The Wounds of Silence From The Church

The Wounds of Silence From the Church

Nine years have passed since my wound of silence from the church. I thought the wound of silence had been dealt with – you know, by leaving the church. That’s how we often “deal” with a wound of silence. We leave. It hurts. We flee. It feels better because, “I told them!” Well, I didn’t tell them, but I left and now the wound can’t touch me, because I left. And the lie of the enemy creates a deep chasm in our spirits.

What is a wound of silence that can cause a person to lose their own voice?

This is my story. Yours will likely be different. But you may find by reading my wound of silence that you will be able to find your voice.

Nine years ago it was revealed to me that my husband, the father of our children, had molested them. When I found out, I called my church and begged them to have someone come to our house for the confrontation. I really begged, pleaded, “please! I can’t do this alone!” An assistant pastor was found who could be at our house for a short time. He was there when my husband confessed in part to what he had done.

Then …silence. I continued attending the church, shaking the pastor’s hand on the way out the door. It was an extremely dark time for me. It felt as if our family was thrown into a pit of despair. And all I got from the church was a handshake on the way out the door. This wounded me deeply. So, I stopped going. I could worship the Living God on the floor of my bedroom. I could hear Him through sermons on the radio. What was the point of “the church” if not to be a source of comfort to those hurting?

Are we just a place of music? Are we just a place of Bible readings? Or are we supposed to be more?

Last night I went to church. As I sat in the pew after the service was over, watching as all the people were hovering around, talking, laughing, praying, I felt invisible. I feel like this first realization of feeling invisible was the seed to a healing that was about to take place.

Today, as I walked into church, a man I don’t know, extended his hand and greeted me. It was this kind of greeting that made me feel truly welcomed. I pondered that handshake for a long time. What made his handshake better than the one by the pastor of the other church as I walked out the door?

I was sitting in my chair feeling invisible again when I asked God, “Why do I feel invisible in church? Why can’t the greeting from that man be enough for me to feel welcome?” And he took me back to that wound of silence. He showed me that I had allowed that wound to scab over. But not only that, I could still feel it and anytime I would start getting involved at church, I would pull back. The wounds of silence go deep. I had to take another step. I had to walk through it. I have to get outside of myself now. I have to stop thinking about how I’m feeling and what my needs are. It’s time for me to rise up — and BE the church to others.

There is no blame to be cast here. Although it would be easy for me to name the church and tell them how they could have done a better job. Forgiveness has taken place already. And now, this is the deal – it has to start with me.

I’ve often been in a place myself where I didn’t know what to say and saying, “I’ll pray for you” felt like it fell far too short. I too have failed to speak. Perhaps we’re so afraid of saying a platitude or the wrong thing, that we just keep silent. But in the silence the words of satan speak the loudest.

Church! You have a voice! Silence the enemy with your words! Words that say,

“We’re standing with you!”

“We believe in you!”

“We will do what needs to be done!”

And if you don’t have words – put your arm around their shoulder and speak the words, “I am here. Let’s go have lunch!”

My prayer going forth, “Lord, speak life into someone’s life, by using words from my mouth.” Speak Life! Silence the Enemy!

We’re in the Navy Now

david and meThis is the last photo of David and me before he headed off to Basic Training in the Navy. The next time I see him, he’ll be wearing a uniform, standing taller, feeling stronger, and being focused.

David has always been an amazingly smart kid/young man. He questioned, everything. He never settled for just being told the information, he had to discover for himself. This was quite annoying when he was 2, 3, 4 ….20. You get the picture! But questioning and discovery has been his greatest strength. Except the part that he questions the existence of God. But deep in my heart I know that the truth has been planted and watered in his life and one day, he will know the truth.

For now, I’m missing him. I received a few texts from him while he waited at the hotel, when he boarded the plane and when he landed. Then the phone call that was straight and to the point, “I arrived safe at basic training. You’ll receive a box of my stuff shortly. I’ll call you in about three weeks. Love you. Bye.” Yep, words that fill a mom’s heart with joy, because they are words spoken from him.

I’m pretty sure he’ll do great. Even though he is a questioner, he’s also literal. That will serve him well when he’s asked to do something as he will likely do it exactly as he’s told without adding interpretation. Another character trait is that he is very laid back and always respects authority. He’ll have to get used to saying, “Yes, sir” since he hasn’t had a “sir” in his life for several years. When he was a little boy he would reply, “Yes Sir Mommy.” Hopefully he doesn’t call any of his instructors, “Mommy.”

It was kind of funny, but his term of endearment for me was “Mommy.” Kind of odd for a grown kid, but I loved it. He would walk in after a busy day and if I was in the kitchen or somewhere he would proclaim, “Mommy!” I can still hear it in my head and it makes me smile.

This kid is also so dang smart! He wasn’t real fond of doing school work just because it was there, but he was overly fond of learning. Learning was where it was at for him. He was a little surprised he scored so high on the ASVAB test as he had never taken an aptitude test in his life. Then when he scored high enough to get into the nuclear program, he was almost in shock I think. It’s sure exciting for him. He’ll get to be stationed/paid to go to school for many months. Let’s just hope he has the “Yes Sir” down pretty well and doesn’t repeatedly ask, “Why do I need to know this?”

This is an exciting time for him! All prayers appreciated!

If you want to offer words of encouragement for him, post them here and I’ll copy them into a letter and send to him. I know he’ll appreciate them so much!

