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.


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".


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"


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.


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....)