Monday, July 27, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 32 - Plowing, Simplifying, The Gerasene Man, and Wounded Soldier}

Before we get started, let me just say that yesterday was a super hard day.  We'll take 1/2 of a baby step forward and then about 10 giant leaps backwards.  That is the trend.

Example:  Yesterday Joel told me that he had applied for a job.  This is a job that we had discussed before and I was not on board.  He applied anyway.  He says that if he gets offered the job, he is going to take it...he doesn't care if I'm on board or not.

That just doesn't sound like what a marriage should be, does it?  That's not how marriage works.

But this is what I've been dealing with on the daily since January 2012.  This is what it's been like.  He just keeps moving, just keeps going...plowing over his wife and children.

And that has been the counsel he's gotten just keep going and making the decisions, regardless of how I feel about it.  He is, after all, 'the head.'

You guys, no.  That's not right.  What it actually says is "Submit to one another in love."  Joel hasn't done that in years.

Yet...I'm the one who gets blamed.  And he's 'a saint for staying married to' me.  

The people who think that and see it that messed up.  Their belief systems doom them to living unbiblically and in an anti-Jesus way.  Again..."submit to one another in love."  When one is down, you reach down to pick them up.  When one is hurting, you stop and nurse them back to health.  When you both aren't on board for something, you pause and wait until you reach an agreement.  It's a partnership.  You're a team.

Submit to one another in love.

But no...hasn't been that way here in years.  Just wanted to illustrate to you just what I'm dealing with here...just what it's like...and give you a picture of just how hard it is.  And has been...for years.  Now...moving on...

First, just a couple of quotes that are so relevant.

"Everything is more complicated than you realize and the only way you 'get' that is through experience."

"Onlookers try to simplify and coach when they don't even understand what it's like."

If you've never experienced something like what I'm going through, it's amazingly complex.  We still have people who suggest things like 'have you tried reading The 5 Love Languages?'  And while they are well-meaning, it's just so incredibly MUCH more complex than that.  Like, wow.

One friend said, "You can not possibly understand another person's circumstances until you've been there! This is why passing judgement on anyone is not right."

It's again where empathy has to come into play.  Empathy...not sympathy.  If you don't have empathy as a part of your life, you need to get it.  Or, if you just can't come up with it in your life...stay away from hurting people.  Period.

Now for a few things that I've posted on Facebook...

