Blog By My Old Order Friend

I received a phone call from my Older Order friend, and the author of this blog, a few months ago, asking if she could read something to me. It came at a time when I felt completely drained spiritually, and exhausted emotionally, after receiving a lengthy letter in the mail, attacking me, and our ministry. As she read it, the tears spilled over. It was a most timely reminder that God does not forget us, or abandon us. He meets us in our broken place, and feeds, fills and restores us. She offered to send to to me via snail mail, and gave me permission to publish it on my blog, and use her name. If you find yourself in this place of struggle, a place of fatigue or discouragement, I pray that you will be as encouraged as I was, by Martha’s blog.  

I used to view God as a policeman, who sits around somewhere, waiting to find someone at fault… who comes after you with flashing lights. He hands over a ticket, which means, “I’ve been fined.”

canstockphoto3703544

Instead, God draws us… invites us… Not with flashing lights, but with a glow that comes from the very Father heart of God. An invitation, if you will: “You may kneel in this pool of blood… It was shed for you. All your guilt, and shame and sin have been redeemed before you were ever born. And that pool of blood, instead of a ‘fine’ or a ‘ticket’, offers a receipt… a receipt that says, ‘ You’re free. I’ve paid for you!”

What a Saviour! We have reason to rejoice. We have reason to be alive!

When I think of Elijah, I think of third degree depression. He was discouraged…. “What’s the use. Nobody cares… I am all alone… what I do doesn’t mean anything….They seek to kill me, for doing what is right.”

What did he do? He ran for the juniper tree.  “I’m done! Just let me die!”

What did God do? \he met him there. He said, “Elijah, what are you doing here? The journey is too great for you. Arise and eat.”

canstockphoto11991939

Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that amazing?

God called him by his name. God knew him.  He saw Elijah’s pain. Not only did He call him, he provided for him. He understood his pain, his depression, his hopelessness.

Rejoice! That God is still alive today. If you find yourself under the juniper tree, or heading that way, take heart, God meets us there.

We all know the story of the Good Samaritan. There was a man travelling to Jerusalem, when he was overtaken by robbers. They beat him and took all his goods.

Along came two men, a priest and a Levite. Exactly what their missions were, I cannot say. We get the picture that they were tending to important religious matters.  These religious men couldn’t be bothered by the likes of the injured man.

Along came the Good Samaritan. He had compassion and stopped to offer help. He took the injured man to a place of comfort and healing.

Where do we find ourselves in this scenario? So busy with religious duties that we pass by the hurting? Are we the ones beating and robbing, taking what isn’t ours–be it money, or reputation? Or are we the one with compassion?

Or, if we stop and take a closer look… Are we perchance the person lying there, wounded and bleeding, not able to walk without support??

If that is you, take heart. You are in a good position. Just as God met Elijah under the juniper tree, He will meet you. It is for this very reason that Jesus came. In Isaiah 61 we read that Jesus is coming to heal the broken-hearted, to give sight to the blind, and to free those who are bound, to bring good tidings.

Are those not good tidings?

~ Martha ~

Rejection & Misconceptions Regarding Gender-based Differences in Lobido

Without a deeper purpose, I would be the last one to stand in line, to hang all my dirty laundry out for the world to see. Especially if the laundry is all on the line, and I feel I’m left hiding behind semi-transparent sheets. It’s a vulnerable feeling. But the private messages from you, my readers, and general response the past two days reassured me again that it is the right thing to do. There is a purpose.

I received a negative response from one individual–and it wasn’t particularly up-building, so it landed in file 13, and it is only the third negative response I have received since starting my blog. All in all, I would say the topic material is received in a positive light, and helpful for many. Thank you for sharing with me. You have no idea how much that encourages me when I’m going places, publicly, where I have rarely ventured even with counsellors or friends. Many of you understand both my battle, and how I feel, as you express your own fear of commenting publicly, because of that vulnerability.

Thank you for being sensitive, not only because I have overcome abuse and violence, but also as a writer, when I put my heart out there. I am convinced I have the most amazing audience in the world!

Everyone experiences rejection, on some level, in marriage, whether real, or perceived. With abuse victims there is often an increased sensitivity to rejection, and this sensitivity also means more perceived rejections.

