Saturday, May 30, 2009

Some Good

There are good days and bad. Today was a better day. There are slow steps to normal. Not there yet, but slow steps.

Also sad news today.

A mixed day.

Then - ouch! I hurt myself. Promise not to laugh? I did it hanging upside down from a jungle gym and trying to do a sit up from that position. Yeah... figured you wouldn't be able to keep a straight face... go ahead... laugh! I know I am getting old... but... still haven't learned to act old.

Then kids.. one very serious little guy tried to explain to me that he was NOT throwing wood chips. Hmm... well... he said you were. "No, I was not." Hmm... well why did he say so? "I threw one at him. You asked if I was throwing wood chipS. I wasn't. Only one wood chip!"

With a straight face, I confronted him on it, and laughed later. He is a kid after my own heart - and at least he is getting his grammar.

I'm sore, though. Didn't really need to go hurt my shoulder... nope... didn't need to do that.

One day, I'll grow up. Just not yet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Question

Ok. I talked to my husband yesterday. Well, let's rephrase that. I listened to my husband yesterday. I could have argued with him and won hands down. But I just listened. My internal dialog would have liked to scream rebuttals to what he said, but I just listened. My heart would like to write out on ticker tape that the hurt that he wants me to "just get over it" is largely inflicted by him. But I just listened.

His big complaint right now is two-fold. Well, there is a third, but I don't see that as hugely valid.

1. I don't respect him. (Such as, I told people his problems.)
2. I don't trust him.
and the third...
3. I have no friends and am not happy.

I will discount number three because it is blatantly untrue. I have friends. I am different than him in that I prefer a few friends that I know well rather than many that I superficially visit with. He could be possibly upset that I am not friends with who he wants me to be friends with... but we'll address this one later.

The "I don't trust him". Well, no, I don't. He has proven who he is. So trust would be foolish. I can trust him to fail again. That is what I can trust. But... laying quietly in my bed at night practicing silence - the silence not of my mouth, but of my mind - I wondered. Love is a choice. Is trust a choice? Can I trust him as a choice, knowing ahead of time that he will fail? Can I trust anyway, choosing to give him what he does not deserve? Am I safe enough in my Father's arms to do that?

I'm not sure what the answer is. I'm not much of a person for snap answers. But I'm asking it.

The "I don't respect him". Well, again, no. Hard to do, you know, when he yells at me and the kids. When the very things he teaches, he does not do. I like openness. I like doing what you say you will do. I like dependability. I value these things. And I don't respect him. Yes, I know we have to respect our husbands. So I am puzzled here. For what?

I tried to explain to someone today that honestly, I respect my husband like (democrats, go plug your ears) I respected President Clinton. I respected the office of president and the position he had and the respect the position entailed, but his character and person, I did not respect. That is how I feel about my husband. I respect the position he holds, but not his character. I respect some skills he has - he is a charmer, a people-person, a easy talker, things like this.... but not his character. I respect his vision and goals... but not his character. I think his actions to hurt me when he is angry are not respectable.

So, I guess my question is, - and don't answer if you have a perfect life and a wonderful husband who is always kind and good but only occasionally throws his socks on the bedroom floor - how do we respect husbands who perhaps ...umm.... well....

See, too many marriage books talk about respect and stuff like that, but their examples are people who leave their dishes on the table, forget to mow the lawn, don't work hard enough to provide.... not for people who blow it and get so angry that they think it is funny to hurt their wives. Not for people who will keep going with the verbal taunts and accusations until they get you to cry and then are happy. Not for people who will clam up for weeks on end giving you the silent treatment because they are angry.

So, those of you who have been to the edge of failure and worked your way at least part way away from that edge, how do you respect a husband?

And to how I'm feeling today? Well, I had a talk with someone yesterday, and I left in the evening to go sit alone and cry. Because I feel hopeless and alone. People tell me this, "You need to decide what to do. No one is going to fix your marriage for you." I agree. I'm not expecting anyone to fix it. But I was hoping someone will tell me what I am supposed to be doing. No. I have to decide that.

I feel like I have been given a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer (usually fatal), and then taken down to the hospital dispensary and walked in the door. "Here are many choices of medications. Some of them might help you. You need to decide what to take." And left alone. The very bulk of meds on row after row of shelves is mind-boggling. How could I chose? And even if I managed to luck on the right choice, how would I know I was taking it the right way and the right dose? A few people said, "well I can give you some books" (if you've suggested some, don't feel guilty.... likely I am not talking about you.), but I feel as bewildered as if I was shown the medical journals and the infamous, big, blue PDR (physisian's desk reference - a book about ten inches thick of microfish writing about every drug known to mankind.)

I feel completely bewildered and alone.

I'm cold. Shivering cold. Tired. Unable to retain heat.

I'm so bewildered that I am tempted to just walk out of the room without trying any meds. How could I ever know which to try? Perhaps I am just better to go home and pretend everything is fine. To put on a nice face and smile and to cover my inside self in a head to toe shawl. Wearing the veil. Covering cloth which turns women from individuals into a shape of cloth, indistinguishable from the next shape.

I feel bewildered and alone today. I've picked up this one med, and am turning it over and over in my hand looking at it. Is this the right one for this situation? Or isn't it? How do I take it? Is it a cream you rub on or are you supposed to swallow it? How much? I don't know. And I feel exhausted.

I agree that no one is going to fix my marriage for me, but I had hoped someone would know what to do. No one wants to take that responsibility, so I stand alone in a large room with rows of meds. I'm sure one of them might fix this, but which one?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Be Thankful

Another thing I have decided is that in all the negative and horribleness of these weeks, I have choices. I may be facing my third week of silence, but I am not going to let it drag me down. Time to chose thankfulness and choose what happiness I have. Focus on the good. Not a pollyanna type of ignore the bad and it will go away, but a simple choice. In this, there is still good, and I can both celebrate and give thanks for the good things in my life.

Today's good things:

Kayla is doing well. In two days, she is mastering long division which stumped her for three years. I love seeing her face as she realizes she CAN do this! I've been called stupid and dumb and "will never learn" (not academically, but other things) so many times myself.... and when I can turn around one child's life and take her from a "I'm just so stupid that I will never get it" to a "I'm a bit behind, but I CAN learn this!" - then I smile. She's stopped calling herself stupid. She and I will both agree that she is, like me, distractable and has trouble focusing, but we're learning skills to compensate for that.

Music. I'm thankful for music and laughter. The kids and I put some music on loud on the way to school and clapped and sang along loudly with it, laughing the whole way.

Rollerblades. I got some for my #2 son which means the whole gang has them now, and we are learning to rollerblade. Being active makes me happy. So, so, so glad the cold has gone! Somehow being active while carrying around an extra 15 pounds of snow wear just is not the same!

Oranges. They are in season, and I love them! I know, doesn't take much to make me happy, does it?

First Things

I'm not ignoring the problems, but I am in a wait mode still... waiting until I know what to do, waiting to have things organized... waiting...

