Sunday, February 28, 2016

Joel. Michawn. {Part 75 - November on Facebook, 4}

Some elaborations on some of the things I've posted on Facebook...

Nov. 27th -
Difficulties prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destinies. 

Nov. 27th - I posted this article, called "I Don't Want YOU To Work It Out...," and these words...

my marriage did not involve a sexual adulterous affair. but, it did involve a deep, deep betrayal. i was, and remain, the *faithful* spouse. i am married to the unfaithful spouse. 
true repentance involves true change. and when you don't have that, the betrayal just keeps going. without true change, it's impossible for that marriage to survive. the jury is still out on what will happen here. 
but, i love what this article says. i love this whole blog, regardless of the typos. the ball is in the court of the unfaithful spouse...the faithful spouse can only wait and see if the unfaithful spouse will choose the right things and act accordingly. yet, the sickeningly overwhelming majority of people don't see it that way. 
why is the jury still out here? because i'm still waiting to see if true change will come. it hasn't yet. i'm weary. 
pray for me. i have many decisions to make. and pray that the church as a whole will stop allowing and defending this kind of behavior that sees the faithful spouse as somehow able to turn the tide. the church, who ultimately blames the enemy for the breakdown of marriage, is so often the actual culprit for the failure of marriages.  
~I do not want a faithful spouse to work “it” out.
What I want to see is an adulterous spouse repent…then and only then is there a possibility of godly restoration in the marriage.~
Nov. 29th -
"Whenever I hear submission expounded from Ephesians 5 as a duty meant only for wives, there are two things I say, if possible. The first is that verse 21 is there and does not read this way: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, except husbands do not ever need to submit to their wives.” And second, using the same logic that supposedly exempts husbands from submitting, I point out that likewise wives do not need to love their husbands; loving is a job given to men. This is readily seen as absurd, of course, for in many other places we are told to love one another, which includes wives to their husbands! Mutual submission is God’s plan for us. Let’s practice it!" 
- W. M. Kwiatkowski 
A friend commented saying this...
In one of the best sermons I ever heard on submission, the pastor explained the word used there means "to come alongside." The picture is of SUPPORT, not so much obedience. That is a loving role, a helpmate role...and any marriage where the husband does not also do this for his wife (love and support) would be a nightmare.
To which I responded and elaborated more...
agreed. the original language supports this view of 'helpmate' vs. the view taught by complementarianism/patriarchy/traditionalists.  
~The phrase “helper suitable,” rendered “help meet” in the King James Version, comes from a combination of the words ezer and kenegdo. Far from connoting subjugation, the Hebrew term ezer, or “helper,” is employed elsewhere in Scripture to describe God, the consummate intervener—the helper of the fatherless (Psalm 10:14), King David’s helper and deliverer (Psalm 70:5), Israel’s shield and helper (Deuteronomy 33:29). Ezer appears twenty-one times in the Old Testament—twice in reference to the first woman, three times in reference to nations to whom Israel appealed for military support, and sixteen times in reference to God as the helper of Israel. The word evokes both benevolence and strength, and is a popular name for Jewish boys, both in the Bible and in modern times.  
In Genesis 2, ezer is combined with the word kenegdo to mean something like “a helper of the same nature,” or a corresponding character. Kenegdo literally means “as in front of him,” suggesting that the ezer of Genesis 2 is Adam’s perfect match, the yin to his yang, the water to his fire—you get the idea. Everything about this descriptor implies mutuality and harmony, and it provides us with a lovely glimpse of what a sinless relationship between a man and a woman might look like, the picture of a true partnership. This reality is reflected in Adam’s reaction to God’s creation of woman. He responds with “ishshah!” a play on words, which basically means, “Wow, this one is like me!” (Interesting note: The woman of the creation narrative is not called Eve until after the Fall.)~ -Rachel Held Evans (and many theologians i've read say the same) 
another author described it as God making the woman to be man's 'strongest ally in pursuing God's purposes and his first roadblock when he veers off course.' again, this same word that the KJV describes as 'helpmeet' is used to describe God... 
~God isn't a helpmeet in the watered-down milquetoast way we've taught or understood that word within our churches, is He? No, our God is more than that: He's a strong helper, a warrior.  
By naming His daughters after this aspect of His character, God did not name women as secondary helpmeet assistants. No, friend -- women were created and called out as warriors.  
You, sister -- did you know? You are a warrior, alongside brothers, on God's mission in the world. Brother, did you know? You have an ally; you aren't in this alone. And this calling of fellow warriors is not exclusive to husbands and wives in a marriage relationship; men and women together in the Kingdom of God are allies.~ -Sarah Bessey 
wouldn't it be great if all males and females viewed it like this? the world would be a much different place. our marriages would be much different. our churches would be much different. much better all the way around. the Church and God's kingdom here on earth would have much more potential and be much more balanced and fit for His work. i believe things are changing. i hope a mighty revolution in this regard truly happens.

Nov. 29th -
this. is. HUGE. this is trust. this is what it means and what it involves. watch this. if everyone really knew this stuff, our world could be changed and would be SO much better.

And more specifically, marriages and families would change.  This is needed.  People need to know this.

As the video says, "Trust is built in very small moments."  Someone who remembers names, someone who attends funerals of your loved ones, someone who generally pays attention, someone who knows what is important to you, someone who is dependable to help out in a time of need, someone who is willing to admit when they need help or are wrong.

"Trust is built in the smallest of moments." --John Gottman, Ph.D.  Listen in this video about what he calls 'sliding door moments.'  Powerful.  These small moments go one of two's an opportunity to build trust, or an opportunity to betray.  "To choose to not connect when the opportunity is there is a betrayal."

In my own marriage, the opportunity to betray (in almost every way possible) has been taken consistently for the past 4+ years.  We have to learn the information in this video, and we have to teach our children, so that what has happened to me doesn't keep happening to people.

Trust - Choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.
Distrust - "What I have shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you."

If I have cut ties with you, it's because of that right are not a safe and reliable person in my life.

Listen about the acronym B-R-A-V-I-N-G.  Take notes.  Learn it.

Be a person of integrity...listen to that video to hear what integrity really is.

Let's change this world for the better. Because if we all lived trustworthy lives, this world would be a very different, much better place.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Joel. Michawn. {Part 74 - November on Facebook, 3}

Some elaborations on some of the things I've posted on Facebook...

Nov. 16th - I posted this article, called "Christian Community Doesn’t Require Our Blind Trust: Discernment and Judgment Must Come First." I only posted the personal thoughts or excerpts.  The truth is...many Christian communities do require blind trust.  If you question...or even worse, actually suggest another alternative to something or are a troublemaker who won't just go along with the flow.  You are seen as rebellious, out of God's will, led astray, backslidden, a Jezebel spirit, practicing heresy...there's a wide range of accusations that can come your way.  It's so very dangerous for the church to be like that...for many reasons.  This article goes into why.

Nov. 16th - I posted this article, called "Three Ways to Empower Your Daughter."  I loved the 3 things on this list.  So very good, so very true. Something that, sadly, probably 99% of the people in the world don't think of doing.  Btw, the saying on the image below is very, very true...although my interpretation of that is probably very different than James Dobson's interpretation.  As I am a female should go with my version.  How does a man rise to the occasion in a daughter's life? Go read this article.

