm really trying not to defend myself, and I am not - well at least not out in public, but there were a few statements in a letter I received from my husband that needed a defense. I've spent years listening to them, but I am ready to stare them in the face and challenge them.

Let's start here:

I don't know if you really understand this but I was probably have been the only person in the whole wide world who tried to love you the way you are.

Really? What are you saying?

That my parents never loved me?
That none of my friends ever loved me?
That my children do not love me?
That my prayer partners and mentors and best friends never loved me?

Is that what you are saying?

Oh, I could begin to mention names here, a long list of people who have proven without a shadow of a doubt, without any return for themselves, without any need to be met that they really love me. They've proven it in their gentleness, in their tenacity, in their insistant refusal to believe less of me, in their determination to hold out hope in my life, and in their restoring my sense of value.

Let me say this very clearly - If what he has been offering is "real love", I want none of it!

I could go on, but I'll resist the temptation. I just want to say loud and clearly - There are people who love me!

I refuse to believe lies anymore. I refuse to be isolated and believe these lies.

There! I said it.

Pray for tomorrow. Today went ok, but tomorrow is a rougher crowd to face.

I'm Scared

I'm scared. Tomorrow morning, I have to go to our normal meetings. If I put it off, it becomes worse. I'm scared. Not sure how I will cope in a group. Not sure what they will say.

Sunday, my husband will come back to the country. I meet with him in the afternoon with a leader. The kids are at friends for the weekend.

I'm dreading that meeting, sitting here shaking, crying thinking about it.

What do you say? How will he react? What do I do?

Because he will be in the morning meeting that Sunday, I have been asked to not come so that the first meeting is not in front of all the people, but to come in the afternoon to meet with him and the leader. So what do I do Sunday? I don't want to go somewhere strange when I am that tense. I don't want to stay home alone. Pray for someone to volunteer to stay with me - I don't think I can do that day by myself.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dealing with People

Now comes step two. People.

My husband opened the door to people before I expected it, before we were able to sit together with a leader and come to an agreement about what was to be said to who and how it was to be said. He is still not in this country, so today I am dealing with people.

I'm not ready to deal with people.

Emotionally, I just hanging on. I'm physically exhausted, and yet sleep does not come. I'm not eating well, and have lost 15 lbs in two weeks... trust me, I do not mourn their loss! ... but this is not helping me be strong right now. I am aware that I am a physical barrier of protection between my children who do not know and the greater community who does.

I'm just not ready to deal with people.

What was that we used to yell when we finished counting when we played hide and seek? "Ready or not, here I come!"

Ready or not, here they come. Three last night, late at night. Then two more this morning, and now one more message on my machine. I'm going to be charitable and assume the best - that all these people care deeply about us, about our family, and the situation. But they are not helping. I need those police who stand by and say, "keep moving" and "back off, give the paramedics some room". Where is the police tape when you need it? This is not a situation for well-wishers and funeral criers. This is a situation for well-trained, focused helpers organized under one clear leadership.

I appreciate people. I do. I need their prayers. I just do not need their questions. I don't even need their sympathy. It is amazing how fast the sympathy of others can get you to feel sorry for yourself. I do not need their guilt. I have enough guilt of my own without hearing their snap decisions on the matter. I stand before God - let Him convict or clear me, and let Him speak to me through the godly people He has put in authority over me right now, but not through the thronging crowd.

Yet, each one of these people represent friends, coworkers, church family, family. They are all people I love. I am aware that my failings have hurt them. I have disappointed them. I have shaken their feeling of security. On our team, we were leaders, and we have failed publicly. I know that people I love are hurt and confused. That hurts me. I am a carer, a comforter. I want to make them better. I can't. I can't even listen to their pain.

Then, the shame is coming. Going from being leaders to being the fallen. The bump at the bottom is a pretty hard one. I was already bruised before the fall. It is not an easy place to be. Humiliating.

We had a death in our extended team today - a sudden, unexpected death - someone gunned down senselessly. As a group we are hurting. And this has to be the day that our news breaks, too. I feel sad; sad that we dump two things on people at once. That the sorrow of mourning a coworker has to be contaminated by our failings, too.

I have determined two things.

