Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mum's the Word

I more than once heard this joke attributed to the leader of GFA but I never heard him say it. It sticks with me all these years because it became something I didn't want to be leveled at me.  It goes like this...

What do you get when you have more than 3 woman together? wait for it... 

Can you imagine the pressure ladies felt at GFA to watch their words?  Did it come from a lost in translation moment...  Then again maybe it's a Fresh Off The Boat mentality (someone recently arrived from another country is still seeing things through his cultures point of view.)

In our Vision Tour Training class some things they pointed out about the expectations of Indian culture were:
Wives should serve their husbands
Never walk into a room before a man, precedence matters.
Wear your head covering of super power
Dress modestly cover those shoulders girls but midriffs are well er um nvm...  
Do not interrupted, or tell ones husband what to do in front of locals.
Give up your seat for a man.
Offering up food from your plate to your spouse was seen with great respect.

Bwahahaha I totally got props for the last one. Often the meals were carbohydrate based and My Knight in Shining Armor could not eat them safely. I was quite the vegetarian some nights, always offering my spouse the meat on my plate first thing.  The men were amazed look at how much she loves her husband she gave up her meat!!!  Yes I love him, I want him alive, not in a diabetic coma thank you...

I was so good at doing all these things on our tour, that the men in India started spontaneously talking to me.  It doesn't hurt to have wonderful multi-cultural genes that make me look like a high cast female. 

When I start comparing the list above to the cultural more's of GFA I begin to get a glimmer of why the culture seemed warped. Obedience to ones Husband. Serving is a good thing. Ladies were constantly told to guard their tongues around their husbands.  Phrases Like "It's your job as a wife to keep your husband in the battle." Missionaries quit after 2 years because of interpersonal problems, inference don't be that problem.  Women having to go to only "approved older ladies" instead of talking things out with a friend. And so often when a family left the dreaded words "The wife led them away from the ministry." "The wife became unhappy."

Could the man saying "To Your Battle Stations!" every morning, have never lost his cultural view point on women? Can we expect him to see ladies in America without his cultural sunglasses?  As I think on it, I see the ministry women subtly pressured into behaving closer to the Indian norm than the American norm. It created a compromise culture, neither American nor Indian. I don't expect one could grow out of the cultural sunglasses one see's the world in if we are not really challenged to ever take them off.  For example: you can be in this country for 10 years and if you're still speaking Russian at home and watching Russian TV you will still have trouble with english syntax. I'm thinking of a lady I met last week who asked me to correct her because she's now "trying work on this english thing."

I used to envy women who looked like they had the approval of leadership. I realize now I was surrounded by words and phrases that caused me to continually evaluate myself against the Godly Wife. One of my goals as a wife was to be considered trustworthy.  I fully understood not talking was important to be the Godly Wife.

Take for example our trip to India K.P told us we needed to go in 2012, GFA would pay for it. (but don't spread that around,  keep it under the rose, on the QT, mum's the word)  I was so happy it had been about 7 years since the last trip. We would be going again yes! Then we waited for news of travel plans maybe January of 2013??? Nothing for months!!! Nothing till it was to hot to travel and then we heard maybe in the fall... our trip finally after about a year got scheduled. I was confused when Erica asked me if I wanted to go to the Taj Mahal on our trip... that felt wrong to sight see when this was a GFA paid for trip, I said no I don't think so. Imagine my shock when I was handed the bill for our airline tickets.  Um something is being lost in translation. So still on the QT not telling anyone I took the bill to hubby and let him deal with it.  (later on I told Erica the trip was not "for fun" but rather "for work" she got serious, and said "Next time tell me, I did not know! I'll send you my private email."  Here again an example of leaders wives being kept in the dark) At this point the only people who knew we were going to India were the planners, ticket buyers and the people watching our children... I did wonder why all the secrecy?  Was it really so "my brother" would not stumble and be envious? Or was it a carrot to dangle in front of our weary lives?  I was so wrapped up in being quiet, behaving not sharing my trip with my friends, being silent, hoping to prove to KP I could be trustworthy.

