Monday, January 04, 2016

Christmas Card and Newsletter 2015

I thought about not including this on the blog this year.  For several reasons.  But, I usually put our Christmas card and end-of-year newsletter up here, so I decided to go ahead and do it again this year.

Season’s Greetings, all!!  I hope this letter finds you well.                    December 2015                                 
As you can tell by the picture on the card itself, we kept it super simple this year.  The kids had been outside playing for hours.  We called them in, took a face picture, and called it done.  :)  
First, let me get the update on our marriage out of the way.  With the last Christmas letter, we shared how Joel and I had been separated for a time in 2014, had come back together, and I thought that we were on the road to recovery.  This past summer, it was proven that what I believed about being on the road to recovery had just been a lie. 

We went to a ‘last chance counseling’ week in Dallas in August and thankfully met with a counselor who was different…who was wise and, although in his 70s, didn’t give in to the notion of ‘gender roles’ at all.  He didn’t blame me for things that Joel had done.  And he called Joel out on his sin. 

It was all made very clear that the big root culprit in the destruction of our marriage was something called ‘complementarianism.’ If you don’t know what it is, feel free to look it up.  But, in a nutshell, complementarianism is a theology that says that women are inferior to men.  Complementarians deny that…saying that there are just different roles men and women play.  But, those roles happen to be men in authority and women always submitting…and when one person is always in authority over someone else, the one who is not in authority plays an inferior role.  Although our marriage for 11 years seemed to be between equal partners, the truth is that Joel, because of his upbringing and popular Christian theology, did not see me as an equal partner.  And that was our downfall. 
We are glad to report that we are full on egalitarians now.  And we are eager to help other couples and young Christians know the danger of this theology of complementarianism, in which abuse is inherent.  So…who knows what our future holds.  But, right now, we are still just trudging through all of the major damage done in the past few years.  Damage that I thought was over last Christmas, but in fact lasted until August.  There is lots to unlearn and relearn.  Complementarian roots run deep.  That (faulty) mindset that sees women one way and men another goes deep.  It’s sad and damaging…and we hope our marriage survives that unlearning and relearning (that’s a very difficult process to endure as a spouse)…and can heal from all the extensive damage that was done. 

You can continue to pray for us.  Now that we’ve updated you on that (a huge part of our lives right now, that’s why I wanted to do it justice), let me update you on other things.
As you can see in the picture, we are a ‘glasses’ family now.  What?  :)  Joel got them when he was around 30.  I just got mine this past summer (at age 41).  But, shockingly, all of our kids needed glasses.  I was surprised.  But, they sure are super cute in their glasses, aren’t they?  :)  
You can also see that they just continue to grow like crazy. 

No, Grady is not taller than me…not yet.  But, when your kid wants to put his arm around you, you bend down a little so he can.  :)  He’s only about 2 inches shy of passing me up though.  (Insert tears and smiles…what parenting is made of.)  He is 11 (12 next month) and is in 6th grade.  He is in his 2nd year of Robotics and really loves it.  He still plans to be an engineer one day (preferably for Nerf or Legos).  He just recently got a haircut for the first time in 2 ½ years.  :)  He loved his long hair, but he was ready for a change…and a big change it is.  He's hilarious and so much fun...and keeps us entertained on a daily basis with his wit (they all do, but he's really come into his own in that area this past year, lol...seriously a fun/funny guy). 
Hadley is 10 (will be 11 in February) and in 5th grade.  She is the most natural ‘leader’ of our family…so she kind of just takes over sometimes.  :)  And she’s fully capable to do so, I might add.  Ha.  She still loves being creative, but her interests have morphed a little this year.  She is quite studious.  As I said in last year’s letter, she is a truth-talker and a justice-seeker, and wants to do things like work to free trafficking victims.  So when she mentioned recently that she’s been thinking about becoming a lawyer, it kind of made a lot of sense.  But, we shall see.  I have no doubt that whatever she does she will fight for justice.  She already wants Facebook for the sole purpose of having an outlet for speaking out against unfair things.  :)   
Eissa  just turned 9 in October and is in 3rd grade.  She is sweet and loving and so very compassionate and caring.  I can’t wait to see what God does with those giftings in her.  She is quite gifted in wittiness too, I must say.  Quiet, yet funny…such a fun combo.  As of right now, she is still interested in becoming a spy.  :)  But, also really wants to own a ranch in Texas with lots of horses. 

Cass is 7 ½ (March birthday) and is in 2nd grade.  She is our fun, bright ray of sunshine (that is typical Cass in the picture J).  Always moving, always shaking, always being silly.  And she’s quick as a whip.  She is still loving dolphins and this year has graduated from being a ‘dolphin girl and teacher’ to being a marine biologist when she grows up.  :)  
Grady and Hadley recently started taking guitar lessons.  I teach them piano.  Hadley and Cass are finishing up their second semester in tumble class (Hadley perfected her back handspring a couple of months ago).  And Eissa just started martial arts.  They are very much enjoying these things.  They also all play in a softball league every summer, which they love.

With all that has happened in the past few years, I continue to just try to survive to be quite honest.  I know I seem like a Debbie Downer here, but it’s been years, y’all.  So, I’m just being unbelievably honest here.  Other than that, I’m busy with homeschooling the kids, and this coming year I want to focus on my health.  Chronic stress has led to real health problems, including a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Disease this year.  I hope to reclaim the excellent health I once had and want to focus on that in the year to come.  Please pray for me in that endeavor. 

Joel continues to work as a pilot/mechanic at a local airport.  And he continues to play an important role in our mission organization as Operations Coordinator, working about 10-15 hours a week with them remotely. 
Here’s to a better year!! 
Love, Michawn and the crew
Contact information:
I continue to blog about our experiences at

We are both on Facebook under Joel Ebersole and Michawn Madden Ebersole.  I recently rebooted my Friends List there, so if you find that you are not friends with me and you wish to be, just send me a friend request.  (added for the blog:  unless you've been know who you are...just stay away if that's the case)  ;) 
And that was our year in a very small nutshell.  And our very simple-but-fun (we hope you thought so) Christmas card this year.

Praying for a fabulous, very different 2016!  Thanks for praying with us, friends.

If you have been blocked from our lives, just know that you have been part of the problem.  Instead of praying for us (because we don't want your kinds of prayers), you can just leave us alone.  Not being vengeful or bitter here...just protecting myself and my family.  Do not look upon this post as any kind of draw or invitation from us to rejoin our lives.  You are not welcome here.

But all others...thank you for the prayers.  xoxo

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