One - the leader who is dealing with the problem is going to be the person dealing with the problem. So conversation about what happens and who knows what will happen through him, not through the waiting crowd. This is not trial by jury.

Two - I will not speak bad of my husband in the public. There are places for the truth, spoken simply, but that place is likely not to people not involved in the solution. I want to be a woman of grace and honor. That can be difficult in this situation, but I chose to honor my husband through this by controlling how publicly he is shamed. I do not need to answer every public accusation. God has promised to be my shield and defender and the lifter of my head.

I spent another night awake with God last night, crying. Not the throw yourself on the bed and sob type of crying, but the quiet sniffles. I am not unaccustomed to pain. My life has not necessarily been an easy one, so pain and I have become familiar with each other. But last night, I begged God to take this one away, to give me another pain in exchange. Just not this one.

God sat silent last night.

He sat and looked at me, silent. Not the unlistening type of silent, but the looking through me silence. Waiting for me to sit quietly, too. To still my heart. To stop looking around for the escape door or for ways to manipulate the situation. To still my heart and be ready to walk with Him through my day.

I'm quieter today.

And in the midst of the crowd of spectators, there are those quiet, godly people who have stepped forward. There are some areas they have stepped into with practical help and godly advice and encouragement. I have seen God's hand in bringing these people into the positions they are in for such a time as this. I'm deeply grateful for them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Prayer

There was nothing that could stop me shaking today, fighting tears, somewhat unsuccessfully. The hurt swallowing all thought and reason. I felt like I was sinking, drowning in an invisible sea.

Then I began to write and wrote out my prayer for today. Somehow, this discipline has held me several times in my life, helping me to focus and concentrate, to say to God the things my unquiet spirit was unable to put into words. Writing doesn't require the ability to stop crying to speak.

This, then, is my prayer for today.

Father, Lord of all, who sits enthroned in the heavens holding all power, deeply involved in our lives as our Father, You see. I stand before You broken, trembling, bruised, helpless, and hurting. I stand guilty, not with clean hands, wanting to follow You, wanting to do what is right, but still so imperfect. I hurt, Lord, and I feel as if I've failed You; brought dishonor to Your name. When I look up, I see Your love and it deeply hurts me - I didn't want to fail You. Yet, I stand before You not condemned; You have paid the price;You have bought my freedom; You have proclaimed my righteousness that You have lived for me. So I stand before You broken, bruised, ashamed, hurting, failing, and guilty, but with confidence in who You are and in Your love for me. I stand before You deeply loved. For that, thank-you. Lord, who sits on Your throne, defend Your own. Step down and fight Your battle. You said those that the Father gives You, You will not let anyone take out of Your hand. Your word stands. With Your word, You created the world and the heavens. Speak now. Arise and let Your enemies be scattered. Speak to me, and teach me to obey. As You walk us through this time of testing and discipline, be my comfort, be my safe place, be my shelter, be my life and love. I have no other besides You. Oh Lord, hold my heart, give me wisdom, guard my tongue, show me how to respect my husband through this time, give me strength, surround me with wise and caring friends who are not sympathetic to me but have a deep passion for Your glory. I'm yours, Father, broken, bruised, failing; I'm yours, care for me.

A Night Awake

Well, the news has been told to my husband by leadership. He blew up angry, and is still angry. He spent the night sending e-mails about to me everyone he knows, so I am expecting calls today from people I really didn't want to explain this to.

It's been a rough night, and I don't know that the day will get better. Pray for me, for endurance, for wise choices by the leadership, for wisdom and strength for the couple that my husband is with, and for a heart willing to listen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Riding Rollercoasters

I was trying to think of an analogy that would describe my life recently.


I began to say to people that I need to get off this roller-coaster that I am on - this vicious cycle which is not improving. I didn't know that getting off that roller-coaster would mean getting on another.

This is definitely different. The twists, the sudden drops, the fast turn arounds all very different from what I was used to. With my old roller-coaster, it was familiar. Still difficult, still painful to go through, but I had become so accustomed to the ride that I could have provided commentary in route.

The new one is a total surprise to me. I took a look at it before I got on, and am vaguely aware of some of the challenges and turns in it, but it's still taking my breath away.

