Telling My Story

I’m going to write it.  I will.  I’ve already started, but its hard.  I’m scared.

There is much I need to say that I’ve never said before…to anyone.  People will be surprised. What will my parents think?  What will my children think? Or will anyone even care?  All of the potential answers make me sink in my sandals and busy myself with housework, and schoolwork, and Facebook.

But I HAVE to tell it.  Because I cannot live if I don’t.  Because writing it is part of letting it go, of healing the wounds, of putting the clutter on the curb.  It is finally finding a voice after so many silent years; it’s part of moving forward.

Satan has always wanted to silence me.  I’m not sure why.  Because he dwells in silence, and secrets, and darkness.  He abides in clutter, and clatter, and in unforgiving hearts.  And because God has given me this voice…this gift of storytelling…this gift of teaching, so Satan has conspired to silence me with coercion, with guilt, and with shame.

My story is also a story of redemption.  Of God’s remarkable ability to create beauty from ashes.  He restores.  He heals.  He reconciles.  He Loves.  If my life and my journey mean anything, it means this: God is Redeemer!

This post from SheLoves Magazine resonated with me.  I love how she starts it with a quote from one of my favorite authors, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~Anne Lamott

That’s right, Anne, they should’ve behaved better.  They should’ve paid attention.  Some, maybe most, knew not what they were doing.  Some do not know that I know.

So here is fair warning.  If you love me…you don’t know everything. We will talk.  I will tell you the things I’ve never said.  And maybe you will read my truth and hear my voice and listen to my story of love.

 

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Relaunching My Blog: “One Wounded Heart” is Now “ReLoriMichelle”

I decided a complete re-imagining of my blog will cure my “blogger’s block.”

I originally created One Wounded Heart to explore my journey through divorce and the subsequent reinventing of my life.  I had my heart wounded, therefore, I felt the name was appropriate. My divorce was the fulcrum upon which the underpinnings of my life was swept away. However, God promises that He is close to the brokenhearted, and I have experienced His grace, His care, His provision, His healing, and His faithfulness.

I want to talk about more than just one pivot point. I have much more to say about who I am now…the people and concepts I love, concerns that make me angry, stuff that makes me laugh, what I stand for, and what I’m passionate about.  Overall, I have a deep need to let my unique voice be heard, and for now, this blog is my 2 cents, my soap box, my mountaintop from which to shout.

So, I required a redo.  ReLoriMichelle is my blog’s new name.  I still hope to impart help, hope, and grace from one wounded heart to another.

 

 

Emotional Scar Tissue

words-hurt-fix

My husband, Winsome, did something on Friday that made me mad.

It wasn’t a big deal.  He didn’t really do anything wrong.  But I was really surprised at the dimension of my reaction.  I got angry and sad and cried a lot, but I didn’t feel like talking about it with him.  And I couldn’t get it out of my head.

And then I felt guilty for getting so angry about something so minor.

You see,  I have emotional scar tissue.

The medical definition of scar tissue is “dense, fibrous connective tissue that forms over a healed wound or cut.”  There is also no way to completely remove it.  After an injury, there is no way to undo it.

Even though the open wound of my divorce is healed over, there is still pain and discomfort in the area of the scar. Like a train running on a railroad track…my emotions track in a deeply grooved pattern that was established long before I met my sweet, generous, thoughtful husband.  And apparently, sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to irritate it.

How long, Lord? (Journal Entry dated May 12, 2007)

Question – Lord, will I ever find a man who will value me? 

Will I ever be loved for my true and authentic self?  Or am I going to die and never know real love? 

Is it possible for a man to love me? 

Am I too damaged now to have any hope?

And, if I am going to be loved, how long will I have to wait?  Because I’ve waited an settled for less for almost 41 years now.

I love you, Lord, and I trust you.  I’m just so heartbroken and sad – not for losing Rick – but for not being loved by him.  I have been the brunt of his selfishness, his entitlement, his abuse [emotional and verbal], and his emotional dishonesty for 20 years.  And for the effects it has had on the children.  I’m not sad for losing him…I’m glad and relieved…I know you are rescuing me from bondage.

The question is – how long?  How long will I be in this wilderness?

Conversations…Not Sound Bites

I watched an amazing video yesterday entitled Conversations that Matter: Homosexuality & The Christian Faith.  It is a very eloquent message by Dr. Rosaria Butterfield on her journey from Catholic school graduate to lesbian to her conversion to Christianity.  I hope you will take the 35 minutes or so to listen to it.  It is quite moving and definitely worth your time to hear her story.

Dr. Butterfield relates how she was a professor of English in Syracuse, New York and she was involved in and cared about many good causes.  However, she was vehemently opposed to Christians and Christianity.  In fact, after the Promise Keepers came to her town, Dr. Butterfield wrote a scathing article for the newspaper denouncing Christians and Christianity outright.

