Thursday, December 19, 2013

God's Story

As I said, I've been to a lot of funerals lately.  Even more than Christmas messages, although I did hear a Christmas one last week.

There was this one funeral that I went to, though, that really hit me.  The man had actually planned his own funeral - one benefit of knowing that you are dying.  He not only wrote the order of service, but he wrote the message.

First in the message, he said this to his wife and kids, "I want you to know that right from the beginning when I heard about the cancer, I was not angry.  I realized that this was God's story for my life.  My choice was to choose to live well in it."

I actually pulled out my phone - something I never do at a funeral!  But I had no paper, and I wanted to write this down.

As awful as what I have been going through for ten years or more is, this is God's story for my life.  I do not believe, any more than I believe God wanted cancer for my friend, that God wants this marriage pain.  But I believe that God is working in it, and God has a story in it.

I honestly do not know what will happen in my marriage.  I know God has the power and ability to just do something that "works" and gets through to my husband's heart and we could be on a healing path in no time.  I refuse to spend energy questioning the God of the universe about choices I do not agree with as if I am His equal.  I believe in His power.  His lack of action on my behalf at this time will not shake my belief in both His power and His love for me.

However, in the middle of it all, this is God's story.  How I handle myself in this is God's story.  How He is able to uphold, give strength, and comfort is God's story.  How I choose to react to injustice is God's story.  How God has changed my heart to respond more in line with the heart of God and choose to bless instead of curse, to pray for instead of hate... all this is God's story.  What God will bring out of this in the future.... all this is God's story.

God has not forgotten about me or stopped caring what happens to me.  He is not blind to what is going on.  But He is, despite all the pain, telling His story in my life, and I have the ability to choose to live in it well.

God, when you tell my friend in heaven "well done, good and faithful servant", tell him well done on his last message.  It gave me encouragement to live Your story in my life well, even in the tough times.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5

If it was not dark, we would never see the stars.

Bewildering Advice and Warped Beliefs

Ok, back to the bewildering advice.... 

I was hoping to do a more legible entry on what I thought and why I disagreed with this professional who stated that I should not tell him anything of what is going on as I would be "cursing my marriage" and responsible for destroying it.  This was said in answer to an honest question I had about two things:

1. How am I to respond in moments when I face the explosion anger that is out of control?  How to I react then in a godly way that is helpful and could possibly neutralize the situation?

2. How do I deal with the pain from the things he has said in previous times of anger?  I am finding that those horrible things he has said (and never apologized for later) come to my mind when he is angry again, and hurt all over again.  I wanted a way to know how to deal with that build up of pain.

In order to do this, I would have needed to give a few examples of what has happened in an anger situation, and what types of things have been said.  Without those, this professional would only be working on "my husband get angry" and not have the whole picture.  Then his interpretation of "gets angry" may be widely different than mine, and he may give me such useless advice as "try to submit more to what he wants" and "just to keep the house cleaner, and I am sure things will be fine".  (Sadly, both pieces of advice I have been given during my attempts to find help.)  When you have a man so angry that he will tell his wife that the world is a better place without her, telling her to "try to submit more to what he wants" is singularly unhelpful!

Yet, he stopped me right away after those questions when I wanted to say what is really happening.  He told me, "No.  Stop.  Do not say what he has done or what he has said.  The power of life and death is in the tongue, and you will be cursing your marriage and destroying it.  You need to only speak blessings about your marriage and speak good of your husband.  You need to spend more time praying for your husband, only good things, and thanking God for his wisdom in choosing this man to be your husband and for the blessing he is."

sigh.

I doubt God is deceived even if I only speak good things.  Don't get me wrong, there are many good things about him, and there are things to give thanks for.  But there are also serious issues to be discussed, too.

I told the man that I do pray blessings on my husband.  He flat out told me, "I do not believe you."  Why?  Because I was going to tell him something bad, and he believes that if I am going to speak about the bad that has been done, I could not honestly be praying blessings.

sigh.

I took a quiet deep breath to calm myself and calmly informed him that I do pray blessings on my husband and that his belief or lack of belief does not alter the truth.

He didn't believe me and sent me on my way with a warning not to seek any counseling if it meant I was going to tell someone what was going on as then "I would be responsible for destroying my marriage."

Strange.

I took some time to think on this - interrupted by quite a few deaths.  Then I got the man's report that he planned to send to our field director.  It had quite a few errors where he wasn't listening.  At one point I had said that on one occasion when I was a child a certain person had touched me once.  He wrote in his report that I had had an on-going, two year long sexual abuse from this person.  It left me scratching my head.... huh?  He had asked about my childhood fitting in with my peers, and I told him I had friends and was sociable.  The only time I had problems was when I was in sixth grade, I came back to the US and went to a school that believed children should play within their grade level, and they were always scolding me for not playing within my grade level.  The problem was, I was two years ahead in school, so I was not 11, I was 9.  The sixth graders were all discussing boys which I thought was absolutely disgusting, and I wanted to play on the slide - with other nine year olds!  I could never figure out why the school could not understand that I was actually acting appropriately and playing within my AGE level.  Well, sure enough, he wrote down that I was playing with children two years younger than me and it was an issue.

Sigh...  well, it did tell me that listening was not his strong point.  There were some other issues regarding my husband's level of anger that he had wrong, too.  So I wrote him back a very simple, factual correction of those mistakes, all easily cataloged as to where to find them in his document (my time spent editing years before.)  These were mistakes he made on a session which he had with me individually and assured me of confidentiality.

You know what he did next?  He thanked me for the corrections, and sent that thank-you back to me, AND to my husband ALONG WITH the letter I had sent him with confidential information in it - that he had promised confidentiality on.  And, no, it was not a mistake, because if he had only hit reply, it was from my personal account.  He actually had to ADD a second recipient of my husband.

I was appalled.  Ok, it isn't as if I have great secrets in my past that no one knows.  I am fine with telling anyone about those... but it was the fairly open remarks that I had made about the level of anger - remarks that I would have never made in front of my husband because I would be afraid of the consequences.  True comments, but when one lives with anger, one walks carefully.  Those are the issues that became an issue.

I am beginning to think that there are no good Christian counselors out there in the world.

I thought about why I disagreed with his comments about never speaking bad that is happening.  He used one verse.  Just one.  The Bible also talks about the truth setting us free, about walking in the light, about nothing being hidden.

But there is more.  There is truth in what we say has power.  Just like there are truths in many beliefs people have, but if those truths are carried beyond what they were intended or emphasized to the detriment of other truths, you have a warped view.

What we say does have power.  But we are not God, and our words are not some magic spells.  It seems that some believers have taken the truth that there is power in our confession and power in our prayers to an extreme.  I don't know what the official name for it is, but privately I call them "speakers".  They are always speaking good, even good that is not yet, and refusing to ever say anything bad in the belief that if they don't say bad, that it won't be.  I've seen one friend running a fever and with a awful flu saying clearly that she is healthy and whole and God has given her a spirit of power and health to her bones.  I told her she looked sick, but she said, "don't say that, so I won't be."

My words have power as long as they line up with God's actual will... My words do not have power if I find a verse that I like how I apply it to my life and then keep speaking that loud as if it will have magical power on my life.  Sometimes, even if we do not like it, God allows His people to suffer, to get sick, to be imprisoned, to be killed.

I lost a number of friends in a deliberate murder on the mission field.  They died.  Even if I had been there and refused to say that they were dead and spoke life and healing over them, they were still dead.  God allows evil - not because He is evil, not because we do not believe enough, not because He is not strong enough, but He does allow it.  I'd love to understand all the why's, but I don't and I doubt any of us do.  I know that when we chose sin (as all of us did), we allowed evil in this world, and we all live with the consequences.  I know that God gives us all a free will.  We are allowed to make our own choices - even bad ones.  So I know that no matter how many blessings and positive things I speak aloud over my marriage, I serve a God who respects our right to make choices.  He will not force my husband to do anything.  When I am tempted to be angry about that, I chose to remember that this is the same God who did not force me to heal, but allowed me the freedom to chose and was gentle with me.

