There are two things that have helped in my sorting this whole event out. The first was our pastor's comment. That really helped me, strange as it may seem.
You see, I have had two responses to what has happened: People either sided with me - "that is awful" - or people sided with those who hurt me - "Well, you need to see it from their point of view." - Our pastor here did something so simple. He made a statement of values and of fact. "That was wrong. A marriage relationship needs to be above ministry needs and needs to be protected." He said it with a deep sadness, but without anger or harshness.
That simple statement, as annoyingly simple as it was, really helped. I can deal with being wronged, but I needed to hear that I was not being demanding - the values are simple.... marriages, then ministry. Perhaps it carried more weight since it was said by one of those in authority over us and one who is also in ministry.
The other thing that is slowly settling in the dust of the pain is the simple quiet presence of God. I noticed it yesterday on my way to work. God is still here with me. I might have kicked and stormed and said that I doubt His ability or desire to care for me right now... which you are not supposed to say... but He is still here.
That has given me a deep sense of comfort. He isn't defending the actions that hurt me nor demanding that I change my attitude. He's just there. Waiting for me to quiet down.
I quietly rested in that fact all last night and today. Then in trying to express myself in how that felt, I began to write. I said what is comforting to me is that I haven't been struck with lightening.
I have not been struck by lightening. I just got hurt, got upset, threw a fit and told God He is not doing a good job of taking care of me and that I am hurting. I am not being nice about it and not sugar coating it or even telling Him in a quiet respectful tone. I just am telling what I feel - I feel abandoned, uncared for, unimportant to God and to others. I feel upset that He does not correct people who hurt me. I feel angry. And you know what? I haven't been struck by lightening. He's not saying, "Hey you! If you can't behave better than that, I'll leave you on your own and see how you like it!" Nothing. No slap across the head, no being walked out on, nothing. Silence. Not the silence of "ok, you are all alone", but the silence of "all done? I'm still sitting here."
It tells me that God loves me enough to let me express my hurt. To not walk away if I don't keep pretending to be perfect. Even if I am honest.
Because I was hurt. It really hurt. I don't understand it and it cut deep when I was already vulnerable and hurting.
I can't just keep pretending it didn't and pretending I am ok.
Perhaps I still need to learn how to communicate more respectfully, but most importantly right now, I needed to be heard.
And God is not striking me with lightening. Even though I was pretty angry at Him. He just sat quietly, not contradicting how I was feeling. So quietly last night, I told Him, "What happened at those meetings really messed with my ability to trust You." And just as quietly, He said, "I know."
That was a huge relief - not to be judged for my doubt, but to be heard.
So our pastor helped with a simple truth: It was wrong.
And God let me say another truth without judgment for it: It hurt me.
Two things - It was wrong and it hurt me.
I can deal with those. Isn't life a lot about dealing with those two statements? But I can't deal with them covered up anymore.
I'm quieter now. Then later on today as I began to write these things out, then came another thought. God didn't strike me with lightening when I got angry and yelled at Him. hmm.. He also didn't strike them with lightening that day when they got angry and yelled at me.
Can't have too many fried bodies lying around.... singed flesh really smells bad....
It has me asking what I want of God.... I want to be protected... but I also don't want to be disciplined harshly... ah, if only we didn't live in communities, I could have both... but if I hurt someone, I want to be gently corrected later on.... not zapped with lightening... but I want people who hurt me to be hit with perhaps a taser at least...
I still want God to hold them accountable at some point and it would mean something to me if this was ever corrected. But... it may not be. Some people just don't listen well. I can't base God's actions on other people's compliance. I'd hate to be judged on what I can get my kids to do. I could force them to apologize for something, but it will not come across as genuine.
But right now, I am calmer, quieter. Not having been struck by lightening has helped. If I am loved enough to be allowed to throw a fit and not be walked away from... hmm..