Saturday, April 04, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 23 - The Facebook Comment}

Many of you are not friends with me on Facebook.  But some of you who are saw 'the comment.'  I'm sure the other comments made by a certain couple of people following that comment on Facebook provided quite the entertainment for your Friday night/ Saturday morning.  It's what some would call 'drama.'  Not really usually my Facebook's M.O....or all.  But, you can't control others and what they choose to say. 

For all of you who valiantly came to my rescue and tried to kindly and patiently inform these commenters in order to assure them of what people actually take away from the blog, I thank you. 

As I said there:

when you get a comment like this, you have 3 main options. you can 1) not even acknowledge the things that were said, 2) answer and provide explanation, or 3) delete it. we all know that the 3rd option would never be something i would choose. that leaves option 1 and 2. and at this point, option 2 still wins out over option 1 for me. it will not always be so. because at a certain point, all that is possible for me to say will have been said…and then it will just be up to the reader to not be completely misinformed. but at this point, there are still things that can be explained further.

i was hoping to leave some of the details out in order to provide protection (as much as possible) for the people involved. but, since those details have been brought up here, i will now address them. not here. but on the blog. and soon. i’ll keep you posted.
So, I will put the full comment here, but in sections...and address each section.  Here we go...
I have read all of these posts without commenting, which has been really hard for me. All of Joel's nieces & nephews call me Aunt though Michawn & Joel would not know this because of Michawn's decision to decision to distance herself from Joel's family.
Some of these sections will be short and to the point.  Because, quite frankly, the things brought up in those sections have already been discussed profusely.  This is one such example.

Before last fall, I never 'distanced myself' from Joel's family.  As I've said, when we got back to the states, I was in dire need of some stability and zero travel.  If you haven't moved 18 times in 11 years and traveled tons on top of that, then you might not truly understand just how dire that need was.  It literally felt like a life and death situation.  I was barely able to function already at that point.  Then, we were thrown into a situation where we couldn't rest and have stability...for the next 4 1/2 months.  And then...I wasn't allowed that rest and stability.  But...never was it about 'distancing myself from family.' Until last Fall.  And that story starts in the next blog post.  But to take the stance that the reason we didn't travel to see family (and we did travel to see family in April 2013, just fyi...a very miserable trip for us, but we sacrificed and did it) from April 2013 to the Fall 2014 just because I wanted to 'distance myself' is a very, very selfish and egotistical (and completely uninformed) stance. 
There is no relationship or marriage that does not have fault with both people. Maybe one more than another, but both causing issues in the relationship.
Reread my posts.  You'll see that this has been addressed over and over.  I have literally posted this particular part in my blog twice now.  This is the 3rd time:  "again, nobody is perfect.  but, what we are addressing with this blog series is what happened to us.  where it all went wrong.  and what caused it all.  unfortunately, in this instance, it was a very specific turning point…and the turning was done by my husband.  i did not turn.  now…having said that…again, no one is without fault.  as far as day-to-day, every-marriage issues, sometimes it is joel that screws up and sometimes it is me.  those are the easy things.  those were the only things that we had to deal with for the first decade of our marriage.  but, we are specifically talking about, here in this blog series, the thing that happened *after* that first decade of marriage.  the thing that turned the tide.  sadly, that had nothing to do with me and i had no control in that matter."
I personally know & love the people that gave counsel to Joel. In no way did they ever want to cause Michawn pain. They wanted both to admit mistakes & work things out. I can assure you that Joel's family & friends did.not ever speak the word divorce.
Again, this has already been addressed.  I've said that the people giving this very wrong counsel meant no malice since they really did (wrongly) think that what they were doing was best.  But, 1) they did give wrong counsel, and the counsel is what we're talking about here, 2) they only talked to and believed Joel...there was no true reaching out to the other half of the marriage, and 3) after Joel and I were back together, they continued to cause strife instead of promote unity and healing...and continue to this evidenced by the Facebook comments for one (but there are other things that we'll get into soon). 
The "incident" that so hurt Michawn because of the Watermelon festival was Joel's brother's wedding. A once in a lifetime event that Joel was to be a groomsman in. Way more meaningful than a festival that will be repeated again & again.
And the reason I didn't say what the event was specifically was because I was trying to protect the people involved...and the way they handled that situation so badly.  But, here it is...the event being named specifically (I'm sure the actual Ebersoles have cringed all day with the comments being made 'on their behalf').  So, I will address it. 