So while I firmly believe in blessings and understand cursing, I do not believe that my words hold the final power in the world, and I believe that truth, spoken carefully in the right settings, will not curse or destroy.  In reality, we have to start with truth.  God says that those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.  

Thinking about it, I think about what I told the professional - that his belief or lack of belief (about me praying for my husband) does not alter the truth.  I think it is the same with us.  Our belief or lack of belief does not alter God's power.  God may chose to act in response to our belief or He may chose not to act in response to our unbelief, but our belief or unbelief itself does not alter God's power.... or His love... or His character, come to think of it.

So I will move on, and I will attempt to seek some counseling (on my own!) which can answer those two questions I have because I think they are what is key to me being able to do two things - survive well, and be of some help in the situation.

I actually told my leadership today that I am finished with joint counseling at the present time until I have time to heal and learn the answers to my questions.  If all joint counseling is going to be is "bashing me with an audience", it is not helpful.  I come out of it emotionally battered and bruised, and nothing has been accomplished.  I don't know what they will think of that, but in the end, it really doesn't matter.  I need to know how to respond to anger and how to deal with pain before I can be a constructive person in this process to hopefully bring healing.

And yes, that may have to include a time or two where I give an example of what has actually happened and what has actually been said.




Monday, December 16, 2013

A Season of Deaths...

Wow... that sent me for a loop.  I am sort of used to death working with the elderly, but not for this.  This last month, I think I have been to five funerals, and then there was the one I couldn't go to, but still occurred bringing to six the total deaths in our extended friend circles.  A little overwhelming, and that is not even counting my two deaths at the old people's home during that time!

Just when I thought there couldn't be any more calls saying someone had passed away, I got a call... a friend was in an accident.  She's ok, and she is going to live and keep all extremities, but it was dicey there for awhile, and I ended up living in the hospital for a week on my week off caring for her.

Busy...  busy...

no time to get back to my blog, which I accidentally deleted all my images from... sigh.. one day, I will fix it, but that day is not today.

Yet in the middle of it all, I have enjoyed the time to connect with people on a deeper level, to see needs and meet them.  Having lived through pain, I have some understanding what it is like, and what is needed.  Remembering during a crisis knowing that I needed to eat, but unable to even comprehend how to open soup or put butter on bread helped me know how to help my friend by sitting her down and making her food and handing it to her.  Knowing what it is like to be suddenly hospitalized helped me know that I should appear with a clean toothbrush, toothpaste, pair of pjs, slippers, deodorant, and some knitting to sit quietly with while I am just there to help absorb the shock of what happened to her.

But I am tired.  Christmas is coming soon, and only my tree is up with no decorations.  I feel too emotionally tired to "do Christmas" his year.  Deaths and funerals have been my background music, not carols.  I grieve.

I guess that is what Christmas is really about -hope.  That hope that allows us to sing at a funeral.  It isn't about my list of Christmas cookies I wanted to do or about even getting the village decorations set up.... it is about Christ coming into our pain because He was sick of death winning, too.

We see dimly now....


Monday, November 25, 2013

Bewildering Advice

I'm so confused right now that I can't think straight.  Just halted in my tracks puzzled.

I can't even blog this straight, but I will try, but not today.  Today, I will just state that I am puzzled and why.

We have had meetings with a new guy sent to assess us.  He has degrees and all.  He met with us twice.  He was really nice and we both liked him.  My husband got to talk one session, and I got to talk for about twenty minutes of the next session.  My husband had about three hours to talk.  But that is ok.

What puzzled me is that I had some serious questions.  How do I respond when I am facing anger that has already exploded?  Not a disagreement or even an argument, but the anger that has erupted into a volcano and it is all one-sided because it doesn't even pause.  That type.  I need to know what to do in that moment to make it stop.

So I tried to explain.  Also how to deal with the things said....  they are pretty awful.

His response?  "Oh, don't tell me them, please!"  All you are supposed to do is speak blessings.

He actually told me he will not let me say what has been said about me or what my husband has done because if I say those things, I am speaking curses and will destroy my marriage.

scratching my head.....

I understand the concept of blessings and curses to a degree.  Trust me, I understand!  But... does that mean I can never say what is happening, ask for help, wisdom, prayer... because if I am, I am destroying my marriage??!!

Since when is truth destructive... especially when it is spoken in a private setting asking for wisdom on how to handle something?

I don't get it.  But I felt blamed.  It is not the fault of the one who said it, but now it becomes my fault to repeat it asking for help.  What would save my marriage would be if I spoke nothing of what was happening, and only spoke good and thanked God for the blessing of my husband.

I told him that I do pray prayers of blessing over my husband.  He flat told me he doesn't believe me.  Why?  Because I speak of what he has said or does... and that it not good, so it is cursing my marriage, so obviously, I am not the type of person who is speaking blessing in prayer over my husband.

I told him while he may not believe me, I do.  It took me a long time to get there, but I do. It took a lot of time on my knees fighting it over with God, but I do.  Him not believing me does not change truth.

But I am bewildered.  And I guess I shouldn't even be saying that because it is not a good thing, so it is cursing my life.

Would you tell a bullied student that the worst thing he could do was speak up about what was happening, and if he does so, he is cursing his life?

How is truth cursing, but requiring silence on an abusive situation blessing?

I asked God on the way home, "God, this is confusing... what are You saying?"

Very clearly, came the thought, "How did  I deal with the money changers in the temple?"

I smiled.

It reminded me of the time after a crisis when I was not getting heard or helped, and I turned my hurting heart up to God and asked to hear his voice, and he replied, "How did I treat my disciples after the trauma of when I was killed?"

I smiled then.  Like I smiled today.  Jesus walked with them.  He heard them.  He ate with them. He let them touch him.  He was different than the treatment I was getting.

Jesus took whips and drove people out of the temple.  He did not just speak peace to them.

I'm bewildered.  But I am going to take some time to hear God tomorrow and rest.  Then I may blog about what doesn't make sense to me.  Because some of the blessing and curses makes sense, and I agree with it.  This extreme doesn't.  But my heart is bruised tonight, and I can't make the best decisions with a bruised heart.


I'm Offended.... but, no we can't talk about it.

I had this situation recently with an individual on our team.  She decided to do something, and we agreed that it would be done this way.  Then, without warning, she decided to change it.  Ignored the reasons we had spoken about as to why we weren't doing it that way.

It was ok.  Nothing super serious.  Just going to spend more money than was necessary.  So my husband wrote, and I wrote separately, both nice letters, acknowledging that she had changed the plans, reminding why we had had the plans, and yet both of us acknowledging that the plans were now changed.  I offered my help to the new person she appointed.  I said I could go with this person the first time and help them since I had done the task before.

Well, I still, to this day, weeks later, do not know what I did that was so offensive.  The person took a day off work "to recover".  From what?  I re-read my letter.  My husband read it.  I even sent it to my parents.  I showed it to a friend not connected with our work at all.  Each one read it and could not see what the issue was.

We met with her, and she told me my letter was offensive and just too awful to be able to talk about.  I asked her if she read the part where I told her it was ok, but offered my assistance if it was wanted.  She told me I never said such a thing.  I asked her to re-read it, and she did and noticed that in there.

I asked if she could please tell me what was so offensive in the letter as I had no intention of hurting or offending her, but she declined.  Told me the letter was "too painful" to go over then and her stress levels would not allow it.

Huh?!

I am still bewildered.  It was only about seven sentences, very well written to the point letter.  I said about five things.

1. I see you have decided this.
2. We had talked about it and decided not to do this for this reason.
3. I could have helped you if you had told me it was too much for you.
4. Now you have decided that, so we will just leave it be.
5. I am available if the new person would like me to go along the first time since I have done this for years.

