Hard to believe I haven't posted since December! Wow. I think I've been waiting.... waiting.
We're still waiting and the wait is killing us! We want to be able to tell people, but not yet....
In December, my son came home from college, and we all got sick, and we had a nice Christmas together. The New Year rang in with a sudden severe asthma attack that left me sitting in a recliner not even with enough breath to talk for over a week. That was BORING! Then a visit from my mom because MY HUSBAND AND I WENT AWAY SOMEWHERE SUNNY AND BEAUTIFUL!!!!! We are celebrating 20 years together, ok, well 19.5, but our anniversary falls at a very awkward time when we will be in the middle of things this year, so we did 19.5.
We came back, and with the all clear from our supporting churches, we began the long and tedious process of applying to a new sending agency. We are already accepted by our new receiving agency in word; it can't be done in deed until we are finalized with the new sending agency and have left who we are with now.
Our new agency was a little shocked how fast we could fill out forms. I was even a little shocked at how fast my husband can fill them out. He hates forms! But he said, "It is all about motivation, and motivation to leave the other group will get me to do anything!" I think, too, having been long-term missionaries,we have it easy. Questions such as how do you think you will deal with different cultures and customs are easily answered when you have lived in six different countries and visited 32! Questions about how you would feel being under the leadership of an indigenous church are easy to answer when you are married to someone from there. Ummm.. just fine... in fact, I'd be delighted!
My husband had a rough day once, and I was a little surprised, but then I wondered if this was the first time that it really hit him. He had phoned Dick to ask for a reference, and Dick said he would be happy to give him one, but that he would not give me one. I think my husband was shocked. This is a man he had considered as his mentor and best friend, and I don't think he had really, completely seen Dick's attitude. He should have seen it last time we talked when Dick said he didn't want me back, but I don't think it completely hit him. It him him this time - HARD. He was down for a few days, and I hadn't seen him so down for quite awhile. He was angry. Angry at Dick... not me. He was visibly angry. I felt bad for him, but was also relieved. He needed to see that. He needed to see the basic attitude of the man who has been mentoring him. A man who has caused a lot of pain in our relationship from the very beginning. In order to go on healthily, he needed to see that, and when he clearly saw it, he responded with anger. No, he did not get angry at Dick with Dick. There is no point with some people. But he was angry. That he would talk like that, that he would think like that, that he would speak of his wife like that. Anger was needed. That anger will protect our marriage in the years to come.
The normal thing would be to never see that man again, to not have anything to do with him. Sadly, we can't. We work in the country my husband is from. We won't change that. It is a call of God on our lives. Dick is also not going to move countries having devoted his life to this country. He is a man who has done good things, but he is a man with some massive blind spots and a poor track record with women. I have not met one woman who speaks well of Dick and I have known him in community for thirty years. So we have to come to a healthy place to deal with Dick sporadically in a healthy way. Having my husband's eyes opened to who he really is and how he really has been acting was an important step to that. A response of anger was the next healthy step. A commitment to sharing honestly what Dick says to either him or me was the next step. He has thrived in speaking privately to my husband bad things about me. We thwarted that the last two times by either having me in on the conversation or telling me what he says. It takes the power away from it. Soon we will be informing him that all that is said to one of us will be shared openly and immediately with the other one of us. But we want to tell him that face to face with the both of us. We think it will have the most impact then - he will actually see it, and hopefully will sink in and he will learn.
Basic rule. In marriage, you can not have a best friend that hates your spouse. Either the friendship or the marriage will suffer. In our case, the marriage did, but we are healing that and repairing the damage.
My husband has a few friends that I think are annoying and boring... I have a few friends that my husband thinks are crazy and odd. But neither of us will be friends anymore with anyone who hates our spouse. That is a deal-breaker in friendship.
So, well, we are still in wait mode. We are in step 3 of the application process. Forms are in, references are being checked, and a meeting is scheduled with one interview group for next week, and another one in a month. We are on our way. It has been interesting as we have had to share some of what has been going on with our previous mission. To share honestly what we have been through, where we have gone, what has happened, what help was not given, and what "help" was given. It has been a healing process for us both. To be honest, to admit we really broke under the pressure, to talk about what happened on an organizational level in response, to talk about what has helped us heal, to talk about where we are still weak or nervous as a result. The mission is an honest one, willing to hear, to listen, to walk with us through it all. We are hopeful. Even if they don't accept us quite yet, it has been a healing process to walk through their admission process. It is so different than where we are. So different. It is helping restore our trust in God's people in leadership. Basic ideas that people can suffer, especially under trauma, have breakdowns, respond wrongly, and still God loves them and is there to help them out and to go on, rather than throwing them out. These concepts expressed and shown have helped to heal our hearts and restore trust.
In faith, and in the realization that we need to be in a different environment to heal, we have begun to pack. We will move, we think, in July. Even if we are not accepted right now by our new sending agency, we will move. If worst comes to worst, we will land up as refugees in a place that will never turn us away. But we have faith that by July, we will be accepted, part way through the orientation process, and moved. We noticed after spending a month away in a conference, some training, and a holiday how much better we were doing. My husband said it, "No one is looking over our shoulder condemning us." The relief was palpable.
So we will move. We have done as much healing as we are capable of doing in this place, under the thumb of misguided leadership, bumping elbows with people who are either begging us to come back or walking by us without speaking. We feel that if our team we led is to have a chance to survive under their new leadership, we also have to leave. So we are moving. Boxes line my dining room, and sadness and hope grows with the pile. We love our family here. Sadness. We will be able to breathe and heal away from Tom, Dick, and Harry. Hope.