Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If You Allow Me to Say No, I Will Likely Say Yes

I took a day off.  Sometimes when all you can think of is digging a cave, lining it with something warm, and hibernating like a bear, it is time to take a day off.

Bears have it lucky.  They get to eat all summer and get fat.  Fat is good.  They are allowed to growl at anyone who interferes with them. Then, when cold comes, they get to crawl in a hole and sleep all winter long.  They give birth to babies who are the size of a lima bean IN THEIR SLEEP!!! and get to sleep while the baby nurses and grows.  Then when they wake up, the sun shines, and they get to eat and get fat again.  That is a good life.

But we can't all be bears.  Sadly.

I did, however, take a day off.  I slept.  I phoned a friend who can let me cry and talk without getting all bent out of shape about it since they know where the tears come from and that I will calm down and answer myself if just listened to.  Then I slept some more.  Finally, I did my research and contacted this person they want us to go to.

I always do research.  Always. 

I think he is ok.  I don't know if he can handle what needs to be handled, but I think he can try.

But talking with a friend is good.  Because it is hard for me to trust this organization that we work in.  One of the leaders has seriously screwed up and really hurt me.  For eight years.  Years ago, when I was debriefing with a blogger friend who helped me finally tell my story of a traumatic experience, and I had too many characters to talk about, I decided to give all three men a name - "Tom", "Dick", and "Harry".  It made it easier to talk that way.  So we dubbed this man "Dick".... it made me laugh, and sometimes in extreme pain, some humor goes a long way in helping to cope with it.  So, we'll call him Dick again.

I've blogged about Dick before.  About how difficult it has been to live and work in a situation where you are not believed and no one stops what is happening.  Where people tell lies and believe lies and don't stop and check their beliefs.  I wrote about the aftermath of the trauma and how Dick and his wife were incredibly harsh and uncaring and hurtful at a time we were deeply wounded.  I still struggle when I think of that time, and generally just refer to it as "the shark attack" in my mind.  I've blogged about my struggles to work out forgiveness and how to exist on a team with Dick when he has shown no awareness or remorse for how he has been.

I think I was in a good place.  An accountant helped me once in a long, boring speech about the school books.  Some families hadn't paid for years, and that debt sat on the books and looked bad.  Finally, they decided to write it off.  To write off old debt, to label it as uncollectable.  That is it, I thought.  That is it.

See, I had worked through many types of forgiveness.  Forgiveness of someone who did something that you will never see and may never be held to account. Forgiveness of a unbeliever who wronged you.  Forgiveness of someone who really hurt you, but comes and apologizes.  These all have a template, a way of doing it.  Different, each of them.  But I had no template for forgiveness of a believer with whom you had to continue in a relationship with who is on-goingly hurting you, will not listen to a grievance, and is not going to be held to account.  It wasn't a situation where there would be a restoring of a relationship.  That requires action from both sides.

But I couldn't live with the hurt - I didn't like who it was making me.  And I had to daily chose to treat Dick out of who I am, not in reaction to who he is... or more accurately what he is doing.  I just didn't have a template for that - not until that boring accounting meeting.

Write it off as uncollectable debt.  As a bad debt.  He'll never pay it, and I realize that, so I stop expecting it to be paid.  I take the pain it caused and eat it.  Not expecting an answer for it.

Does it mean there shouldn't be an answer for it?  No.  I still believe that the mission should correct Dick's behavior - not to ease my heart, but so he doesn't repeat it.  They probably won't, and I don't live in expectation of it, but it would still be the right thing to do.

But I was at peace.  I could see Dick and his wife, treat them cordially, seek to meet his needs, and work in a peaceful environment with him.  I don't greet Dick or his wife with a hug like I do most other people in our setting, but those are my personal limits.  I am, above most else, a fairly honest person.  I don't feel like hugging Dick, so I don't.  I don't need to.  Besides, I'm fussy about who I hug.

