Sorry, It’s About the Salad Suppers!

I’m again at my parents home as we travel together the road of aging and adjustment and leftovers from the past. While here, where resources are varied and relatively plentiful, I am looking for the help I need.

My first inquiry was at the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence. I asked about ways I could help and be helped. The dear woman who spoke with me listened, very still, as I described my mental stall and the decisions needing to be made and why I feel so divided and trapped.  Very quietly, like a gentle ripple on water, she said, “You don’t trust yourself.” This wasn’t news to me, but the way she said it…so gentle and direct, was soothing. I nodded. She added, “I am a survivor, too, and I don’t trust myself either.  I would like someone else to make the decisions. It’s been a while, and it doesn’t go away….I’ve just learned ways to cope.” Oh my.

I told her I had encountered much pain, frustration and loss of faith as a result of the teaching and counsel of my church communities. She said she hears that all the time. I asked if there was any training being provided to faith-based communities to help them stop giving such damaging advice. Yes, she said. There is a woman who started her own shelter, with full support of her Baptist church, and that she has formed a team of survivors who share their experiences and teach faith communities about domestic violence. She said that when she was abused, her pastor and church responded ABSOLUTELY APPROPRIATELY! Oh! Oh! How absolutely, positively, wonderful!

I have the contact information for the Baptist shelter founder, and three resources where I can have counseling and attend support groups for DA survivors. Today, I contact the counselors and find the times/places of the support groups. I will be asking the following questions, recommended by two generous fellow bloggers after I requested personal input about PTSD.

Questions to Ask:

1. Are you trained specifically in trauma?

2. If so, do you have experience with trauma patients?  How many years?

3. Are you in your own therapy?

4. Are you under supervision?  (I forgot to mention this and it is very important – you don’t want someone who goes rogue, on their own)

5. What is your training/approach type?  (Cognitive behavioral focus is more coping skills vs. Psychoanalytical which is more about getting to the root)

Would EMDR be helpful and are you trained to do that?

And I picked up an information sheet based on a 2010 survey of 35 out of 39 domestic violence programs in Arizona in a 24 hour period:

1,622 victims served (1,180 in emergency shelters or transitional housing)

442 adults and children received non-residential services (legal, counseling, children’s support groups)

336 hotline calls (more than 14 calls per hour)

131 unmet needs for services (short funding, short-staffed, lack of space)

105 of the unmet needs were from victims seeking emergency shelter or transitional housing

83% of respondents reported higher demand for services, attributed to job loss, decreased community resources, and decreased funding

For consideration:

1 John 3:16-18   This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Titus 3:14   Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

“Salad Suppers” and retreats were the ESSENTIAL women’s group activities at my previous church…so much so that any alternative ministry to women outside the church was superseded by these lofty priorities (which is why I resigned as WMs president after an ultra-short term). Wouldn’t it be nice if…instead of party decorations for the next salad supper…the money and time were donated to a nearby family violence shelter or program? And, instead of the usual paid speaker for the next retreat…advocacy training was provided by a survivor…or domestic violence professional?

And, if a church REALLY wanted to go for it, they could involve the MEN’S ministries, too! Since men are the Christian “authority,” and since domestic violence is so ruthlessly damaging to women and children (also known as families), maybe their speaker could be a professional who could address MEN’S roles in abuse, prevention of abuse, and recovery. OF FAMILIES – men, women, children.

Abusers and victims.

And, instead of manufacturing functions and campaigns to entice un-churched people into the building, creating relationships to serve them outside the building to heal their hearts and souls? Which would Jesus choose?

I am very, very grateful for funding sources and dedicated people who are making it possible for me, and others, to receive help. But there aren’t enough dollars and people to get it done  given the magnitude of the problem.

This isn’t just a women’s problem. It isn’t just for government entities and secular non-profits to address. Maybe, within the church, there could be less energy spent on indignation about prayer and the Ten Commandments in (or out of) schools (and other hot topics) and more energy spent on learning about and wisely addressing domestic violence (and mental illness, sex trafficking, neglect, homelessness, etc., etc.).

It’s not such a huge mental shift, really, is it?

The influence of Christianity and churches on the world is HUGE, for positive or negative. Representing Christ, or not. Can you imagine how beautiful this could be?

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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7 thoughts on “Sorry, It’s About the Salad Suppers!

