Life has been had over the past couple of months in part caused by our church organisation. It has upset friends of our within the circuit and they are in a position to cause ripples in the organisation. That is one thing that has kept me going and one in particular can cause major ripples which won’t go down well at all.
It’s sad that a church can go to extremes because of historical abuse yet it is the innocent who suffer. The real offenders are still getting away with it because their victims are to scared to speak out. I have lost my fight but I haven’t lost my spirit, I just need to use it in other ways.
Life has been bad for a few weeks, more than usual, due to the ‘power of our church’s hierarchy. Rick and I haven’t been able to talk about the matter with other members at our church so it was a shock for them tonight for Rick’s last service. One of them asked me what it was about so I gave the basic information and I felt bad for not telling her everything. I was worried that our minister would overhear the conversation. I know he isn’t happy about the situation and has been fighting in Rick’s corner but his hands have been tied by our superintendent and the ‘powers to be.’
It was tough this evening as Rick wanted to have his say which he was allowed to do. Afterwards our minister came up up to me and gave me a hug and asked if I was okay. I told him I was but after that I had to explain to the other members that I am keeping my membership there so will go to the other circuit / church in the mornings and there in the evening.
What’s happened is completely wrong and stressful for us.
Is there such a thing as normality?
I suppose for me life is back on track. So much has happened in the past year for both of us life can never be quite the same again so all we can do is move forward. Recent weeks have been horrible for us and yet we have been the victims who have been caught up in the crossfire of our tenant and her now ex-boyfriend. We are now hoping that life will just calm down.
Plans for having a junior bible study are up in the air. We wanted to start it on the first Thursday of June but now our (superintendent) minister wants it to start on the first Thursday of July. He wants to be involved to see how it goes but my nose is a bit out of joint as I should have been involved in this conversation but I had to hear it from Rick. I was the first one to suggest a junior bible study and it was agreed I started it but now another person wants to be involved. Our minister wants her to be D.B.S. checked before the junior bible study starts. I am already worried about her being a loose cannon as she never listens to anybody and as I’m the one leading she needs to be put in her place before we start.
She is already starting on about Messy Church and Rick has already told her that I know about it, have done the training and been part of Messy Church. I know she needs to be reined in and have told the senior steward that. At the moment we, as a church, need to concentrate on the junior bible study first and there is also the question of resources. On top of that I would probably be expected to be in charge of that as well and I have enough on my plate without adding to it.
We are doing a week long Family Ministry course at Cliff College which is an experience in itself. It’s been a bit different than I expected but well worth doing although the “fun” part will be doing an assignment which will be marked to get a certificate. It’s many years since I have done this type of exam so it will be interesting to see how long it takes me to do as I have to write 3000 words.
On a different note I’ve been so occupied with the lectures that it’s taken my mind off depression. I was getting down with all the voluntary work I was doing as I wasn’t getting a rest. Up until now I have been enjoying the work but the last two weeks before the course were exhausting.
If I pass it will be a huge milestone for me as it is a bit daunting all the information that’s been chucked at us.
Emotionally I have had a bad start to the year and I am finding it hard to ‘snap out’ of it. The stress from last year hasn’t had it’s conclusion which hasn’t helped my mood plus my own worries have added to this. If I had the energy I would lose the will to live but I am always tired and struggle to motivate myself to do anything. There is plenty for me to do at home plus even more for me to do at the shop I vo;unteer at. A thorn in our sides is back to wanting to speak to us every day about his website so I have been given the ‘job’ of liaising with him. I don’t to deal with him in particular so I will only do this for so long.
On top of everything else we have been meeting up with another couple with the view of starting up a new church. In principle it is a good idea, the snag is the husband. He is very controlling of his wife who is a lovely lady as he believes husbands are the head of the household and have the control over everything. This man is probably using a few quotes from the bible to escuse himself to his wife such as the following:
1 Timothy 2:11-15 ESV – 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
Ephesians 5:22 ESV – 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
1 Timothy 2:12 ESV – 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
He certainly doesn’t approve of me being an equal partner in our marriage and believes that eventually we will ‘pay’ for our mistakes (sin?). We don’t agree as our lives have been made better because of our choices. Whilst the bible is as relevent today as when it was written the world is a different place to what it was 2,000 years ago. He is definitely taking the bible too literally.
Recently I have found my mood hasn’t been good and I feel that it’s been worse due to a friend who also suffers with depreesion and he is constantly being negative. It’s been hard to try and be positve all of the time but I am cautious with my responses. I’m finding it tougher as each day goes by just to put the mask on. I’m also having to deal with tiredness each day which doesn’t help.
Last week was a good week for me as we wemt to Wemyss Bay in Scotland. We did plenty of exploring as the weather wasn’t too bad and went to Cumbrae on Wednesday. It is a small island with one small town on it so it didn’t take long to drive round it. We had a lovely time in the town, Millport, which included spending time in one of the shops which is used by the church which is a great form of evangelism. We came away with a number of copies of a book which were free so it is good that we can pass them on to other people. The only trouble is whenever we go away we seem to come back to problems and this happened again. If I was paranoid I would believe that people we know are punishing us for going away.
Living in a small town surrounded by countryside means we have plenty of country lanes / roads that aren’t straight and it’s hilly here. I have got used to driving along these roads and I have missed my vocation of being a rally driver. Rick doesm’t like the speed I drive at sometimes but as I point out I drive within the speed limit. He isn’t driving at the moment so I live with a backseat driver.