Until the other day.  Life changed.  When my husband blew up, and it was suddenly obvious that there was an anger problem, a group met to decide what to do.  Dick was part of that group.  All of a sudden, I have a group working and talking and planning about us, and Dick is part of that group.  That moved him from a co-worker that I can peacefully exist with to a person that I was by default forced into a trust relationship with.

Uh, uh.  No.  There is no trust relationship.  Forgiveness does NOT automatically imply a trust relationship at all.

And I reacted to that.  No.  Do not force me into a trust relationship with someone whom I know has not earned that trust.  And I was basically told that I have to be in that, that I have no option as Dick is team leader here.

I've learned not to be so much of a push-over.  I said no.  Again.  It is entirely possible to work in a situation without creating a trust relationship with him.  Yes, it might not be the normal way to do it, it may be unusual, but it can be done.  And it has to be done.  I will not work in a "healing environment" with this man involved in either the decision-making or the information-recieving end.

I don't think the people I was talking to got that at all.  So I felt pushed, hurt, and betrayed.  I should be allowed to be safe from Dick.  I do not need to be forced into trust situations.  The more you try, the more I will react.

I'm an incredibly open, honest, and generally trusting person.  Ok, I will watch you before I trust you.  I will be open, and watch your response, but generally, I will default to trust.  I like people.  I'm strong enough to trust people and survive if they fail.  I didn't used to be, but I am now.  If you ask me a question, and I have to chance to be open, honest, and vulnerable, I usually will be.

But not with Dick.  See, if a person has proved over time and more time that they are not trustable, I will not trust them.  It is very hard, if impossible, to regain trust. And any attempt on Dick's part to have trust would need to start with an honest apology and the willingness to listen to what his actions have cost me.

I'm not an unforgiving person to have those borders around my heart.

And I felt that people were pushing me to cross those.  So I reacted, and I cried for two days.  Then I slept today. Today was better because I spoke to someone who knows my history.  They can (which I knew they could, but just they didn't feel like it because it would be awkward.) take steps to ensure I am not forced to be open, trust, and reveal information to Dick when I don't want to.

That is all I wanted.

So I am more at ease now.

You don't take someone, especially someone with abuse in their past, and tell them that you are in charge of who they will trust and that you won't allow them to set boundaries in their lives.  You don't force them into relationship that they are screaming against - no, don't do that to me!

I have to be allowed to say no.  No sharing my personal details with someone who has deeply hurt me with no remorse or awareness.  No putting me in a room and allowing my husband to vent his anger on me "just to find out what is at the bottom of it."  Usually, if you allow me to say no when I have to say no, I will say yes to everything possible I can say yes to.  But I have to be allowed to say no.

So I contacted the person they are thinking of.  I told him I had two concerns - the two above: no sharing information with Dick and allowing me to say no to staying and listening to anger.

That was ok.  Actually, the man was flabbergasted that anyone would want me to sit and listen to a man when he is out of control in anger, and says he would never allow that.

We'll see.  I'd like to say I believe him, and I do, but I'd like to see it in action.  Sort of like those videos at work where they say if an Alzhiemer's patient gets out of control, you are to use this position to gently and firmly redirect him to a different location.  Yeah... it works well on video, but in real life.... well... I've been beat up, slammed into walls, and almost had my head bashed into the cement walls of a shower stall.  Oh, and the ex-blacksmith with the huge hands that grabbed my arm and said he was going to break my arm and began bending it....  (all we were trying to do was wash his diaper that he had soiled, but he likely had a past of being sexually abused, and well, poor guy...)  All the video techniques don't always work, and sometimes you get hurt.  So while I believe the man's intent, I am not sure if he actually can when faced with full blown anger.  We'll see.

But I am calmer now.  Sleepy.  My tummy is relaxing, and I may actually be able to get some food into it.  Stress, for me, is very slimming. :)  It's Wednesday today, and I think the last meal I got into me was on Sunday.  I'm drinking, just not eating much.  Food hurts my tummy when I am stressed.