One thing I think I have decided is that I don't think I want to do any more "marriage counseling" until my husband does some anger management courses or counseling. He has the material for it already. He's been given the homework and all, but he doesn't do it. Because, honestly, there are marriage issues, yes, but he has an anger problem that is not my problem. He'd like to say it is. He'll happily blame it on me saying I make him angry. But other people make him angry, too. He's got in yelling and shoving fights with people on the side of the road because "they made him angry". I've always been ready to forgive, ready to say it is ok, ready to work on things...

I'm not so ready anymore. I think that he needs to work on his issues and see that they are his issues, his responsibility, and his sins. When I see work on those, then I will be willing to work on "us". The problem with "counseling" so far is that he sees it as a chance to angrily and derogatorily speak of or to me in front of the pastor who really is unable to stop him, and I end up feeling all bruised all over again. It is bad enough to hear what he says once (or many times), but to hear it in front of another person, who either does not or can not stop him, is twice bad.

Anger management - or counseling - this is something that will need to be done before I am interested in getting back into joint counseling.

On the good side - he's picked up a few books that he has been given, and has been reading them on his long evenings alone. I simply go to bed with the kids now. I'm tired and enjoy the sleep. I used to have to stay up with him until 12 or 1, and then it is me who gets up with the kids at 6 and does the morning routine. It was tiring. I'm enjoying sleeping, and waking in the quiet mornings not feeling worn out. But he is reading some good books in his evenings... a good sign.

Do I trust? No. He's been given a limit before, been out of the house for a few months, and been given trust when he was allowed back in.... change lasting only a very short time... I'm low on trust, tired of being talked into it as a "Christian point of view". I don't trust my brother who is in prison serving a fourteen years. I could have my children removed from my home if I was to "trust" my brother with my kids. Trust, when broken, has to be earned. All trust has to be earned. He's busy un-earning all his trust right now. Proving himself to be someone who can not be trusted. It would be stupid to trust someone who has proven that he shouldn't be trusted.

Grace allows forgiveness. Mercy allows second chances. It does not earn trust. I see good signs, and am willing to pray for him, and to be encouraged, but I won't be talked back into trust for a very long time. Not with nice words from him, not with "Christian" words from a pastor, no. Trust is earned. Even Jesus did not take Peter's first declaration of "Of course, I love You".

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cat and Mouse

I drove home from work at midnight and had to slow down for a cat sitting in the road near my house. The cat looked up at me, but did not move immediately like it should. It looked back at the road, preoccupied. I came to a stop and looked where the cat's attention was fixed. A grey bump on a grey road. Then it moved. A mouse! It was midnight, and I had nowhere to go fast, so I sat and watched. The cat ignored my headlights, keeping only half an ear twitching back at me, and chased its mouse. It caught it once, threw it up in the air, and then let it go again. Clearly having fun. The mouse... well, I don't suspect he enjoyed the game as much.

After some time, the cat and mouse game moved to the side of the road, and I drove on smiling. Then I thought. "I am like that mouse. I am being toyed with; a cat watching me. But, was I to drive on, the cat would have run, and the mouse would have been free. In reality, it was not the cat in the position of control and power there, but me in my big noisy vehicle with lights. There would be no battle of strength between me and cat. If I push down the gas, away will run cat.

There is someone watching this cat and mouse game I am living in, too. The cat is not as big and omnipotent as he thinks he is. There is a God who sees. And I went to bed smiling because I didn't feel so powerless.

Then I dreamed. I dreamed I was in a bus with much of our team. Our team leader was driving which makes me nervous. See, I like people who drive without having accidents, and our team leader has twice crashed our car in the few years we've known him. He's rather distractable driver. He was carrying on a conversation with the people seated behind him, and kept turning completely around in his seat to talk to them. I mentioned twice that, "Hey, watch out. The road is up there!", but he would only look forward, and bring the bus back on the road, and continue turning around to talk. He turned and looked at me and said, "It is really all about relationships, you know, haven't you learned that? Don't be so hung up with staying on the road. Relationships are more important."

This cycled through a few more times with the bus wheel veering close to the edge of the cliff on the side of the road, before I finally stood up. I walked up to the front and told him to stop driving - that as important as relationships are, there will be no relationships if we go off the edge of the cliff and die. Not angrily, but just very matter of fact. Let me drive and you talk.

Then I woke up in the stillness. I've been waiting and waiting for things to be done in our family life. Waiting. At first it was "wait until we get there". Then, "Wait until the team is settled." Then, "Wait until we get this project done - it is very important, and you wouldn't want to stop it." Or "Really, are you going to let your personal problems stand in the way of people hearing the word.... getting a bible in their language.... being discipled.... if you shame him, then he will not be able to minister, you don't want to stop all that we are doing, do you?"

Always being told relationships and projects were the important thing - as long as it was not my relationship with my husband or his with the kids. But if the bus crashes....

Happy Things

I thought I would post today about the things that make me happy. True, my life right now is not easy. I'm going into week three of an angry, silent husband. But...

The sun is shining and things are growing. It is warm enough to go outside and enjoy sunlight on my bare skin. (well, parts of my bare skin!) I've started going for long walks and short runs again, and I love being active. My allergies are not bothering me!!! Yeah!!! For those who don't know me, allergies used to steal two and a half months of my life every spring.

At work last night, we put in the movie "Sister Act" for the patients, so I got to listen to it while I put people in bed. It made me smile and move quicker. Our nun with Alzheimer's enjoyed the movie - eyes open, smiling, and watching the nuns sing and dance. Yeah, well, she had not the slightest idea what it was about, but the nuns and music got through to her. I love music. Can't sing, can't play, but I love music, and I've healed enough to enjoy it now. Sometimes, when hurt is fresh, I hurt to much to be able to listen to music. Today, I will put my mp3 player on loud and clean house!

Patients who say funny things make me laugh. One man is a Scottish gentleman who is at times lucid and very polite, but other times he hallucinates. Last night he called me in and told me, "My son tells me that he thinks those people on the end of my bed are dead. Can you look under the blankets and see if there is anything resembling a corpse?"

I looked and assured him that there was only his foot. (He only has one.) He looked carefully down at it and asked, "And is it alive?" Yes. It was. It moved. Then while washing him up for bed, instead of flinching and yelling about being washed where he has a diaper rash, he matter of fact informed me that "that piece of equipment is known to be rather sensitive, you realize." His speech, words, accent, and manners always make me smile. A dry wit combined with usually impeccable manners - while dealing with the indignities of being in a nursing home and having hallucinations.

Only During Service - More Beauty Questions

Ok, seriously, I'd be quite happy if my daughter would go back to studying theology during service instead of looking at me.

This week, during singing, she studiously stared at my head. I wondered about it, but kept singing. Then she leaned over with her question:

"Mommy, why do you have two different colors of hair?"

Why can't she just think I'm naturally beautiful without pointing out that I highlight my hair and wear hose occasionally. What is next week? Questions about my make-up?

She hasn't forgotten her close watch on theology, though. The visiting pastor preached about the man who had been forgiven the huge debt and wouldn't forgive the small debt. He dared to be a bit free with the text and said the "king" forgave him his debt. It only took my daughter about three seconds to be pulling on my sleeve, "Mommy, he wasn't a king. The Bible says he was a master."

Don't try to pull a fast one on that kid!