  1. Men of One Accord March 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm Reply

    Diane, I been reading around your blog it is like going back in time 50 + years. Trust what a word! I do not think I have ever trusted myself or anyone till I learned to trust God. You may have uncovered some old wounds that God wants to touch in me and heal. I am just rambling sorry! Diane you are a blessing to me, God Bless, James

    • ranthegauntlet March 3, 2013 at 9:17 am Reply

      Hello, James! I’m so glad you trust God and have that beautiful faith! Trust is kind of the key word for life, isn’t it? I never thought of my blog as being able to uncover old wounds, because I am kind of directed at those who don’t understand but yet advise unwisely. I REALLY don’t want to cause pain, or even uncover old wounds (just try to prevent new ones). Truly, I pray God will heal you in every way possible! In this life! But if what I write TRIGGERS old pain, be careful reading, so it doesn’t draw you in again too deeply. If so, maybe just refer those who don’t understand abuse to my blog and keep yourself safe. You aren’t rambling at all. You, your kind heart, and your blog to encourage men in prayer, are a blessing to me as well!! Thank you, James. Diane

  2. mybroom January 15, 2013 at 3:12 pm Reply

    Hi Diane,
    Thanks as always for a very honest post. I wonder if the statement “You dont trust yourself” is the key to much of the healing we need from the traumas of life. Last Sunday in church one of our members who’s father killed her mother when she was a little girl shared that she hadn’t trusted anyone since, she is trapped in the after-effects of that shocking event. She has not been able to trust God since either, even though she believes in Him, her life has shrunken down to predictable routines that she wont break because of her insecurity.
    To entrust our existence to God is the most necessary yet perhaps the most difficult of hurdles we must jump – yet to trust again is key to going forward into the unknown. What do you think? cheers Graeme.

    • ranthegauntlet January 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm Reply

      Hi, Graeme!
      I’m thinking. I’ve written pages in response, but want to think a bit more, before getting carried away again.

      Bottom line…YES, I think trust is essential – for healing, for faith, for functioning even at a basic level in the world. Trust…from knowing gravity will hold us down, that air is breathable – to trusting people and God. And ourselves, to be able to cope. Abuse can, especially in childhood, cause even sub-cellular physical changes that affect response to life circumstances and stress – in addition to psychological and spiritual effects. It isn’t over when it’s over. Trust is impaired at the deepest level. But there are those who have been there and now flourish – among them bloggers I follow. Most of them have had transcendent experiences, where God Himself gave them a lightning bolt of divine love and warmth that overturned the fear. You yourself have come back from shattering setbacks. Your process seems to have been more gradual, but just as impacting. I quote you from your response to my post Getting Help From Pastors #4: “I began to see Jesus, I began to believe that irrespective of my circumstances I was safely hidden in His work on the cross – this became my primary truth – I had little else theologically resolved in my mind, just that one thing – Christ had proven himself to me on the cross. I don’t exercise belief to get through a situation – I rest in the work of the cross – it is not a process that I have to get right (or else I will have failed myself & others), it is a fact that Christ got right already and I am just sitting in His work.”

      “To entrust our existence to God is the most necessary yet perhaps the most difficult of hurdles we must jump – yet to trust again is key to going forward into the unknown.” Essential. What I don’t understand is why, when God supposedly wants…insists upon faith, belief, trust…do people like me who have earnestly sought Him, well, feel like we are watching our siblings in close companionship with Dad, who is aloof and closed to us. What did we do wrong? If it is not enough trust, faith…well..He created us, knew us before we were born, knows our life stories, knows our sincerity, knows HOW we are ABLE to perceive Him – what can we say? It seems it is HIS deal to ENABLE us to trust, beyond circumstance and empirical evidence. In spirit and truth.

      Romans 13: 13-21 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. ”Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

      For me, these aren’t a very comforting group of verses. I need to know what is missing, that will move me from wondering if these verses are about me, to your place of resting completely in the finished work of Christ. You don’t “exercise” belief, but you certainly do trust. I guess asking you HOW is like asking someone to explain HOW they are alive, and invites formula invention. But…HOW?! 🙂

      Your thoughts?

      Thank you for commenting, Graeme. You always give me something challenging to think on.

      Blessings,

      Diane

      • mybroom January 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm Reply

        Hi Diane, I really do love our conversations – you have a great brain and ability to put words around it. I will write my manifesto – a statement of belief, and email it to you for your comment. cheers G

        • ranthegauntlet January 17, 2013 at 7:59 am Reply

          Hi, Graeme. Looking forward to reading it. Thank you!! Diane

    • ranthegauntlet January 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm Reply

      Now that I see how much I wrote, I realize I did get carried away again. Get your reading glasses!

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