Nov. 17th -  A message Joel got from a 'friend.'

{EDITED for clarification: This is not a blood brother, you guys. Just a guy we know who calls Joel 'brother' at the end there. We aren't in contact with his family...really and truly this time.} 
when i say that true colors have been shown over the course of the last few years (and specifically the last year), this is what i'm talking about. just wow. message after message and comment after comment like this one. geez...we have kept company with some immature, uninformed 'friends'...that is all becoming clear through all of this. joel got the following after he posted something last night. looks like his friends list is next!! 
this is what is wrong with the church, people. and it is a HUGE problem!! this is from a *respected* family. ‪#‎soscary‬ 
surely i'm not the only one who thinks this is so very disrespectful. please let me know i'm not the only one. 
~Joel, have you been castrated since i last saw you? 
Man up. And become the man of your house hold. GOD has given you the role as the head of the house. Dont give into the lies, that the devil has crafted. Pick up a king james bible, and search out the raw words of God, and his will for mankind and his kingdom. 
Your wife is your helpmate, and God should be yours. Pursue him rather then your wife. And your wife will follow. 
Just speaking from my heart, which isnt perfect by any means... Love you Brother...~
Believe me...everyone assured me I was not the only one.  Lol.  Just wow.  Still can't get over this and so many other completely immature and rude (and backwards...because only uneducated people treat others that way; in Portuguese 'educado' means 'polite'...and that is truly reflective of truly educated people) communication we've gotten over these past few years.  Smh.

Here's a real kicker that I don't remember if I ever shared about the above message in particular.  The guy that sent that?  He's in his early 20s and has never been married.  Hasn't even ever had a girlfriend I don't think.  So, you know...that makes that message even more brazen.  A young 20-something yr. old sending an almost 40 year old man who's been married for 15 years this extremely brash and condescending message?  It would be bad enough from *anyone*...but add in that factor and wow.  Sadly though, these are the kinds of messages that we've gotten from very married and experienced people too...because it's learned as one of 'God's clear principles' (the message that says that wife is your helpmate and you are the leader, and you are emasculated if you're not living that way...not necessarily always the KJV message except in certain pockets, lol).  So while this particular isolated message could be taken as just young and stupid hubris and discarded, the truth is that that doesn't apply to all the other messages we've gotten like that.  :/  Seriously dumbfounding, no matter who it is from.  But, this one?  He's been trained and taught that he can speak to anyone rudely and disrespectfully who he perceives is 'defiling God's order of things.'  He's learned this's been modeled for him.  Some of the other men in his family have sent us messages like this too.  And...the church as a whole models this kind of behavior.

Nov. 18th -
if you never listen to anything else i post, please listen to this...everyone.

Nov. 20th - LOVED this article, called "Famous Quotes, The Way a Woman Would Have to Say Them During a Meeting."  Still laughing (so ridiculously true and sad that it's laughable).

oh man...this is so right on!! lol and smh. (btw, it's not about jennifer lawrence...she's just referenced once) it happens very subtly. and you have to do this with some more than others. being kind is always a good thing. but, never again will i curb who i am, therefore how i say things, to fit a certain idea of what i should be. 
i *loved* the part of j-law's essay that said, "I’m over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable! F^(% that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard." 
read the following. oh man...YES! this is how a woman has to speak. and it's ridiculous. praise God it's changing. that's *never* what He had in mind for His daughters!! 
“Let my people go.”
Woman in a Meeting: “Pharaoh, listen, I totally hear where you’re coming from on this. I totally do. And I don’t want to butt in if you’ve come to a decision here, but, just, I have to say, would you consider that an argument for maybe releasing these people could conceivably have merit? Or is that already off the table?” 
“I came. I saw. I conquered.”
Woman in a Meeting: “I don’t want to toot my own horn here at all but I definitely have been to those places and was just honored to be a part of it as our team did such a wonderful job of conquering them.”

Nov. 21st - I posted this article, called "Farewell to the Missionary Hero," with these words...

Joel has a very important role within Asas de Socorro still as Operations Coordinator. he logs all the flights made and makes sure all of the billing is taken care of, among other things. he puts in many hours a week with this position. 
given all that has gone on in our marriage and the fact that we are still here in the u.s., that is often not known...that he still works within the mission organization. that he is, even practically speaking, a missionary. still. we should all be missionaries wherever we are...but, he does still even very technically and logistically play a vital role and hold major responsibility within our mission in constant communication with and is constantly working with them every day. 
regardless, do people still consider us 'missionaries?' 
as far as people's perceptions and expectations go, do people even still consider us 'Christians?' lol. 
and that's why i love this article sooooooo much. 
honesty is such a powerful thing. it is so needed in this world. even before we started talking honestly about details that were happening within our marriage, if i was honest at all just about 'struggling,' in my writings or talking with others, so often the answer was just 'well, you need to stay positive.' and that started being the normal rhetoric coming my way...that i was just being negative...i needed to be more positive. 
the problem with this is that i was not being negative...i was just being honest. 
facades and fronts have never been my forte. in fact, i've always run from them like the plague. just...gross. i can't deal. 
luckily for everyone else, up until the past few years, my life had seemed to be full of roses and rainbows in most ways. the parts that weren't, i didn't have to speak about them publicly. they weren't all-consuming...and could be left to the side or left altogether, no longer a part of my life. 
but once the roses and rainbows started being replaced with much, much darker things, God forbid i talk about it. that's too negative. honesty is great...unless it's crappy things we're being honest about. then just shut the hades up...nobody wants to hear that honesty. 
this article nails it. it talks about missionaries specifically, but this is an issue for *everyone*...and for *all* Christians. i LOVE that elisabeth elliot and isobel kuhn saw the importance of honesty...and even had books banned from bookstores because they were too 'honest' (read: 'negative'). "Some memoirists, free from the oversight of mission boards, permitted themselves greater honesty about their missions." *free from the oversight of mission boards*...that is a key phrase. 
"...missionaries still feel pressure to communicate in a certain way—one that leads churches and individuals to continue their financial support. Jamie Wright, who runs the popular blog Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, blames this dynamic on sending churches. She writes that missionaries can 'feel roped in to this wordplay because the church insists on overly spiritualized reports from missionaries whose work they don’t entirely understand.' Afraid of financial instability, missionaries downplay their struggles or just how mundane a lot of their work is." 
on amy carmichael: "...even at the turn of the century (the 20th century that is), Carmichael knew something had to change in the way we talked about missions. Now we have a chance to realize her vision." 
as i said, it's not just missionaries...although maybe i've had more criticism because i am/'was' one. but, this applies to everyone. *honesty*'s the only way we ever grow and learn.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Joel. Michawn. {Part 73 - November on Facebook, 2}

Some elaborations on some of the things I've posted on Facebook...

Nov. 6th -
it's interesting that in complementarianism, a husband is the leader. 
except when he sins of course. then somehow it is the wife who has led him into that sin. it is the wife who is at fault. it was her that led him into that darkness. *she* tripped him up. poor husband. 
ugh. :/ 
Nov. 6th -
good stuff. being dragged back can be truly horrible, and completely unfair even, when it's out of your control. but, the outcome can ultimately be the same...a launching.