I had bought treats for Bridge of Hope centers, gifts for leaders and etc. I had a suitcase packed of stuff.  When they canceled our trip. No explanation, no rescheduled date, just cancelled.  One day my knight did dare ask "Why was it canceled?" KP's response: it was due to someone's immaturity.  We were reassured by Erica our trip would happen "someday"  Then the campus move in 2014 we knew no trip would be forthcoming. Then whoo hoo we were told we would get to go to the General Assembly in January of 2015. I was so excited!!!! I felt like all my hard work in concealingly my disappointment of not getting to go for 2+ years and patiently waiting, had more than paid off. To be able to hobnob with believers from all over Asia what a privilege. I was so happy, maybe this is what I need to renew my passion and help me get over my concerns for the ministry.  Here again I was told by my husband to "keep it under the rose. "  Weeks went by no news... I'm thinking furiously how to schedule child care for my children.  Then an edict came down only a chosen few were going to India... here again loss of a trip and because this time I hadn't set up child care, only one other person knew. There is a tiny voice giggling in my head saying "Hey where is my trip?" but then never mind I don't want to waste donor dollars... 

Did my silence prove to KP I was a "Worthy Wife?" I have no idea, but it was this keeping of secrets that eroded my my faith in "man." I'm glad it did. I was setting KP up as the man to please. If I could gain his approval (He is preaching that he's my Spiritual Father and knows best for me) maybe I could become that  trustworthy woman... and then I'd shake it off, talk it over with my knight and declare to the walls of my bedroom "I am a follower of Christ! Christ is faithful when man fails! My hope cannot be in man!" It still didn't stop me from staying under the radar, making as few of waves as I could.

I understand trust needs to be earned. So many questions running around my mind. I wonder if anyone else felt this way? Can a woman at GFA earn KP's trust without being a member of his family?  I never felt like I had it fully. Then again can he trust American women? Could this misogynistic aura be being projected be due to a world view?  Am I asking to much of him to cross cultures so completely?

Monday, October 26, 2015

No Longer Trapped.

I have to admit I didn't want to try out the church last week. My knight had picked it (with thought) but without consulting me to the extent I felt I deserved I should have. (Notice all the I's in that sentence just a wee bit selfish aren't I)  I felt like I had no voice,  Just wee bit sensitive to that right now darling.  I prefer smaller churches that one can actually get to know people and have strong relationships with.

So last Sunday was mission week and there was a gathering in the space near the coffee shop... how funny, so like the basement coffee hour at a Catholic church.  Hubby is looking for the guy working in Asia, I'm standing awkwardly alone... I start randomly talking to the person standing awkwardly by me. She is one of the local missionaries, she is fascinating. I'm going to invite her for dinner sometime soon.

We leave with mixed feelings. Wednesday is youth group, Little Miss Sunshine has events scheduled this day. We become the typical runaround like mad family to get to everything done and and still manage to somehow eat dinner.  Hubby is exhausted, he's had a rough nights sleep and a full day.  So I offer to take the kids to youth group.  Sweet Potato is all a-dither in hopes of finding new friends and etc. Non stop chatter though dinner and the ride.

No one is at the welcome desk when I arrive, feeling slightly lost, I find an adult (now referred to as E.) amid the throngs of teens and tweens. He sets me right and I discover his daughter has already taken Sweet Potato by the hand and is making sure she's finding her place. This was surprising in a good way! Well now comes the question...drive back home or stay where there is high speed internet??? Need you ask?  Feeling very alone I head to the coffee shop with my 3 dollars in hand in hopes I can afford a coffee. As I enter, my name is called by a familiar voice!  Wow I actually know some one here, there is a happy delightful ex-staffer I haven't seen in over a year. We talk a bit, she's pretty shocked we have left the ministry.  She heads back to work, while I sit down for a nice bout of Candy Crush and maybe work up some blog ideas.  The tablet is dead... ha ha ha why did I say they could play Minecraft! I decide I'll catch up on my bible reading plan. E. The man that showed me around shows up instead and asked if he could sit down and proceeds to engage me in conversation.  He really listened, seemed genuinely interested in our family, answered many unspoken questions about the pastor, the church, and how it worked.  I've never felt so welcome in such a large church.  It wasn't his job, he's not a greeter, he's just himself.

I left with the kids both jabbering at me about things they did, people they met. Oh LORD save me from the "Lets randomly text guys we meet at youth group." We had another internet safety talk on the way home.