What fascinates me is how much we hear about men being the ones with the high libido, and therefore the ones who are often rejected by women. I’ve heard it in pretty much every marriage event I’ve attended. When I invite them to conferences, I’ve had women say, “If I hear one word about men and their high libido, I will up and walk out. I am so tired of no one addressing the other side of that”, and similar comments.

Meeting with women, and working through marriage issues with them, I can count on two hands the amount of times I’ve heard the complaint that ‘all he ever wants is sex’. Or ‘I wish he would just keep his hands off of me!’ And the few times I’ve heard it, it has usually been accompanied by, “I wish he would pay attention to me other times too. Then I would love his advances in bed”, or things of that nature. The exception is in the case where husbands ‘grab and grope’ but otherwise put no effort into relationship building or healthy non-sexual physical touch. This is a source of deep frustration for women. Most of them feel disrespected, and neglected on many levels.

I am convinced that, a high percentage of the time, women do not have a lower libido than men. We crave relational attention, communication, affection and non-sexual cuddling apart from the bedroom scene. If we feel loved, valued and accepted, the odds are… Never mind, gentlemen…. Do your math…

What I do hear, constantly, are women who feel neglected both in bed and out of bed. Not only do these women tell me that the relational and communication aspect is lacking, but their husbands don’t initiate intimacy, and reject them when they initiate it. The topic of sexual intimacy is not up for discussion, leaving these marriages vulnerable and shaky, with literally months, if not years, without sexual intimacy.

The women who tell me their husbands are not interested in sex, are not an indication that women generally have a higher libido, or that we’ve been misled by statistics. It simply indicates that more men shut down sexually in marriage, whether due to sexual sin, childhood sexual abuse, addictions or other reasons, than most of us are led to believe.

This needs to be addressed because the women, who feel rejected, battle shame and inferiority. They are hesitant to open their hearts and talk openly about their struggle, not wanting to admit that their husbands don’t find them attractive. (Just like every girl in high school wishes she was the prettiest, every wife wants to be attractive and the apple of her husband’s eye. To admit to another woman that she is sexually rejected and relationally neglected is a very difficult and humiliating thing.)

Each one worries that either she is not beautiful, or maybe her husband is having an affair, or into pornography or masturbation. Some know that is the case, but feel lost and dis-empowered. Not knowing how to impact the marriage for good, they suffer in silence. Others walk out on marriages, without a backward glance.

Yet other women admit to turning to pornography, emotional affairs and masturbation, as a source of fulfilment, while continuing in cold, distant cohabitation. They are afraid or unwilling to broach the subject of their struggles with husbands, who, in some cases, are into the same thing. When I hear these ‘confessions’ it’s usually accompanied by, “I’ve never told anyone that before. Please don’t tell anyone.”

This rejection of each other, and ultimately God’s plan, along with the silence and secrecy, is detrimental to marriage, to the family unit and God’s kingdom. Every woman wants to be pursued first outside of the bedroom, at a heart level, and then celebrate that connection through intimacy in bed. I think that every man, based on those we have talked to and read about, wants his wife to think he is an amazing lover, but he also longs to be built up, believed in, and encouraged in day to day life.

Somehow the vicious cycle of rejection starts in the little things we overlook, because of a lack of communication and generally misunderstanding each other. It snowballs, because of our pain and selfishness and leaves many a marriage shipwrecked unnecessarily.

The key is to get help sooner than later. To ignore it will build up walls of self-protection until eventually, the relationship is all but severed.  Wise counsel and a listening ear from someone who understands is crucial in order to end the cycle.

In the past few days many of you have contacted me, asking for connections to counsellors, or looking for guidance. If I have not yet responded, I will. And if you have not had the courage to email, but would like help finding a counsellor, mentor or resource, please don’t hesitate. (Visit the Contact Trudy page, and fill out the form. It is private and will only show in my email inbox, not on the website.)  We were not created to do this alone, and if I have connections in your area, I will do my best to connect you to someone.

© Trudy Metzger

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

First Post in Spiritual Abuse Series

The Wastelands of My Heart

What if I was created with no purpose at all? The thought latches on to my spirit, like a leech. I feel my heart , suffocating. My soul cringes. What if Solomon was right? What if life is meaningless existence, with no new thing under the sun? What if nothing really matters, when it’s all said and done?