Nov. 8th -
Nov. 9th
**grace says "NO" to sin.** not just your own...but others' sin as well. grace protects us.
throughout all of our mess, how many times have i heard 'you need to have more grace,' 'you need to give more grace,' 'you need to show more grace,' 'you just don't have any grace.' 
people who say that don't know Truth. they don't know their Word. 
i love what one of my former pastors said yesterday: 
~If Grace trains us to say “No” to ungodliness, then, BY ALL MEANS, preach MORE GRACE! Titus 2:12 ‪#‎gracemadeaway‬~ 
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness... 
thank God for HIS kind of grace...not manmade definitions. <3 blockquote="" nbsp="">Nov. 10th - I shared a Facebook post that Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love author) had written that day.  It was great.  If you can't see her Facebook post, here is an article talking about it which includes most of her original post.  This is what I said about it...

i think most of us know this, at least to a certain degree. i knew it...but the rubber had never met the road in my life like it has recently. i had put this into practice before, but not in huge ways like now. sometimes, life calls for 'huge.' you might be struggling to make those huge steps in your life...but please know that sometimes the huge things are *needed* and on the other side of 'ripping off the bandaid,' you find life and peace. 
in my own life, people have accused me of only wanting people in my life who agree with me. but, that's not it at all. it's not about agreeing. it's about being a supporting, loving person...not someone who agrees with everything someone says or thinks. people who will love you and support you and come to your rescue whether they agree or not... it's about surrounding yourself with THOSE kinds of people. you have to! otherwise, you are just constantly fighting for your life in one way or another. and you are slowly dying that way. 
some people truly don't know how to do loving and supportive when they don't agree...but, it is definitely possible. the people who don't know how? can have people in your life like that for just so long...people who drain the life out of you. and then, you have to let those relationships go. for your own good. 
don't be afraid to do just that. it's not your burden to try to reach them, to try to help them understand, to just 'take it' for the greater good. some people will never 'get it.' i urge you...take care of yourself!
Nov. 13th -
It's things like this that might seem small. Might even sound good. But it can wreak havoc on our families. 
Husbands were never meant to be the wife's pastor. Ever. 
When I see something like this, it literally makes me sick to my stomach.

Nov. 15th - I posted this article called "Standing Up For Our Sisters at the Men's Retreat," and these words...
this is sooooo good. and so important to read and really understand. we all have to realize, almost no matter the topic... 
*there is no neutral.* 
~...[do] not shrink back from conflict with the forces of darkness, as if the battle will pass safely over if we simply lie low. There is no neutral. We’re in this battle whether we like it or not, and we must stand up for what is right or we will simply let darkness descend. 
Because here is the deal, guys: Left unchallenged, things like that enforce the patriarchal darkness left to us by the fall.~
We all need to 1) empathize with others, and 2) stand up to do our parts when it comes to injustice of any sort. have to see things for what they really are, imagine yourself in those same shoes, and imagine how you would feel (empathy)...then there would be no stopping you from joining in and fighting tooth and nail for your sisters.

That is happening more and more.  I'm part of a group with some seriously incredible men.  Men who are the way I described in the previous paragraph.  I wish I had been raised by and around men like that.  I wish I knew men like that in real life.  ...Maybe someday.

More next time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Joel. Michawn. {Part 72 - November on Facebook, 1; Friends List Purge}

Some elaborations on some of the things I've posted on Facebook...

Nov. 3rd - I posted this meme with the below words...

men in patriarchal societies, and specifically patriarchal religious systems, usually deny this 'til the cows come home. but... 
*patriarchy (a system in which males hold primary power; complementarianism is an example)
*narcissism (extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one's own talents and a craving for admiration; having an inflated sense of one's own importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others) 
that is just truth. 
and while my husband (Joel) probably isn't, on the surface, what one would call an outright narcissist, when a husband is being told over and over that he needs to gain control over his uppity ('non-submissive') wife, what do you think that does to that husband? as a byproduct, he becomes selfish (although that husband would religiously say that he just wants to follow the Bible and bring the wife back into God's will), he craves admiration from those saying such things (and wants to gain that admiration by 'gaining control over his wife and family'), and has zero empathy for the one who is 'uppity' (he no longer cares about her needs...he is focused on the task at hand...gaining control). 
when this behavior backfires, he and his cohorts will definitely try to control how others see that wife. 
i lived this constantly from jan. 2012 - aug. 2015. it destroyed my marriage and my family and my life in *many* ways. 
it has to be stopped. it is a detriment to society and the church. patriarchy of any kind needs to be abolished. 
"Patriarchy is a strange animal. It generally does the opposite of whatever its proponents claim it does. They claim it creates harmonious relationships when, in fact, it introduces artificial strain. They claim it helps people serve God better when, in fact, it can hinder the use of gifts. They claim it keeps women safer when, in fact, it makes abuse more likely." 
it has to stop.
This ended up being a very 'interesting' comment thread.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, you can see it yourself here.  The bottom line is that when I warn people about complementarianism, which is a form of patriarchy and hierarchy and truly is very dangerous, several thoughts and emotions have come forth, from heresy to not allowing others to choose for themselves.  That is the most common thing that was said to me pre-November when others didn't agree with what I had to say...they said that I was the one who got irritated when people didn't agree.  :)  No matter how many times I said it, and how much I showed it in my actions and comments, that I was just presenting information and they could make their own choices...someone always ended up accusing me of not allowing differing opinions.  The truth is actually that I just always had an answer for their differing opinions...which they didn't appreciate.

Anyway, so after this particular post and comment run, I knew it was just time.  Time to purge my friends list on Facebook.  I had never done that before, except to get rid of a particular group of people who had mistreated me sufficiently in real life and bullied me on social media.  I had done that over the summer.

To go through my friends list and delete people though...that was new to me.  But, if something is needed, even if I've never had to do it before or it's never been something I ever imagined I'd need to do...if the need is there and it is time, I will do it.

The need was there.  And it was time.

Nov. 5th - I sent this out to everyone on my friends list.