My hubby and I decided to go to the newcomers meeting yesterday.  It's always useful to go and hear everything the church has to offer etc.  These meeting one usually needs a cup of coffee to toy with and stay awake, as not all the information applies to you.  Oops we forgot to sign up, ahead of time! They make us feel welcome set us up with name tags and etc. I kept finding myself welling up with tears. This church is so different from the ministry we left, and oddly it has a lot of people who have been hurt by "church" in it. Our table host was so authentic and real. They are not about putting on "church face," they want you to get involved minister and be ministered too.  Transparency is evident already in the way E. behaved. When we mentioned we didn't see an Adoption support group and would we be able to start one? There was eagerness in the hosts face. She was like that's exactly the kind of place this is.  No hesitation, no "You need to be more spiritual", but rather "way to go" "that's the spirit" How can we get you plugged into a home group so you can make friends and begin to heal.  It was real, I can see they embrace humanity not "christians."  It was beautiful, I was suppressing tears the whole time, thankful God showed my spouse this church.  As we drive home My Knight in Shining Armor  started confessing he was holding back tears the whole meeting as well.

How odd, for so long there have been things I longed to do, yet was not allowed to do,  because the CALL was oh so important, Church could be a distraction, bible study's kept you from praying and having an authentic relationship with God, because its just seeking head knowledge. Our world has been so narrow so limited so inward.   I feel free, no longer trapped.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hey Honey! KP Called My Parents About Our Wedding...

The bride looked at me with wild eyes, shock suffusing her face. What was wrong, Oh man I've never been a wedding planner before had I screwed up something???  What had happened?  In shock I hear her say "We have to move the wedding to Pennsylvania, we can't postpone. The grooms sibling was only available till July. I shook my head in surprise "Say what?"  She continued It's "policy" KP called the grooms parents  and explained it all. No more weddings at GFA they must take place in the brides or grooms home town, just like they do in India.  She was so sad, she wanted all her GFA family about her to celebrate, travel of this sort was out of the question for most of the staff living simply.  Yet here she was carefully explaining to me they the bride and groom would be obedient to KP's request and move the wedding...

I semi exploded. YOU HAVE GOT to be kidding me. Here we were 6 weeks into a let's do a wedding in 3 months, Wedding. Who does this to a bride?? Ok yes the invitations haven't gone out yet, but they will in 2 weeks!  This couple had less money than I did when I got married on a shoestring in 1992. As she poured out more of her concern; people have bought airline tickets, the cake deposit will be lost, the deposit on the church is non-refundable.  My mind was awhirl, it's my job to fix this! Isn't that what wedding planners are for??? I put on my Super Power head covering... ok not really... 

Just to back track for a moment: At first I suggested to the couple a getaway wedding, small intimate at a lovely location... mainly because the timing was bad... GFA was packing up and moving that summer from Carrollton to Wills Point.  We wouldn't want to be a distraction (see the buzz word again! it was ingrained in our hearts and minds).  In our first meeting the bride and groom believed they could use the auditorium and the "cafe" to hold the wedding at GFA.  They hoped to have David Carroll as their minister. As we attempted to obtain the permission for the use of the building and hopefully a hearty "Yes I'd love to marry you." we got a No and a No, I'm exhausted and can't give you the time you need.  Dates had been clearly given at this point. 

This couple had already waited about two years! to get married as leadership had told them to wait. This wedding was not an all out shindig, the budget could only afford a Coffee & Cake wedding with a discount dress. The thought of losing half their budget because "KP said so" boggled my mind. Then out of the blue I saw John Beers, I pigeon holed him near the stairs and asked what was the policy concerning weddings? Did they have to take place in the home town? Confused he conveyed a not to my knowledge stance. I don't remember his words but he clearly was not aware of this as a policy. 

I hovered near KP's son Danny at the end of prayer meeting that night and basically begged him to intercede for us. Explaining I was the wedding planner. I told him the bride and groom were completely willing to comply with KP, but would he talk to his dad and ask him to reconsider?  I had GFA's best interests at heart. We would not allow the staff to be sucked into the wedding plans if they didn't have the time or inclination. In fact whenever we asked for help we made sure the person being asked could say no and no one's feelings would be hurt... GFA staff sometimes have a tough time saying no and setting boundaries. See Core Value #8 Serving Sacrificially... I went on to say all in a rush that the couple would loose all their deposits totaling about half of the budget, people would lose tickets and have to pay change fees. Poor Danny the look on his face.  

A conference call to make contingency plans with the bride, the brides side, the groom, the grooms side and me the wedding planner the next day was a bit gloomy.  I did let them know I had done all but grovel to Danny to get the wedding back in TX. So we prayed and waited. Soon after the Grooms parents received another phone call from KP.   Thank you Danny for helping.  Since the wedding was so far forward they would be the exception and be allowed to keep the wedding in TX.  But he put in parameters about how many staff could help, that no one would get a half a day off to go to the wedding. The Wedding was on a Friday if they didn't have a vacation day they couldn't go. The bride and grooms family had to do 50% of the wedding preparations. Yada yada yada it was a list... 