Keep praying.  I know there is a core group of you out there who've been through this with me for years.  There are two new people in this group I wish I knew more about - Joyful and Anonymous who wrote me a beautiful letter about teaching my kids to "hurt well".  That was so encouraging, and on days when I feel like giving up and worry about them, I go back to that comment and remind myself that I can be a good mom in the middle of this minefield.  I wanted to blog about her letter, but so much has been happening that I've been swamped.  But just to say, I will not give up, and I will keep choosing to live, to choose joy, and to survive.

Even if I have occasional melt downs. :)

I'm that type of person that deals with impending crisis by dealing with all the emotions and fears first.  I'm fine in things, but not in the looking forward to them phase.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Song Stuck in My Head

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

As I walked last night in circles in the store, trying to wait until the sobbing shudders had stopped before I went home to my children, I sang this song.  I often sing when I am hurting or crying, but usually I sing a variety of songs.

This night, I stuck with this one.  Whether it was because my memory is failing or just because God wanted me on this one or because I just grabbed this one tight and hung on, I don't know.  I have a suspicion on those options, but...

It just seemed to fit the situation, and I walked, shuddered, sobbed, and sang through gritted teeth.

O God, our help in ages past,

There is a great comfort in knowing God is timeless.  He's seen all that has happened.  He knows it all.  I don't have to defend, explain, hope He gets it, show, anything.  He's seen.  There is tremendous peace in that.  He believes because He has seen. 

God has been there through all these years.  He's been there when people weren't.  He is my hope.  Sometimes we grit our teeth and tell Him that He is our hope - not because we doubt Him, but because we have unanswered questions about why He allows us to hurt so much so long.  Those questions exist, but I've learned not to let them get in the way of my relationship with Him.  I neither hide them from Him nor demand an answer for them.  They are just there.  He knows I don't understand and I don't like it, and I know that He is doing things I can not see.  So He is my hope, even though I will freely tell Him that life hurts and I wish He would make it all better.

But the next line had me close my eyes and rest a tiny bit of the pain of this sudden directional turn... away from people saying they will protect me to people asking "well, don't you have your own faults to work on in the marriage, too?"  

Our shelter from the stormy blast

He's been there.  To shelter in.  And He will be there.  Even when people fail.  Even when people have no clue what I live in.  I have a shelter.  I sang this with tears, because I know full well that a shelter does not eliminate pain.  It is only a safe place in the middle of pain.
And our eternal home.

One of the harder things growing up a MK and living in the mission community is the lack of "home". And to remind me of my home reminds me of three things:
1. I do have a place I belong where life will be stable and people won't leave.
2. This is not forever, and however long this goes on, my forever is going to be being loved perfectly, surrounded by people who love each other perfectly.
3. I will get to see my daughter.  I miss her, and still my eyes tear up at the thought of finally seeing her.

I walked and I sang this one verse over and over and over.  Until the shudders stopped, and I came home.

A Slow Shift in the Wrong Direction

I should learn not to hope.

It seems the general view is shifting again... off of saying this is a problem with anger and moving to saying it is a marriage problem.  With that comes a shift in how they want to deal with it.


Here we go again.  Why can't people understand that you can't heal a marriage in a minefield?  They keep wanting me to go for walks in a mined area.

I'm just getting tired of the wounds.

I shouldn't have hoped.  I went to the store last night, not ready to go home, and walked in circles while I sobbed.  I had hoped, and now I was disappointed.  I was told that they would send him away for some in-depth dealing with anger.  Now they say instead we have to go for marriage counseling.

I wonder who has been changing their minds, and I worry that it is the same person who has been telling people for years that I am lying and my husband doesn't get that angry.  After all, as the man told me, "He lived with us for one year, and I never saw him angry."  (Did feel like mentioning that I've been married to the man for over 15 years longer than that, and I ought to know him better....)

I am not to blame for his anger.  I am not to blame for his actions.  And even if my house is messy occasionally, and I cook food he doesn't like, or I say the wrong thing in public, I AM NOT responsible for his anger.  I'm not.