Our leadership is now listening and taking action. Those actions are not going to be easy for us, but I believe they are done in wisdom and love and I hope for God's working. It is just difficult, and I am struggling. What is needed is what I said was needed to clear out the river - repentance.

We can pray for that. And for the ability to endure the ups and downs of my right now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tomorrow's Meeting

So, tomorrow, I sit down face to face with one person who, hopefully will begin the process of helping in this situation. It has been a frustrating week for me besides a very difficult one. It seems as if leadership, at times, likes to stick its head in the sand and hope for the best. Or perhaps they are all nervous and not sure what should be done.

I've felt like an accident victim surrounded by amateur, nervous first aide responders. They all circle around hesitantly, but there is no clear chain of command, no good communication, and no clear course of action. It is as if they are all standing around wondering who should do what.

It is frustrating. So pray for the meeting tomorrow, and pray for a good, clear course of action and for wisdom. Pray for patience for me. I am not really a "sit around and wonder what to do" type of person in a crisis. I usually assess quickly, take charge if needed or determine who is in charge and make myself available to them, and act. Circled unsure faces are hard to cope with when it is you lying on the pavement.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Do You Believe in Jinxes?

No, of course we don't. We are Christians, after all! Seriously.

But isn't it funny when you say something and just then the opposite happens? When I work, we never say, "Oh, it is a quiet night." Never. Because the minute you do, it will get busy, crazy busy.

I was just leaving work tonight after a rough day (I'm finding life itself just rough with all the emotions going on right now.), and my coworker waved and said, "Goodnight, Ellie, hope your weekend gets better." I walked out, got in my car, and it wouldn't start. Nothing could get it going. Thankfully, my coworker gave me a ride home, but.....

No, I don't honestly believe in jinxes... but it is sure funny when things like this happen!

I'll deal with the car tomorrow. I think I know what it will need.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pass the Chocolate!

My daughter (5) today was collapsed outside in a heap on the grass sobbing during recess. I went to see why. Her best friend was collapsed a few feet away sobbing. I put her on my lap where she continued to cry and insist, "I don't want to tell you why!" I insisted that she needs to tell me, and slowly the story came out.

Apparently the teacher said something, and it made her feel bad, so she was crying. Why is your friend crying? "Because I am!", she wailed! Ah, for a good friend! So I carried her over to her best friend and told both huddled heaps that when women feel bad, we like to find a friend and eat chocolate and cry together. The older girls who had gathered around the spectacle of two small wailing heaps on the grass agreed. "Yes, that is what we do when we are sad."

Two little heads peeped half up at me, and one asked, "Do you have chocolate?"

"No. No chocolate, sorry, but one of the big girls, has some cookies here, maybe she'll share." Then I excused myself for a second.

Went to the teacher, got an explanation. She was totally unaware that her half-teasing comment had two small girls sobbing, so out she went to sit by the huddled heaps and talk it over. I stayed away. After a few minutes, the heaps sat up, brushed their hair out of their eyes, and went back inside - problem solved, even without chocolate.

Thank-you to all of you who would have been over eating chocolate with me this week!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Need a Rodeo Clown

I need a rodeo clown. A rodeo clown and a rodeo announcer. One to cover for me, to attract the attention of the bull away, putting himself between a charging bull and the stunned rider on the ground. One to yell at me, over the loudspeaker.

We watched one summer, a bull rider get bucked off, but his hand did not come loose from the rope around the bull. So he flapped around by his hand tied onto a 2,000lb angry bull. Here we saw the clown and the announcer working together to save the rider. The clown jumped in, circling, getting closer, distracting the bull. A few other clowns joined in, each trying to get close enough to pull that rope which would loosen the rider's hand. Covering for each other, getting the bull's attention off those close to him, putting their bodies between the bull and the weaker ones.

Then the announcer. He dropped all his showman's voice, stopped talking to the watching crowd, stopped telling how great the rider was or what was his nickname or credentials. Instead, in a very firm, commanding voice, he said, "Hang on, son, stay on your feet. Stay on your feet son, we're coming for you!" And the rider tried. It was a voice which made you pull everything you had in you out in an effort to obey it. He bounced around for awhile, but then he went limp. Again, the announcer was very calm and insistent, "Son, wake up, get back on your feet. We're right here with you!"

