Friday, October 16, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 50 - My 'July Season'}

Today I'm going back.  I'm going back to July.

July was not pleasant.  It was the absolute opposite of pleasant.  It was supposed to be one of the best times...but it turned into the hardest time of my entire life.  

I'm going back to that unpleasant, hardest-time-of-my-life time today for a brief visit.  Why?  Because there are some important things that need to be documented from that time.  Some very bad things.  And some good.  

All of it, though, we can learn from.  So, that's why I go back.

But, just be warned.  Sometimes when I go back and document how it was then, I get falsely accused of being bitter.  

Listen...these are the things that happened.  I will document what happened.  Not out of any ill will or any bad feelings that I have about what happened.  What happened suuuuuuucks.  No doubt.  But...what do you do?  You can't control what others do.

But you can learn from it.

And that's what we're doing here.

Remember...things now are better than they were in July.  Much much better.  The counselor turned things around.  The counselor finally held Joel accountable for these types of things he was doing.  Praise God someone finally came through for our marriage.  

But, before that, this is what was happening.  

Don't miss some of the wonderful nuggets of advice and encouragement and truth down below.  Some of it is hard to read, but those nuggets of TRUTH are worth it.

Also remember these two things:
1.  I am not the one who did this.  I am not the one who 'made this public'...that person who made that first comment below is the one who 'outed' himself.  I did not do that.  But I will always give an answer to what happens in my life...esp. what happens 'in public.'  I will not be silent or sit back and let someone (anyone) speak untruths about me.  And, I will be the one to discuss it further and learn from this behavior...and help others to do the same.  Because that is the mature and wise thing to do.  So I do that here.
2.  Although this includes very specific examples and there are specific people in these examples, it is not about them.  The issues that arise here are far-reaching...and that is what it's about.  The huge bigger picture is what we must focus on.  So please focus on the bigger societal and theological and interpersonal issues that clearly come out of these examples as you read below.

We must talk about what happened (however unpleasant) before we get to the lesson learned part.  

So, here we go...

July 3rd is when I found out about Joel's extensive lies and betrayal that I thought had been stopped in the Fall of 2014, I found out...continued.  I wrote about it on Facebook.  Then later I shared what I had put on Facebook that day here on the blog.

The biggest response I got from people is that they were just brokenhearted for me.  Just completely heartbroken.  They encouraged me to continue to do the right things, to listen to His voice.  Some suggested that I start looking into other options (divorce, divorce care ministries, etc.)...of course these were very logical and loving responses too.  But mostly people just expressed how sorry they were for me.  The comments died down on the 5th.  But, then two days later, I got another comment.

July 7th:
Michawn, you are so wrong. You are wrong about the way you feel about your husband. You are wrong about not allowing him or the kids to go and visit his family. You are wrong about not going with your husband to visit his family. What is so wrong with him talking to his family. I don't blame him, I would still love to talk to my parents. His is still alive. Let them and your whole family have a relationship. You have the best husband a woman could ever ask for and it's like you are throwing him away. Just look at all the stuff he has done for you. He wouldn't have did all he did if it wasn't for you. He did it to make you happy. And he gets this treatment in return? The devil has come to dwell in your heart and you chased God away and let the devil take his place. You need to get it right and you need to get it right before it is too late. I could tell for a long time that Joel is not a happy camper. And I knew why. You are hampering God's will for y'all by refusing to leave Saline and go back to the missionary field. There was a time I heard you say from the pulpit that you had just fallen in love with God. Well, when you got a house in Saline, you fell in love with Saline, and evidently out of love with God (you no longer go to church) and I hope and pray not out of love with Joel. You need God, you need Joel, and those precious kids need you and Joel to be one - a happy one. And that's the way I feel. Don't come to me saying I don't know the whole story. I don't want to know the whole story - I just want to know that Joel and yourself are happily in love and that it is a God centered love. I love you all. I do not want to see Joel trashed from our family.
This was, unfortunately, my you will see in my reply.  A little father had gotten on Facebook only to be able to keep updated with us in Brazil and see pictures and videos of the kids, etc.  He had used a different name than his own...Sam.  And he had never ever made his presence 'likes,' no comments, etc.  Until the comment above.