(I actually have my home church pastor to thank for helping me to be brave enough to verbalize that and keep quietly insisting on it.  Sometimes it really helps to have a sane voice who just points out one thing.... and then helps you phrase it for those throwing accusations.)

I will go simply because by the skin of my teeth, I trust that God is working.  Problem is, I don't know if He is working now... or if He is going to wait another five to ten years.  But I am in a place of no options.  If I don't work with people, I get labelled as "uncooperative".  I'm not.  I am just not sure that anyone knows what they are doing.

But here we go again....

Life could still surprise me, but right now the light of hope is growing greyish, colors fading like before the sun sets.  I feel betrayed.

Why can't someone understand that he gets angry and my heart is so wounded from his tongue that new lashes have to search for a place to land before they can cut?

Right now, I want to run away (hopefully to somewhere warm), and find a hiding place to curl up in and cry safely away from all these people.  To sit and watch water tricking by and ask God when He is going to defend His child.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dead Silence

A week or so ticks on, and silence.  I sit and wonder... was this a one-time wonder, a flash in the pan, a reaction to an action, but one that fizzled out.  Is the will to act there, or was it simply another act of "out of sight, out of mind"?

I don't know.  I've heard nothing else.

Nothing changes.  Life goes on day after day.

I realize that things take time to plan, but I've seen it so many times before where they say they will, and they don't, that I am not convinced that this is much different. I hope it is, but I am not counting on it at this point.

My husband lost his keys a few days ago.  He asked, accused, and blamed others. Said he will lock his keys up, etc, etc, etc.  It was likely him that lost them, but he couldn't see that.  Then, the keys were found.  It only took about fifteen minutes, maybe less.  But he was still upset and irritated, and made several cutting remarks.

I drove only my youngest son to school that day as my daughter was sick.  He looked at me in the car and said, "Daddy is just like that.  If there is a problem and he gets upset, even if the problem is solved, he can't calm himself down."

The wisdom of small children!  #3 sees with clarity and is able to pinpoint the problem well.  Hopefully, he can also shield himself from some of the pain that way, by seeing clearly - that this is not his fault, that this is not anything to do with him.  It is just that, "if Daddy gets upset, he can't calm himself down".  So he does things that are not kind.  It is not acceptable, no, but perhaps he can see not to take it personally.

Meanwhile, we wait to see if this is something where people meant what they said and plan to act or if our pain just gets swept under the carpet again, because, after all, he is just such a good missionary....

(I wonder if #3 could identify that issue so easily since he is a ADHD child - bright as a button, obedient, wonderful, but just ADHD.  His brain lacks the ability to tell himself to slow down and focus on one thing.  He knows what it is like not to be able to calm his body down easily.  He is learning techniques and is doing well, and I have complete confidence in him, but he knows he has to work against a handicap.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

And Then...

... and we landed on "calm with an edge under it".

It is a relief, knowing the possibilities.  Of course, I still have one guest here, and guests work as a sort of buffer zone most of the time.  So the clock still ticks slowly in the silence.

Change will come.  The question is of remaining strong and still in the middle of the change.  That requires time alone with God, good friends who can handle my emotions dumped on them when I need that, some humor thrown in to keep us all sane, long walks, laughter with my kids, and routine that keeps me doing "normal".

And right now, I hear through the window, my chickens clucking.  They just laid their eggs, and I should go out and collect them.  Little smiles, things like warm eggs and bright sunshine in the cold.

Transition time.  Time to pull a few friends close. Going for coffee with one tomorrow.  I'll need them in the coming months.

I have concerns.  I try to set them down, aware that if God is working, He'll do ok.  It is just that I have seen my mission leadership in this field so seriously screw up so badly for so long that I am on edge, hesitant.  These are some of the same people who called into question my honesty, integrity, and sanity for years swearing that there was no anger problem because "I've never seen him angry; she must be lying or crazy."  Now I am being asked to trust them.


I do.  But with a safety net.  I trust God.  I've heard Him say He is going to work.  So I stand back watching, agreeing to work with, but not trusting the people working, only the God who is working through them.