Then #3 carefully brought his plate to me during the potluck and launched into a long explanation on how he had chosen foods from all the food groups. Hey, they are learning something in school! This one wants to be a pilot, but as I watch him grow, I am beginning to think he might be a pastor or teacher. It is more in line with his gifts and heart. And - the kid is always getting into unusual accidents; I don't know that I want him up in the air with 500 people behind him!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Back

I'm back. It was a great trip. Yeah, ok, a little rushed at times. Interesting to be with different personalities on the trip. The teacher on this trip... well... he is... umm... - what to say? He likes to be on schedule. He can be loud. And I can't always read him well. I think he is nice. In fact, I know he is nice because I have seen him when he is nice, but... sometimes I forget. And when I forget, I get a little nervous and watch him carefully.

But I think he is nice. I don't think that when I see him get frustrated with situations or kids who insist on pushing limits. But then I remember when I see him dealing gently with kids who need gentleness.

Still, it was good to have on the trip another mom who is my friend who could laugh at the whole situation at times and tell me to relax.

It was a good trip, though. I enjoyed it. Nice to be with kids. Nice to see things. To eat because I was out of the stress and with people where I felt cared for. To swim, walk, run...

I ate more food than I would usually eat in a week, way more. Interestingly, I only gained two pounds. Happy about that. I think because we walked and ran so much. I even ran with the kids for their capture the flag game. I think I was supposed to sit on the sidelines with the adults... but... I like to play.

I enjoyed my time.

Now I am home. Met with silence. Met by kids delighted to see me and a husband who likely wished I wasn't home.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm Off

On the trip I was given back. Well, I went head to head with my husband on this one. His big complaint was that his son was "being alienated" from him. (No thought to the fact that his anger alienates him. He is sure that I do it.) So I suggested very strongly that one way to "un-alienate" his son would be to allow his mom to go with him like he had planned. If you really want to appear to be nice, .... umm... act nice.

So I am going. I'm happy about it. Happy to be with my son. Happy to go and see what we are going to see. Happy to just get away for awhile.

Pray for the others at home. They will be watched over by others who will drop in and visit and check on them at school. But my husband is on his "down-swing" now. He is peaceful, nice, mostly kind.... he's got a week or two before he will build and be angry again.

So, I'll be off line until at least Friday night. I get home then, but may not be able to write until Saturday.

Thanks for all your prayer and support this last week. I haven't decided to do nothing even though it looks like it right now. Talking, evaluating, and deciding action will come next week when we have time to sit down and talk.

Ah, but just now my daughter came in tears.... "You're leaving?" She curled against me... "but what if Daddy gets mad?"

What do I say?

I think he won't. I think he won't. We have checks in place. He rarely gets mad at the younger three - only me and the oldest. He's calmed down.

But what if? And what do I say to children to whom mommy represents security?

Now I feel guilty.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Then there is the question of the ride

That question still lingers. Do I keep on this insane ride? Do I continue to allow myself and my children to be dragged round and round the cycle forever?

I don't know the answer to that yet, but I am definitely thinking it over seriously.

I know the cycle. I predicted it, didn't I? And today, he's on the "do some nice things and maybe they will forget" section. So, all the bikes got fixed, my clothesline got rehung, and the garbage taken out (usually left to me). In some ways, I'm laughing - because I can see his steps before he takes them. The only question is when the next thing comes, but I have seen these cycles before.

What he doesn't know is that just as I will not earn his love, he can not earn mine. I do not sell it, but give it freely - when there is repentance. Not before. Not if he does enough good works. No.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy getting my clothesline fixed. I'll breathe a small sigh of relaxation that he is looking for ways to grow closer to the family.

But he can't earn love. He has sinned against me, hurt me, and laughed about it. That is not fixed by stringing some clothesline. That is fixed by facing truth, by repentance, and by forgiveness. By making wrongs right, not by doing good deeds.

And I think an element of repentance has to be seeing what this does to his family. Not feeling "wrong" in a general sort of way, but hearing what it does to us.

Without repentance, if I decide, "Oh well, he's being nice...", it is simply getting on the merry-go-round again. On will go the ride. From here, we will be back to anger again at some point, sooner or later...

I'm getting dizzy. I'm not feeling like riding again. It's not all okay just because he tuned my bike. I don't know if I am allowed to be "angry", but I think I am. This is not right. I should not be treated this way. My son should not be treated this way. He should not be severely punished just because his daddy is angry at his mommy.

I've been stubborn before. In fact, I can be a very stubborn person, when I am not defeated. It may be time for a stubborn anger. Let's empty the stream and clear out all the garbage lurking in the shadows under the bridge. There will never be enough water under the bridge.

Pray for me here, pray for those around me, pray for wisdom. I see only two possibilities for the future, and neither one of them looks anything like the present.

Why Dance?

I've been questioned this last week by a few as to why I obey some of the rules laid down by my husband that are without reason, simply done to be mean, out of anger. In fact it has set off a debate back and forth by some who I know, a fairly quiet one since they are sensitive to me, but still a debate.

Let me share my thoughts today. There are some rules I obey that I know are "wrong", as in wrongly imposed, a violation of authority. But, I obey them, not out of submission to anger or cruelty, but out of my own integrity. I can chose to submit myself by choice to this not because of who he is, but because of who I am. Then I am not defeated, but standing intact. Still dancing in the storm.

Why do I still dance? Because I have realized a few things as I have gone round and round this cycle over the years. Yes, this time is a rougher time with these unfair rules, but truth is still truth. He may make rules, but he can not stop love nor prayer. His hate will not cause others to hate me. His devaluing me will not cause others to see me less. His rules will not stop people from praying for me. So, even under these rules, I still dance. He can not bind my spirit.

I used to think he could. I used to think that how he saw me, all people would see me. I don't any more.

He forbid me to work at school; yet on Friday, he was shocked when I phoned him from home. "You're not at school?!"

No. I am obeying.

I will obey, but he will not win my heart by brute force. He may enforce a "perfect life" for himself, but he will not force my heart. I was built for and respond to gentleness. Yet what enables me to dance in the storm is knowing I am loved. God loves me with perfect gentleness, unrestrained delight, and a deep tenderness. He values me, not because I in myself am valuable, but because He set His value on me. In a value given to me, not earned, I lift my head and smile. I am loved. I am a daughter of the King. He can not take that away from me.

Only on a Sunday - A Point for Consistency

I thought we would get away without anything to write about this Sunday. I thought I'd have to pull something from the past, but no. We actually made it as far as home with well-behaved children today.

Then it happened. It just had to. I was laying across my daughter's bed in my Sunday clothes resting after helping her change. She looked down at my legs. "Mommy,why do you wear those things (hose) on your legs?"

"Oh, I guess to look good."

"Hmm... Then maybe you should wear them on your hands and arms, too. Because if you don't, and people see your arms, they will know you don't have tight skin."

Thanks, little daughter. I needed that!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Looking for the Sunshine

Ha! There isn't any. It's that fine spring rain this morning, not wet enough to be inside or carry an umbrella, but wet enough to smell wonderful!

My world is not all right. Not full of sunshine and smiles. But there is a quote that says "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but about learning to dance in the rain."

My storms keep coming, so I've become good at dancing in the rain. Today, I went for a walk in the rain - a light, spring rain. I've walked in downpours before, dancing and splashing in puddles. (Kids have a one up on us - it's fun!)