Why did I not see it then as clearly as I see it now. If he had trusted us he would have indicated to us to be gentle on the staff and try not to be a distraction and let us be. Here again a list of rules instead of trust. With low trust, you get a lot of rules and regulations that take the place of human judgment and creativity; you also see profound disempowerment. From Stephen R. Covey's blog. 

I wondered at the time who creates a policy like this one? Did the board? Did Sr. Leadership? or was this a unilateral decision? It is obvious to me now is it obvious to you?  KP must have created this policy to avoid the inconvenience and distraction to the ministry at a time right before the big move.  I'm glad he changed his mind... in fact there have been many weddings at GFA since this policy was put in place, I suspect the policy's usefulness has expired.

Update* Since it's not clear to some, this event took place prior to the Wills Point Campus move.

Update 2*
I have been contacted by someone in leadership at this time. They offered up a few more details and insight into this particular relationship. Again here you will find the drum beat of the wife leads the husband away from the ministry is playing in the back ground of this situation. Leadership believed the Bride would not stay at GFA. (There again is that "Everyone's should be a Life-er" and have the GFA "DNA"). Leadership had been purposely setting road blocks in the couples path for years, not letting them use the Auditorium was one of those road blocks.  The more I blog, the more I find out, the more I am grieved by the manipulation I see.

Oh Lord Please heal this situation! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Requested Voluntary Letters - Ironic? Yes!

The word ethics is meandering though my brain today.  I began to be concerned by the standards of morality that I didn't agree with, stuff that happened to us at GFA in our last year.   I will serve up to you two examples today that made me pause and think.

When the Diaspora letter came in accusing leadership of hurting people, leadership put out a call for staff to voluntarily write the board letters of support. I thought about it, but we were already praying about leaving as we had some concerns, and I didn't think our voice was needed.  We went on with our lives, till' the night before the letter deadline. Right as we were about to go out for a "date night" we got a call from Danny.  In a nutshell, we had not submitted a letter of support and we needed to because it would make "some people" upset if we didn't.  I gave My Knight in Shining Armor the Look.   How many date nights will GFA disrupt in our marriage? Really?  So we sat down and hashed out a letter we could agree with.  I look back and at the time I did believe in leadership, that they would apologize and humble themselves if wrong doing had occurred.  Our letter pointed out that GFA is not a "missions organization" it's not your average non-profit but rather it is a Religious Order.  I felt much of what the ex-staffers didn't understand came from a "this is a mission" point of view not "this is a Religious Order" point of view.  We were not exactly nuns and monks in habits, but to us an Order is not a business and thus will be governed differently.  Our letter also said following your call was not for the faint of heart.  It was not all butterflies and sunshine Oh look a Rainbow Unicorn!  

The next example follows the same lines.
As a PR move GFA.org put up a campus life section on the web, full of glowing testimonies of how staff loved GFA.  These testimonies were solicited at a Tuesday night prayer meeting and again were "voluntary."  Again we did not write anything. Again we received a phone call from Danny requesting us to write a bio/testimony but this time we were given instructions on what it should say. The first paragraph needed to state we had collage degree's and had been professionals in the workforce prior to our coming to GFA. I think, but am not sure, they were trying to combat  an accusation they didn't like college educated people. 

My husband and I wrote what we believed, but again it was not all rainbows and butterflies.  The last paragraph really expressed my heart, it was a realistic view of the ministry.  The editor cut down our testimony (we expected that) and what I noticed is she took out all the balance, it became a fluff piece. Worst of all she wholly eliminated the last paragraph. My knight picked up his lance and went to battle with the editor for that paragraph to stay in the testimony in some form, to be included.  I did not want us to be portrayed as starry eyed rose colored glasses "sheeple" christians.  Standing our ground, we did get the realistic part of our testimony put back in.

When the page was up I got a sugar rush as I read through glowing testimony after glowing sugar coated testimony. A few here and there were balanced, but most were rainbows and butterflies.

Ethics come to mind because our letters were in essence coerced from us. We dropped everything to tow the party line for the good of the ministry. I do not know what the board was told about these letters, but GFA at large believed if you sent one in it was voluntary and not required. I worried, did the board know our letter was asked for not given freely?