I have concerns.  I am fiercely protective of my children.  I will do nothing that leaves them vulnerable.  Their needs have to be taken into account in all that is moving forward.  I worry that won't happen, and that is not acceptable.

Thoughts run in my head at high speed.  I am on edge.  I am also calm.  Knowing God said to sit quiet and watch Him work.  I've been reading Esther the last mornings, and while I have deep sympathy for Esther and the life she was forced into, I relaxed this morning as I watched God step in just when Haman planned to kill Mordecai and hung Haman on his own plans of destruction.

I feel for Esther.  A woman who probably wanted a little Jewish husband who loved her, kids around the table, and a life of meeting for coffee with other women and their babies.  Instead, God has a plan for her to save a people.  To do so, she is snatched off the street with no will of her own, and is married to this barbaric king who has a few other hundred women he sleeps with, and of whom she is afraid of even going to see without an invitation.

People say, "wow, cool, she gets to be a queen!"  Huh!  Give me love and peace any day over riches and fear!

And yet God had her there for a purpose.  She lost the chance to have what every Jewish girl dreamed of - a family and being part of her community....  but God had her here for a purpose, a reason.  To save a people.  A people she couldn't even anymore be a part of.

So, I sit here.  In a smaller scale way.  I don't have what my little girl's heart's dream was.  But I feel called to be here in the situation I am in, to listen, to stay, to hope, to pray.  I believe God will step in.  I don't know when.  It's been a very long time already.  That fact hurts.  But I know God's voice, and I know He has called me to be here, to rest, and let Him work.

Even if it is through an organization and people who have so massively failed me before.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tick, Tick, Tick

Sometimes, that is all you can hear in the silence.  Tick, tick, tick...

The clock counting seconds.  Tick, tick, tick...

 What is coming next?  The risk of other people stepping in is that they have no history.  They do things, and don't foresee the result.

Don't get me wrong... these things needed to happen... but... now I sit in silence listening to the clock.

Tick, tick, tick...

No time to get a safety net under my family.  Barely time to prepare.

What am I in for?  Days of explosive anger?  A hostile silence lasting weeks?  Calm with an edge under it?

Tick, tick, tick...

"Oh no, he took it just fine.  I can't see a problem."  The profound ignorance of those unaware of the level of anger they are dealing with.
I would have rather they had spoken to some of those who were working in the situation, even if they were not able to accomplish much.  Instead they had a meeting with those, with the exception of one, who have done little over the years. Those who are not aware of the possibilities of the reaction to their steps today.

Chills run up and down my spine.  The clock ticks loudly.  I napped today to give myself stamina to face the evening.  I organize the children through their after school routines and spread peace in the house.  We'll need it.  I alert the school, the teachers and administration who have been there for us before, asking them to check in on my kids tomorrow.

Tick, tick, tick...

Only time will tell what the evening holds.... 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Choosing to Stay Within an Arm's Reach of Anger.

Last night I had a night I slept, I think.  But I feel as if I didn't.  I slept and I fought.  I struggled all night with an unformed shape in hand to hand combat, gasping for air, wrestling.  I woke exhausted.  My muscles ache, my body hurts, and I fight to keep my eyes open.

A dream.


I had done something I thought was right.  Something I felt led to do.  And it went wrong.  Terribly wrong.  What could have been a peaceful night of sleep began with fifteen minutes of being yelled at... somewhat quietly as we had guests.  It ended with him walking out.

I lay in the dark quietly.  I had lain quietly when the yelling started.  Still, calm, quiet.  Not cowering, only still.  Waiting. Then he walked out.  Tears stung at my eyes.  Voices in my head.  "You idiot, why did you do that?  Obviously you made a mistake.  Look what you did."

I chose then to say no.  Not to listen.  I told myself that I did what I felt led to do, and I am not responsible for the result, only for my own obedience, and I silenced the voices.  I am choosing to guard my mind.  To stand on solid ground.