Empty… Hopeless… Defeated

Today I invite you into the secret place of my heart, a place where swords swing and dust flies, as wars rage between the life I was created for, and the lies of the enemy. It is a place I prefer to hide from the public, wishing rather to focus on the positive, bright side of life.

 

This is not because I want to deny the hard or negative thoughts, but because I don’t want to give power to the negative. The things we focus on most, have greatest influence over us, and shape us. (Proverbs 23:7Luke 6:45) The things we speak out, are the things we give power to. The things we dwell on, most profoundly impact the state of our mind, our spiritual health and life in general. If I am going to speak words, or write them, I want them always to bring life and hope, not darkness.

Sometimes, however, we have to share the darkness, in order to point another, who is still caught in it, toward the light. That is my hope in writing this.

The darkness I write about is a very real part of my life, and has been since early childhood. I share it to encourage those of you who struggle with feelings of defeat, worthlessness, and discouragement or depression. I want to encourage you not to surrender to these lies. I too, battle depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and the fear that I am destined for failure. These feelings are real, but they only have the authority we give them.

People see me, outgoing, confident, and fun-loving. And I am. In a way. But, if you could look inside my thoughts, you would find a raging battle, many a day. You would see this does not come without determination, faith and choice. The reality is that I have spent my entire life fighting negative voices, negative thoughts, and negative feelings.

In almost everything I do, whether ministry, or other work, these demons confront me, warning me that nothing I do will ever matter, scolding me for believing I could make the smallest impact in anyone’s life, let alone in this world.

As the voices grow louder, I see myself again as the toddler, with vacant eyes, in a violent home in Mexico, hiding behind a wood stove, peeking out to see if my world is safe. Like I did then, I try to close out the voices, but they’re too loud.

I am again an 11-year-old, down on my knees, asking God to spare my life and that of my family. But this time it is not physical life I’m asking Him to protect. It’s the fire that burns in my heart, the passion, the will to live with purpose and meaning. Everything in me wants to retreat in fear, to hide, to withdraw. I want to withhold my heart from even those closest to me, to surrender to the voices. It would be easier. If I would withdraw from the enemy lines, maybe the accusing voices would stop and the dark feelings disappear….

It is as though I wander, in the wastelands of my heart, looking for an oasis, a place to be filled, something to give me a sense of purpose and meaning. I want my life to matter. I want to help people, to bring life to others, but for all my effort, it feels futile, at times. Especially when I fail, and it feels like the dark side is winning.

How can I give if I myself am empty? What have I to offer, if I fight the same demons, the same darkness and the same fears?

It is so easy to reach for people to validate me. Or for ‘success’—by this world’s standards—and success evades me, mocking me. Like the annoying schoolmate who would run around the corner, poke his head back around and blow a raspberry, it taunts, daring me to pursue, but already declaring me the loser.

Sometimes I’m drawn into the game of proving myself to those around me.  The deeper I’m sucked into that vortex, the stronger the negative voices grow, as they pull me toward the ‘black hole’ of depression and defeat.

For almost nineteen years, my husband, Tim, has watched at close range, as I fight this battle. He has entered in, prayed, loved and supported me. But, at the end of the day, it is my battle to fight. No one can make choices for me.

So what is the secret? First, I shift my focus from self, to God and people. Negative feelings that take root are the result of unhealthy self-focus. Rather than producing positive change, these negative thoughts consume you and suck you into lies they tell. Secondly, I choose to move forward in faith, even while my feelings continue to lie to me.

Isaiah 35 speaks prophetically of the life and the hope that Jesus will bring, and  verse 6 says: ‘…waters will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert….’

There is no wilderness, no desert, no wasteland more dry and hopeless than a mind consumed with negative thoughts. When Jesus enters this wasteland, and defines who I really am, defines my success and my purpose, the negative thoughts lose their power.

When negative thoughts bombard you, and the enemy tells you that you will never succeed, that you will never amount to anything, don’t take it lying down.

Invite Jesus into the wastelands of your heart and a stream will begin to flow, bringing life to the desert places. Know the truth that you are His, you are loved and valued, and the power of the lie is broken.

© Trudy Metzger 2012