My husband was feeling empty with no joy in the work. I was noticing rules instead of trust everywhere and although I could continue to justify leaderships behavior to myself and my friends, the patterns were emerging.  Why was trust replaced by a rule but trust never seemed to be extended again after everyone was in line?

Many of the testimonies are gone now as so many people left the ministry since January 2015. Maybe if the letters came about voluntarily more people and Board Members would still be at Gospel for Asia.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Not Silent

I've been thinking quite a bit on last weekend and how my blog went crazy. I got so much positive feedback from people saying, "You are saying what I am thinking","Your experience is the same as mine".

As I'm sorting through my emotions our family therapist was so polite, instead of saying your emotional from the immense amount of transitions you and your family have experienced  in the last 4 months ...  she said "Your emotions are dis-regulated."  You gotta love her!

I have not come to the conclusion that the easy path would be to put it all behind us. Least said soonest mended!  First Peter 4:8 comes to mind. At GFA I recall David Carroll serving this verse up (I'm paraphrasing) that if we are noble enough to love another, we protect our brothers and sister by covering their sin and not exposing it.  This is so reasonable, so easy to swallow.  Who would want their sin to be exposed? Not me! Do you?  Inherently we are human and want to keep the ugliness of our lives from being exposed.  It sounds so good doesn't it, I don't expose my family to pain by covering the sins with love.  This covering is a action of love ergo if I love my family I keep sin a secret.

But we have a family rule of No secrets. (This protects our kids from predators).
How do I reconcile this?

I believe this is one place that spiritual pain/confusion is originating from.  Here is a sampling of the thoughts running around my brain:

I love my GFA family "covering sin" loves them.
We are all sinners I need to forgive.
I don't want to hurt my GFA family.
If I stay quiet they won't hurt me.
If I speak out I have to show the world my errors and eat humble pie.
It's so easy to be silent.
It is what leadership desires.
Christ is my leader not man, I need to follow only him.

I wonder how many other ex-staffers are feeling this way?

I felt like a hamster in the running wheel, my thoughts whirl around me, running running but getting nowhere.  Much energy was spent on this thought train. Until the wedding dis-invite I thought if I stayed quiet they wouldn't hurt me or my family. I was wrong. That kicked me out of the infinite loop and into new thought patterns.

We left when we felt our integrity was at stake.  Core value number 2: Being a people of integrity and excellence.   I see the pain in my Knights eyes, how he feels like he has wasted 12 years of our life. How he feels like he has lied to people.  It had become a burden to him.  He believed in what we were doing so strongly. How could our leaders who hold these core values do this to him?

I know not all of these core values are going to be upheld at all times, we are human after all.  Deep in my soul I felt grieved each time my community did not show trust to us. For example this post  The Joy Thief  which I was "encouraged" but not required to take down because it "hurt people" and not "good for the ministry at this time." I find it so ironic that what got us thinking about trust and how important it is to any business for profit or not, was books from the ministries library.  (This library is full of required or recommended reading and only contains books the president has read himself.)

We used to check out a book before a long trip and I would read it to my husband. This is following the example of my parents. My mother always read to my father while he drove and discussed the material. My father and her had lively discussions every road trip we took.  Little did we  know we were bucking the norm at GFA. Leadership wives are encouraged to NOT be at all interested in the inner workings of the stuff at the top.  I recall KP coming to me after a Tuesday night prayer meeting  to encourage me about the report my husband had turned in.  He told me it was wonderful and I should be proud of him. I laughed and mentioned how I managed to cut it down by 6 pages, so he didn't have to wade though so much verbiage. His head came up and he stared at me. So I continued and said "You don't think anything hits your desk without me proof reading it do you? He is so wordy." His response was Ohhhh...

Later on when my husband was peremptorily assigned to the Ministry Leadership Team one of the things KP told leaders as Standard Operating Procedure to do was to not tell their wives anything regarding stuff at the top.  Is this the CIA???   I recall from the pulpit KP declared he never told Gisela anything, none of the burdens of his leadership were shared with her.  It was off putting to me, and made me understand KP's response to my "proof reading/editing of my Knights reports. Ohhh we bad... We didn't roll that way, our marriage is based on love, trust, and respect.  It is not respectful to say to your wife "Don't worry your pretty little head" while patting it, this is 2015!  This attitude of keeping people in ignorance further drives wedges in between groups, husbands and wives, men and women, ministry and church. I could see deep down a pattern of distrust that was repeating.