 

 

The Photos I Hate of Me

This morning I was tagged in this photo. My first thought was, NOOOOO. This picture is horrid. Then I began that self talk that is most definitely not “ta-dah!” worthy talk. It is not the kind of talk that a daughter of the Most High King would think. It was the talk of a self-centered human would think. Why do I look so fat? I look so tired. What a goofy smile. Those were all thoughts that wanted to take up residence in my head. Then, if left unchecked, which they were, the thoughts started going down a very slippery self-loathing path. Me? I’m not a self-loather. But when confronted with a horrible picture of myself staring at me on my FB profile, tagged for all the world (or at least my 2400 FB friends) to see, it happened. Self-loathing heading to the path of self-destruction. I wanted to cancel my golf date today. Really? Because of a photo??? Yep. Because of a photo. 

As I often do, I figure if I have bad thoughts about something, maybe there is someone else who might also think like me, and we can learn from each other. So I asked my “friends” why they would like the photo that was clearly horrid. I wasn’t fishing for compliments. If someone had said, “you don’t look fat.” I wouldn’t have believed them anyway. I just wanted to commiserate with my friends about how horrible it is when you’re tagged in a picture that looks horrible.

But what I received along with a few commiserations was truth. Truth that said to me, “ … own your beauty. You are beautiful, just the way you are. God made you and He does not make mistakes. You are a real mom, and a real woman, with a real life, and a real body. And we love you. Allow the tags, so we can rejoice with you along your journey!” 

This was followed by the amazing words, “I don’t even know you but the few times I’ve had the pleasure of meeting u I was I can’t explain it. You made me feel joy. Everytime I see your precious smile I feel the joy. I love your ‘ta-dah’ and everything that goes with it. Trust me when I say seeing u with no make up or whatever the case may be will not kill that joy u originally gave me. I will still feel it. It’s God thru u. He can never make u look bad.”

Those words changed everything for me. I mean it. They changed me. I have kids who don’t want me to post pictures of them. To me, that’s ridiculous because I see the beauty in them, regardless of the weird look on their faces, or the strange way they are standing. I see the love I have for them. And there I sat missing that people will see the essence of who you are in a photo, regardless of the lack of perfection. 

I had a friend once tell me that I’m not photogenic. What he was really saying is, “You look way better in person!” But the way I processed the words made me feel a bit like I shouldn’t let anyone see photos of me. I’ve now changed my mind. You can do that you know. You can change your mind! You have the power – I have the power – so, here’s to changing my mind about “bad” photos of me. There simply can’t be a “bad” photo. It is simply a one dimensional view of a multi-dimensional daughter of the Most High King who is loved by many – simply for being the person God created ME to be. 

I welcome you to post a photo in the comments. You know the one. The one you’re almost ashamed to post because you look —- less than perfect. As my friend said, “Own your beauty!”

Mommy Solocation

It’s amazing what a little sunshine, water lapping against the shore, and the smell of fish mixed with gasoline from boat motors will do to your psyche. When I got on the plane to attend my sister’s wedding, I felt excitement for her, but also excitement for me as I was venturing on a Mommy Solocation. I didn’t really have any responsibilities except to show up. And at the last minute I was asked to emcee a “getting to know the new fam” event for the pre-wedding festivities. That was seriously lots of fun! So glad my sis found something for me to do. 

There was lots of golfing involved. In fact, in the one week, I’m pretty sure I’ve golfed more than in the previous twenty years combined. Maybe not quite, but certainly more than I’ve ever golfed in one week. And my drive is amazing! When’s my next tee time? I’m hooked.

Speaking of hooked. Have you ever tried Mike’s Hard Lemonade? That’s all I’m saying about that.

After the wedding in Minneapolis, which was wonderful by the way, I headed even further North to Gull Lake in Brainerd, MN. This was the lake where I reluctantly vacationed almost every year from the time I was about 10 years old. As soon as I stepped out of the car I smelled it. Fish! Lake! Gas from boat motors! Seaweed! Ahhhh I inhaled deeply and felt at peace. 

Peace is so what I’ve been looking for lately. My life has felt so topsy turvy for the past several months years. I desperately needed some time to get some real clarity of thought and this was just the place that was going to help. I unplugged. Turned off the phone. Didn’t even use my computer one time. I resisted the urge to even write. It was just a time of calm and peace. My dad and Carolyn were there, but it was completely stress free. We golfed. We fished. We read. We played games. We hung out. We ate wings and drank Mike’s Lemonade. 

After a week being gone, I was ready to get home. Before I left I felt like I was just stumbling through life from one thing to another. But now, I feel clear. It was like a dose of Neosynepherine for my brain. 

I began this morning writing out my to-do list. Before I left I couldn’t even bring myself to think about a to-do list. I don’t know why, but it was just too difficult to even focus on making a list. This morning, I wrote the list, and it felt good! No. It felt GREAT! 

Oftentimes I will feel like I don’t have time to take time away. But what I’ve discovered is that the time away creates more productive time when I return. So far today I’ve sketched the new book cover and consulted with my cover designer, wrote up a contract, did some brainstorming for a new project, planning to meet up with a couple of friends, took a kid to work, fed the dogs (that wasn’t on my to-do list, but I’ll put it on the ta-dah list at the end of my day) and wrote a couple of thank you notes. I also got to spend time playing with Jordyn (the best 4 yo granddaughter on the planet). 

She was so cute. She came into my room. I looked at my to-do list and told her that I was busy working. She said she understood, then started to whisper to me instead of talking in a regular voice. It was enough to make me stop what I was doing for a while and just spend time with her. The cool thing about the to-do list today was that I didn’t feel the pressure to perform that I felt before my solocation. It’s a list of things to do. Not a list of life sucking vampire words. They have no power, except the power I give them. And I choose to give them the power to keep me on task, but also the power to release me to do those really important things like shuffle cards with a 4 year old.

If you’re feeling sluggish, like you’ve lost your way, or in desperate need of clarity – go golfing, raise your bottle of Mike’s, get a little fish smell under your nails and watch someone get married. Worked for me!