I posted this a few days ago with this link.
i hesitate to even share this. why? oh, because i have been falsely accused of having mental disorders these past few years. there *is* a stigma surrounding mental illness...but, that's not why i refute having one (or a few...i've been accused of several). i refute having mental illness *because i don't have one!* lol. (truly. the people who have accused me of these are not 'professionals' anyway and are just grabbing at straws.)
but...i do want to share this. because knowing about mental illness *is* important. but, also...everything that is said about mental illness in this article/written sermon can also be said about *any* challenge you feel stuck in and *anything* you are faced with that is out of your control.
my situation is not an internal is very much external. it is very much circumstantial. do those things affect you internally after a certain point? for me, yes...but not in the form of a mental illness. people say, 'well, you alone are responsible for you' if i'm not literally yoked to another human being.  :)  so, barring unyoking myself (which believe me, some have suggested i do...and is definitely a possibility...and is one of the reasons why we actually separated last summer), yes...i'm stuck in this external situation. these things that are happening are not at my hand or up to me. i have no control over what someone else does. 'well you have control over how you react'...yes...and i've done nothing wrong in how i have reacted.
this article brings up lots of great points. first of all, she describes how 'off' and 'not herself' she feels after traveling. to that i definitely relate and say that if she felt that 'off' after just a short-term trip with only herself to be responsible for, you can imagine how 'off' and 'not myself' i felt after *living* that way, in a complete gypsy lifestyle, completely unstable, for *years*...and with 4 little ones to boot. that. was. my. life.
no wonder i needed a break. a break i never got. a break i still haven't gotten.
she says after a week of recovery, "But all week long, I had the luxury of knowing – it’s going to get better in a few more days. I’m not acting like myself, I’m not thinking like myself, and I’m not feeling like myself, but after a few more days, I’m going to be back to myself again.
"And then I thought about all the people who don’t have the luxury of knowing if or when or how things will possibly get better. When the thought of feeling 'like themselves' seems completely unattainable."
in my situation (in 2012 anyway), feeling like myself again *was* attainable...but it wasn't allowed. it's still attainable...but the damage that has been done since 2012 is extremely extensive.
she talks about the gerasene man who had demons (luke 8:26-39). she says, "This man is trapped by a situation over which he seems to have no control, he is ostracized from his community, and when Jesus asks his name, we learn that he has no identity outside of these demons. They define how he spends his day, how he responds to others, and even how he names himself."
it does define you. and how you spend your day. how you respond and the plans you make. stay in a situation long enough...and that situation becomes your life. not because you are weak, not because 'you just need to focus on other things'...but because that is reality. why try to pretend it away? instead, it needs to be called what it is and dealt with. Jesus knew this...thankfully this man had Jesus Himself to come and listen to what was defining his life and *believe him* and deal with it for him from the *very real* problem that was plaguing him.
he was trapped. he was ostracized. not unlike what happens today...what has happened to me, and what happens to so many others who face hardships. another quote:
"If someone in our congregation goes to the hospital, has cancer, or needs surgery, the meal train usually can’t be made fast enough. If someone in our congregation has a mental health diagnosis, needs therapy or hospitalization or treatment, we don’t make them casseroles. More often than not, we don’t even talk about it. And with the stigma associated with mental health issues, even today, most of these people remain isolated, going through the experience completely on their own."
true of mental illness. but, also true of many other things that could be inserted in that very paragraph...marital problems, or any other issue that is 'just not talked about,' even when the person experiencing it *wants* to talk about it. those people remain isolated...and go through the experience completely on their own.
why do i talk about it? why do i refuse to be silent? many reasons, but this is one: "The problem is, when you and I aren’t willing to name our challenges, they trap us in and shut us off from the hope of resurrection. When we tend to hide or not talk about mental health challenges, or *any sort of challenges we’re facing,* that’s what leads to shame, and stigma, and isolation. But I love what Brene Brown, a social work professor and author in Houston, says about shame. She says that shame can’t have words around it. When we’re brave enough to name whatever demons we are facing, they suddenly don’t have the power over us that they once had. ...Friends, we’ve got to find a way to muster up the courage to name our demons, just as Jesus did, and just as Jesus can empower us to do. And we can’t name them if we’re not brave enough to talk about them. That may not mean that they immediately leave us. That may not mean they ever leave us. But I firmly believe that the God-given courage to name our challenges breaks down the shame that tries to keep us locked inside ourselves."
i love that Jesus saved the gerasene man. i love that Jesus not only saved him, but Jesus crossed boundaries into a place no 'self-respecting jewish rabbi' would ever go to save him.
not only that, but Jesus used the gerasene man mightily because of his experience. this man was commissioned by Jesus Himself to share the Good News...even before the disciples were.
"Perhaps the first step to crossing boundaries is talking...Being brave enough to voice and name the challenges we face. Providing a safe, non-judgmental space for others to share their stories with us, and for them to know that they are loved, heard, and cared for in this place.
"Unfortunately, in today’s text, the community around the man isn’t able to respond in this way. In fact, they actually ask Jesus to leave them, the text says, because they are seized with great fear.
"And it is the un-named man, the man whom people call the Gerasene Demoniac, who Jesus sends off to declare what God has done for him. Ironically, he is the first person in Luke’s gospel whom Jesus empowers to share the good news. Even the disciples, up until this point, have not yet been sent out."
there is purpose in suffering. suffering in our own lives...and there is purpose for us in the suffering that we see around us. but, in order for those purposes to come to fruition, we have to be honest in our own suffering. and, when others are suffering around us, we have to be willing to hear their honesty, believe them, and walk with them in it without judgment.
I am so praying for Jesus to come Himself or for someone acting on His behalf to come and to save me in this situation that is out of my control.  Thank you for your prayers, too.

I also posted a beautiful song.  A cousin of mine commented, "Michawn, this is you and you will rise."  Amen.  Don't have any idea what my life will look like or if I will be married or single again when I rise...but I will rise.
Wounded soldier on the ground, 
Broken, bleeding, beaten down, 
Feeling defeated, feeling not needed, 
Alone, abandoned on the battleground! 
Wounded soldier, faithful friend, 
Beaten down by those you defend, 
Your heart once open, now pierced and broken, 
Needing hope to rise again!
Let me bind up ev'ry wound 
Let me comfort ev'ry pain 
Let me carry you to a place of rest, 
Shelter from pouring rain 
Let me hold you! I can be right where you are! 
Let me hold you in the shelter of my heart! 
When you're weary from the battle and all hope just seems so far, 
Just remember I am with you faithfully guarding your heart!
While the battle rages on I will hold you through the night, 
In the shadow of the cross I'll be your Champion; fight your fight! 
Let me hold you! I can be right where you are! 
Let me hold you in the shelter of my heart!
Wounded soldier, you'll rise again! 
You can trust me. I always win! 
When you face harshness or total darkness, 
I'm ever watching, faithful to defend! 
Wounded soldier, faithful one, 
When you're fallen I'll help you run! 
With ev'ry testing I'll bring you resting 
And say to you, "My child, well done!"
Let me bind up ev'ry wound 
Let me comfort ev'ry pain 
Let me carry you to a place of rest, 
Shelter from pouring rain 
Let me hold you! I can be right where you are! 
Let me hold you in the shelter of my heart! 
When you're weary from the battle and all hope just seems so far, 
Just remember I am with you faithfully guarding your heart!
When you feel you can't go on, you be weak and I'll be strong 
With the power of my strongest love from my heart's deepest song! 
Let me hold you! I can be right where you are! 
Let me hold you in the shelter of my heart!


Jeannie said...

Sending strength from South Africa - talking of rising, this poem is one for all who are struggling:

Still I Rise
Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Michawn said...

yes!, jeannie. love this! maya angelou is one of my very favorites. i even had the privilege to see her in person in college. thank you so much for this. <3 just perfect.