I could not shake the distrust displayed from the top and the core values we were all trying to follow.
Source: gfa.org
  1. Knowing the Lord Jesus more fully and intimately
  2. Being a people of integrity and excellence
  3. Living in submission to God’s Word
  4. Being a people of faith
  5. Being a people committed to prayer and worship
  6. Having a servant lifestyle
  7. Being a people of grace and love
  8. Serving sacrificially
  9. Being a people sold out to win the lost at any cost
  10. Being a people who work together with the Body of Christ

If you cannot trust people reaching for such lofty goals can you really trust anyone?

Monday, October 12, 2015


I unpacked a box 10 days ago and found a long lost friend.
Some people like My Utmost for His Highest but I have always loved this little book "What I Learned from God While Quilting."

I grabbed it sat down and cracked it open at random. I read a great story about a multi generational quilt.  The grandma started it, hand stitched neatly, then there were other patches not so neatly hand stitched by the daughter, and then some machine stitched. The story went that Grandma had started it and the UFO (UnFinished Object for the non quilters out there),  kept getting handed down.  Now the author had it in her house and she took the trouble to put it altogether and finish it.

Later on that day my Knight and I were discussing how sad it is that I did not get to make a quilt for the wedding that was up and coming, because of the insanity that has been our life for months. I don't always make a quilt for weddings..but God was tugging at my heart.  I kept thinking maybe a stack and whack.. or just big blocks there must be a "weekend" quilt I could at least attempt.  I have this set of fabric I have been dying to use in a quilt all set aside, tucked in a ziplock bag. Maybe if I dropped everything I could get that one done.  I spent a day looking for all the quilting boxes but it was not in any of them. All that ripping apart my garage, oh what a mess.  Sad I could not find my fabric I put the idea aside and went back to unpacking the closet.

Then I opened up one box I had not unpacked last July, and in it were quilt squares. I joggled my brain, where did these come from? All the squares were complete but not all had boarders. Here as in the devotional was a UFO. I knew it wasn't mine, because it was a scrap quilt. The fabric was a mix of chintz, polished cotton, could this be linen??  Some looked new, some looked worn like the had been cut from a garment and the border was polyester. One shouldn't use man made fabric in quilts it doesn't last as long as God made fibers. I knew then I had not worked on this item. A vague memory came to me of Luci giving me this project telling me she would never finish it. As I started to sort the patches some were made with fine even hand stitches others were uneven and crooked. It harkened back to the  devotional... then it hit me what a perfect opportunity and how fitting. A GFA staffer had given me this UFO why not keep it "in the Family?" I was excited, what a gift God had given me. I could give them a quilt, a multi generational quilt! I went back in the garage and dug out thread, bobbins, and batting. I got one of my backing pieces of fabric. Sat down with graph paper and figured it out. I thought at first I would need to do plain 'ol big blocks in-between the squares, but math proved me wrong. I could get a nice couch snuggle blanket out of what I had in the blue borders. The others were bordered in a rusty orange... orange and blue side by side  *shudder* just a bit too much color vibration there...    

Setting all my "work" aside but the most important things (cooking, cleaning, school, and candy crush... ha ha ha), I went to work. I love quilting I'm not the best at it, but it is so peaceful. This creating "stuff' out of scraps and color. If you care for it properly, it lasts a lifetime.  I find myself dialoging with the Lord as I sew, praying over the family I'm giving the quilt too, when I'm not being disrupted by the kids or listening to Ear Biscuits...  

As I tooled along it came together quickly, Yeah!  I got it done on Thursday afternoon way earlier than I anticipated. I sat down and wrote a letter about the journey this quit had taken to the bride and groom. I then wrapped it up in ribbon and set it aside, marveling at how quickly it finished, so happy.

Friday morning with sadness, but no regrets I ended up shipping it to the address I had for the couple.  Sadly because of the dis-invite yet I felt so strongly that the Lord had led me to do this for them, it was my desire to show my love.  The box hopefully got to them on Saturday like the Pack and Ship clerk said it would. I hope they enjoy it for as long as it will last. In my letter I did give instructions on the care and keeping of this quilt. Since it has a mix of old and new fabrics, with a mix of polyester and only the Lord knows what else. It will need tender loving care if it is to last a life time.

It is such a perfect example of marriage, a patchwork of new and old, strength and weaknesses, man made ideals and God made ideology sewn together with the cords of love, respect and trust. Marriage  is something beautiful, it is strong and yet fragile but if cared for properly it will last lifetime.