Yes, in January 2012, we found out that Joel's brother had planned his wedding date for the date of the Watermelon Festival.  Here are the facts about the wedding/festival:
1) we were not asked or considered, at all, about dates.  my brother got married the same summer...the first thing he did?  ask us if there would be any conflicting dates since we would be traveling so far (at the time both of our brothers were planning, we were in brazil with no plans to come back to the states). 
2) we found out that Joel's dad had told his brother that he couldn't mark the wedding on the date of a family reunion.
3) so then we decided we'd better just tell Joel's brother, even though we hadn't been asked, about our ONE conflicting date of the whole year.  we did.
4) we found out that he had marked it on that date. 
5) we were wholeheartedly expected to forego our plans (that had essentially been made 2 years prior) in order to attend the wedding.
6) Joel told them that we would not be able to come...he had given me his word in 2010 (see below paragraph) and had given me his word again after we found out about the conflicting date.  we would be going to the festival. 

Unfortunately, Joel did not stick with acting honorably between then and the wedding, as he now humbly admits to.  This is from an email Joel sent to his family after we had gotten back together last Fall.
"Lets clear up the wedding thing once and for all since that is still a sore subject.  A little back ground. The festival  was Michawn’s favorite time of year…even more then Christmas….ever since she was a little girl….and it doubles as a town reunion. So for 30 years she as been dreaming of having / sharing theses experiences with her own family...and now she had us. In 2010, the first time this was going to be possible in our lives (and the kids were really great ages for it, so it worked out great), I asked Michawn to give up her 30 year dream of going to the Saline festival/friend and family reunion for me, for our family...for the family get together in the mountains. She did….with tears rolling down her face we pulled out of town on our way to the PA reunion on the day the festival week all started. I gave her my word that the next time we were in the US her dream would be a priority….NOTHING would over ride it.  After we found out that Dad had told D he couldn’t mark his wedding date on the weekend of the family reunion, we told D that if he marked it on the festival day we probably would not make it. Then D marks the date and I told him that we will not be able to come if he didn’t change the date.  He didn’t….I understand there are many factors with that and maybe he couldn’t.  I saw the way this affected Michawn, and gave her my word again (in January 2012) that we would go to the Watermelon Festival, just like I had promised.  I then sucked being a real man and sided with you all instead of taking care of/ standing up for my wife (and standing by my word to her…that I had now given her on two separate occasions) and made her out to be an unreasonable person.  I had given her my word but then started trying to get out of my word and talking to/ taking side with you all…. Then as the wedding approached, as we sat living out of suitcases in someone else’s very full cramped house not being able to unpack (for 2 months already at this point…it would be an additional 2 1/2 months after that)), as we had just buried Michawn’s  very good friend who had died unexpectedly (very dark times in our life)….I went and bought my plane ticket to NY behind her back and told her I was leaving."
And there you have Joel's account.  I wrote about this situation in Part 5.  So you can go read that to see my account.  But a more specific account (now that it's been made more specific) is here, from my timeline:
January 2012 - We found out that Joel’s brother, out of all the days in a year, had scheduled his wedding on the day of the Watermelon Festival.  Even though we had asked him not to (and others’ requests to not schedule his wedding on certain dates had been heard/granted).  It was seriously a huge blow to me.  Huge.  I KNOW that when God calls you to be a missionary (or, when you’re a Christian in general, but even moreso when you’re called to full-time foreign missions), there are certain things that you have to give up.  Totally fine.  I had done that.  I have done that.  I continue to do that.  ;)  Yes, it’s hard sometimes.  But, that just comes with the territory.  But, there clearly has to be some give and take…and you can’t be asked to just give up, give up, give up constantly, esp. on those seemingly rare times when it is possible to not have to give it up.  I had waited for and looked forward to taking my family to and experiencing with them my favorite week of the year since I was a child.  The first opportunity we’d had to do that (in 2010), I gave up for Joel’s family.  I had been promised that nothing would get in the way of that again.  And they were asking me to give it up again?  With our lifestyle and vocation, we can’t just say things like, ‘oh, we’ll do it next year.’  Because that’s not the case.  It would be years before we had this chance again…and my daughters would be older (no longer even able to be in the little girls’ pageant…wasn’t sure I even wanted them to be in the big girls’ pageant…it’s cute and fun and innocent when they’re little, but not always when they’re big), but even regardless of the pageant aspect, I wanted them to experience the whole festival week as children…and in a blink they would no longer be children.  There are so many things we have willingly given up in the calling on our lives.  This is one thing that was super special to me and I wanted at least one time to experience with my children.  Not many people ‘get it’ about the festival week being that important to me (other than my close friends and also people who are also from my hometown of course), and that’s ok.  But, that’s just the way it is.  I was willing to give it up before (in 2010) when I knew that we’d have one other chance for them to experience it as children…but I wasn’t willing to give it up again.  Which brought incredible sadness…because 1) I knew it would cause conflict, 2) I also wanted to go to and be a part of the wedding…this brother was my ‘favorite’ of Joel’s siblings (the one I felt closest to), and 3) it made me very sad that others’ requests for dates had been granted and ours hadn’t…and given the fact that we’re the ones who live the farthest away (at that time, a whole other continent) and have to give up the most in order to be there, it made me sad that we weren't really considered or consulted on dates at all.  So, this was a major blow.  And Joel could tell.  He gave me his word that he would keep his promise to me.  And he would not make me give it up again.  We would go to the festival as a family.
So, as you can see, as far as the festival being an annual event...that's where the life of a missionary comes in.  When you live as a missionary, the things of home are never 'annual.' 