My reply:
well, i guess this is just the cherry on top here, Sam. what a fabulous way for my *own father* to make his way out of the shadows and make his Facebook debut.  
how many times have you talked about this to me in person? oh, that's right...*none.* zero.  
i have always known that i had a very sexist father. fine. just the way it was. but, i never really imagined that my own father, when i was in dire need of protection like i have been the past few years, would turn his back on me and support and defend the perpetrator. the way you favor joel (and all men) has always been evident, but this just makes it abundantly clear, doesn't it? 
you don't want to know the whole story? that is up to you. you don't even know 1/100ths of the story i'm guessing...because i'm sure you haven't even read the blog or any of my side of things. but without the whole story you have no idea what you are talking about, even when you think you do.  
another reason why i no longer go to church? because they are *full* of 'Christian' men (and even some women, sadly) like you.  
thank you for your support, daddy. thank you for protecting your little girl.  
sadly, i knew the truth in my heart...the truth of what you thought of me and this situation. i could tell how you felt by your coldness towards me and how you always asked for and wanted Joel around. joel and i have even talked about it...i knew.  
now everyone else knows too. what a sad situation. what a sad response to your daughter in need. 
Again...we can all learn from let's focus on the lessons here below...

I honestly was shocked.  You can probably pick up on that a little in my reply.  This man had never once talked to me, in person or in any other way, about my life the past few years.  Why?  Because he didn't care.  He didn't care to know.  That is not speculation...he clearly says that in his comment.  He had made up his mind about what was going on and he didn't want to hear anything else.  Lol.  Incredibly immature and closed-minded.  But, I knew him.  I've known him my whole life.  I've seen the way he handles things.  I knew this was how he was.

That part was very sad to me...that he wouldn't want to hear from his own daughter what was going on in her life.  That he preferred 'perfect in his mind' Joel over me.  Joel was a male after all.  But, that was nothing new.  Sad.  But...none of that was surprising to me.  Again...I'd known him my whole life.  So...not surprising.

This though?...that he would take it to Facebook when he has never taken anything to Facebook before?  When he had never talked to me at all, ever about any of this?  Yes, it was surprising.

I wasn't shocked or upset because he was saying things that I don't agree with.  I was upset because he was saying things that are just complete lies.  Disagree with me all the live long day.  But don't you dare lie about me.

He would know these were lies if he asked.  But...he doesn't want to know.

Funny how people think of dads.  The ones with good, very supportive, very protecting dads anyway. Therefore, when this dad was just 'voicing his concerns' as some people saw it, those same people then started to say such things as 'If this is what your own dad is seeing and saying, then maybe we need to look deeper.  He's only trying to speak truth into your life after all since he, of course, loves you and only wants to protect you.'

Except that sentiment about this person is not true.  He didn't even want to know anything about my life.  That's not love.

Has he 'loved' me and provided for me in many, many ways in the past?  Yes.  For those things I will always be grateful.

But, when the rubber meets the road, true character shows.  The 'rubber' didn't 'meet the road' in my life until a little over 3 ½ years ago.  His true character has really come out.

Just like Joel's did.

Before this, I was basically just an easy wife and daughter.  I mean, if you are, in most ways, meeting all the expectations of others, then there's no rubber to meet the road.  But, when you start to have needs or thoughts that don't align with what those 'others' expect or deem acceptable, you see their true character come out.

Will those people still show you love even when you are not doing what they (selfishly) want you to do?  Will they still take care of you and protect you?  Will they meet your needs?

We saw the answer in Joel (thankfully he is being reformed)...and we saw the answer with this man.  

For those of you who know this man personally (or even those who don't), again I am not trying to run anybody down here.  I'm not being vengeful at all.  If you think such things, then your heart is wrong.

As always with this blog, I am pointing out truth. I am pointing out the bigger picture.  It is important to focus on what we can learn from things like this.

I won't protect darkness.  Wrong theology, sexism, not seeking truth ("I don't want to know your story")...this is all darkness.  I am also done protecting 'perceptions of others.'  And I will continue to speak out against these things.  No matter who it is that does them.

Because we can all learn from it.  Praise God there is a redeeming part to all of this.  There is a much bigger picture here.  There are so many, many people in the world being harmed by these very things...wrong theology, sexism (gender inequality), people formulating their own stories of what is happening instead of actually asking the people involved (and believing them).  We have to speak out.

I will continue to use personal examples of these things that I've experienced, I will continue to use my story...because it shows that I know what I'm talking about.  I've been there.  It's happened to me.  Horrible things have happened here...and by the people who were supposed to love me most.

24 hours before this comment was made by this man (on the 6th), I spent a few hours with him, laughing and having a good time.  He said nothing to me about any of usual.