My mood is better than it has been for several months although I still have too many bad days. Anxiety is still a problem usually when I’m tired or have had a long day. However I have had some news that has cheered me up. Rick and I applied to go on an intensive Family Ministry course next January at Cliff College which is near Sheffield and I have been accepted onto the course. It means staying there for that week so accommodation and meals will be included. Rick is still waiting to see if he has been accepted as he put in his application after me. We had wanted to do the course this year but it was short notice to get funding. We pay a third of the cost of the course, our circuit (of the Methodist Church) pay a third and the district pays a third.
I am looking forward to the course and I never expected I would be doing a college course when I’m 55 years old. It’s a good qualification to get and can be put to use with the church as we want to get the local community in the church for all sorts of reasons not just fetes.
I feel guilty for thinking about myself, for wanting support, wanting time out and not having someone I can talk to. It’s bad enough feeling selfish and even worse to put it in black and white. The black dog is back with a vengeance and I can’t talk about yet I am trying to persuade someone to talk about why they don’t want to live. I haven’t ‘really’ known this person for very long but I can’t force myself myself to step back.
Since Saturday my mood has gone from being very happy as I had enjoyed our holiday to being tearful. Being away from home meant nobody would disturb us unless it was an emergency which I appreciated. It felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and gave me back the emotional strength to keep me going.
Since Saturday we have been asked to do various things yet a social worker should be taking the weight of us and letting us do what we are best at and that’s giving support. Rick and I do know the struggles of depression for different reasons and with different types of depression. I openly admit I am an expert in denial as I lived with it for so many years. Okay when it first started I didn’t even know I suffered with depression.
I couldn’t explain why I felt the way I did.
I didn’t understand my feelings were normal for someone with depression.
I was ashamed for feeling this way.
I didn’t know that it wasn’t normal for a parent to treat their child badly emotionally or verbally.
I was embarrassed.
But I have always cared about other people. It pains me to see anybody hurt or upset. I have always wanted to help. My Mum would be frustrated with me as I was always there for my friends yet they weren’t always there for me. She couldn’t verbally knock it out of me … it is a natural instinct for me to want to help people. I have learnt over the years that I can’t heal the world. Not everybody wants to be healed. I have been used and abused at times yet it hasn’t stopped me wanting to help other people.
I know what it is like not wanting to continue living.
I know what it like to feel worthless.
That I won’t be missed.
Everybody close to me is better off without me.
But that is in my head and the Lord has held me through the bad times as it’s not my time. So I put my happy mask on each day when my mood is low. I can’t bring myself to ask for help. Other people’s needs are more important than mine. I simply feel selfish for wanting to cry out for help. I have my health. A roof over my head. A husband who loves me. Our bills get paid. I love my cats. I have friends. I have nothing to feel depressed about but I am depressed so what happens now?
What about me?
I wish I could say it’s been a tough few days but it’s been over two weeks now. Mary seems to have gradually got better which I am thankful for and I believe in prayer. So many people have prayed for Mary as she is loved for who she is. She has learning disabilities yet she has lived perfectly well without extra help for at least all the time we have known her which is over two years. We went to see Mary on the return home from our brief visit to London. Soon after we got home we had a phone call from Mary’s grand daughter to let is know Mary has been taken to James Cook Hospital for surgery.
Mary’s life has been sad. Her father was murdered in a pub which we found out from her youngest brother, Steven. Mary went out shopping for her mother one day for vegetables then on her return found her mother dead in the bathroom. We have been told by Mary that she has been married twice. The first husband was the father of her daughter and died years ago then her second husband was violent but died some time ago. We also found out that Mary’s eldest brother died two months ago and she still doesn’t know. Steven asked us with other friends present whether he should tell her or not. We all agreed it would be better to wait until she is better. Mary’s daughter has had her problems including minimal(?) learning disabilities and having a violent ex partner (husband). She has four children who all have their issues. She is also disabled now.
It’s been hard enough dealing with Mary’s diagnosis of bleeds on the brain causing falls or falls causing bleeds but we are also having to be strong for Mary’s family. What has helped me going is that I believe God is looking after Mary and is relatively pain free. Getting to know Mary’s family has also helped. May’s daughter and grandchildren are vulnerable and need love / support. I have grown to be quite protective of them without knowing them very well. They are in desperate need of unjudgemental people in their lives.
…. to waste it but I am suffering the opposite problem of not getting enough rest. I am completely exhausted at the moment and won’t get a ‘me’ day until Wednesday.
Yesterday was a long day as we had our last Encounter session. It is amazing how quickly the past year has flown by. I have changed which has included becoming more confident and finding it easier to speak out about what is important to me. We have one more session which is the commissioning one and I don’t have a clue what will be happening that evening.
Over about the past month I have heard about five deaths. Two are people I don’t know, one lady called Iris who went to the Shildon Methodist Church lunch club and another lady called Eileen who was one of the founders of Woodhouse Close Church. The saddest death has been a two day old baby. The mother is a paid member of staff at the church and she must be absolutely devasted. She and her partner have another child but that doesn’t make it any easier as they need to think about her as well as dealing with their grief. I have written a poem so I am hoping she won’t be too upset by it.
It is at times like this I am thankful that I believe in God as it is a comfort and a source of strength. This quote from Luke 18:16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” sums it up about children.