I leave you with this verse: 
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 
~ Ephesians 4:31-32

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I Am Humbled by Your Love.

Yesterday when I posted about our dis-invitation I knew I was taking a big step.  In no way did I want to hurt anyone involved.  Random thoughts running around my head on Friday needed to be spoken out loud.  I had intended to publish my blogs quietly and not link to them but let them stand as a silent witness to my hurt and pain. This is my online journal yet when I published my post yesterday I did knowing I would see people drop off my Facebook friends list. In fact I was so curious to know how many would drop me I took note of my current friend total. I'm giggling today because I keep getting more and more friend requests but the tally is +2,  some are dropping off but others who feel I have given them voice are joining in.

The Love that has been poured out on my Facebook board has blown me away. The testimony my friend C posted about our relationship brought me to humbled tears that I was able to make such a difference in her life.

I kept feeling that I had no voice, what I did feel was "fear to speak against leadership." There is a deeply felt need to stay quiet.  As I said yesterday on Facebook Karyn Purvis speaks of "Felt Safety" as a place where children from hard places can find healing. One way we can help them find that safety is to give them voice.  I know we are not children but I could not hide from this thought that I needed to give voice to myself and others who have walked this lonely road of moving on from GFA.

I told some good friends of mine a month ago that I had no axe to grind with GFA. I had left and I did not feel the need to speak out or speak up. But "maybe" "some day" post my blogs. In fact the day I back posted my blog Praying for Leadership  the phone rang almost immediately and my heart lept up and throttled my amgdalya with "Oh no David Carroll has seen it and he's calling me to take it down." It wasn't him but my reaction of "fear" hijacking my brain, gave me pause. I knew to move on, to move forward from fear was to face it. I never intended to land on patheos though I knew there was a possibility it might happen.

To Warren Throckmorton, Thank you for your kind words. My knight and I are experiencing so much freedom and joy and dancing in the moonlight, amidst the grief and pain of our summer. God is so good and gracious to us may his blessing be upon you and may you shine God's light to those in dark spaces.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Let the shunning commence! (tongue in cheek)

So in typical GFA male dominated mentality, I get an email Thursday night sent to my inbox but addressed to my husband. In a sorrowful tone we are asked (by the groom not leadership directly) to not attend Saturdays wedding because we would be a distraction.  And by the way your wife and kids shouldn't come either... Yet this email was sent to the unnamed Wife's email account. Anyone else see the irony in this? An email sent to the wife account but not even addressing her by name shows so much about the mentality women lived with within GFA.

There is that buzz word "distraction" read "not sanctioned" by GFA. What precipitated this piece of discourtesy? Well this article from Christianity Today where my husband is gentle in his "critique" of the ministry, and what precipitated our leaving.  In my blog here I mention it feels like a divorce.   This is what happens in divorce. Here we aren't allowed to show love to the happy couple because of human immaturity.  I guess "Can't we all be adults about this?" doesn't apply here because my husband decided to stand up and be counted.

I am reminded of the quote "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke (I'm not saying GFA is evil, but there is something wrong and it needs to be addressed).

I'm trying to wrap my mind around how much we didn't know, how much my pride was wrapped up in the fruit on the field, of the 100% goes to the field designations.

Throckmorton asked the question in May/ June? (when I was studiously behaving and obeying leadership and not reading him).  How were people within the ministry taking the news of smurfing and the 19.8 million gift.  Well I blogged at the time but didn't make it available to the public.  Here is that post The time of silence is over.  These are my feelings and emotions, of how I was reacting. This is my journey, it was so hard because I Love leadership, I truly care for them. But can no longer live with my choice to follow. My eyes were opened and they could not be shut again.  Our family's therapist took time with me Friday to discuss this bittersweet emotion of being disinvited.  I have to live day in and day out with my choices. If I can't love myself because of shame in my choices I have no one but me to blame. I cannot control the choices of others.

I spent a lot of time alone during the last few weeks at the ministry masking my feelings mainly because I saw those that didn't hide get "publicly shamed." I was so grateful to The Lord for my knight to be essentially courted and handed a job on a platter. Many times The Lord has to be amazingly obvious to me. My heart was so entrenched and that dug out the last root.
I can see why leadership always tosses out exstaff are bitter. As I talked to the therapist she pointed out this action was extremely painful. It will hurt. The beauty of our lives as humanity is that we can feel the hurt, sad for staff, and have compassion on everyone in this mess all at the same time. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We can endure great pain and be compassionate in the midst of it all.  This is the great love extended to us from God.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Take My Spear, Please!