He posted this comment on Facebook...and I was expected to just sweep it under the rug.  I was expected to go out to dinner with this man and act as if nothing ever happened 24 hours after he said these things about me on Facebook.

It was seen as wrong of me that I didn't just sweep it under the rug.  The people who tried to sweep this under the rug and expected me to do the same...they are just as wrong as this man.

And I will do that no longer.  I've always hated it, but sweeping things under the rug is something that I will no longer do.  I think that's pretty clear here.  It's so unhealthy and damaging.  I even wrote about that very thing (plus true forgiveness and repentance, and walking away from people) extensively here in this blog post.

If this man ever changes and chooses to try to make amends, then we'll see if that is possible.  But, knowing this man well, I don't expect that to ever happen.

I haven't seen or heard from him since he made that comment.

If the people who sweep these things under the rug and expect me to do the same ever change and choose to try to make amends, then we'll see if that is possible.  But, I'm not sure that will happen either (they want to just, as usual, move on and pretend nothing ever happened).  Talking it all out and making amends did happen with one of those people...and I'm very thankful for that.  But, the I've always believed (and the counselor reiterated...and the Bible itself teaches), sometimes it is best and healthy to move away from certain people.  No grudges, no bitterness...but to distance oneself is the healthy thing to do.

People who sweep things under the rug instead of talking about things honestly and openly...I will walk away from and take my children with me.  The end.

After the comment my father posted, the conversation picked back up and continued over the next few days (July 7th-9th).  But first, let me share with you what someone else had written in response to something else I had shared, on July 5th:
Something that I hope encourages you is something that encouraged me when I was going through a difficult time. Someone pointed out to me that Scripture says "blessed are the peacemakers".... and how a whole LOT of people interpret that verse in a very wrong way... there is a HUGE difference between being a peaceMAKEr and peaceKEEPer... people tend to want to interpret that verse to mean peacekeeper... don't make waves, let things go, be "good"... just keep the peace... when in reality, a peaceMAKEr (what Scripture actually says) sometimes has to make waves, shake things up, and confront reality in order to really MAKE peace. So, be encouraged that there are those of us out here who aren't looking down on you for being willing to confront the reality that is going on in your life. It is an encouragement and inspiration that you are willing to allow us to walk through this with you and learn from your experiences. I will continue to pray for wisdom and clarity for you in this journey.
Many of you have heard that before, as I had.  But, man oh man...what it meant to hear it again at this specific time!  It was huge.  And so very, very full of truth.