That was it.  Simple, to the point, polite.  Not "kiss your rear end" polite, but polite.

She is not Asian, so I am not dealing with the typical Asian mentality, as I would have addressed this very differently if I was dealing with an Asian person.  They have a different way of approaching things, and you have to adapt around them.  This person comes from a culture I thought was fairly direct and clear communication.  (At least neighboring countries around her are... I am not exactly familiar with her particular country.)

I'm bewildered.

Weeks in now, and it is a strained relationship.  It so doesn't have to be.  I never intended to offend.  I told her so.  I asked that we read the seven sentences and she tell me what offended her so I can learn and not do it again.

She refused.

I'm so tired of playing games with people who like to manipulate.  I have been very clear with her that it was not an offensive letter.  I apologized that she was offended.  I offered to clear it up with her and learn from the situation.  She refused because "it's too painful and stressful".

Ok.

I'm not going to be jerked around by another person in my life who takes perfectly normal things and makes big deals out of them and refuses reconciliation.  I've lived too long for more of that sort of thing. 

She wants me to meet for coffee.  I will, but I will not drop my plans and run.  I will when I have time.  But the door to rebuilding any type of relationship will be clear and honest communication.  Such as "what they heck were you offended about?!" - but phrased nicely with a smile. :-)

I am not married to her.  I do not need to smooth over and ignore something and build a relationship on a cracked foundation.  I seriously want to know what the heck offended her so I can not do it again.  Sorry, I typically don't even use words like "what the heck?", but this is such an odd situation.  There was absolutely nothing at all offensive in that letter.  It looked like a perfect textbook business letter to deal with a situation change.  I don't get it, and I don't want her to get all hurt and stressed again, so I need to figure it out before I do more tasks or jobs with her.  I have spent some time trying to research her culture and how they act, but it doesn't seem to be a culture thing as all I read about her culture is that they are direct people who appreciate the type of communication I did.

But she has done one other thing with me, too.  She heard something I said in confidence, and went to someone without asking me and tried to clarify it.  It wasn't a situation where I asked her to step in-between since it had to do with "Dick" and that is an odd situation.  I suffered as a result.

I'm thinking three strikes and you are out.  She's at two.  She can fix this if she tells me what it is, but just "oh, it was too painful, I can't talk about it" won't cut it.  And then she has one more swing.  I'm patient, and I am nice, and even if she hits three strikes, I will be kind and friendly and caring.  I just won't trust her because I will know she can act unpredictably.  But three strikes and she will be off my trusted list.

Because, "I'm offended.... but, no, we can't talk about it" doesn't work with me.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Might Be Your Neighbor

I might be your neighbor

sitting behind you in church

passing you on the street

the other woman on your team

you wouldn't know it

you wouldn't think it

you wouldn't believe it if you were told

because my husband is so nice

so kind, so considerate

you've often wished your husband would help with the dishes after church like mine does

or volunteer to paint your bathroom

or how he surprised you with a gift just because he's known you a year and your birthday must have been during that time.

Everyone smiled.

What a thoughtful man.

No one knew that it was my birthday that week

and he didn't bring me flowers

or a gift

but told me how worthless I was

that no one could love me and no one that likes me now would like me

if they knew me like he did

he waited to give you your gift until I got there

with lots of smiles and applause

I smiled too

even when you told me what a thoughtful man he was.

I wish I knew the man you see.



I might be your neighbor

sitting beside you in your office

or the mom who looks tired at playgroup.

You wouldn't know unless I told you

and you wouldn't believe me if I did.


I don't tell.

I know no one will believe me

Or people will tell me that if I just submitted more

cooked better

kept a cleaner house

perhaps "gave a little more in the bedroom"

that it wouldn't happen.

I'm sure it is just a phase he's going through, maybe a rough spot for him

try to understand.


You don't understand

because you don't live my life

you couldn't believe it

because there are no visible scars

I've learned to smile instead of cry

because I've learned that public tears will be punished in private

because public image is so important

more important than me


If only he would hit me 

people would see and be shocked

but the scars of words are deeper than that

yet unseen



I could be your neighbor

and you would never know


Even my friends do not know the whole of it

they can't handle it

they wiggle in discomfort and try to shut their ears

when I speak what happens behind closed doors

they can not carry the load I am carrying

so they leave

or they burn out

one even told me

"please don't tell me any more about your problems

they keep me up at night and I can't handle it"

so I was left alone

I had no choice but to handle it

I smile at my friends

I listen to their lives

but I don't always talk.

I'm a bit of a downer at a party

when they talk about vacations, gifts, sweet things their husbands did

what do I say?

"my husband yelled at me for two hours last night

he didn't like his dinner"

no.

it sort of turns the chattering woman's coffee time into a shocked silence

so I have learned silence.

I talk about other things.

Sometimes I walk away to get a refill on coffee

because I need to draw a breath and control my tears

people don't want to be friends with me if I talk

they have no answers, and they feel like a failure for having none

I have none either

I'm more used to it perhaps

the questions with no answers

All I really want is a hug and someone to tell me they love me

to counteract the words that are thrown at me

but if I hang out with you and talk too much

my husband will come by

he will ask me later what we were talking about

so I am cautious

I don't want to risk more anger

so sometimes I am silent.


I could be your neighbor

you would never know.

can you see me?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Live Here

Time goes by, and I don't post, and I think I should, but catching up is harder.  I've got new responsibilities this year, and I am busier.  Perhaps busier than I should be....

What to write?  I wish there was an answer that would be good and then life would be good and we'd be living in the land of milk and honey, the land of peace and happiness.

It just hasn't happened.

Just as we saw some good things begin, there was a down turn again, and I am living with an angry silence again.  I am beginning to seriously question some things like bi-polar depression and other things like that.  This cycle, this up and down, this constant, on-going nature of this is wearing me out.

I dealt with "Dick".  Called him to account.  I think people were honestly shocked at what he had been saying and doing.  (Not that I hadn't told them for years, but no one would believe me.... I was just a missionary wife, and he was a leader, so respected, yada, yada, yada....).  Even more shocked to learn at that meeting that he had stated in his letter that he had talked to this counselor, and she had said this and that.  Turns out, he had never talked to her, and when she was contacted, not only did she say she never said such and such, but that she would have never said that because she is not qualified to, AND that she doesn't believe it.  Then "Dick" also included in his letter a quote from his wife.  He introduced it as saying his wife is a woman with good insight into people, and this is what she has to say.....  Then he started the next section with quotes and put it in italics, and in her voice.

Turns out, she never said it.  Nor did she know he was writing the letter.  Nor did she ever see it.

Hmm.

Um, yeah.

I just sat there when he said that and stared at him.  We all did.

This is from a respected leader who teaches others how to act.

And all these years they said I was paranoid and off balance for suggesting he was doing these things.

Vindication.  There was nothing he could say.

Anyway, oh, it turns out there was something he could say, and he did.  The very next morning, he went to my husband and "apologized".  End result, my husband got furious, and has remained that way ever since.

Thanks man.

I think the thing I struggle with understanding is why.  Why?  Why would this man do this?  Why would he malign my character and person so often and so much?  Why?  Why to those who lead me?  Why to my husband?  Why would a leader encourage a man to hate his wife?  (Because that is what he has done.) 

I really do not have an answer for that, and at times, I just lift my eyes to God and question.  Why God?  This was one of Yours, God, why?

I have a few hints, but I don't know.  Hint one is that my husband is worth his weight in gold to those involved in missions simply because of his capacities.  So when there were hints of problems, it was so much easier to blame the wife and then be able to keep the husband than to deal with the problems.  If "Dick" had to admit the problems came even a little bit from inside him, then he would be forced to deal with them.  If he could make himself believe that it was the wife who was a pathological liar and someone with a mental illness, he could have sympathy for my husband, and keep using him in his position.  So he made himself believe it.  He helped himself believe it by suggesting it to and discussing it with my husband until they both began to believe it.  Then they began to share that belief with others.  And because they were both leaders, respected and well known for their leadership, if I even opened my mouth to suggest that they were not working from pure motives, I began to look "crazy".  "See, poor thing, she is deluded, to think that these respected people would do something wrong, how sad."