There are moments of sunshine. Good things in the midst of pain.

News that a decision I strongly objected to may be able to be changed - after weeks of thinking it was too late, impossible... after weeks of looking up at God and telling Him that if He made the worlds with His word, He can step in here. (not a family decision, but something else)

My tulips bloomed. I love spring. I love its awakening beauty. I just hate the pollen! But after years of allergy shots, so far I'm doing fine this year. I had to go off all my allergy meds because it was making my heartbeat race, but I'm doing fine.

The birds are singing while I walked this morning.

My kids are more peaceful, and my son is smiling.

My daughter is sweet. She just is. She likes to take care of me, and I find her little touches so special. Sweet.

I went for a long walk this morning in the rain, even ran a little while. Love walking in the rain.

I'm beginning to dance again. The wounds are crusting over, beginning that first stage of healing. They will open up again. We will cycle through again. I don't have the hope of an end to this all, but I have the hope one has when you realize I have survived another round, and I'm still dancing.

It might be raining, but I'll just dance in it anyway.

And enjoy those brief moments of sunshine. Little things like the birds singing and my neighbor's iris's blooming. Worms wiggling on the sidewalk. The wind in my hair.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Two Opposite Truths

Can two things which are opposite be true? My rational side objects to this. I actually have a rational side - dry, rational, evaluating, sometimes humorous, rational. It is just in hiding, a bit overshadowed by my emotional side which has not stopped crying for a week.

But I think they can. Opposite, but true.

We say this to ourselves, to others, and there is truth in it. God is enough. He is all I need.

It is true. He is who He is. Amazing. Big. One who made the heavens and the earth and Who sits enthroned above them, yet intimately acquainted with all our ways. Who knows our thoughts before we think them. He is able to meet our needs, yup, even those emotional ones, in ways we don't even think about.

It isn't true, too. He isn't enough. God, who in Himself is in a relationship, created us for relationships. He designed us for this. He put us in relationships - family ones, friends, church, people. He made us for this. And when those relationships are not as they should be, there is pain. Even God's fullness does not take away the pain of relationships broken or hurting. He isn't enough.

Opposite, but true.

There is the obvious relationship here which is broken. My husband has little relationship to me right now, wanting to hurt me, critical and sarcastic. Strange to me that I look back and think that a week ago right now, he was rubbing my back and neck because I was feeling feverish and sore. That was last week Friday night. This is this week. That sudden change still blows my mind, but we are used to it.

Then there are others. He forbid me to talk to people who are special to me. Ones who chose to walk with me through the mess of my life. See, my husband made the decision to do that, and he's regretted it since. I was not what he wanted, too damaged for his liking, and he has spent the last several years telling me that often. If he had a choice, he would walk away. Then there came into my life a couple who decided to walk with me. They could have walked away many times. There was nothing tying them to me; nothing forcing them to stay. Many times, I tried to get them to go away, but they didn't. When I hurt them, they forgave me. They prayed for me when I didn't even want them too! They showed me what God was like - He loves despite me. He doesn't demand perfection before He loves me. They told me I am loved and valuable so many times that I actually began to believe it. And I love them.

I miss them. I've done nothing wrong. They've done nothing wrong. We have not had an argument and are not talking. But, out of anger and out of delight in making me hurt, my husband forbid me to talk to them.

I miss them.

I was in church this evening, and the man speaking decided to show some pictures. He's a short guy, so when he meets tall men, he takes his picture with them. Now he has a collection of these pictures, and whenever he wants to make people laugh, he pulls them out. He pulled this collection out this evening to show his newest one - a man who even when our friend stood on a chair, he was shorter than him! But in his collection of tall men was a picture of one I am not allowed to talk to. For no other reason than to make me hurt. To take away my supports.

I buried my head down into my Bible when the lights came back on and studiously read Deuteronomy. Line after line of battles and division of the land I read, focusing my thoughts on it so I would not cry. Halfway through, there was noise outside, and I was needed to go tell kids to go back to their rooms, so I quietly left.

I stayed outside in the entry of the church. Rested my elbows on the window and stared at the grey sky, tears running quietly down my face once again. Looking up. Silently crying my hurt out to God who does hear.

I'm ok, because God is enough. And I'm hurting because God isn't enough. We are made for relationships.

I'm eating occasionally now. A little bit here and there. Not much. This evening in church, two women looked at me and drew their breath in, "You've lost weight?!" and "You look exhausted!" So I tried to smile. I can not tell them because it is a small group, but they know. I'm still dropping weight. I'm down to weight I haven't been since... well... since I had mono in college.

I went grocery shopping after I put my kids in bed this evening. I walked and walked looking for food and for snacks that I and my son might eat on the trip.... nothing. Everything I saw turned my stomach. Chocolate made me heave at the smell. Salty things the same. Not even milk or anything make with milk. Nothing. I walked away with a few things for my son, but nothing for me. I still can't eat. I do now eat a few bites at supper, but only that. They immediately cramp my tummy up, and run straight through me.

I'm sad. Too sad to eat.

But God. He has a way of sneaking up on us when we're curled in a ball sobbing. And He did tonight. I don't even understand the language church was in tonight - not yet, not when I am too hurt to try to listen. But in a few songs, there were English subtitles. One said something about God our intercessor.

And I heard that. I turned my face up to the Lord.

Let Me pray for that one.

And the tears settled again to sniffles. What I've focused on first this week have been the things that affected my children the most. Their computers, the trip, general peace... because I care for them. I have gone head to head in pleading with my husband about things concerning them most.

This other restriction, I have not mentioned. It didn't affect them as much. It hurts me.

I know Hebrews. He who ever lives to make intercession for us.

So I rested. There are only two restrictions not overturned. I will question one when I get home if things are ok. But this other one, I'll let Him carry that. And while I wait, I'll be busy proving the first of the two opposite truths - God is enough. While tears still fall over the second truth.


Today is a better day. It is better enough that one would begin to hope.


When your life consists of cycles, endless circles that go around and around, when the wheel begins to swing 'round to the other side, do you hope? Or do you just take a breath and hang on for the ride back 'round again?

It is not that I am not thankful to be coming out of this intense anger time. I am. Very thankful.

But, it is more a matter of heal what you can, bandage up wounds, rebuild what safety you can in the hearts of my children, get a little rest, and be prepared for the next cycle. It's coming again.

Time to evaluate, think through where the safety net failed here, and be ready for those things in the future. Time to try to figure out what was the trigger this time, and see if we can avoid that next time. Time to look and think about ways to diffuse a situation, and be ready for next time. Time to take a breath, but not relax. To rest, but not sleep. It's coming again. We won't know when, but it is coming again. The cycle turns endlessly. I could even sit down and predict the path of the next few days... anger, silence, relaxing, coarse humor, a few small acts of kindness, relative normalness, some great gestures of "gifts" or appeasement, normalness, growing irritation, tenseness, grumbling, and again explosive, unreasonable anger. Round and round we go.

I am just not sure I want to ride.

It is back to the question of what is enough water under the bridge. I posted about that before.