**Big change below...keep reading until the end.** 
It is said that you teach others how to treat you.  
I think that my life up until the last year has ‘taught’ people to expect certain things of me and have a certain perception of me.  But, my life changed drastically a few years ago.  And so those things that are expected of me and that perception of me…these things are required to change too.  With life, things change.  And without the ability to adapt and grow and change, including the ability to watch and support someone else doing those things and adapting your expectations and perceptions of them…you will always be disappointed. 
Expectations and perceptions can be dangerous things anyway.  But, if you are going to have them, you canNOT hang on to them tightly.  They have to be allowed to be ever-changing. 
Someone said to me recently, "You have changed so much as a person.  You used to be one of my favorite people on the face of this earth. You were someone I looked up to and someone for which I had the utmost respect.” 
I get really great, supportive texts and messages regularly.  But, I also get these kinds of messages regularly. 
Have I changed?  Yes.  That happens to people.  Especially when they go through a time of suffering and trial.  That’s the way it’s meant to be.  It is *supposed* to happen that way.   
I’ve also been accused of being mad and bitter.  One person's specific words were, "I don't understand why you're so damn mad!” 
I answered, 
~there will always be those people who only see that part of me...the part who *is* so damn mad about certain things about the church, about our world (and should's called righteous indignation).  Jesus had that serious, so damn mad part too.  there's nothing wrong with that.  there were people who, in His day, only saw that as 'attacks' too.  who saw that as wrong and bitterness and 'who is He to come in here and get all mad and talk against such things?'   
there was nothing He could do about it.  there's nothing i can do about it.  
i post things that are happy and carefree. that is the majority of what i post.  i also post things that are more serious and point out crappy things about the church/world. posting about important issues doesn't = 'not happy' or 'so damn mad all the time' or 'bitter' or 'attacking.’~ 
As I've said, "there are parts of me that have changed.  and there's a whole other layer there that wasn't there before.  but, those other layers that were always there are still there and are still the same.  and...they are evident in what i say and do, on Facebook or off.  true friends are able to see me as a whole person and not just that one righteously indignant layer.  even if they don't like that layer, that's not all they see.” 
I get the feeling that there are many people who are waiting for this to go away.  For me to go back to the way I was.  For me to only post about kids and recipes and rosy things.
Here’s the deal...   
I won’t be changing back. 
This isn’t a phase.  
This is it.  This is me. 
Just like I posted very honestly and openly all of these years, I continue to do so.  That has not changed.  Fortunately for me, my ‘open and honest’ did include controversial, but it didn’t include crappy things before.  Now it does.  I will be open and honest…in the good times and the bad.  Just like I spoke out against wrong things and sin before…I will continue to do so…even when it’s in my own house.  
Listen to this very closely... 
The things I write about now were going on for a few *years* before I started writing about them…I remained silent for a long time.  So what I write about now has been thought about and thought through…for *years.*  These aren’t just some ‘reactionary’ ramblings.  No…in that silent time, all I did was pray and think and reason and research. 
That is all I did!!  That, and try to survive. 
And that is why I talk about them.  These things are important.  The information I share helps many people.  And it helps even more when I use my own experiences to relay these things. 
So, again… 
I won’t be changing back.  This is it.  This is me. 
Many of you seem to not like this.  Most of you were all smiles when I was open and honest all of these years in the good times.  But in the hard times?  Not so much.  
So…change is needed.  Why?  Because honestly…I can’t keep answering correspondence that constantly blatantly shows this kind of disapproval and disappointment with who I am.  It’s not because ‘it hurts me’ (although, it’s the absolute opposite of uplifting to get this kind of language sent to you along with false accusations about things, which are almost always included as well).  And, it’s not because I don’t like it when people disagree with me…that is a ludicrous lie that people tell when they’ve been caught in bad behavior.  But…I just don’t have time and energy to keep defending myself and giving my rationale.  I have other things to do.  Like heal and recover and be a good mama and try to stay married.   
And no to “Well, you should just stop talking about it publicly if you don’t have time and need to focus on other things.”   
:)  Again…I’m going to talk about it because that actually *does* help me to heal.  But, what I will no longer do is allow people to bombard me with this type of dialogue that requires my defending myself and providing rationale that has already been provided many times over.   
So, here’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to start over.   
Facebook is how I keep in contact with most of you.  Facebook is where I post most of this information that some people don’t like (whether what those people don’t like is the information itself, or how I do it, or the examples I use).   
In the next few days, I will be emptying my friends list.  Over 1500 Facebook friends…”goodbye."  
I’m giving you an out. 
So, in about a week, I will no longer be friends with you on Facebook.  When you notice that I’m not around anymore in your friends list, feel free to friend request me.  
Just know that in the future, I will not tolerate this kind of behavior any longer.  
Don’t lie to yourself right now.  Don’t get it wrong here.  
**I’m not starting over because there are people who don’t agree with me.**  I’m starting over because 1) some of the people who don’t agree with me treat me disrespectfully, and 2) some of the people who don’t agree with me will not let it go and will not stop trying to get me to change back even after we’ve talked extensively about how these changes are not temporary.  
And those things will no longer be tolerated. 
So…now it’s up to you.  I love keeping up with every one of you.  I love knowing about your lives and keeping in touch.  But…it’s up to you.  
I’ve now stated very clearly the situation.  I'll be posting this a few more times throughout the week to try to make sure everyone sees it.   
I look forward to getting friend requests again from some of you.  To you others who choose to not send me a friend request…I wish you the best. 
Michawn <><
I got so many comments on that and messages from people saying they were so glad I was going to do that.  They were all tired of the drama too...and tired of seeing people being nasty and accusatory with me.  People said over and over that they were so proud of me for (finally) standing up for myself in this way.  Apparently I should have done this much sooner instead of trying to 'be nice' (i.e. be a doormat for others to come and crap on).

I started out with 1575 friends the day I started.  My plan was to make sure everyone got this memo by messaging it to them personally, and then delete literally everyone.  Then whoever wanted to could add me back.  Did you know that you can't do that?  What?  Here was my update after I had tackled this major feat.

Nov. 8th -

it. is. finished!! 
i started this project just deleting everyone from my friends list after i knew they had seen the note about what i was doing (after sending them a message). i wanted to delete *everyone* (barring all Brazilian, portuguese-speaking friends), but Facebook won’t let you send the same message to all your friends (who knew?). and it won’t let you tag all your friends either. i kept being blocked from doing so (annoying). so, as time went on, i started to be more picky about who i unfriended (instead of just unfriending literally everyone) so as to make it a process that would only take a few days as opposed to a few weeks, ha. ;) ain’t nobody got time for that. truly. 
in the 600 people i deleted, surely i got rid of all the drama-makers and all the people who truly do not want to be here. i hope so!! 
**i can't stress this enough...please know that if i didn’t unfriend you and you kind of wish i had…just unfriend me. :) no hard feelings and i wish you the best. go with God. 
if you are still here, it’s because you fit into at least one of the following categories:
1. i never even see you or hear from you or have interactions with you on here…either you aren’t on here much at all or you don’t ever even see anything i post or you are just the type who looks but never comments…either way, no drama
2. i know that you could *care less* what i have to say, hahaha…therefore, no drama
3. you usually see things basically the way i see them anyway…therefore, no drama
4. i’ve discussed/debated hard topics with you before and you were firm, but completely respectful and kind, even though we had very different opinions…therefore, no drama 
obviously, i just want people who aren’t going to cause me any drama…and i know that you friends remaining appreciate the same. and in the future, i WILL NOT HESITATE to delete someone who is causing continuous drama, just fyi. 
of course there were a few people that fit into the #2, #3, or #4 categories in the people i deleted in the beginning, for sure. but since they were people that i interact with a lot, i knew that they knew what was going on here and the need for this. so…they are all adding me back, and hopefully we can all live happily ever after here, whether we have completely different viewpoints or not.  :)  
and now…over and out. my mission is complete. from 1575 down to 975 friends. thank you all and welcome to my new and improved Friends List. ;) 
‪#‎tired‬ ‪#‎soworththework‬ ‪#‎timetoveg‬
When I posted the notice that I was going to be purging my friends list, I did have one person who encouraged me not to do it...a dear friend who I graduated high school with (we were all really tight, having only 15 in my graduating class) who is now a pastor himself.  Part of what he said was this...
Use this platform as a pulpit...I think you are most effective and it would be a shame to see you lose the audience that God has put before you. I know it's hard to be so transparent before your enemy but there is a question that I beg you to ponder...what good is the light if it's not placed in darkness? You are the very symbol of what a woman a mother a wife should be. It would be a shame that people would no longer have this example to follow. You are a symbol of greatness and I think both the light and the dark should bear witness to this. Your patience and your love and your character may be what is needed. I have enjoyed your posts these few years and I'm sure many others have as well. My advice would be not to take your hand from the plow. I can't see how people would be so rude and objecting if you were not somehow affecting them? God bless your endeavors old friend! 
And...that is the very reason I had waited so long to do this.  I want to be able to share information with people...even if it's new and there might be some pushback.  I don't shy away from that.  I still lament sometimes the fact that most of the people that really need to hear and see what I share are no longer seeing and hearing those things...and no longer being exposed to those ideas at all (on Facebook anyway).  But, at the same time...sometimes you just know that a change is needed.  And peace comes from that change.  Here was my reply to my high school buddy...
shon, i love what you say here. i actually agree completely. that is why i've waited so so long to do this. i think, though, that sometimes things just have to change. and, sometimes the people who are hearing our words 1) truly don't want to hear them in the first place (that's their prerogative...why i'm giving them an out), or 2) they aren't the type who can hear what you have to say and learn from it (even if the lesson learned is simply how to be friends with someone you really disagree with)'s kind of in the 'throwing pearls to swine' category. and so, you have to just wipe the slate clean and have a restart. i saw this video just a little bit ago and thought, this! this is why it's time. it happens to apply to my LIFE right now, not just my DAY. :) it's titled '4 Steps to Restart a Bad Day' change the title to '4 Steps to Restart a Bad Life,' lol. but, it very much applies and speaks to why i'm doing this now. THANK YOU for your words, encouraging and kind and full of truth. at this time, a purging is needed because like this video says...i don't have time for the drama and distractions. moving onward and upward. can't be bogged down anymore. i have to focus on the important things...and have some time to rest and heal and recover...and do what i'm called to do without drama and distractions. love you, my keeping up with you and all you're called to do. you're awesome.