As far as the date for the wedding being set on the same date as the festival...although that was hard, once it was done it was done.  It was sad that we wouldn't be able to make it, but we really did understand not being able to juggle dates for us.  And it was their wedding.  We weren't demanding anything.  But...if they chose to set it on that date, which we told them we couldn't make, they should have had the grace to drop it...since we had forewarned them.  Instead, it was not dropped.  And I was made out to be the bad guy of course. 

Back to more of the Facebook comment:
Please ecplain to me why you needed to go to 6 counselors except for the fact that no one agreed with you that Joel was the one& only reason there were issues in the marriage. Finding someone to agree with your arguments obviously took alot of time & effort.
 I answered this in Part 15
When you & Joel separated, you also never told Joel where you were. You made the choice to take the children away from their father. Your issues with Joel should never affect his relationship with his children, yet you let that happen.
When Joel read your comment last night, he said, "Man, she gets so spastic.  And she needs to get her facts straight.  She doesn't even know what she's talking about."

And that's my basic answer to this section.  ;)  You're welcome. 

But, to elaborate a little more, you don't know what you're talking about.  Hahaha.  O.K., I'm getting delirious, folks. maybe you're just getting confused.  We were living apart from mid-May until Sept. 1st.  Joel knew exactly where we were.  He saw his kids all the time. 

There was a two week period in which we left home.  And I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat, just like I did it then...wouldn't change a thing.  I wrote about it here, in Part 14.  I think you just need to brush up on your facts a little. 
I am sorry about your miscarriage, because I have also had 2 myself. People deal with such grief in different ways. Who are you to say Joel was wrong & your way was right?
What I wrote about was not about how we grieved differently.  It was about Joel being completely unkind and frankly, pretty darn inhumane, during that time.  And ultimately, just incredibly selfish.  Again...there are root issues.  And I have yet to finish telling our story.  These root issues will be talked about.
I know I did not need see the pictures you chose to show. I am confused about the life you have chose to live.
 Don't know what you are speaking of here. 
The family members that you speak so badly of.are the same ones that pledged money for you to live as missionaries in Brazil, yet you are living in the states for the last couple of years. Maybe Michawn, you should not be so quick to defend yourself & be open to the advice & love that Joel's family has to offer.  
1) I honestly don't have a clue as to who gives us money.  And...I honestly don't have a clue as to what this has to do with anything we are talking about here.  But, the notion that anyone can have certain expectations of us or any control over us because they donate to us and our mission work, that is a twisted and completely wrong view.  Unfortunately, we have experienced some of that along the way too.  And I'll be talking about it here as time goes on.
2) We are living in the states.  And Joel is still working a position with Asas even here.  Now.  In the present.  About 20 hours a week...would be more, but he has to work a full-time regular job here too.  I wrote about this, too, here in Part 1.
3) Maybe others should really not speak in complete ignorance of the facts.  That is not said to be rude.  But truly...if you wish to speak about a situation, then learn about it first.  Ask.  Go to that person.  I wrote about that too, here in Part 20.  Making unfounded accusations shows just, to be frank, an extreme lack of maturity.  And it makes you look bad.  Don't do that to yourself.
4) I know that you might have Joel's family on a pedestal.  But nobody belongs there...on a pedestal.  Maybe you need to accept the fact that, just like Joel said in his comment, they failed in a major way here.  Everyone is capable of this.  Please realize this.
In case, other people don't know Joel waz raised in Brazil with his 4 siblings & his parents in a life as a missionary. His sister is now living in Brazil as a missionary. Joel's family could count on one hand the times that they have spent with his 4 children. That is because of Michawn.
I think that most people, esp. friends of mine on Facebook, do know that Joel was raised in Brazil and they were missionaries.  And what his sister serving in Brazil as a missionary has to do with this I do not know.  But, I'm guessing this is just more of your putting them on some sort of pedestal.  Putting others on pedestals never ends well.  It just doesn't. 