Today, I'm thankful the cycles is turning, yes, but I am not very hopeful. Too tired to be hopeful. I don't trust him. I turn my eyes up to God, and I trust, but the questions sit in my eyes, "Father, when will You respond? How long? Do You see us hurting here?" I know He sees. I know He does. I just want Him to hold my eyes. Let me see You. See me. See. The God who sees. This was Hagar's name for God when she was used, misused, and rejected. Alone in the desert with her son that she loved. Needing to protect him, and unable to. It was not her fault the choices that were made to create him. She could only do as she was told. She cried to God, and He answered. Then she gave God a name. The God who sees.

See me now.

I feel like one who has survived a storm; and now, standing in the destruction following it, I stand bewildered. Voices surround me saying different things. Some voices are silent, choosing to think it is not a big deal, I'll address it later. Others are absent. Others themselves shake their heads wondering.

My parents phoned me and suggested I think about separating from my husband. Others have, too. Others suggest that I just submit and become "better" and he will stop.

Today, I'm overwhelmed. I survey the devastation and question like those who live in a hurricane zone, "Is it worth rebuilding?" My heart looks like a mass of scars, one laid down on top of the other. Whip lashes, some open and still oozing, lashed across others, some partly healed, some angry red scars, and some faint white lines of old wounds. I don't always recognize myself when I look in my eyes in a mirror. Where is the smile? Where is the laughter without tears in the shadows? Why are the shadowy pools growing deeper and deeper? Who am I becoming?

Today, I'm overwhelmed. I lay in my bed this morning on my tummy, reading aloud from my Bible. Whispering verses aloud to myself. Praying the verses back to God. Saying them aloud to myself. This is what I believe. This is what I believe about You. I don't feel this right now. I feel stunned, hurt, bleeding; but this is what I believe about You.

Crying out to God, my Father, to pick me up, to hold me, to still my heart to hear Him. Crying simply for the storm to stop, to be sheltered so I can hear His voice. Heal me. Give me rest. Find me. Put Your hand under my chin and tip my face up to meet Your eyes again. Quiet me.

Interesting to me that at different times, I call out to God differently. When my husband hurts me, when he tells me I am worthless and damaged and unlovable, I struggle to talk to God as Jesus. It hurts. I turn and call out for my Father. Yet, when there are troubles with my dad, and I feel unsafe there, I struggle to pray, "Father....". It shouldn't be. God is not as man. But it is.

I'm stabilizing, begining to start the healing time.... but... the cycle continues.... the question is only how long? How long until the next time?

On the what is happening side - my husband changed his mind and is letting me go with my son on his trip. That is good. He is briefly talking to us at times - as brief as he can, but without total disgust in his voice. He has not taken away my computer again, but I have not given him that chance, either. I keep it out of sight. But he is not calm. He is only beginning that process towards things being ok.... He has the tools to use to solve conflict - he teaches others them - but he doesn't use them. He hasn't learned forgiveness and restoration in practice, only theory. It is back to waiting until enough water has gone under the bridge. The problem is I'm running out of water.

There is Something to be Said for Repetition

A few weeks ago, when there was trouble here, a friend told me, "remember Eph.6". Just remember that - to stand strong in the full armor of God. I laughed. I listen to memory verses in one grade, and they are studying Eph. 6, so it was not like I would be able to forget. I was in today, teaching, but my one student was taking a test, so I listened to memory verses again.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you may be able to take a stand in the evil day."

Seventeen times. The eighteenth was home with chicken pox. Seventeen times.

Be strong. I guess there is something to be said for repetition!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One Word

Today, I have my computer back, and turning it on, I saw something.

Do you ever have something you see, and it makes you smile? Sometimes just one word. Today, I smiled. One word. It brought a smile to my face this morning.

That, and being prayed for today. Another person asked if I wanted to pray with them. I said no. I was too emotionally worn out to sit and put my thoughts into words and pray with someone. But another person prayed for me, not asking my permission, not expecting that I pray, too.

There are times I have been prayed for, and it is as if someone laid their hand on my head and blessed me. Without wanting to sound odd, I still say that. Inside me there begins a change, a slow warming or a quiet stilling when I am prayed for, but even more so when I hear the prayers. True, I know people pray for people, and God does listen. He does answer those. But there is something about spoken and heard prayer. It is like a blessing. From other people's faith, I draw strength. Someone used to tell me when I could not trust or believe when I was going through a rough time, "Let me believe for you." And I did. I hung on because someone else believed until I was big enough to believe myself.

Today, I could face God because someone else could talk to Him when my heart was hurting too much to look up just then.

The interesting thing thing about being prayed for is that people usually do it when they are leaving. Then they leave, and you are left there - face to face with God. A stillness.

So today, I wouldn't say God and I are talking. I'm too exhausted to talk. But, I'm sitting still.

Another Morning

I'm posting right now just to let you all know that I am here, alive, survived another night and am looking at the morning. It is a rainy, blowing morning, which is fine. Suits my feelings today.

Rough night. Really rough night. I tried to talk to my husband. It didn't go well. Another long list of things I am not doing and reasons why I am warped and damaged. I eventually went to lay down, but I lay a long time just still in the night, not sleeping. My tummy hurt severely. I was at a awards night for my kids last night, so I ate a brownie and a cup of coffee that was given to me. Mistake. Not easy on my tummy at all.

But this morning, someone prayed for me. If you knew me, you would hear a breathing out of tensely held breath. Being prayed for - one of the things I am deeply missing in being cut off. I mean, I know I am being prayed for, but I miss hearing it. I miss that. And this morning, to be prayed for - it was good. It gave me enough internal stillness to make a small step. I cried for awhile, in the dark when I was alone, sitting there crying to God. Just crying. No words. But then, I got up and decided to go have a cup of tea - with lots of milk and sugar. Tea might make it down. It's gentler than coffee. Then I had another one. My one student did not show up today because her glasses broke, so I just sat. Drinking tea. Sitting. Breathing in the quietness. Resting.

Now I am home again. I need to get things done. Housework, things. But I thought I would write. Right now, I'm hurting, probably more than before. I feel like my life is in pieces, broken, with no real hope of then ever being whole. I feel like I am again sitting in an empty house with the curtains drawn tight with the broken pieces of my life around me and no real clue as to how to put them into a whole. I am not sure what the whole would look like. But today is a quiet hurt, almost numb, but not exactly, just still. Just feeling blank today, hurting.

Tonight, my kids have a musical. My husband will not be there, so tonight I get one night without him surrounded by a community of people where I feel safe and loved. Tonight should be ok.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On Line!

Hey! I phoned my husband and told him that my son needed the computer back on to do a school project. So he gave me the password to his, but he forgot it, so he gave me the one to mine. Yipee! I'm back on-line, and able to access things I needed.

But, I changed the password again. I was told that it might make him angry. It might. But, it is mine, not his - given as a direct gift to me by someone who told me to write. And, I am not going to be so stupid as to leave it where he can see it for a very, very long time. Tonight, it will be hidden and stay that way.

Long talk with my parents this afternoon. More about that later.

No Change

Another day. Another day the same as the one before it.

My son went home with another family from school last night. He has often been at their house when we've traveled. Their son and he are part of a tight group of four boys. They have five kids, and their mom is someone I trust, whom my son trusts, too.

