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.