Then I told myself, "go to sleep."  I have a special ability to calm fussy babies.  I think it is because I consciously chose to relax my body to an almost sleep while I am awake.  I did that now to myself.  And then I began to pray from a not tense body.  To rest.

I asked God how I need to pray for him.  To teach me how to pray.  What are we dealing with here?  Show me what to do.  And I prayed.

Then I went to sleep.  I guess I slept.  But the instant I fell asleep, I was engulfed in this battle.  Fierce wrestling, battling for breath, for survival.  I fought.  Determinedly.  I didn't thrash in the bed.  I was still, but my body was soaked with sweat when I woke.

I woke with him back in the bed, reaching for me.  With an apology for the evening before.

And yet, within a few short hours, he is back to throwing verbal barbs at me.  Little lies, little put downs.  Which hurt.  Even more now.

The up and down of the roller coaster.

Except that I have a strong quiet assurance that God IS working.  I can't see it yet.  I see bits at brief times.  Not the "oh, honey, I'm sorry" type of bits of hope.  It is not only a relationship that needs mending.  It is freedom and healing that is needed deep in his own soul.  I think the relationship will be an easier fix after that.  So I am looking for, praying for, hoping for changes there.  And I see little, little things.

I have hope.  But that hope is built on the sheer strength of knowing God's voice, not on encouraging things I see.

I asked God to show me what we are dealing with, and I wrestled the unseen.  Today, I hover between two worlds.  Living in the seen, aware of the unseen.  Quiet before God, with my pain, with my own wounds that make being there for another even that much harder, but aware of the sure-ness of God.  I've seen Him work.  I know what He can do.  I'm quiet in that.  Confident.

And I am not blind to what it means to walk beside someone.  Someone walked beside me once.  I think back to that time.  What I remember makes me still.

In church today, the verse was read that light came into the world, but men loved the darkness because their deeds were evil.  I thought as I listened that men loved the darkness not because the darkness was so attractive, but because they could not handle what they could see when the light showed what was there.

I know that feeling.  Light, when you are not ready for it, is terrifying.  Absolutely, hands down, utterly terrifying.  It is only as there is grace, gentleness, and a cleansing of what light shows that light becomes welcome.

I took many side trips back into darkness out of sheer fear of the light.  I was blessed.  I had someone walking with me who didn't give up or get frustrated and angry with me.  But I remember those days, and I remember the sheer hate darkness has of light and the anger directed against it.  Darkness hates light.  And when you begin to deal with roots buried deep within the ground, there is a reaction.

What makes me very still today is realizing the weight of the anger I had against the one walking with me. Oh, it wasn't always there.  I do love him, but there were days I hated him.  I was comfortable before he began to ask questions.  I fought, kicked, squirmed, and protested.  For years. Now is different.  Now I love light like one used to walking in it.  Transparency feels safe to me, not frightening.  But the journey there is rough.

And I realize that if the darkness is challenged here, I am the one standing closest.  A lightening rod.

But I am still.  Quiet.  Watching God.  Asking with my eyes what He wants from me.  Aware that to help others, you often must be willing to stand within arms reach of anger.  Aware also that I am safe.  Loved.  Valued.  Secure.  Yet able to be hurt.  Not defeated. But wounded.

Yet I follow a God who chose to be wounded for us. 

Our pastor has something he says enough that we can all repeat it.  "It's not your party."  It is not all about you.

I want a healed marriage.  A husband who loves me, who thinks I am great.  A peaceful home.  To be valued and seen for who I am.  I don't have that. I can fight for that - for all that I deserve or have a right to have.  It is wrong how he treats me, and it should not be.  OR I can fight for him.  For what he needs.  It is not my party.  It is not all about me.

More important right now than me having my needs in a marriage met or me being protected from hurt is him getting the healing he needs.  Of him knowing that in light there is real freedom, even from the things that look too big right now.  These things are more important.

So after a night of hand to hand combat, today I am still.  Quietly watching.

I am not weak.  I am not a push-over.  I actually stand in a place of great strength because I can (mostly) control myself.  The one who can control himself is stronger than the one who can control a city.  But strength is not given to defend yourself, strength is given to help others.