Finally, a clown got close enough to pull that rope, which let the passed out rider slide to the floor in a motionless heap. Another clown jumped between him and the bull again, yelling and hitting the bull in the face before jumping away. The enraged bull chased the clown, and the other clowns grabbed the rider and dragged him to safety. At the rails, the rider lifted his head slightly. Only then, did the crowd let out its breath and begin to make noise... but not before the announcer's voice came through in a relieved sigh, "Thank-you Jesus!"

I need a rodeo clown and an announcer today. Someone cover for me and someone yell at me. I'm not staying on my feet.

I think the last picture says it well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Can I just put in a post for prayer? I am too tired and overwhelmed to even write why right now, but I need people praying. Pray for answers because without them, life is not looking good.

If I find my ability to think and write, I will try to write what is going on. Just not right now.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Beautiful Shoes

It was time for a family photo again. My daughter had outgrown any nice clothes she had, so I took her shopping.

Growing up with three brothers means she isn't exactly much of a girly-girl.

As we walked through the store, she saw something. "Oh, look mommy! Nice shoes!"

I smiled and looked. Cute. They were little slippers with baubles on them. Warm fuzzy thoughts began to fill my head.... "isn't it nice to just go shopping with my daughter...."

Then she continued in her excited voice, "because, Mommy, if you were wearing those shoes and playing war, and you ran out of bullets; you could just pull those round things off the shoes and throw them!"


(that was the sound of my warm fuzzy bubble popping)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Snake Bite

Our house hold has recently acquired a garter snake. Why? Well, the boys caught it in a field. Actually, the way I look at it, it is not that bad. It is better than a bird which makes a mess; it is better than a rodent which stinks, and better than a dog which is an immense amount of work. A snake is a relatively easy pet. And it is small.


My five year old daughter came running the other day, her body shivering, but trying to be brave. "Mommy, what happens if the snake bites us? Is it poisonous?" Then her composure began to crack, and her little lip began to tremble. Tears swam in her eyes. "because it bit me two times......., but they were little bites and they don't really hurt."

Poor baby! I tipped her eyes up to meet mine and asked, "Do you think I would really let you play with a snake that is poisonous? The snake is not dangerous. I love you and want to keep you safe. I would not let you play with a poisonous snake ever!"

Relief poured in with two tears sneaking down her face on top of a relieved smile.

Time for a cuddle to let the shivers of remaining fear shudder out of her little body.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Two Weeks And Counting....

So today marks two weeks.

No, of nothing exciting... two weeks of enduring the silent treatment. Two weeks of watching water trickle, oh so slowly, under the bridge. Two weeks of an angry husband.

It saps my energy. I think about that statement and images of maple trees with their tin buckets and rubber trees with their half coconuts attached to spigots jammed deep in their insides fill my mind. The sap running out, dripping slowly from a wound. Their very energy slowly dripping. This is how I feel today. A slow drip of energy, constantly seeping out of me. I suddenly feel deep sympathy for the trees, and guilt for enjoying the sweetness of maple and the protection of rubber without a thought.

Psalms and Proverbs talk so much about our words... the power in them. Life and death is in the power of the tongue. (or in this case, the absence thereof.)

Only worse than the silence are the times he does speak. The power of words designed to hurt. I opened my Bible early this morning, and read Ps 109:28. "Let them curse, but do Thou bless."

Do Thou bless.

(I don't usually read that version with the "Thou's", but I liked this verse that way.)

Do Thou bless.

Bless me, God, two weeks in. My strength, my very energy is drained out of me like the sap out of a tree, and I tire easily. I struggle with watching someone act normal and happy in groups and silent and sullen at home. I feel rejected, hurt, unloved, not of value. Silent tears seep out of my eyes in quiet moments. Do Thou bless. I need Your blessing now. Do Thou bless.

Moving Again

No, not our house... thankfully, not again.

But our office. We just got given notice, which means we need to move. We had a free place, so a move is going to mean major changes. Pray.

Pray for the right decision, God's leading, and for agreement among the people making the decision.