He wanted to go with them because he couldn't handle coming home right then. He needed a safe place. I let him go, grateful that there was another family to step in.

And then I sat on the steps of the school in tears. I want to care for my son. I want to protect him. He's mine. He's my first, my oldest, the one most like me. I delight in this boy. He is my son. And I couldn't care for him. I needed to let him go to another mom to talk, to feel safe, to sleep and rest. I sat in the sun shivering, trying not to cry as moms walked by. I wanted to be there for my oldest, and I couldn't.

I'm doing ok, sort of. I'm hurting. But there are moments, when my husband is not around, that the hurt lifts enough or I bury it enough to smile and enjoy some things. Still under it all, is a deep, bleeding hurt. Like a river running underground, it makes the smiles shallow and threatens to break through at any minute. I'm not eating. Not really at all. Nothing. I can't. I can bury the hurt, but it comes out somewhere, and this is where it is coming out. I haven't ate anything but water since Saturday night. Someone made me promise I would at least drink soup, but I am not. I can't. My tummy holds my tears that drip unseen when I have to smile while I'm hurting, and there is just no room for food.

I woke in the night again last night for an hour or so. I tossed and turned. Then, suddenly, I knew I should pray - aloud. So I did. I sat and prayed aloud for cleaning of my house, for God's peace to come. That was all. Then I tossed and turned again until I slept once more.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Son

I'd like my husband, when he is so mean, and he laughs about it; to see my son. To hear him.

I told him last night that I wasn't getting ready for hte trip since daddy forbid me to go. He began to cry. He wanted me to go. We wanted this for a long time, my son and I. We both have a love of learning and a love of history, and we wanted to do this together. Now my son does not have a love of schoolwork, no, but he loves to learn.

He came out of his room, but had no heart to go biking with his brothers, so sat quietly trying to figure out how to play his guitar.

Then at supper, we had a guest drop in (my husband was out, but brought this friend by for a few minutes on his way out of the city). He wanted to look up something on the internet on how to get somewhere. I had to tell him that I can't turn on any of the computers. My son's reaction was quick, "Why?"

Because daddy changed the passwords. "Even on yours?!" Yes.

He alternated between anger and tears for a time, and then made it through the evening, but cried himself to sleep. He woke several times during the night again crying.

These are his words:

I know you say it is not my fault, but it is in some way. And it affects me a lot. More than the other kids, since I don't know if they all know what is going on, but I do. And who can I talk to it about? I didn't even want to play with my friends because they do not understand, and I can't talk to them about it at all. Why does daddy do things like this?

I can't answer all of his questions. I think he answered them in one statement he made when I said that I was also sad that I couldn't go on his trip with him. He said, "You and I are a lot alike."

We are. Unfortunately, that means that this first son of mine is often targeted by his dad for anger when he is angry at me. All the things in me that my husband hates, he hates in my son, too.

I hurt when I look at this kid. He's been coming to lean up against me, not even crying, just laying his head against me like a small child wanting to be held. He's hurting, and he is powerless in the situation. I want him back out riding his bike and collecting snakes and dreaming up how to build a real airplane that will fly. Instead, he lies around on the floor with little energy to move when he is home. His tummy cramps up and he throws up food or just can't get any down.

I'm angry when I look at him suffering. I'm angry then.

Today, other than my son, is calm. My husband is still angry and nasty to me when he speaks, which is seldom. I worked in my garden this morning, watching flowers that were given to me by these people I am forbidden to contact bloom and sit there smiling in the sun by my front door, and I smile. I see them every time I walk in or out of my house - a reminder. The sun is shining and I just lay for awhile in the sun, stretched out looking up at the blue sky and being relaxed.

I still don't know what will happen next. We'll just wait and see.

Thank-you for all your letters and prayers, and yes, Karis, yours got through. I'll try to write back, but I am limited on my internet time, so it may be hard to do. I do, however, try to get on once a day at least and read.

I'm puzzled. I sometimes look up at God and am puzzled. I want Him to act. I want Him to do something. Perhaps He is. But it has been a long, long time. And that is hard for me. But. I still look up. There is little other choice. I'm still waiting, watching Him, reminding Him that He promised to care for me.

I know if I talked to one person today, he'd tell me to be strong and courageous, not to be frightened by any fear. I'm trying. I'm trying to wait with expectation and quietness, and not to let the fear inside my head. I can't get off my butte... for those of you who are not used to buttes - well, they are odd shaped tall rocks in a flat place. Places of safety. So I stand up there, above the shadows and wait.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Longer Update

So, now I am in a place where I can get internet access for free. He doesn't think of these things, you know - that both my internet accounts are not tied into my computer, but are on the web. He also doesn't know about the blog - that I know of. He doesn't realize that he can take things away, but I am resourceful enough to be able to access some things without "disobeying" him.

But, my heart is heavy today. Just heavy. I did a quick check of my mail at the kid's school, talked briefly with a teacher there who is also a friend. It was to his and his wife's (another teacher) house that I went on Saturday when we had to leave fast. We stayed there all day, until late, late at night after the teacher had gone over and talked to my husband for a few hours. Then he phoned us to come home. He will come over again tonight and talk to us.

Which I feel bad for... his job is not well paid as it is, and he has four kids, works a second job on early Saturday mornings, and then dealt with us after that. But... practically - he sees us every day. He is my son's teacher. His wife was my daughter's teacher. And God has led this man through things which he can use to help in this situation. He himself was abusive and into things like my husband is into. And he is not a easy man to fool. He teaches 7th and 8th grade. He is also very blunt and tackles things head on. So blunt that at times he has me scared - but then he sees me tense and laughs and tells me to relax - it is just his personality. I watched him that night talking with my husband, and I was happy with how he works - how he can connect, and yet not get sucked in.

Still, my heart is heavy. I am at the moment in a wait mode. Wait and see what happens tonight, and then I will see what will happen tomorrow.

But... my husband forbid me to contact or be in contact with the people who have been walking with me for four years; people who are like family to me, the ones who have helped me heal and grow to this point. And it hurts. And unlike other relationships - at the school - where he forbid me to stay and drink coffee with them, this is different. Besides, my "coffee moms" heard the order, laughed, and came over to my house for coffee! Never said people can't drop in! Besides, the assistant principal and my friend, saw the threatening letter from him threatening that if I stayed at the school after dropping the kids off, that he would write them and formally ask them to kick me out. She laughed. No, she steamed first about how wrong that was, but she laughed. She said, "I'd like to see him try to bring a letter like that to our administration!" He can try to isolate me there, and he can make me hurt, but I have people who will not listen to him that are friends here.

But.. for the others, for the people who have always been there for me. He has cut me off from them, and he is laughing about it, pleased with his little self that it hurts. He laughs that I hurt that he took a trip away from me that I looked forward to for two years, something my son and I were going to do together and worked hard for. That hurts, too. But the silence hurts. I want to be able to talk, to hear, to be able to hear them pray for me, and it is silent.

He forgets something, though. One - I have an excellent memory. (sorry, not boasting here, but I just do - one thing God gave me.) I can play back like a tape things I have been told. I also have years of written letters that I can access when I sneak away to the internet place. Even without that, I have a memory. I developed it as a child because I was always told, "what if you are in a place without a Bible, then all you will have is what you know."