There is a balance in all this.  I know that.  That is why today I am quiet, watching.  I have confidence in God to show me where that balance is.  I have people who hug me, people who simply see and I know they love me and care.

Right now, what I hear from God is to be here.  To stay stable.  To choose love, to choose joy, and to be willing to be hurt.  To not focus on my own needs, but be praying for his.  And to wait.  God will work in His time.  I don't need to act or force or anything to cause action.  I simply am waiting, confident in what God has told me.  He will work.  I know this.  The road may be long and the struggle fierce, but He will work.

But tonight, sleep.  And perhaps a few tears.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When We Sleep

I went to bed last night hurting.  Wishing I had a friend to give me a hug.  While I actually have a good friend here now, it is the wrong type to ask a hug from. :)

So I went to bed sad.

I woke up and felt so happy right when I woke up.  I felt I had been held all night, held close and comforted.  I woke up feeling so incredibly loved and cared for.

Then I woke up more... and realized all is not right with the world.  But I still had that incredible sense of having been held and hugged.


So I smiled.  And when I dragged my half awake self down to make coffee and sit and read, I smiled some more.  I knew who had held me... the God who said He would be there for me.

And just that simple feeling encourages me today.  God sees.  And in ways I don't understand, He was even able to meet my huge need just to be held and comforted.  I am not alone.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Bad Day

I had a really bad day today.  It's not that there hasn't been good days.  There's been a lot of good days in my life recently.  But there are bad days, and those days are the days when you want to talk, but there isn't always the ability to talk.

Today was bad.  Not only bad, but humiliatingly bad.  Rough.  Awful.  A day in which you want to run away and curl up and cry, but there is no time or opportunity and you are in public all day, so the tears sit behind your eyes and you end up exhausted by the weight of not crying them.

Days you dream of a hug or a shoulder to lay your head on for a few minutes.

And then I went home to kids who were fighting.  I dealt with that well.  Had them role play good conversation until they got it.  Did it with humor, so they were laughing by the end of it.

I'm exhausted.  And I long for a shoulder to lay my head on and cry.  Or simply a hand on my shoulder and a kind word.  But there is none.

I blog often on bad days.  An outlet for speaking when silence is called for.

I'm ok, content to wait on God, convinced He is telling me that He is working.  I have faith.  I know He will work.  I am content to wait and do what I feel He is telling me right now.

It is just that that faith and determination to obey does not take away one bit from the pain and humiliation of really bad days.  He doesn't always protect me from the tears.  He doesn't even always provide a shoulder to lean on or a set of arms for a hug when I so desperately need one.  But He's there.  There with the tears.  Aware of how that hurt.  And I rest in that.

I'm learning to rest the full weight of my pain against Him.  It is not a sin nor a weakness to feel pain when people inflict it on you.  And God is big enough to handle my pain.  There is still the interesting question left that if God can protect me from pain, then why doesn't He?  I'm learning that as I grow in knowing God more, I ask these questions less.  They are still there. But I look less for answers and more at who He is.  I trust more, not because I see more, but because I know who I am trusting.  And because I know He can carry my pain.  I tend to take it to Him faster, not trying to be brave and be "a good Christian."  I bother less with words and explanations, but simply rest myself against Him.

He sees.  I know that.  And I don't need words.  I need strong arms and a shoulder to lean on.  I need the quiet whisper that reassures of my value and that I am loved.

I had a bad day today.  And there are days I miss a good friend.  I have them, but different times in lives bring different seasons, and I am not currently in a season where I run often to a friend.  I rest quietly with my tears in front of God.  I am not a better or worse Christian for that choice - it is just the season God has me in now.  That may change one day.  Right now, it is what I feel led to do.

But today was a bad day, a really bad day, and there are unshed tears, and life is tough.

I still believe.  I still have hope.  Not because of what I see, but because of who I know God is.  And I've learned to listen to His whispers.

But today, I hurt.