The following is the video I talked about.  Literally everywhere he says 'day' you can replace it with 'life' in my case.  :/  Sad, but true.  My life went to hell.  Because of the sin of one person, the lives of my children and I have been drastically altered.  The trajectory of our lives...forever changed.  But, we move on from here.  Here's the video...

"People who are on the path of purpose...they don't have time for drama.  Or distraction.  That stuff gets pushed to the side because they are busy crushing it every day.  They're high performers. They've gotten past the drama and the distractions in life, and they're contributing, they're creating, they're being proactive...they're becoming the leaders, the artists, the people who are the influencers and the thought-leaders of the day."

Sometimes you just truly need a reset.  This was a reset for me.  If it's "gone to crap"...don't stay, don't keep doing the same things you are doing.  I found that I was spending so much time interacting with the same people over and over, saying the same things over and over...people who only wanted to take offense or to try to refute the information I was sharing.  And that's good to engage in a dialogue at first when new information is shared.  But, 1) disrespect was the common trap they always fell into, and 2) after being asked the same things over and over, and giving the same answers over and over, and being accused of the same things over and's just time to move on.  Time to reset. Time to leave that behind so that you can focus on what your true purpose is and move forward.

I enjoy much more peace now.  And instead of filling my time with those people on social media, I have been introduced to some new people...some really great groups of people who are like-minded and super supportive.  These groups have been a lifeline for me and I've met some really great people who are becoming my new friends.

How I made it all alone the past few years I will never know.  God was with me.  I had a couple of mainstay friends who were always there (even from afar) and I knew it.  98% of the people I thought were my friends were not.  But...I am now finding a new niche, a new place.

What has always been a life verse for me now has very, very different meaning.  What was always about missions before, is now about just moving on for the sake of what God has called me to through this mess.  What God has literally done in our lives.  God has sifted away the chaff in our lives...and is pulling us up out of the mess.  I have lost all of that, literally, that is listed in that verse. But, God is bringing about new things...healthier things...and we will receive a hundred times as much in return.  Thank God.

Matthew 19:29New Living Translation (NLT)

29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Joel. Michawn. {Part 71 - October on Facebook, 5}

Some elaborations on some of the things I've posted on Facebook...

Oct. 25th
 - I had just come off a really hard weekend.  It was painful and very, very difficult.  More remnants of bad, wrong, and detrimental teaching.  I posted this simple fact.
No matter how much we try, no matter how much we want it...some stories just don't have a happy ending.
Oct. 26th - I posted this...
This weekend was a fight. A literal all out BATTLE on the front lines...again. But I fought well...again. I am exhausted, but I am a mighty and brave warrior. Truly. If you only knew. 
Thank you to those who prayed, esp after seeing that status yesterday (which could have been about anything, but you knew and cared and prayed and asked about me...I wasn't fishing for or expecting that, but you loved well). Thank you. 
The story continues. At this point, each battle that comes threatens that continuation moreso than the last. But we'll see how it ends. 
Either way, for me?, this...

Oct. 27th - This picture (taken on the day our 2009 school year was completed) showed up in my memories.  And I captioned it by saying this:
":) Oh, the busy but simpler days.  Makes me sad.  And, comparatively, overwhelmed with life now.  Sometimes I wonder if these memories showing up in my newsfeed is a good thing, lol...anybody else feel like that?  But those sweet little faces!  That have now turned into almost grown faces.  Love seeing these baby versions." 

I wrote more in the comments.  Such truth here...
i knew that i was busy...but i was content and there was no stress, because even though there were always things that most people would find stressful (even in this picture, we were getting ready to travel back to the states and be away from our home for a total of a full year, bouncing around a LOT in 2010, in the states and in brazil), there was grace for that and the big thing...we worked as a team very, very well. that changed drastically a couple of years after this picture was taken.  
contentment in your life is such a great thing. there are some things that can't be changed and therefore you have to find a way to find contentment. but, there are some things that can be changed and a lack of contentment (lack of peace) is a sign for you that you have to fight for those things to be made right again in life so that contentment can return.
And that has been the truth of the past few years.  The lack of contentment is not because I am not 'choosing to be happy'...a phrase and concept so often bounced around by often used to shame people who are in a place of hardship.  No...most often a lack of contentment isn't about not choosing to be is because there is a real problem that needs to be fixed and contentment won't return until it is.

Oct. 27th -
Beautiful. Powerful voice, powerful song.
"I see shattered, you see whole. I see broken, but you see beautiful. And you're helping me to believe You're restoring me, piece by piece."

Whether it's your own sins or the sins of others against you that have shattered you, He can make you whole again.  Beautiful.  I think it's very telling, by the way, that I always inadvertently sing "I am free" (instead of "I am clean") during the chorus.

Oct. 28th - While the things I speak of are very serious and most of the time I take that tone, you must also, at times, insert a little lightheartedness into the fight.  This, from BrenĂ© Brown, made me laugh.  :)

Oct. 31st -
"You don't just think outside the box. You don't even know there *is* a box."
I heard that on a TV show recently. But I think they were talking about me.
Then someone put in the comments something they'd heard on TV that they loved...something that I wouldn't include here except that it led to some words from me about boundaries.  What someone else shared was this quote:  "At some point, you have to make a decision.  Boundaries don't keep people out.  They fence you in.  Life is messy.  That's how we're made.  So you can waste your lives drawing lines, or you can live your life crossing them."