There was no defense for me but time.  Time to live a life in front of others so that they would see who I am.  (Remember this "Dick" does not and has never lived in the same town as us.)  Time enough so that people would see who I was, and begin to see enough hints into the situation to be able to question what they were hearing. In time, it was time to bring forth proof of what "Dick" had been doing.  I lived almost ten years in the hell he was helping to create for me.  Ten years under his judgements.  There is pain in that statement that is hard to put words to.

The second hint that answers the "Why?" question is hard to figure out how to say....  It is as if my husband has some odd bond with "Dick".  I question if it is a father/son relationship or what, but I know that his loyalty is stronger to him than to me.  Perhaps that is an off-shoot of ten years of speaking evil of me together.  But it is an important piece of the puzzle as soon as "Dick" was disciplined for his actions.

That bond kicked in, and my husband now is furious with me for "hurting Dick".

And quietly, my heart cries out..... where is the anger for what "Dick" did to me???  For years???  It isn't there....

and that hurts.

There is both victory and sadness today.  Dick had been firmly told off.  He is no longer, THANK GOD!!!, on the team working with us to heal our marriage.  (I couldn't express how I felt about that one clearly enough to people, but to be crude about it, it felt like a rape.  I was forced to be emotionally vulnerable to a man who was demeaning and hurting me, and I was given no choice.)  He has been forbidden to talk to my husband about anything outside of work.  Do I believe he will do that?  I don't know.  I really do not know.  What I do know is that he is not a man of integrity, or he would have never done what he has done, so I have no trust in him that he will do as he should do.  However, I do know that no one on any leadership in our mission will trust his opinion of anything regrading us ever again, and if he even opens his mouth to speak about us, he will be in serious trouble.  So there is some freedom there.

He may interfere with my husband's head again, but he has no voice in the team. 

I do not live under his judgement anymore.  I have proved myself by my character, and he has proved himself.  There is relief in that.  It doesn't solve everything, but there is relief in that.

The sad thing is that ten years of mentoring have an effect.  And sadly, my husband had ten years of detrimental mentoring....  that is going to take time to change.  It may even take years...

And that is what makes me shiver as I sit here in another one of his weeks of angry silences....  this may be my life for quite some time yet.  Whatever the underlying problems were, it has been made worse by "Dick's" interference, and we are not even yet working on the underlying problems.  Just tackling the beginning of the effect of years of this evil mentoring.

Yes, I used that word evil.  It is a strong word.  But when I read that the evil one came to steal, kill, and destroy, and then I read and see what this man has done, I know it is evil.  They stole my reputation (or attempted... God held my heart and gave me strength to live who I was in the middle of their words and people saw that).  They killed my joy, and that of my children.  My children can never be given back the childhood that they missed.  And it destroyed our marriage.  Evil is an appropriate word here.  I have no doubts who was behind all of this - it smells of the evil one.

I sit here today and wonder how my life is going to be.  How long will it take to heal the damage and even begin to work on things?  Is this going to be my life for years to go?  And shivers run up and down me, and my heart cries.  I want a marriage.  I want a relationship.  I want to be loved.

And yet.....

And yet, as I sit here in tears, I remind myself that I am loved.  This is not my forever.  I will be loved perfectly forever.  This is my now.  This is the now that God has called me to walk through.  I have no choice to walk it, but I can choose how I walk it.

At times, it is tempting to get angry at God and ask why He hasn't stopped this earlier.  He could have, you know.  He didn't.  But when I think about getting angry about it, I think of that verse, "Who have I in heaven but You?"

This is my now.  I can choose to live it with God or without God.  I can't choose not to live it.

I just don't want to have to go through all this without God.

Even when I don't understand it all.

Even when I want Him to  pick me up and tell me He loves me so much that He doesn't want me to suffer at all.

But I live in a horribly fallen world.  So did Jesus when He chose to come here for me.  I live among a hurting people.  They hurt because of sin.  I hurt because of sin.  I carry scars and wounds, like them.  We all suffer.  I don't get a free pass from the effects of sin simply because I am chosen by God.  I still live here.  I live by my neighbor who suffers because her daughter has a birth condition that she will never be able to speak to her or communicate.  I live here with two moms who are watching the end years of their sons lives because of a disease that gave them no choice.  I live here with the girl whose parents keep telling her they don't want her, and who runs away looking for love.  I live here with the child whose eyes are full of tears because her mommy is moving out.  I live here with you.... and you have your own pain.  We live here... in pain... with no magic answer coming...and we hurt because of all the destruction the evil one is allowed to bring into our lives because of sin.

But I live here with God.  I can and I will chose how I will live in this world full of pain because that is the only choice I do have.  I chose to hang on to God, through the tears, and to keep hanging on.

 And to whisper to myself, "Little one, this is not forever."

God, in His wisdom, has a plan for good in all this suffering.  I may never know what it is, and I don't know if I ever need to.  But He is there, even when my tears hide Him and my heart despairs, and I choose to live this life with Him through the pain because I have no one else.

I was at a funeral this week, and all I could think about it, "hmm.. when it is my turn, I have no fear of death...  I will be smiling... because this world has so much pain, and then there is forever."  I'm not looking to die, no, but I have little fear of it because I know my God, and I can't wait until He sets everything right.

  (Besides, I have a little daughter I can't wait to meet when I get there....)



Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm Home!

Well, after a very busy, and mostly wonderful, trip, we are home and back into life here.  Busy as all get out, but hoping life will slow down once we have got settled in, got the house back in order, and figured out everyone's schedules.

Since I've been home, I've put up my garden produce, reorganized my storage room, attended a birth (of a blue, still baby... few minutes of heart-stopping silence until they got that little guy to cry... honestly, when you are up rocking a crying baby just wishing they would stop, think of those moms whose babies didn't cry.  It'll give you a whole new perspective on a crying baby.  Crying is wonderful.... :-)

What is the news to report?  Still a little in limbo.  Not sure.  We're facing the slow wheels of our mission trying to do something.  Hoping they make wise and good decisions.  In the meantime, there is good to report....

I have no answers as to why, except that perhaps people are praying, perhaps God is working where we do not see, and perhaps he was just in burnout and had some rest... but what I do know is that my husband has made changes.  We've not seen him angry.  We've seen him involved in and invested in the family - at meals, at devotions, coming home, at his kid's sports events, talking, helping out around the house without being asked.  Basically, participating in the life of the family.

I'm shocked.  Not complaining, no!  But surprised.  I am not asking questions.  If he feels like talking, I am here.  In the meantime, I am trying to go along with, communicate with, and work with him.  Thanking him often, compliments.  Hoping that this sticks.

We've hit some stress this week in the sphere we work in (not in family life), so I am a little aware right now.  Hoping he can weather this without it derailing his peace and in turn derailing improvements at home.

There will be some meetings coming up.  The formal meeting with "Dick" to sit down with him and have him hear what damage he has done, hear a formal rebuke by his leaders for it, and set parameters of where he can be involved in our lives and where he can't.

(I wonder at times if the dealing with Dick played into the peace in our family.  For years my parents have been warning us to get away from this man; that he has some odd reason to be working to destroy our marriage.... now I wonder if they were more right than I gave them credit for.)

There will be some more meetings with counselors, too. I think we are learning to exercise our voice and speak up about what type of counselor we would like to work with.  I just hope they don't mess it up more than they need to.

But besides that, we are home, life is good, we are at peace, and we are hoping that things go on improving.

