Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Still Alive

I'm still here.  Alive.  Life has been so busy.  I've had in-laws visiting for thee months.  Yes, three months.  In a culture where you can not say no or ask for how long, when in-laws decide to visit, they come.  They just do, and they stay as long as they like.  Thankfully, they are leaving this week, and it seems like no more will arrive.  It's been hard on me, hard on the kids... in the middle of all this, to be in an entertaining mode.

I went back to work today, and it was a relief to get away from in-laws.

So, news.  We did end up going to a debreifing retreat.  How did it go?  Well, good, and disappointing.  I was rather disappointed to find how much time they took teaching seminars and how little doing actual debreifing.  In that way, it was a partial waste of money because we really expected more debreifing and didn't get it.  The disappointment of that actually made me cry a few times.  So would I recommend it?  Yes and no.  There was value in it, but it was not what they advertised and that was crushingly disappointing.  Yet people donated so much so we could go, so how do I answer their questions about it?  I don't know.

It is so complicated to deal with what is going on.  There are stress issues, there are trauma issues, there are marriage issues, there are cross cultural issues, and there are spiritual issues.  Being married to a first generation believer is also at times hard.  There is, in his culture, no template for forgiveness. I realized that as we sat through some sessions and I listened to him talk. There just is no template for it.  We struggle with forgiveness, and we have a template for it, a cultural support for it, and generations of people struggling  through it and trying to teach us how. Now imagine for one minute that you grew up in a culture where there was no forgiveness.  None.  In fact, forgiving someone was seen as a weakness, an act of cowardice.  How would you learn?  Every single thing that I have ever done still exists; not, I think, because he wants it to or wants to hold it against me, but simply because he has no idea how to even begin to put things down, to forgive and go on.  I am making that a point of serious prayer at this moment.

Before you might say, "well, that is focusing on his faults", I will say that I really struggled with forgiveness in my life.  No, I didn't struggle with it, I battled with it.  An all out fight.  But God stepped in one day in a very sneaky way.  I've learned that God can be sneaky - He will talk to you about a simple thing and let you think it is all about this, and then He will land that comment that cuts right through you heart and gets to the core.  I've learned to watch out for Him now!  God won that battle with me late, late one night out on a dock.  What I found that surprised my socks off was not how wonderful it felt to forgive, but how forgiven I felt when I forgave.  It was as if once I discovered the depths of God's forgiveness that extended to those who had abused me, that I learned the depths of God's forgiveness for me - for I had abused God's law, too.  It was the single most freeing moment of my life.

I want that for my husband.  To know forgiveness.  To know the freedom of a completely clean conscience based not on works or effort, but on the absolutely shameless, complete forgiveness of Christ.

I wonder as I hear him talk about lists of wrongs if he has ever experienced that.  I know, as a believer, it belongs to him, but it can be a completely different thing to actually experience it.

Beyond that, we go on.  We are in a wait mode.  We still struggle with the odd situation we are in.   I wish there was someone who could sit down with me for about three days and listen and help me process things, but there isn't right now.  It is odd to be in a temporary mode again after almost ten years.  We came here temporarily, but it turned out long term, and now we are watching to see which way the wind blows.  That is odd to be in that situation again.  Odd, but also exciting.

Keep praying.  I still have hope.  I have hope.  I have seen good happen.  I have seen more struggles.  But I rest quiet in a God who sings over me a song of delight.  I rest there.  I realized that my trust has been badly shaken after all this awful way in which we were handled by our organization.  I had no ability to trust any more, and then even felt guilty for that lack of capacity.  Then quietly God said to me, "forget about trusting right now, just rest back on Me."  That, strangely, I could do.  I am quietly resting.  Letting God carry it all right now.