Which...I personally completely disagree with.  Here was my reply:
i don't agree with this one in my own life...because when i set boundaries, it's all about putting the fence around others, not that i can then be *free* to move about. but, the crossing the lines part i like.
Boundaries are provide you freedom, for yourself!

I wish for you all wisdom, safe & healthy relationships, and freedom.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Joel. Michawn. {Part 70 - October on Facebook, 4}

Some elaborations on some of the things I've posted on Facebook...

Oct. 23rd - I posted this article, called "Peace Out 'Love and Respect' Gender Roles," with these words...
Love and Respect?...naaah! Years ago we bought the book, we watched some DVDs. At the time we laughed about how, if this was true, the roles were definitely reversed with us. We laughed about it. Now?...Now things like this make me mad. Because it's all just a bunch of hogwash...and I see (and know personally) the damage it does. 
"Just as American Christians eventually let go of enslaving human beings in the name of the Bible, it is time to let go of ancient household structures that limit and oppress women in the home and church. We must distinguish between Pauline theology and cultural instructions to specific churches/Christians that are not timeless and universal truths."
Oct. 24th - I posted this...

To be truly seen and truly heard, to be truly held and healed...this is what it looks like.  To be truly known and understood...I'm realizing what a gift that is.  And how very, very rare that is.

And not because the wounded people are 'complicated.'  Not because they are difficult.  But because people aren't willing to view others in the right way.  They aren't willing to see hearts, to see aches, to touch and hold wounds (people don't even want to know about your wounds, much less touch them and hold them).

In my life pre-2012, it was rare that I'd been treated poorly by anyone.  And on the rare occasions I was, we were able to work it out quickly and easily.  I'm not into drama or long, drawn out conflicts. But, that was before ongoing and blatant mistreatment (oppression, abuse) was a part of my life. And, it was a part of my life, from 2012 on, all in the name of Jesus.  So, my saying that people were mistreating me when 'clearly' people were just taking action in my life because they just loved me and wanted me to be on the right path with Jesus (because 'clearly' I wasn't on Jesus' path for me if I wasn't just following my husband and doing whatever he wanted to do no matter if it put me in harm's way or not) was just me being a brat and being ungrateful for the love shown to me.  I wasn't being mistreated...I was being the name of Jesus.

It was all being done for Jesus.  My oppression and abuse was all done in Jesus' name...and is still being done because complementarianism dies hard and major remnants still remain.  Why does it die hard?  Because when your husband is taught, by his parents and everyone around him, as part of his foundation in how he relates to the world to have distrust in women simply because they are female and that men can always be trusted more, simply because they are male (please visit that link to see the very dangerous beliefs I'm talking about...what Joel was taught all his life), it makes for complete disharmony.  And when a husband doesn't trust his wife even though he has been given absolutely no reason to not trust her, except for the fact that she is female, and trusts others instead...betrayal. Disharmony and betrayal.  Always.  It's never-ending.

1.  When one is taught complementarianism, they don't see hearts...they see gender and all that they have been taught about gender; that females are always trying to usurp authority...and are prone to being controlling and manipulative.  They don't hear aches...they hear gender; that females are always ruled by their emotions and can't be trusted.  They don't touch and hold and heal wounds...because those wounds are not even real; they are made up, wrongly perceived wounds that are only there because the 'wounded' female has, once again, blown something out of proportion.  The female has, once again, made mountains out of molehills...because she is ruled by emotions and wants to control and manipulate.  Women can't be trusted!  And you never, ever, ever speak ill of your husband...ever. It doesn't matter if what he is doing is literally killing keep your mouth shut and 'trust God.' If you start to speak out, that makes you even more untrustworthy than your simple femaleness made you in the first place.  So, you are the least trustworthy person there is.

2.  Within the church in general, they don't see hearts, they don't hear aches, and they don't touch/hold/heal wounds.  Most often it is because of #1, but even if they don't have complementarian beliefs working against them...people have stopped being caring.  They have stopped being compassionate...esp. about people in situations such as mine.  They are busy, they blame victims, they are cynical and untrusting...and just generally blind to others' real and true needs.

This meme provides the perfect model for how ALL of God's people should be with each other...and with everyone in the world at large.

What this image says is what it would mean and what it would look like to truly be God's hands and feet!  It is so so rare though.  Let's change that!!  Please!

Oct. 25th - I posted this article, called "8 Reasons We May Need to Cut Ties with Family Members to be Healthy."  I got some very supportive comments...people who have had to do the same and are so much more at peace on the other side.  The way it should be.  Here's an excerpt...
Cutting ties with family members is one of the hardest decisions we may face in life because we are conditioned to believe that to terminate relationships with "family" is morally and inherently wrong. The facts are that "family members" are just people and not always healthy people, and if these people weren't family we would never choose them to be a part of our lives due to their poor treatment of us. Therefore, under the ideal of family, we spend years sacrificing our mental and emotional health in abusive relationships under the notion that we "have to" because these people are our family. We are conditioned to believe that if we end relationships with them that we are "bad" and no one wants to be or feel like they are an inherently bad person.

Great article.  Great information.

Several new posts will be made here this week...check back soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Joel. Michawn. {Part 69 - October on Facebook, 3}

The next several posts will be me sharing some of the things I've posted on Facebook that I want to preserve here on my blog.  Good stuff.  I also usually go into more detail about each thing that I posted on Facebook here...more explanation, more information.  So, here we go...

Oct. 15th -
a short but *excellent* article called "Stop Pretending Sexism is a Legitimate Religious Belief." sooo good.   

and...the link at the bottom to jimmy carter's TED talk (placed below for your convenience)...check it is also most excellent. i love carter's last point, which sadly is so true: "in general, men don't give a damn." let's turn the tide, boys. read this that video. then ask yourself, what are you going to do about it?

Oct. 16th -
i read this yesterday and was clapping. i so love this. the double standards in how we relate to each other and what we automatically think of each gender is just astounding...and literally sickening. very, very distorted, untrue, and damaging. loved the kinds of things she said like this... 
"I’m over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable!" 
i mean, yes!! 
**language alert

Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars? 
(subscribe at to read more)

When Lena first brought up the idea of Lenny to me, I was excited. Excited to speak to Lena, who I think is a genius, and excited to start thinking about what to complain about (that’s not what she pitched me, it’s just what I’m gonna do). When it comes to the subject of feminism, I’ve remained ever-so-slightly quiet. I don’t like joining conversations that feel like they’re “trending.” I’m even the asshole who didn’t do anything about the ice-bucket challenge — which was saving lives — because it started to feel more like a “trend” than a cause. I should have written a check, but I fucking forgot, okay? I’m not perfect. But with a lot of talk comes change, so I want to be honest and open and, fingers crossed, not piss anyone off.

It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).

But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.” This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years? I’m seriously asking — my phone is on the counter and I’m on the couch, so a calculator is obviously out of the question. Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?

A few weeks ago at work, I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, “Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!” As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive.