On a funny side, I have my friendly neighborhood JWs that regularily visit me. Last week, the lady started to quote something from Hebrews, her verse of the week, and stumbled on it and began to look it up, so I helpfully finished the quote for her. She said, "I know you know your Bible well, because whatever verse I read or quote to you when we visit, you can finish it!" She was amazed. So I smiled and told her, "Well, Hebrews is an easy one for me since I memorized the book." Oh, the look on her face.... it was priceless! Here she is trying to earn her way to heaven and convert me, and I go quoting more scripture than she can fathom is possible, and I'm not even worried about making it to heaven!

Anyway, this memory - it helps. The things that have been said to me, I can repeat. I know them. The other thing that he does not count on - Just because he stops communication between me and some people, does not mean he can stop prayer. So that I relax in. I know I am prayed for. I hurt. Yes, I am hurting. I feel alone, scared, hurt, and having someone laughing at the hurt they are inflicting is tough. But he can't stop prayer.

So, the pastor read from a Psalm on Sunday morning. I doubt I heard much else of the sermon, quiet tears dripped off my face most of the time. Friend passed kleenex row over row up to me, but it didn't help too much. But then he finished his sermon with this Psalm, and I looked it up to try to focus my mind.

It was a Psalm God had comforted me with a few years ago, going through a time like this, too. A time when I wondered if God can meet me, was He ready to act.

Psalm 31:19-24
How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the LORD, For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city. As for me, I said in my alarm, "I am cut off from before Your eyes"; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried to You. O love the LORD, all you His godly ones! The LORD preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer. Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.

God knew ahead of time. He has brought me to this place in His time. He is not unprepared for this emergency. He has goodness, not only enough, but stored up for this time. I come to take refuge in Him, and He is ready to respond to me. He can hide me, but not like hiding alone in a dark place and scared. He hides me in His presence. He is with me when He hides me in His light. He hides me from the conspiracies of man - yes, from my husband, and even from the one leader who he feeds off of and who enables him to continue without consequences because of what he believes about me. He keeps me secretly and shelters me from their tongues. Even in a besieged city, or even in imposed isolation by my husband, He has made His lovingkindness marvelous to me. I am frightened and in fear, I feel I am cut off, but He hears me when I call. He will preserve and save me and He will fully pay back for these hurts. So, today, I chose to be strong and take courage. My strength may be shaky right now, but it is in the Lord, and His strength isn't shaky. My face may still run tears pouring out of my eyes, making a river down my cheeks, and dripping off in splashes on my shirt, but He says He catches our tears in a bottle and knows us. He hears even the quiet tears.

So, I am quietly, shakily holding on. Waiting to see what is coming next, what will be done. I think this man that God has brought into our lives, him and his wife, who have agreed to walk with us for this time are good people, and they are five minutes away and able and willing to act. But, still, when I hurt this bad, to even hear the gentleness in his voice this morning when he asked how things are started the tears. Why does my own husband delight in hurting me? This is not a man - this is not right. It hurts.

Thanks. I will keep posting, and I will let you all know how things are and what will happen. I am going to make some safety nets and be ready, but I am praying for peace, but not peace at any cost. There are times for a Churchill and not a Chamberlain, and this is one of them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

His Reason

Ok - two more minutes if no bells ring....

His reason, while he sat there smiling and laughing at the person he told it to - was specifically to hurt me. He did it to make me hurt.

Need for Prayer

My husband is angry again.

This time, he took my computer and changed the password. He forbid me to talk to my friends, to hang out for coffee and chat when I drop my kids off at school, to phone anyone. I can only stay home and not go anywhere. Those are his rules. Or he will write letters to people to kick me out.

He took away a trip that I was to go on which he knew I had looked forward to and earned for two years. He has said absolutely no contact with anyone who are any of my support people at all.

I can get on internet at work and a few other location, but other than that, I am off line.


I have to go, but there is a psalm that was read in church today that was good, one given to me in another time like this. I'll share it again if I get another five minutes somewhere.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

You Got Bit By A What?!

My middle son again - who else?!

I went to pick him up at school today, and he came bouncing towards me showing me his hand. "Look mom!"

Two teeth marks plainly visible on the hand.

"So, what is it? Did one of your snakes you were catching bite you?"

"No, not a snake! I was trying to catch a snake, but something small, grey, and furry bit me, probably a mouse or a rat."

Great. Questions run through my head... what can he catch from that? After half an hour on endless phone calls to this nation's wonderful health system, I find out that rabies is not going to be a worry, but that they suspect he might need a tetnus shot. About fifteen minutes more or fruitless calls to offices that tell me they'd love to help me, but it is not 4:29 and their office closes at 4:30, and perhaps I ought to phone someone else, I gave up.

I picked up the phone and phoned the one person I know will help me any time of day or night - a urgent care doctor from our home church. Quickly, because he was heading out somewhere, I explained the situation, and in two minutes got an answer back. Because the cut is so minor, we can wait on the tetnus and just keep an eye on him. Really, it is more of a scratch than a cut.

Whew! It was a simple question in the first place. "If my son last had a shot in '03, and has a minor scratch by a mouse who bit him, does he need a tetnus shot now?" Simple, you'd think. No, not in socialized medical systems. I talked to no less than four people without getting an answer. Why did I not go down to the clinic? It is free - yes, it doesn't cost money. But... if I went now, I might be seen before midnight. Average wait is about six to twelve hours.

Thank God for a doctor who has given me his cell phone number and answers questions for me! Even when we were "over there" and other missionaries would come to our city for medical questions, he was only an e-mail away with good advice. He's seen us through irregular heartbeats on a two year old, a three year old who swallowed kerosene, immunization schedules for my kids and others, a visitor with menopause questions, post surgical care of a hysterectomy, a case of TB, balancing dosage of an IV med with the lab's bloodwork results, a severe case of poison ivy, and an eight year old who put an arrow right through his lip, among other things. God bless this man! We love him.

And - no more rats! No more baths, either... except perhaps after hunting rats!

Why didn't I just have cute little girls who play with dolls...? (well, except Karis' girl who stuck a bean up her nose!)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On Being a Missionary

Right now I feel decidedly out of my habitat. I am here, not there. I am in a place where I should feel "home". It isn't my home, but it is so close that I ought to feel home. I ought to feel blessed. I am here. I can go get ice-cream, pizza, clean packaged meat. I even found a Cinnabun today and bought one - big mistake... I was trying on swimsuits... that is damaging enough to the ego, why try to fix it with a cinnabun?

There are times I do feel blessed. I am here, not there.

And there are times I feel so desperately lonely, homesick. I want to be there, not here. I want to be where I grew up. (Ok, not necessarily the country because there were a few, but over there, not here in what should be home.) I never thought I would be raising my kids here, not there. I wonder at times if they will become like people who have lived here all their lives. Will I be able to relate to them or will they be "at home" here and I will never be? Will their lives have all the different facets that mine does from growing up over there?

