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.