I know from myself that God works in the heart.  At times on the outside, being people around others, we may not see the changes happening as they do, but God may still be quietly at work.  I will trust Him to work, and I'll try to stay out of His way.  My husband will deal with his heart best with God and perhaps with others (supportive people, not Dick!), and when he is ready, perhaps he will deal with it openly with me. 

I hope to write some more later on.... but I just got in, and dinner needs to be cooked, laundry needs to be washed and ironed, I need to do some more canning so we have fruit later on, and..... you know, if you are a mom, you know... that endless list! :-)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Checking In

Hi everyone.  Short note as we are somewhere else and busy!!!  Living in a group culture environment at the moment, and it is tiring.  I enjoy the people, but at times long for a moment alone...

Just wanted to say that things are not worse, and are possibly better.  I think getting out of the stressful environment for some time was good.  We do get moments when we travel alone that we are bonding as a family again and spending some fun time together.

Keep praying.  I don't know what the return will be like and what life will be like when we pick up work again, but I am trying to leave that in God's hands for now and just rest.

Summer is hot.... wow!  I love heat, but this is too much for even me!

I'll try to be in touch when I get back.  Hope you're surviving summer (for those of you in hot places) or enjoying summer (for those of you in hot places).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Waiting for the White Horse

I should change the name of my blog... to family in crisis or something.  But in the very beginning, I began blogging because I needed an outlet, a voice.  And even then, I was in the middle of nowhere... in my relationship, in my life.  Living with this mess, unable to even know how to ask for help.

This blog gave me a voice.  It gave me people to hear me who were not in our leadership or wrapped up in it.  Those people gave me back my identity.  Reminded me, along with a couple who walked with me, that I was who God said I was, not who people said I was.  That process of believing that, and then believing it enough to be brave enough to take action takes awhile.

It takes even longer when your first attempts to ask for help end up with leadership attacking your character.

But I am still here.  Alive.

I cried tears for years.  Why is not one stepping in to defend me?  Does God care?  Why doesn't HE defend me, either?  I still have many of those questions.  It has hurt that no one would defend me.  Even when showing them this horrific letter full of false accusations, no one was willing to step up and say, "no.  You can't do that."  It hurt.  I wanted someone to ride in on a white horse and save the day.

But these last weeks, I finally decided that I have a right to say no.  And I took the letter to the leadership above my leadership.  I showed it to them along with my request that this leader be removed from oversight of our healing process right now. 

I heard nothing.

I was up all that night crying.  That the man read it and said nothing.  I was sick to my stomach.  I got the chills.  I was crushed.

But I gathered the remnants of my courage up one last time and asked him why he had not responded at all.  He stopped, and told me he hadn't seen that letter before and needed some time to process it.  He also needed to talk to the writer of the letter, Dick as we call him here.  I was initially, for half a second, disappointed.  But then I recovered.  What I am so upset about is that Dick took years of accusations about me, and shared them, and never came to me about them.  The fact that "Harry" is going to go to Dick about them is a sign that he is a man of integrity.

So I rested.

Harry actually took action the next day.  What is resulting is that people are seeing Dick for who he is, and seeing what he has done.  He has been formally rebuked already and there are plans in place for him to meet with the leadership and me to hear how he went wrong and to apologize.  I have informed them that I will be bringing a support person to that meetings.  There was opposition to that at first, but I calmly insisted that I do have a right to support, and I will do that.  Right away, they agreed and rescheduled the meeting for later when I can have my person with me.

The other day, as I drove, I thought about something. All those years wishing someone would defend me, and no one did.  But I defended myself.  I wonder if God was waiting.  Waiting so I would learn this skill.

You see, even if someone else defends you, you are still the victim.

But if you defend yourself, then you step out of that role.  And you learn that, no, I can tell you to stop.

Still thinking that through.

But as I sit here today and realize that I, alone, took on a mission leader that was abusive and used the right authorities and channels and respectfully, but firmly, put what was happening in the light and am getting help.... I feel a tremendous sense of power.  Not evil power, but safe power.  Power to defend myself.

Not only am I worth defending, I can defend myself.  I can say no.

And now I watch and smile.

So this is short because we are about to leave for a summer elsewhere, and I don't have time to mull over these thoughts and write deeply.  There is still massive work to be done to save the marriage, but as my parents said, we have to attack both problems simultaneously as they impact each other if we want results.  We have addressed one side of the problem, and getting headway.  With this man out of the picture, I think healing will begin faster and be more successful.

But I wanted to say two things - if you are one of those people that have been around here for awhile, writing comments, praying, and encouraging me - Thank-you.  You have given me my voice back.

And if you are someone who still cries tears at night wanting someone to care enough to defend you, you have all of my heart with you.  Somethings are not right, and everyone should have someone that beats people up when they hurt you.  But be that person for yourself.  Speak up.  And keep speaking up.  Maybe God is waiting, too, until you learn that you can step over that line and take on the role of defender - to defend yourself because you are really worth it, and in stepping over that line, you will step out of the role of a victim and be an avenger.  I didn't know I was still in that role.  I would have said I wasn't.  But it is in setting this whole process into motion that I find that I was.  I was passive hoping someone else would act.  Now I am active - calling shots and putting light on what was wrong.

Now, to be honest, to do that is much easier when you have a few good people in your corner, but sometimes I wonder if God waits for us to step off the ropes and speak up.

I may get to blog once or twice in the summer, but I may not.  Please keep praying for me.  It is still a critical time in my life.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Long Update

Life gets so very busy in this time of year.  Schools wrapping up, exams for my kids who are now suddenly old enough to be talking about colleges and futures.  Just so much on my plate at the moment.  It's hard with the energy drain that relationship stress brings.

My daughter got a concussion playing sports, so she's been home for a few days doing very little.  It's been nice to have her here.

My husband is traveling again just for a few days.  I had great plans to accomplish much while he was gone, but I don't know if I will.  I spent the first two days with a migraine.  My daughter who was home for me to take care of her ended up taking care of me.

We're hitting the road ourselves in a few weeks for our summer travels.  Not furlough, but a trip to a new area to do some work with others.  We will also take a few weeks vacation during the trip, so I sort of look forward to it.  It is just being on the road for two months is not always easy.  A lot of adapting is needed.

It's been rough at home for weeks.  Stress, and then the added stress of being placed in the hands of others has worn me out.  Knowing that the people that have taken charge of trying to help in the situation are themselves not free of bias has been very difficult for me.  People say, "just trust God to work through them", but it is not easy to do.  I wonder if "just trusting God and submit to the leadership" is always the right answer.  I am currently working under a leadership, under a man, who is so biased that he has written a letter to the other people involved in helping detailing how he thinks I have psychological problems, am a pathological liar, and am impossible to live with.  This leader has never lived in the same country or province as me, yet he says this.  And then people say, "just trust your leadership".

I think at some point there comes a time where it is ok and right to confront leadership.  To say, "this is not right".  I've tried the Matthew 18 principle in talking to him first.  I tried.  Three times.  I mentioned that to two people on our team and they laughed and said, "no, there is no point trying to talk to him on your own; he would never listen."  So I am thinking of taking two people with me and going to talk to him...

You see, it is not just for my sake.  He is actively harming my husband's chances of healing if that is the voice in his ear.  You become like your friends; you become like your mentors.  This man has taught my husband to blame instead of take responsibility.  He has taught him to dismiss and deride women instead of acting in gentleness.  He is a harmful influence.

But it is interesting.  While people will readily say, "he's way off base here, he's so wrong", no one has the courage to stand up and say,"I'll go with you" or "I'll stand beside you".  They say, "it has to be done, for sure", but then say, "why don't we just trust God that He brings a way to do it".

That is hard for me.  That no one will stand with me.  I can understand it - they don't want to be on his black list... but it hurts.  There are two who are willing to go with me, but they are people outside our team and have no real influence on this man.  I just don't know what to do. 