I’m over trying to find the “adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard. Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share. Again, this might have NOTHING to do with my vagina, but I wasn’t completely wrong when another leaked Sony email revealed a producer referring to a fellow lead actress in a negotiation as a “spoiled brat.” For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man.
Oct. 20th - I know that many of you have been disturbed by the fact that I no longer go to church. And while I love God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit...and while I love God's idea for the church...1) I/we need healing that a church cannot/will not/does not provide (only Jesus and good counseling can do that), and 2) there are no churches around us that would be anywhere near the type of church we would attend given what we believe to be true about God and His Word. 

When healing has come to my marriage, and we can start branching out to others in our lives again (the few that remain...and the new people that God is bringing into our lives), we might seek out a church that meets our needs and beliefs.  I have no idea what that will look like in our lives.  Will we end up even moving?  What does our future hold?!?...we have no idea.  But, as I said here...
i had read this post and was getting ready to share this link ( sure to read it too) and then close the window to that link (*website currently under construction, so I can't provide the actual link here on the blog at this time). but then i read a few comments. i'm soooo glad i did. one commenter put into words what i've been trying to formulate in my own thoughts and verbalizations for so long now. it's so logical and bottom-lined. i'm so glad to have read her words. 
~Your post hits on one of THE biggest issues in the egalitarian movement: UNITY – and the question of fighting from within or leaving. 
Sarah begins Jesus Feminist by inviting us outside to a bonfire on the beach. The Introduction is one of my favorite parts of the whole book. Tears streamed when I read Sarah’s words about ‘The Table.’ 
She writes: 
“I’ve got a crazy idea for you. Let’s be done lobbying for a seat at the Table.” 
And a few paragraphs later she continues, 
“I want to be outside with the misfits, with the rebels, the dreamers, second-chance givers, the radical grace lavishers, the ones with arms wide open, the courageously vulnerable, and among even – or maybe especially – the ones rejected by the Table as not worthy enough or right enough. The Table may be loud and dominant, but love and freedom are spreading like yeast. I see hope creeping in, destabilizing old power structures. I feel it in the ground under my feet. I hear it in the stories of the people of God living right now. We’re whispering to each other, eyes alight, ‘Aslan is on the move.’” 
And she finishes with, 
“And someday – I really believe this – we will throw our arms around the people of the Table as they break up the burnished oak. We’ll be there to help them heave it out the windows, smashing every glass ceiling…” 
My goodness that is some breathtakingly good writing. 
There are so many of us that are desperate for that day to come. You, me, Rachel, Sarah…but we haven’t agreed on the best way to make it happen. 
Jory – you write in your post, “It’s time to throw our Bibles in our duffel bags, let go of fear, join forces, and drive to the ‘enemy’s camp’ to take back what He stole from us.” I LOVE your zeal. Your vim and vigor. And believe me, we are DEFINITELY on the same team. 
But, I don’t think the “enemy’s camp” is worth taking back. Complementarians can keep the church they have created. Most ministries need money to survive. Churches – whether we like it or not – need offerings to keep the heat on and the communion table stocked. 
Every Sunday that egalitarians sit in complementarian churches and support their ministry (particularly financially), they are perpetuating a system of unBiblical oppression. I don’t see how we can ethically fight this fight from the inside.  
Would you give money to a ministry that supported slavery? Would you stay in a church that preached that God didn’t intend for races to intermarry? 
There are some things that are so important – they justify DIS-unity. And this is one of them. 
When I discovered egalitarianism, I stopped giving to complementarian ministries.
My heart is in your fight, but rather than throwing my Bible in a duffle bag to take back what we should have never been denied - - I put my money in a duffle bag and left (and now give to ministries that don’t perpetuate complementarianism). 
It’s nice outside the bubble of evangelicalism. There’s a whole lot of love out here. I can see Sarah’s bonfire on that beach from all the way down here in Savannah, Georgia. 
There are bonfires burning everywhere. We don’t need to fight. Our bonfires will grow while it gets colder and more empty inside complementarian churches. 
Complementarians can keep their walls and glass steeples. The sky’s the limit out here.~
One thing I know is that my life will never look the same as far as church goes.  My eyes have been opened to so many things these past few years concerning Christianity.  So many harmful things...all excused away, and most of it even explained away framed in what sounds very 'holy' and 'righteous.' Many very anti-Jesus notions that are believed to be completely Biblical and part of God's plan. When it comes right down to it, the church is cold and uncaring and unkind and nothing at all close to what God ever had in mind.

So thankful to have been exposed to the truth of the reality of the church...and to be able to go in a different direction.  Hopefully, eventually, change will come to the church...and God's people will actually start acting like God's people.  I pray that this occurs, for the sake of all involved.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Joel. Michawn. {Part 68 - October on Facebook, 2}

If you are new to this blog, feel free to just peruse the past 10 years (have I really been blogging that long?!?).  But, for the past year and a half, I have been blogging about a specific time in our lives that began in January 2012.  The first post of that series is right here...from October 2014.  Welcome!

The next several posts will be me sharing some of the things I've posted on Facebook that I want to preserve here on my blog.  Good stuff.  I also usually go into more detail about each thing that I posted on Facebook here...more explanation, more information.  So, here we go...

Oct. 12th - This is self-explanatory.  So good.  And so true.

Oct. 13th - This was something that had been shared on Facebook by someone else.  Soooo good.  I had to share it too.  This image with these words...

No more memes telling people not to talk about their problems in the name of positivity. It's not healthier not to talk about your problems. It's just less real. People are unhappy after spending time on facebook because their lives seem crappy compared to the punched up, edited version of someone else's. Talking about problems can bring us closer to those we love or are getting to know. Talking about problems can help many people work out solutions. Talking about problems can help others who struggle with the same things feel like they're not alone. Of COURSE we should talk about our blessings and have positive, grateful habits. But don't shame anyone for sharing struggles. That honesty has power to create communities and heal hearts. Share your blessings, share your curses, and we'll bear the burdens and celebrate the joys TOGETHER.
Others' accusations about being negative when you're just being honest is exhausting...mostly because it's just not true.  I've learned that most people are so narrow-minded that they can't see a bigger picture.  They can't see past the end of their nose, or past the words that are said.  They can't see what the writer of the above words knows and sees.

And the truth is that most people, if they had been listened to and believed and helped in the first place, wouldn't have anything more to talk about.  For instance, had I been listened to and helped by 'church people' and certain 'friends' and certain 'family members' in the first place instead of turned against in my time of need, I would still be sharing my story about what happened in my marriage, but I would be able to talk about how much family and friends and the church, God's wonderful people, had come and 'beared each other's burdens' with me and 'weeped when I weeped and rejoiced when I rejoiced' with me.  Yet that didn't happen.  So, the same people who think to themselves (and also say it out loud) 'man, she sure has gotten negative' are the very ones who could have helped the hard parts of my story to end with struggles between my husband and me.  Yet, these other issues got heaped on to my already very difficult life.

God's people are failing so miserably at this.  At empathy, at compassion, at love.

My eyes have been opened.

My friend told me last night that it's always been like this...I've just never been on the receiving end of it like she has.  So before all of this I'd never seen it before to this extent or noticed just how rampant it is...and what a disease it is in God's people.  And that's exactly what it is...a spiritual disease...killing God's witness and power.

No wonder people hate Christians.  I always completely understood that...but, now I understand it with even more depth.