The newspaper article garnered such reaction that she found two copy paper boxes to file the mail she received in response.  One box she labeled, “Fan Mail,” and the other she labeled, “Hate Mail.”  Then one day she received a letter from the pastor of a local church that she could not file into either category.  Instead, Dr. Butterfield describes the letter as “kind and inquiring,” “engaging,” and “inviting”.

In the letter the pastor invited her to have open, intelligent, real conversations.  He challenged her to explore and defend her presuppositions concerning Christians and Christianity.  And he offered her friendship, not judgement; acceptance, not platitudes; conversations, not sound bites.

Consider Mary and the alabaster jar.  When she poured out her perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped the tears with her hair, do you know what the people around the table said?  “If he only knew what kind of woman she was, he wouldn’t let her touch him.”  Words of condemnation and judgement.  Yet Jesus did not rebuke her…he corrected THEM for their short sightedness and lack of faith!

This is the fact of the matter.  Sin begins in the heart of a person.  The body follows the heart. The church will NEVER solve the problem of sin and its consequences by regulations and rules and self-imposed commands.  They will NEVER convince the hurting people in this fallen world that they have anything to offer while they continue to act as the people around the table condemning Mary for “being that kind of woman.”

What kind of woman (or man) are you?  Dr. Butterfield was a lesbian.  I’m a divorcee.  Dr. Butterfield said, “We have no idea the journey people walk to get to church. No idea.”

What we ALL need from church is conversation, acceptance, and friendship.  Isn’t the message we ALL need to hear one of love and compassion, invitation and relationship?

The irony is that Jesus has written us a letter, too.  It is much like the one Dr. Butterfield received.  The letter doesn’t fit into any prearranged category.  It is not hate mail nor fan mail… but it is a love letter.  It is a letter inviting you to engage in conversation with your Creator.  He wants to extend his hand in friendship and whisper in your ear his deep, abiding, captivating love.  Jesus beckons you to join in on the journey, the process, the pilgrimage to find your true identity in Him.

And yet so many people will never hear that invitation, will never embark upon that journey of discovery and adventure, because church people are too afraid to extend the hospitality, and mercy, and compassion, and grace that we have received ourselves.  It is just so much simpler and faster to send out sound bites, to spew cliches, and to cling to our assumptions than to invite and engage and to extend.  No wonder Christianity is considered so irrelevant in this culture.  We offer sound bites when what we need is conversation.

And now without further adieu, let me introduce you to Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, and may you be blessed as you listen to her amazing presentation:

I never thought this would happen to me…

I never thought this would happen to me.  I never imagined I’d ever be divorced.  I always thought, no matter what, that Rick loved me and was committed to me and to God.  But in the end, I guess he is only committed to his own happiness and to his own selfishness.  While I served his happiness and selfishness, he stayed.  When he found someone else to – he left.  Rick also said about Leah, “She validates me.  She is always telling me what a wonderful person I am.”  Well, keep believing that, Leah, until you find out otherwise.  Just remember, if they will do it with you, they will do it to you.

Journal Entry dated May 10, 2007

journal writing

“Its been a long and complicated month.  How could it only be a month?

I left for Enterprise, AL on April 8, Easter Sunday, to help with tornado relief.  It was a wonderful trip. [I took with me both my daughters and 4 other ladies].  We put on 1 1/2 roofs, cleaned a yard, and cleaned out a demolished shed.  We sang, and prayed, and laughed and cried.  It was great.

But the night I came back, April 14, I stayed up all night to find what I could find.  I decided to look through Rick’s briefcase after he went to sleep.  I found out that he had been to Hawaii with Leah* [during the week I was in Enterprise, AL].  I found out that he had spent the business trip back in February with her in Germany and Florence, Italy, too.  I found receipts, and credit card statements, and love letters.  The next morning I kicked him out.

Its hard for me to believe the level of emotion I have dealt with over this last month!  Some days I just couldn’t concentrate.  Other days I was sure I was going insane because I’d switch from despair and crying to extreme, intense anger.  I’m been stressed over everything that I have to take care of – which is everything.

I’ve also picked out a new house, which I can’t wait to move into.  I’ve hired a lawyer.  I’ve had a humungous yard sale.  I’ve cleaned out the garage and basement.  Warren* graduated from college and now he is back home.  We are getting Abigail* ready to graduate, too.  There are just so many decisions and so many changes and its happening so fast.

But mostly, I feel that for almost a solid month I’ve been consumed with anger.  Ive got it pretty much pushed down right now, but it could emerge at any time.  Hate is a pretty strong word, but I’m pretty disgusted with him right now.

Mostly, I feel that I don’t want to reconcile.  I’m finished and I can’t wait to start fresh, to move into our new house, to have the divorce final.  Just having the settlement signed will be big enough!

Its just been a wild month.  The worst ever.  Only death could be worse than this!