The other option instead of following Matthew 18 and going to him again with two or three others is to go over his head.  The director above him is now involved too.  The problem is that he is getting a large part of his information from our leader, Dick.  So I have no clue what he is thinking.  I think he is a more fair man than Dick is.  But I don't know.  I've heard he is.  Rumors from people who know him who say he is beginning to see the truth from others he's sent in to assess and he's amazed that it is this bad, that no one stood up before and said it had to stop, that I've put up with it for so long so well.  It makes me hopeful.  Hopeful that if I went to him with proof of Dick's views and actions that he may listen.  That he may step in.

But I am nervous.  What if he is like Dick?  What if another leadership blame the hurting?  Years of being treated unfairly make me gunshy.  Yet through this process, I've taken steps to say "I will choose to be brave". Perhaps this is one more I need to take.  I don't know.  I meet with two people this week, the new counselor (seems much better than the CFH we went to before) and my pastor here.  Two people who might be able to give me some insight into how to address this.

Because you don't heal with an abusive person on the healing team.  I know it is a strong word, but his actions have crossed the line into abuse - spiritual abuse.  The abuse of power.  It is a constant open wound knowing that my details in this process are shared with this man who has been such a destructive influence in my life.  That he continues to be allowed to "encourage" my husband who desperately needs to get away from his brand of encouraging.

I'm talking more with my parents by skype recently.  Trying to get some help to sort out the situation.  They say, too, that healing this will take a two pronged approach.  One with my husband and one with Dick.  And they need to be done simultaneously because they support each other.  Sadly, supporting each other is supposed to be good, but when you have two people with a warped view supporting each other in a warped way, it is damaging, not helpful.

But it is difficult.  I live among people who say, "we see, and we know what is going on" but "we don't want to say anything... he's the leader, you know.  Let's just trust God to work it out."  I believe in trusting God, but when just trusting God becomes a euphemism for doing nothing, there is a problem.

Nathan could have "just trusted God" about David's sin.  He didn't. He trusted God and took action.  Creative, respectful action, but action.  And he saved a nation.

Nehemiah could have "just trusted God" when he heard about the state of Jerusalem.  He didn't.  He trusted God and spoke to the king.  And he rebuilt a city.

The thing is, these people have seen for years.  People have seen for years.  They've seen what is happening, they've seen what Dick has been saying, and they've "just trusted God" to do something.  You see, my husband is so valuable at what he does....  You see, Dick is a leader....  They've seen, so many have seen... and they have left us to suffer because they choose to "just trust God" instead of "trust God" and seek what action He calls them to. 

The inaction of people who have seen for years hurts.  It is hard to comprehend.  Is it the bystander effect - where if some people walk on by a dying person and ignore them, the crowd does too?  I don't know.  But the effect of silent, inactive bystanders is often as painful to deal with as the problems I face.

Anger in the home.

Blame by the leadership.

Silence among the bystanders.

I feel utterly alone as I stand here.  And that hurts on so many levels.

I trust because that is all I have.  I turn my eyes up to God and wait.  I hang on to Him because at times, He is all I have.  The Ancient of Days.  The God who sees.

I have a quiet hope.  Because some things are being done.  I am not confident about the way they are being done with Dick so involved in it all.  He has decided that I need a full psych workup to see if I have a disorder since he thinks I do. (In all his training in the subject, cough, cough.)  It hurts to have to prove my sanity, prove my right not to be abused.  But despite that, I have hope.  God told me He would step in and work.  Very clearly, last September He told me that. So I wait.  Besides, I have no worries about the state of my psychological health! Neither does anyone who knows me.  They snort when I say I have to get tested.  But get tested I have to do.  I'll frame the results and gift wrap them for Dick! :)

But it is degrading.  And that hurts.

Yet even with his twisted way of wanting us to get help, there is hope.  Because it is bringing us in contact with people who do actually know about people.  And it hasn't taken those people long to see the problem.  I have complete faith that anyone who actually spends time with me will see who I am.  They will see the issues, and they will see.  Everyone sees.  Everyone except Dick who has never lived near me yet speaks with such authority on who I am.

So I am hopeful.  I am trusting God (not "just trusting God"), and I am actively working with those who we are sent to.  And after weeks of a hard, angry heart towards all that was going on, I've had three days where my husband is actually talking and thinking.  That is good news.  There is a long road ahead.  There are real reasons why my husband has the struggles he has.  Pain gone too long without being healed.  He has his own story, and I have compassion for him in the middle of it all.  I long for God to reach in and heal his wounds and make whole.

If only we can keep Dick away from him while he begins to heal....

Pray for me - tomorrow I meet with the new counselor alone and have a chance to talk.

Monday, May 27, 2013

You See

Oh God, this hurts so very much.  Today my heart is crushed again.  I wait and I hope.  I wait in stillness for You.  Waiting for You to stand up, to defend Your daughter from the tongues, to be my honor.  And there is stillness. 

I asked again for help.  Gathering my courage around me once more, and showing one I thought may help that awful slander from one over me.  One who has known and yet chosen to close his eyes.  To shoot arrows rather than to address a problem.  To blame the wounded rather than correct the one who wounds.  To himself cause more wounding than anyone else. 

I expected help.  And I did not get it.  Again.  Oh, God, You see.  You see what those in authority say and do, and You see how they would rather defend themselves than deal with wrong.  How much easier it is to dismiss me as "that woman" and label me.  My heart is bruised inside me.

Lord, what they say is pure evil.  It has no part with Your Spirit, no part with the light.  I wait for You.  I wait.  My heart grows weary with waiting.  My faith hangs on desperately, but faintly.  I wait for You.  Where are You?  Why do You let evil prosper and the weak be wounded?  I know their words are not Your words, but the force of them hurts.  And even more is the silence of those who know but walk by on the other side.

He is Your child, Lord.  He is yours.  You have seen all that he has said, all that he has spoken to my husband, telling him that "I don't know how anyone could force themselves to live with that woman".  You have seen, Lord.  How long will You be silent?  I want justice.  I want to be worth being defended.  I want to hear the Lion's roar, the Father's voice of outrage over the treatment of His child.

And I hear silence.

The silence mocks me.  It in itself whispers, "see, no one cares" and "you are not worth it to anyone".

Oh, Lord, where are You?  Will you let evil crush me?  Will You be silent when Your own demean who I am?  When will You stand up?

I want You to crush him like a bug.  To open his eyes, to let him see who You think I am.  To hear Your voice speaking of me.  To make him look in Your eyes and answer for every evil word.  I want him gut punched with the truth.   That is my hurting heart, my desire for justice, the cry of pain deep within.

Yet You cried out as You suffered, "Father forgive".  Ah, Lord, I don't have Your strength, and it is not just a matter of hours, but of years.  I grow weary and my strength fails. Be my rock.  Be my shelter.

What I so love about You is that You deal with my weaknesses and sins gently.  And he is Your child.  So my desire that You defend me and crush him like a bug is out of line, it comes from my pain.  Strengthen my heart to cry for justice but not revenge.  But Lord, You see!  How long, oh Lord?  Deal with him gently, correct him in love, but correct him please!  Don't leave me living in this years more. I haven't the strength.

Father, let me hear Your voice.  In the middle of all the voices all saying different things, let me hear Your voice.  Let me hear who You say I am.  I need that.  In the midst of all that is said about me, I need to hear Your voice.

Give me courage.  To risk again.  To make the right choices.  Wisdom to know what is right.  Strength to offer forgiveness where it is not even sought yet.  To have grace among those who judge without seeking truth.

Lord, these are Your own who are causing pain and scars in my life.  Where are You?  It is so hard at times to see You, to trust You despite how Your people act.  Your own people shoot arrows and defile with words.  The people who are Your voice down here.  It is bewildering and confusing.  I struggle.  I feel like a child again, abused by those in authority, confused, not knowing how to act, with no one able to believe, no one ready to help.  Different abuse, but the abuse of power, the demeaning of my person, the making me an object, not a human.  How do You allow this?  When will you step in?