Again, the conversation continued...some bad, some good.  This was one of my comments:
first of all, to those who have 'liked' my father's comment of complete rubbish, it is nice to know your true colors and what you believe about me.  
there are many people (*most* people) who really don't like it when someone rocks the boat. if something *seems* good, if someone *seems* good, then everyone should just let those perceptions rule...even if that person and that situation is very, very destructive and very, very *not* good. even if that person is destroying someone they supposedly love. 
again, charm is deceptive. many of you have believed that joel is something that he is not. and you loved that i was quiet about it...even though it destroyed me.  
you wish that i would go back to being quiet...and being destroyed. you'd rather the destruction of me vs. the honesty about what has happened/is happening.  
it speaks loudly to the prevalence of the mentality to support the matter what. doesn't matter what proof you have of what he's done...he becomes the victim once the *actual* victim finally starts speaking out about what he's done. and the 'whistleblower' always becomes the bad one. 
if you are in that category, where you would rather me be destroyed (and our marriage be destroyed) instead of honest, you are not are peaceKEEPERS. you would rather someone be destroyed in the name of 'submission' or 'being a good little wife' or 'not rocking the boat' or God forbid, someone's perceptions being tampered with (i can assure you, joel is not what he seems).  
if you are in that category, you are not my friend at all.  
i wouldn't have had to 'come out' in the first place had people really cared and done the right things 'in the quiet places.' that very much did *not* happen...and i gave it *years.* 
why didn't it happen? because the male in the situation was always supported and the focus of blame was turned toward me...when i had/have done *nothing* wrong.  
i will never stop telling the truth...about *whatever* subject. but, i most certainly will not continue to allow the destruction of my life just because being honest about it makes you uncomfortable and 'outs' people. i am a peaceMAKER. 
And this:
the whole story is super long and detailed and involved. but, if you haven't read at least the part that is 'out there' so far (the blog starting back in october...and these posts), then that is the place to start. if you have read those things and you *still* have these questions, then i will answer them. but, these questions have all been answered before.  
as far as 'going public,' it's been public since october. and i explain all the reasons for that (the initial reasons and then more motivations that came up as i continued to share) in the blog. in april, *his* family started going on the attack here on Facebook and outing themselves, so it wasn't me who went public with the details and who was doing everything. the blog continued and then i began a break from blogging in may...thought it was going to be a wonderful summer of healing finally...thought we were back to doing really well. i let everyone know that...everyone was so relieved and happy for us and hopeful.  
and then i found out last friday that he had been lying to me the whole time. extensive cover-ups of things he had done...all premeditated and calculated and hidden actions. looking me in the face and lying constantly for 7 full months.  
scary. sociopath-like. no remorse as he did it.  
yet, somehow i'm always the one who gets the blame.  
for instance, this thread here. these comments. some of which i just deleted as they came because i'm not going to listen to blame anymore.  
but somehow him lying to me for 7 months turned into me being at fault because if i'd 'done the right thing,' he wouldn't have to lie.  
um, ok. not talking to his family *was* the right thing...and was possibly only going to be temporary (that's no longer a possibility). and was for a *very* good reason. lots of good wise, healthy reasons, actually.  
and guess what? even if it just happened to have not been the right thing (which it was), *lying* is *wrong.*  
but,'s my fault. it's my fault he lied.  
you say that you know what it's like when people falsely accuse and make him out to be 'the good one'...i think every woman knows what that's like. i cannot tell you the number of women who have contacted me personally to say that they have been in the same boat, they are in the same boat, or their close family member has experienced that...and what a rough road it was. some have said that they too had been duped by a charmer...and greatly regretted blaming the victim in it all. not to mention just all the information online...horror stories of women who just simply were not believed...and it cost them so much. it cost them friendships, relationships with their children and other family members, status, etc.  
they're just supposed to stay quiet? they're just supposed to shrink into their little corner and not speak out about what has happened/is happening? 
this isn't only about me. i speak out because this is me, yes, but in the grander scheme of things, to women *all* over the world. and nobody does a thing about it.  
'just let God take care of it,' people say. well, God did take care of it. His plan of things was supposed to take care of it. when He gave us the Body of Christ, that was the main way all of these things were supposed to be taken care of. He *was* taking care of His people...or so He thought. it was established long ago that joel wasn't going to figure this out on his own. that's when the Body of Christ is supposed to step in. with the *right* theology. they didn't. when the Body of Christ does nothing (or does completely destructive things like follow bad theology or only believe the man), then Christ's people are damaged and destroyed.  
'church people' do way more damage than good. *real* people...real *God* people...*not* pharisees...those are the people you need on your side. they are few and far almost extinct actually. ragamuffins are the best...they're just not common. 
so, it's not even just about me anymore. every time i post i have women from all walks of life and from all different places geographically who say to me, 'yes! i cannot tell you how much i relate to this. thank you so much for posting. why doesn't anyone do anything? why is he praised and called a saint when we are the victims here?'  
it's an indictment on the church...a major one. 'well, you don't even go to church, so you can't be helped at church.' the 'christians' who say things like that don't get it. no, it's not about *going to* church, it's about *being* the church. nobody has *been* the church in regards to mine and joel's marriage.  
and that's why i speak out. there's a much bigger picture here. of a corruption and an evil that is not like Christ at all. and i will speak of it until my dying day...or until it's fixed and no longer a problem in the world! wouldn't that be nice? 
The conversation and that thread ended with a dear sweet friend of mine, who has been through a very similar situation (there are so many of us, sweet dear's time to speak out), leaving this simple comment:
Psalm 18:18
I looked it up immediately.
"They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support." 
"They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me." 
She knew.  This sweet friend knew, from personal experience, the exact verse that applied and that I needed to hear.

I was being attacked constantly, and in my time of distress no less (and had been, for years)...but the Lord knew...and he supported me.

The Lord is my constant.  Praise Him for that.  All of the people that I thought would be a constant in my life...that has not been the case.  But the Lord?  This verse speaks truth and of course is the only reason I've been able to make it through this.

Praise God we found a human (after much searching), a human that could/would actually speak up to Joel and put a stop to all of this that has been happening for 3 ½ years...and it is slowly but surely coming to a stop.

Thank God it is no longer July in my life.

If you are in a 'July season' though...because I know many of you who read this blog still are...

Take comfort in this verse...Psalm 18:18 is for you.

Take comfort in the fact that sometimes you have to make some waves in order to make some peace.

Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.  There are many, many of us.  And we stand with you.

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