And the part about counting on one hand...that is simply just false.  We've always lived far away...but, we've also always visited often.  Until the time period of April 2013 - the present, that is.  So, basically the past 2 years.  And for good reason. 
I wish you all the best but am so tired of reading the one-sided posts. Joel's family is to nice to comment but are hurt to their core to read the blame that Michawn places on Joel & his family. Michawn, you might want to look inside a little deeper & see both sides of your marriage. Maybe the Ebersole family love & counsel could be a good thing for you & your family, if you could be more accepting & open. I am sure I will be blocked after this post, but I had to defend the Ebersoles. They want you as part of their family & you reject them. The Ebersole are Christians, pastors & the most loving & accepting people. No one is perfect Michawn. Not you or Joel.
And...all of this has already been addressed. 

The part about "I am sure I will be blocked after this post"...what can I say?  Like aunt like niece, and vice versa.  "I'm sure she won't answer me." "I'm sure I won't hear back from her." "I never intended to have a back and forth conversation." Now I know where she gets it.  ;)

As others have said, and continue to PM me today...they had no idea who I was talking about in my blog when I was telling the stories of the family members.  First of all, as one said, it didn't matter.  They were looking at the content of what I was saying...what had happened, the common mindsets involved, the lessons learned from it, etc.  But secondly, I had been so vague, they had no idea who I was talking about...other than 'family members.'  As someone said, they were clueless it was even the Ebersole family. 

The comments today on Facebook have nullified that.  In your attempt to 'defend' you have only outed

I tried to protect, as much as possible.  But, now it's out.  So, there you all go. 

Hopefully I won't have any more unexpected interruptions and I can start with the forgiveness topic next.  As usual, I'll keep you posted. 


Melissa Taylor said...


Melissa Taylor said...

Are you familiar with the Holmes Stress Scale? If not you should Google it. I read your posts and they hurt my heart because I KNOW what massive stress feels like myself, and can imagine that all that you've been through - moving all those times, miscarriage, living a life thousands of miles from any support system - would put you at risk of illness going by the Holmes scale. And the ones who should have loved you the most have been negligent at best, and downright brutal today on social media. I'm so, so sorry about that, friend. Jesus would have treated you like a bruised reed, or carried you in his arms like a lamb... And so many who call themselves His followers have been so incredibly rude and hateful and really all too happy to keep kicking when you're already down. There is NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING more difficult than marital troubles... And that's coming from someone who has a daughter with a brain tumor. Marital difficulties are worse than that and so incredibly hard. Praying for TRUE "family" for you and distance from the phonies who don't have your best in mind at all. I just want to hug you. So sorry you have had to bear all this.

Michawn said...

melissa, i'm just now seeing this comment. <3 <3 <3 thank you! for all of this! i know for a fact already that this has affected my health. that started in august 2012. sigh, yeah. i'll have to google the stress scale. would be interesting to see how i rate. as far as all of those other things you said...i completely agree. and have felt so all along, but until incredibly recently (esp. this weekend), have been really alone in those thoughts, only hearing the accusatory stuff for 2 1/2 years until last fall. and then after that, still *mostly* hearing just that. an unexpected blessing from the mess of this weekend? finally having my thoughts about the past 3 years validated and an overwhelming and very 'out loud' way. thank you so much for being another voice here!! after the past 3 years, don't know how good it is to hear. thank you!! <3

Melissa Taylor said...

I think I need to copy and paste my comment onto your Facebook post yesterday. Delete if not appropriate.