My heart hurts. I struggle to believe, to trust, to hang on to You in the middle of it all.  But You are all I have.  I cling to You... in pain, with unanswered questions, with deep hurt, with the silence and mockery of Your people in my ears, I cling to You.  Even if I grow too weak and my hands grow tired and I let go of trust, You will not let go of me.  I rest in that.

But, oh Lord, how long will You be silent?  How long will You let evil continue?  Will You not defend Your daughter?  Be my glory, the lifter of my head.  I need you.  I need Your voice.

You are the Ancient of Days.  The God who sees.  The father to the fatherless.  The Truth.  You are the God who is wrapped in light.  You are the defender of the weak.  I rest in You.  I rest my case in Your hands.  My eyes are on You.  I wait.  Still waiting, I wait and with all the trust I have, I trust.  




Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Fellowship of the Scarred

It bothers me every time I hear it, and sadly, I still hear it often.  It is usually murmured after news stories. Stories like these three women who escaped in Cleveland.

"She'll never be normal after that..."

Ok, public service announcement here:  Christians, we need to STOP saying that.

Have we no faith in a life transforming God?  Have we no confidence in the healing power of the Holy Spirit?  Have we no trust in One who says "Behold I make all things new"?  Do we not follow a Savior whose scarred hands settled the doubts of Thomas?

God is perfectly capable of healing wounds.  Yes, it takes work.  Yes, it is painful.  Yes, it takes time.  Yes, we may be different after that, bearing the marks of scars on our souls.

But there is a vast difference between wounds and scars.

Wounds require attention, care, bandaging, cleaning out.  Wounds require action.  Scars don't.

Scars are marks of something past.  Some scars are hardly noticeable.  Others are glaring.  But a scar marks something past, something healed.  There are different responses to scars.  The polite ones range from ignoring them, especially if you are not close to the person.  A closer friendship will allow the permission to ask kindly, "May I ask what happened to leave that scar?"  It doesn't allow permission to demand, but to ask.

A scar sometimes allows hurting people the chance to ask strangers, "Do you mind if I ask.... my sister just got hurt, and I see you have that scar... can I ask.....?" It is like a silent advertisement that you have gone through pain, which allows those suffering pain the freedom to ask when they need help.

But only a rude and crass person would walk up to a scarred person and laugh, point fingers, or demean the scarred in anyway.

With  the statistics in the US being now somewhere between one in every three or one in every four girls having been sexually abused in one way or another, we must stop responding to stories like the wonderful escape of the three captives in Cleveland with the murmured, "poor girls, they will never be normal after that..."  Chances are, someone in the room you are in has been abused also, and you will be hurting them.  Making them think that who they are is not ok.  Shaming them into silence so they can appear "normal".  Making them think they are not worth love anymore.

We may be scarred, but we can heal, and we can live, love, and laugh and be whole.  God can do that.  I know because He has done this with me.

But then there are those who not only whisper, but attack.  That is what I have lived in for ten years.  Dick has heard about my past.  No, he did not whisper the "oh, she will never be normal" about it.  No.  He went one further.  He said to many, "She is damaged from her past, and is not ok."  Then, adding insult to injury, he questioned my truth telling and suggested that I was "making up stories because if she had really been abused, she would have told her parents".

I have told my parents.  When I was an adult.  Like most abuse victims, I did not tell them when I was a five year old child.  A basic search of sexual abuse will inform anyone that not only do most abuse victims not tell, but even most adult rape victims will not report it.  We are ashamed.  Our shame is added to by people who respond like Dick.

But his view is not one I own.  I can throw it out too.  It is not even one the majority of the church holds anymore.  Thankfully, people are speaking up.  People are talking about their pasts, about their healing, about their stories.  I am thrilled to see this happening.  Because if we carry our healed scars and are able to talk about them, we make the subject mentionable.  We make it safe.  We label ourselves as approachable people.  And perhaps by so doing, we can save one other girls from years of silent pain. 

Yes, sexual abuse happens.  It is awful.  It hurts.  It causes deep wounds.  But, yes, God can heal those wounds.  God can mend our hearts.  We have not lost our value.  We can heal, smile, laugh, love, and even trust again.  We, the scarred ones, stand as living testimony to that truth.  I would not lose my scars if I could because my scars show others that you can heal from this.

But those same scars will cause some people, like Dick, to speak evil of me, to malign me.  He doesn't understand the difference between wounds and scares.  He is grossly misinformed, even telling me that he knows nothing of sexual abuse because it just doesn't happen in his community.  Hmm, yes... 

His words have hurt.  They have stung.  Scars are sensitive, and to hit them is painful.  His words have caused many tears late at night when I am alone.  But I know that my tears are precious to God.  He stores them in a bottle.  He sees the pain caused.

It is wrong.  God came to heal.  To seek the lost, to bind wounds, to proclaim liberty.  We are to follow His lead.  We are not to abuse the abused.  Sadly, Dick is not alone.  There are others, perhaps unknowingly, who do this with their comments.  But Dick is one of the worst I have seen.

If he wants to walk around and whisper about my past in an attempt to devalue who I am, let him.  I will shout it from the rooftops.  I am not ashamed of what evil men have done to me.  It is not my shame, it is theirs.  I will proclaim what God has done.  God has clothed me with dignity.  He has been Himself my glory, and He has healed my wounds.  I bear scars.  I will until I die, I suppose.  Jesus bears scars, too.  I am in good company now - the fellowship of the scarred.  I pray that my scars will bring hope to others with wounds.  Healing exists in the living God.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Throwing Off Words

I am going to tell a story.  It is a story that will be hard to believe, but sadly it is true, and there is more that could be written than I will.  Trust me, if I was to write out the completeness of what has been said about me, well, like Roald Dahl author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other great books would say, "It would gobsmack you, curdle your toes, and turn your hair white".

It is a story of abuse.  Abuse of leadership.  It is more than sheer incompetence.  It is deliberate blindness and bias.  And I suffered it for years.

Today, I began smiling. I'm actually pretty happy.  Something hit me today, and has me smiling.

I've had this leader over us.  A good friend of my husband.  The one my husband confides in.  And the one who had oversight of us until recently.  You know him as Dick - a random name, appropriate for this setting.

Dick has been telling my husband for years that I am not normal.  He even says that my whole family is weird. (My family that has served him with grace for years. Still does, even knowing what he says about us.)  Dick has taken what has been said about me in anger, and believed everything without ever coming to me and saying, "Is this or that true?".  Then he has added to that, and gone to other people above me who might help me and written them letters detailing how he thinks I have a psychological problem, might be a pathological liar, and am so irritating to live with that no wonder my husband blows up.  He even stated, "I don't know of anyone else in the world who could continue to live with her the way he has. and finally, when a person is being tortured again and again, he only responds like the way a cat would. He lashes back, it's not right, but I can see how it happens."

Really! Wow, really makes you wonder why he hasn't been successful in helping my husband with his anger.  Kind of hard to do when you tell him, "Don't get angry, but wow, I sure see why you do!"

But I am happier than I have been for a long time.  Why? Because I am dumping what Dick said.  No longer putting my head down and thinking, "this is what all Christians will think of me, too, if I ask for help".  Instead I am thinking, "This is what one, way off base, blinded by bias, incompetent person said of me."  There is a world of difference in those two.

Actually what Dick has done borders on spiritual abuse.  And it is not me.  It is not who I am.  I may have to jump through some hoops to prove that and make whispers cease, but it is not me.  I don't have to be ashamed of his words.  The shame for his words lies with him, and he will have to carry it, not me.  It will come out as part of the healing/counseling process when we are working with the right counselor, and I will dump his words, his opinions, and his harsh judgements away.