So watching the drama of the GFA situation on Facebook unfold I could not help but start applying the logic I have been teaching my kids lately. Although one usually doesn't find logic on FB. I got struck last night when a former co-worker explained that David did not attack his king because it would be sinning. AKA former staff should not challenge someone who is obviously saving the lost.   My brain could not determine if it was a Red Herring or if it is a case for "Special Pleading."

Be like a Berean came trotting across my brain so I went and found those verses in the bible. They are in 1 Samuel 26 but instead of reading them like they had always been served up, individually I read the whole chapter. Often when I read it just turns into a movie in my head. I saw David and Abishai creeping up to the king. Whispering their commentary back n' forth. Then showing their prowess by stealing his spear and water...

Think about that whispered the Holy Spirit... it replayed in my mind... they are taking the king's water, while he is camped out in the wilderness, and disarming him. I was fascinated by this.  Why would David do this? I continued to read on. Oh look in the morning it created quite a stir... But only because David starts yelling across the countryside.  I'm sure this shamed and embarrassed poor Abner. Not only that but David casts judgment on Abner saying he should die because of his negligence, in front of the whole army... and basically says they all should be ashamed of themselves. It looks like David is very willing to bring to the public eye the actions of King Saul's subordinates. David does judge, and calls out problems when he sees them, but he didn't kill Saul. I became more and more engrossed as the story unfolded.

David argues for his side of the story. "King is this Gods anger or yours?" This is NOT a private meeting, this is out in the open being yelled across a mountain. David is clearly asking Saul to look in his heart to see if his actions are God ordained or man driven. Whoa Nelly did I just read that??? Did David just openly challenge Saul on his heart actions in public? I've seen so many posts on FB that are about not allowing others to see our disputes, as it shows christians in a poor light. Also brought up is that; we cannot know the heart behind the action that upsets us.  Here is David seeking that out in a very public forum.

Then I love what happens next Saul doesn't make excuses or dissemble. He repents. He is not behind closed doors, one on one, but in front of everybody. My mind is blown, pieces of it ricochetting of the walls. For so long I have held this opinion in my heart that to condemn publicly is an attack. This is  due to the spoon fed interpretation of Verse 9 But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD'S anointed and be without guilt?" 

I had one of those ah ha moments, David disarmed his king, took away from him the water so needed for life. No he didn't attack and kill, but yet he did publicly discuss the issue at hand and Saul repented publicly. This is so far away from the uses this verse had been put to I'm almost ashamed to admit I only have just studied it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Agony of it All

My mind seemed stuck the same recording playing over and over again. I couldn't seem to get away from the thing we had been "discussing" on and off for hours. The distractions of this life had not caused me to be "over it" as he had thought. It was still simmering in my mind. I knew it was not ok to simmer like this. I knew I was being irrationally angry, yet the emotions just poured out of my heart.  Overflowed into a morass of ugliness.

As my anger toward the whole situation exploded around me (Thank the Lord the kids were in bed)  it occurred to me all the craziness of my life has caused me to set aside my grief. And grief ignored can express itself as anger. There I was again wracked with sobs months after my moms death, processing the hurt in a not so healthy way.  At least I'm processing it...  ugh! Apologizing afterward... In fact I even apologized during and before. I remember saying "I'm sorry, I know I'm being irrational, I have no idea why." that was right about when the discussion turned into the ugly mess of craziness.  

I sit here now and see the habits of old, the triggers of that irrationality are still surrounding me. The stuff pushed to the back of the counters instead of picking it up, opening the cabinet door, and placing it on the shelf above. I mean really you didn't even have to walk anywhere, its about 14 inches from its home.

Funny how it's such small things that grief uses to wedge its way out of our hearts. I believe it was The book A Woman Answer to Anger that talked about how for some of us, we cannot face our sorrow it is to hard of an emotion to process. It hurts so much and touches us so deeply. On the other hand when we don't touch it, it expresses itself differently, usually in anger, irrational, this is not peaceful.  

All of these thoughts ran around my mind as I was sobbing uncontrollably again at 11pm.   My brave husband sat next to me supporting me as best as he could. I really love him, he's quite amazing, he can face the most difficult parts of me with love.  It wasn't pretty or beautiful or pleasant for him. It shows how much he truly values me that he will stick by me even when I have snot dripping out of my nose and my eyes are red from crying.