I've seen people.  I've seen people try to get to know God and try to give Him the benefit of the doubt...try to go to church and learn from others about God and His love.  They try.  Yet, they walk away wondering how the people they know that don't know God are nicer, more loving people.  And they want no part of the church.  

When people tell their story, you listen and you believe and you rejoice when they rejoice and weep when they weep.  You don't complain about them telling their story.  You don't accuse them of being negative just because they have a hard story to tell, even if that hard part takes up a major part of their life at the time.

You can't just 'positive thinking' something away.  There has to be an honesty about what is going on in the first acknowledgment.  Without that, there is no change...there is no growth.

"...don't shame anyone for sharing struggles. That honesty has power to create communities and heal hearts. Share your blessings, share your curses, and we'll bear the burdens and celebrate the joys TOGETHER."

Oct. 13th - Also on that day, I shared the soul mate clip again.  But, I had just had a conversation with someone that prompted even more words about it...
i'm sharing this again, with a little added. just had a conversation about this subject and about this clip with someone else. your spouse really should be your biggest cheerleader ever. EVER. 
as pertains to women specifically though, here's the thing... 
we want a best friend husband. we don't just want's a need. what is needed in marriage is someone who will support you and encourage you and say, "you're terrific." 
we don't need a critic husband.
we don't need a leader husband.
we don't need a 'head' husband.
we don't need a holy spirit husband.
we don't need a 'god' husband.
we need a best *friend.* 
so often, this doesn't happen. you might start off as friends. but, then your husband turns into a critic. he critiques you. and then he invites others in to your own personal marriage to critique you. 
and wrong theology gives him the right to do this. he is the leader after all. the head. he is 'responsible' for you. and if he thinks that something is wrong with *you,* then he has the right to convince others...and they believe him because he is the responsible leader. 
this clip. this clip speaks truth. a spouse is not supposed to be a critic or a leader or a savior. a spouse is supposed to be a best friend. if something goes wrong, as best friends you truly listen to each other and believe each other and work through it. 
no leader or savior or critic needed.  

Oct. 14th - People who stand up for equality don't hate the people they are not yet equal with.  They just want equality.  So, when people say that feminists are's just a bit ridiculous.

Even when people say things like this, it isn't as a hater of men.  It might be in hate of the idea that men and women aren't treated equally.  But, not in hate of men.  So...stop making that accusation too.  ;)

I shared this though is so very true.  Man's rationales are so very often not rational at all. Correct?  This wonderful, strong slave woman speaks truth unapologetically.  And I love it.

Oct. 14th - I posted these words with this video...
1. one comment on this video starts out, "I used to believe that I wasn't the victim of sexism..." i can *so* relate to that. it was all around me, always, constantly (i lived with it in my home). but, that statement was how i believed too. looking back now, i see how it affected me more than i realized, my whole life. and, in the past 3 ½ years, there's nothing that can describe me in my situation (or describe my almost-killed marriage) other than 'a victim of sexism.' 
2. i have identified as a feminist before...and was continually shamed. i didn't un-identify because of that shame, but because of the bad theology i was eventually fed and bought into. but, there are so many connotations that come with the word 'feminist.' first and foremost in my world, as a *very* pro-life Christian, feminists are so often lumped into the 'pro-choice' category. but, that is just simply not accurate. so...feminism does NOT = pro-choice. that's the first lesson. there is nothing about feminism that is emasculating (truthfully...'emasculation' shouldn't even be a word in our vocabulary or a concept that is thrown around). that is the second lesson. and for some further points, check out the video below. it's really very simple. 
nobody has to use this word. but, if you choose to use it (or condemn it), be sure you know what it means.

It's interesting to read the comments to that video post...not on my page, but the original post on another page.  One girl says:

"I am not a feminist. I do understand what the term means. And I don't identify as a feminist because I don't see the point. I actually feel privileged to be a woman in this country right now. I have had all the opportunities of my male counterparts, and where I haven't succeeded, it's because I didn't try hard enough. Men have not held me down -- I have. And I'm woman enough to admit that."

Of course there were several replies to her comment.  But this man's response basically just summed it up:

"Why does the fact that you don't feel oppressed imply that women as a group are not oppressed?"

Other replies went into how it was great that she didn't feel oppressed, but...

1) She was privileged and terribly nearsighted since soooo many women the world over are blatantly oppressed...and not just in the world at large, but women right next to her in the United States and her region (which is true of all of us...esp. in what is referred to as 'conservative Christianity');  another man said to her:

"I gotta say, that's pretty self-centered of you. 'I got mine, so who cares?' I can celebrate your successes, but your lack of empathy for others who might not have been so fortunate is disturbing."

2) Even if she as a woman has escaped oppression for most of her life, you never know when it might strike.  She might still experience it in her lifetime personally.  As you can read in my #1 up above the video, I would have said the same thing...that I didn't believe I was a victim of sexism.  This huge blatant event in the past few years just shone a light on my life as a whole...and just how held back I was in many areas, all because I was female.

There is a belief that people who are oppressed should just get themselves out from under that oppression.  It's up to them.

That is not how it works.  Are these people supposed to use every opportunity that comes along?  Are they supposed to be good stewards of the opportunities that come along so that they can get out from under the oppression?  Definitely.

But, not everyone has those opportunities come along.  The ones who have escaped whatever oppression they are under did so because they were provided with a very specific escape route.  They had a teacher take special interest in them and help them.  They were provided with someone else in their life that believed in them and helped them out.

It is impossible for one to do alone.  Oppression isn't escaped alone.

The oppression I was under, very heavily starting in 2012...a few would say "You're responsible for matter what others are doing." Well, if you are being oppressed, you aren't free to make decisions and carry them out.   You don't have the means.

And very specifically in my case, you can't just do the right thing for you and your family when you are yoked to someone else...and that someone you are yoked to believes you to be inferior in decision-making skills and reasoning and rationalization...and your yoke-mate has brought others all around you and told them all that you are depressed and have gone crazy and aren't dependable and can't be believed...and the theological belief system that you and everyone around you is a part of looks at you as inferior and not credible and untrustworthy because you are the 'weaker vessel.'

When everything around you is working so hard against you, you aren't free.  You might know what the right thing is...but you aren't free to do it.

Oppression is a very real thing.  And you can't escape it alone.

That's one of the reasons God wanted His people to come together and be love and be hope and bear each other's burdens.  He wanted us to truly see each other.

Oh yeah...but God's people are too busy being irritated by people who have negative parts in their lives.

And how dare you speak about it if you do.

You're oppressed?...suck it up, buttercup.  Do something about it if you don't like it.  But stop being so negative and stop talking about it.

That is the attitude of the church.  And that is the exact opposite of the attitude of Jesus.
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19)
The Amplified Version states...
"To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy)"
I cannot tell you just how downtrodden, bruised, and crushed by tragedy (back-to-back Level 10 traumas) I was.

Yet, no 'Christian people' came to provide relief or an escape from the oppression I was under...they only came with more accusations.

As usual, I share my story to bring about change.  I tell the truth in order for change to happen. MUST do better.  You're doing it wrong.  So very, very wrong.

Turn to God and His ways.  Being His hands and feet (a phrase you love to use) doesn't just involve going on week-long mission trips or donating money or praying for widows and orphans.

Being His hands and feet involves freeing the oppressed.  And they are all around you.