He will one day cover his face in shame from them.  I do not need to.  It is not my shame that one man thinks and has said awful things about me.  It is abuse, and it is his shame.  Very similar to other people who abuse - that is their shame, and not mine.  I will not carry it.  I will not be silent about it.  I will not hide my face and think less of myself because of it.  It is their shame, their wrong, their weight to carry.  When I spoke up about abuse, instead of condemnation, I got affirmed, valued, loved.  It is the same with these words, too.  I do not need to carry them.  I can speak.  I can hold my head up.  The words do not reflect on who I am; they reflect on who he is. 

There is freedom in that, and today I am happy.  Learning that freedom.

(Just to let you know, Dick has not one iota of training that would allow him to make the statements he has made.)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Wrong Thing to Tell a Nurse

Sometimes I have to work very hard to keep my straight face on.  At times, I am harshly criticized for my failures at this.  But sometimes people just don't know, and they say things that... well, I struggle not to smile.

In our meeting a few weeks ago with these four who gathered to read us a letter, there was a time when we raised a question.  One of the four answered that we will just do as we are told and ask no questions because these people will know better than us. "It is like", he said, "being sick, and when you are sick and you go to the hospital, you just do what the doctor says, and you don't ask questions."

I was all I could do to keep a straight face.  That was most definitely the wrong thing to tell a nurse!!!

I am here today BECAUSE people asked doctors questions.  Three time my life almost ended or ended in serious harm because of doctors (or once a nurse's) actions, and it is only because people dared to say no and ask questions that I am alive.

When I was a baby, a pharmacy dispensed the wrong medicine.  My dad gave me one dose, and could not wake me for the next dose.  He phoned the doctor who annoyedly told him to just pour it in my mouth anyway.  My dad refused, and instead took me to the hospital.  I was in a coma and stayed that way for several days.  One more dose would have killed me.

Later, when I was very sick with a long-term condition I have, there was no choice but a certain medicine.  I had one dose and it made me too dizzy to walk, and I felt horrible.  I had the next dose, and I couldn't lift my head up more than 30 degrees off the bed without blacking out.  My mom phoned in from overseas and called up a nurse friend of hers who almost shrieked, "No!  They should not use that medicine on her!!  It has awful side effects that can be deadly.  There is a safer drug."  She phoned my doctor herself and questioned him.  The drug was changed, and I lived.  I still live today healthy and happy on that new one.

Another time, overseas, flat on my back in a foreign hospital half unconscious, I was aware of nurses starting hanging IV drugs in my line.  I groggily asked what it was, and the nurse said, "I don't know.  The doctor said you have to have it."  At the same instance, I felt something that could only be explained as liquid fire in my arm, and told my husband, "shut it off, now!"  Thankfully, my husband did.  To this day, I do not know what that drug was as no one could ever come up with an explanation, and it took me days to be strong enough to question and be alert.  But thankfully, my husband shut it off, and the drug only made it two feet down my vein.  That whole arm swelled to the size of a watermelon, the skin went red, and began to peel.  Whatever it was, I was intensely allergic to it, and it could have killed me if I hadn't known to react immediately despite doctor's orders.

Yes, that comment of "well, we don't question the doctors" was not the right thing to say to a nurse!!

In fact, all it told me was that they were using blind, unquestioning judgement, so it became even more imperative that we fully research and check out anything suggested to us.

That's ok, because when the meeting was over, one of the men looked at two other of the men and said, "Ok, we need to go back to the office and have a threesome."  I excused myself quickly to the bathroom where I could bury my face in a towel and silently shake from laughter.  (And yes, English is his mother tongue, but knowing the meaning of words must not be his strong point!)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Waiting for Hope

It is hard to write right now. Hard to capture my thoughts on paper. Hard to make sense of what I am living in. I don't understand or even have a clue of what is happening. I am standing by... this morning as I drove home from dealing with some paperwork, I thought, "This year, the 2012/2013 school year, has been one of being on permanent wait." A constant holding my breath for something to happen.

 I don't know what will yet.

 It has been a year of change, and it will bring change. That we know, but I do not have a clue what that change will be.

 Things will happen, and people will put our lives into the hands of other people. At first, they tried to send us for counseling to a non-Christian place that practices Hinduistic beliefs. I shook my head and wondered... it is a sad day indeed when light goes to darkness for help. But I was cornered with people saying that if I didn't do what they said, then I was unwilling to get help.

 I am willing to get help. But when you want help for a spiritual problem, I've learned, be careful what spiritual powers you call on for help! I wanted help to be done under the control and influence and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

 Strangely, no one saw a problem with what they were planning. I prayed. I prayed! And I carefully tried objecting. The problem, I think, is that no one researched very well. They looked at a few opening pages of this place, but they did not read the articles and newsletters they put out. If they had, I hope they would have been as concerned as I was. I hope.

 I learned today that that is off the table. Only because I questioned it, but it is. Thank God!

 Even our pastor said, "well, you are people of discernment, so we can trust that you would discern what was right and wrong there." In a way, he is right. I could discern what was wrong. But when you are wounded and hurting... you are vulnerable. At that time, you want to be cared for by people who are in the Spirit. Who can see you as beings complete with physical, emotional, and spiritual sides.

 We had a person come recently to listen to us. That was a blessing. The previous meeting with four people was very different. No one listened one bit. No one said, "what do you feel you need?" They just sat and read a letter and told us what to do. It was strange. Even half threatened us if we didn't agree with them. Attacked when we had questions about the process. It was so different than I expected....

 But, after I raised questions about the place they were considering, they sent someone to listen. He did, and I think he got an extremely clear picture of what we were facing. Very clear.

 So now we wait again.

 And in the wait, God is giving time for a whole other army of prayer warriors to be called in. People who know what they are facing. And in the middle of this crisis, I've become strong enough to say "I won't be silent anymore." So I am talking. And what I have kept hidden out of shame and out of fear and intimidation, I am bringing into the light. I am speaking up and able to ask that the right people be put in charge, and the wrong people be removed. I am learning that I can have a voice - even in the face of powerful people banded together. I am reaching out, building connections, speaking up, and finding strength.

 I'm not sure about hope yet. At times I hold it, and at times, I lose it. Yet an important things happened on Saturday with this man here. The basic problem was laid bare, clearly out in the light. There was no agreement to work on it, but the problem was brought into the light. I believe in the power of light.

 Sadly, my husband has been improperly mentored for years. By a man who has told him that he does not know how anyone could live with me, and that no wonder he gets angry (don't, you know, but man! I see see why you do!) This from a man who has never lived any closer than 500 kms, and who has never stayed with me for more than a week. The saddest thing about that is that it has only helped my husband walk further away from God rather than encourage him to deal with things in his life - we all have things in our lives - and bring him closer to God. Now we reap the fruit of wrong mentoring, and I am afraid it will take longer and be harder than if he had been given godly advice.

 But God is able, and I hang on to Him. It took me awhile to "right" again, like a bouy tossed at sea, but I am stabilizing. I lost friends and support, but I reached out for more. Life in isolation is not healthy, nor does it contribute to growth. I reached out, close by, and back in time - to people who know me, who love me, and who pray. And in their love, in their encouragement, in their strength, and in their validating words, I am stabilizing again, finding my faith, holding on to the God who never let go of me.

 I still don't know what tomorrow holds. I pray desperately for my husband who has a choice ahead of him. Pray for the light to shine, for grace to overcome fear, for love to win against pain. I have questions for God, but no doubt about Him. Pain, but trust. At times, a very weak trust - like a weak, thready pulse in a seriously wounded person, but still a trust. I wait for hope.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

About That Password Protect....

You can also just leave a comment along with a way to write back to you, and I will send it to you.

Back Online Again

Hi there! Sorry, I had to take my blog off the air for a time. I'm back online now. I'm working with a new system. There are posts that have a "show encrypted text" section in them. If you click on that link, it asks for a password, and the rest of the post will open up. So if you would like to read that section, just shoot me off an e-mail and ask me for the password. And then let me know how it works, too. Thanks. I'll post again soon, but for now, this took a great deal of time to work on this.