I'm adapting well. I'm fitting in and even learning to dress appropriately. I've learned that this here has different standards and expectations in dress and behavior from where my home church is. I've learned the language well enough to fit in with all its differences and nuances. Yes, it is my mother tongue, but this is not how we spoke this tongue. I had to learn what was normal here. I fit in now. I have a few good friends that I can count on and think I am secure with.

Two of my friends and I sat around the coffee pot this morning talking about one of their sessions they had had. She had read The Shack and then had heard the author's testimony. She said she was shocked, that she had no idea things like that could happen to missionary kids. Even leaving the abuse aside, she said she did not realize how he saw the world and how his world changed so much in moves.

They both turned to look at me. I had not heard his testimony, but I had heard people talk about it. I shared some of my past, the abuse, yes, but not only that - just the differences. She wondered how he ever fit in here after all that. I smiled. I said, "I think I fit in ok here, and am fairly comfortable with you all, but there is still a part of me that never will. There is always a part of me that feels like I am standing on the outside looking in, missing my home and my community. I am ok here, but every once in a while, I just want to take off alone - go for a walk and get away from people." It is as if I do fit in, but not all of me fits in. Part of me lives in another place with deep connections to people who I may only know for a few weeks to a few years, but are part of our missionary family.

My friend said the best thing one could have. She said, "I can understand that you feel like that, although we will likely never ever "get" that part of you, but I can understand that it is there."

I'm at home here. And I'm not. I miss my home. I miss being in the missionary community - having that connection to people who work with us who are not even from my same country or speak my language, but are our family. Like it or not sometimes, but they are "us".

I hope to go back "over there" one day. It may not happen. I hope it does, but it may not. What we have to do right now may be only able to be done from here. I try not to think long term. I try not to. I don't think I have the strength today to face being here forever. At the same time, I'm not excited about moving, either. Not again.

I want to go home. I remember what my grandma told me, "Little one, you have a forever home coming." One with no more goodbyes. One where I am as much at home there as anyone else. One where I will not always feel like half of me wants to be somewhere else. Where I finally feel complete.

Until then. Until then, we live one day at a time.

A Sore -----------

My husband has taken the week off. Well, not really off - he's lying in bed attempting to work in bed. He has a sore rear end. A hemorrhoid.

Ok, I do feel sorry for him. I'm sure it is very painful, yes. But there are moments that I think back to childbirth, episiotomies (my dictionary does not like that word - I didn't either!), and those wonderfully painful first days of nursing a baby. (Yeah, yeah, all of us nurses will tell you it is not supposed to hurt. If it hurts, you're doing something wrong. Yeah, I wanted to personally go and apologize to everyone I had said that to when I began with my first. It hurts! That part of my body was not used to being enthusiastically sucked on for hours a day - of course it hurt! Later, yes, later, it didn't, but those first few days - ouch!) So, I watch my husband and think that I am so glad that women have babies and not men. I doubt anyone would have more than one child if the men had them!

Other than that, the sun is finally feeling warm, my flowers are blooming, and I am feeling that odd combination of exhiliration that spring has finally arrived, horrible headaches and itchiness which confirms that spring has actually arrived, and am going stir-crazy because it has arrived, and I am stuck indoors again until the pollen goes away near the middle of June. Good time to buckle down and get some work done - in front of the window while I try to absorb sunlight and dream of outdoors.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I met with a man last week who was interested in what I am working on. He wanted to know if his wife could use it to minister to women. So my husband and I met with him.

Five minutes into the conversation, I walked away angry. I hid it well. Even my own husband did not know I was angry.

I paced the washroom with steam coming from my ears. It took a few minutes before I could rejoin them at the table.


One of the things I am working on is aimed at women - primarily women who are hurting.

This man sat down across the table from me and talked about how his wife has begun volunteering at a shelter for battered women. Good. Then he went on, "There are a lot of women helping there, but my wife is the only one there who can really do any good. You see, she is the only one there who is not damaged so can really minister to women. The other women who try to help are all abused themselves and are damaged, so I don't know how good they are - they won't be able to bring any real hope to these women because they are too messed up themselves." So, he went on, as if that was not bad enough, "I told my wife not to be ashamed to tell everyone that she has never been abused by her father, her brother or her husband, and eventually, all the women will come to you to see what you have because they will want it."

Steam rose from my ears, and I excused myself. It is not a culture where it is appropriate for me to bite off his head... but, I was tempted.

I eventually came back, but did not pick up the conversation again.

Ah, but that hurt. I was deeply hurt. To be called damaged again, once again.

And I was angry. Very, very angry. What is it with this requirement to be perfect to minister? So what good news do we really have then? "God can save you, but you will always be a second class citizen"? Not a "good person".


I still have steam rising from my head. I left angry. Hurt. Deeply, deeply angry. Deeply hurt. Feeling small, worthless, looked down on. Hurt. And very angry. As I drove home, I cried again to God... why? Why do people see us like this? Will I be forever "damaged". I looked up at Him and said, "here is Your damaged daughter crying to You again." And He answered and said, "And here is your scarred Savior answering." Then, then I took a deep breath, and cried.

But, as far as ministering.... I think being perfect should be a criteria for disqualification for ministry. In reality, we are all damaged. Sin damages - all of us. Some it damages in ways that men think are important, and other times it damages in ways that men think are unimportant, but we are all damaged by sin. I think the only one who is disqualified to minister is the one who has not yet seen his own damage. Hope is often best given by people who can say, "I know my God... He can..." better than the people who say, "I've heard my God can...." I don't think living and not being abused disqualifies you, only in not realizing that you are also damaged by sin. We are all damaged.

Only During Service - How to Split a Penny

The kids are supposed to bring their money for offering. Where they get money from always puzzles me since they really do not get an official allowance, but always seem to have coins. I suspect they raid Daddy's bedside table!

If they forget, I scrounge the bottom of my purse for any change. Today, I had three pennies for #3 and my daughter to share. There was a hurried discussion about how to do it fairly. Fair being a huge thing at this age.

Finally, they got it. Each would get one penny to put in, and the third penny, they would put in together. There is barely room on a penny for two sets of fingers to hold, but they managed. Very, very carefully, when the offering plate was passed, two kids put in one penny!

It was fair.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Glasses Times Two

Well, the inevitable has arrived. My kids need glasses.

#2 and #3 need them. They were convinced that the end of the world had arrived when they heard the news. Sure that everyone would tease them. This, despite the fact that #2's best friend wears glasses.

The next day in school, two girls from his class came to ask me, "#1 said #2 needs glasses, is that true?" I told them it was, but that he was really depressed about it. He was worried kids would tease him. One of the girls wears them herself, so she understood. Actually, that little exchange comforted me. #2 is often convinced that no one in his class likes him. Two mean boys are responsible for that. I saw these girl's concern and empathy for my son's feelings, and I was relieved. They do like him. In fact... there are two girls who have been hanging around him and his best friend recently... they wanted to come to his birthday party... hmm...

Well, junglewife recently had on her blog a website about cheap glasses. I thought I'd check it out. Wow! Good kid's glasses anywhere from $8 for basic to $25 for titanium bendable frames. Lots of choices. So, I'm ordering off of them, and will let you all know what they are like! See One of the boys wants the glasses in this picture, but in blue or black, or course! They are $19. But we haven't made out final decisions yet.

Thanks junglewife!