Apology to Steve Stutzman

In my previous blog I posted a statement by Generations Unleashed, in which we responded as an organization to information brought to me regarding a break and enter. My first knowledge of this incident was May 27, 2018, when an ASAA member told me the story at Panera Bread. I told my husband about it later, and soon forgot about it.

Having received a phone call August 28 with information matching what I was told, which allegedly came from Steve Stutzman, I was completely shocked and felt deeply betrayed that the ASAA member did not share this information with me (if the information was, indeed, correct). I had no knowledge of who besides this member was involved. Regrettably, with the history of betrayed trust between Steve and myself, I did not trust asking his word, and with communication cut between us and ASAA, went with what seemed ‘best judgement’. Sadly, ‘best judgement’, and speaking out on information just because the details lined up, was not good judgement enough.

In relation to Steve Stutzman’s involvement, it has become a ‘they say he said’ situation, which we deeply regret. I went in with full confidence that it was accurate, and that Steve would own up to it. In fact, as much as there has been conflict, I wrote just that to the person who informed me and when an officer called me about it, I told him that I think these men will be honourable enough to acknowledge their role. (I also expected there to be an explanation for having done the break and enter to justify it, but that’s another story.) However, Steve maintains having zero involvement in the incident and says he had no knowledge of it. For this reason, I appealed to  Generations Unleashed last night, asking for an apology to be issued to Steve Stutzman. As of this morning, Generations Unleashed has publicly withdrawn all allegations of his involvement in the break and enter, and has released an apology to Steve Stutzman for publicly naming him.

***

I have apologized to Steve Stutzman privately, via text, but owe it to him publicly as well, and I owe it to the public:

Steve, I acknowledge my error in judgement, and my failure to find some way of hearing both your and the ASAA member’s side of the story regarding your alleged involvement in the break and enter. Some way, even with broken trust and cut communication…some way I should have done this… I didn’t. I am deeply sorry for this. I love truth. I despise lies. I love justice. I hate false accusation. I love mercy… mingled with love. While I thought I was dealing with truth, in this case I had no evidence and nothing to substantiate it other than the stories lining up with the story I knew. It was wrong of me to name you. I am sorry for this, and I am sorry for any hurt this caused you, or harm it brought on you. There is an injustice in this, and I’m sorry for that injustice.

***

The individual who spoke to me did indeed get accurate information regarding the break and enter from someone, and because of how it was presented, I do not and did not believe it to be ill-intended but rather a commitment to what he believes is accurate about Steve’s involvement. I believe it was said in good faith that the information is truth. (This became evident again in conversations since last night.) I further do not believe it was an intentional deception to set me up – as some have asked – but a matter of imperfect human memory. (This is a reminder that I *must* stick with my ‘do you have a paper trail, screenshots or other hard evidence‘ way of approaching allegations if I do not have first-hand testimony, as I do with the original story. Anyone who knows me at all, knows I am anal about this evidence, but unfortunately I let down my guard.)

My heart was and is to stand against the evils of abuse, coverups and victim-blaming and shaming. My heart was and is for truth. It was and is for exposing only that which is wrong. And I maintain that many things are and were wrong these past 8 to 12 months. And in the handling of the information that was brought to me, I definitely was wrong. Ignoring it would not have been right either, but this was wrong. What I should have done, and would do next time, is quietly hand it over to law enforcement to investigate and if there was/is a crime, let them deal with it.

What these past few months have accomplished is a crash course on many things. One of those things is the resurfacing of old triggers and traumas. And that simply means I have more healing to do. As mentioned in my previous blog, I plan to start seeing a counsellor in September to work through this, and whatever all it has dredged up. I will heal at a whole new level.

Sitting in the office of one of my doctors today, I shared reactions I’m having to the current heart meds. She shook her head and said those symptoms are not side effects. It’s stress, she told me. Fortunately the nurses had booked an extra long appointment to go over all things heart-related, and all things related to ‘growing up’ (aka transitioning to old girl issues) and such, so she had time. She asked a few questions, and as I shared she got a twinkle in her eye. Before she could say it, I said it for her, “This is what is making my heart ‘rush’ and why I wake up at night having stopped breathing.” She smiled and nodded. I told her I’m glad to go back to school, to focus on research and remove myself from advocating. It’s hard. It’s really hard. And I really am not made for advocating like this. It’s not my gift and it stresses the life out of me. I love public speaking. I love training. But advocating is a trigger for me. A brutal trigger. I’ve never done it so intently before, and I’ve never gone public with a situation before. And now I know how hard it is… and how much it is not for me, but how much I admire those who are able to do so.

In fact, I feel like it has set me back a thousand miles on every front. Like I’ve lost my way among ‘faith people’, and really don’t fit into the church/religion scene. (Even less than before, when I didn’t realize I had anything to lose.) Sure, there’s God. He loves me. He is good. He is kind. He is gracious and patient and tender. Always. But it feels at times like He has gone on an extended vacation and forgot to put His auto-responder on. I know that isn’t a fact, but in the worst of life, when nothing makes sense, it feels that way.

But that’s not all bad. As I tell clients when they share this struggle, one of the best things in the world is knowing that God is present, He is steady, He remains a constant Love in our life, even when things are crazy. He is a straight line that never moves, in the ups and downs of our experience. Knowing that truth is so much more important than feeling it. So much more important.

Another cost has been trust. I’ve been told in the past that I trust too blindly, naively and too easily. Well… no one will need to accuse me of that for a while. So, while it feels like my healing has been harshly disrupted, and my trust in people left dangling on a fraying thread, I will rebuild… or more accurately, I will be rebuilt. (Jeremiah 31). I refuse to surrender to defeat. I will rise again.

If there is one thing I want those who are victimized to know, it is this: You can fall, you can fail, you can crumble, and you can shatter. But you can and will rise again. Always. If you are willing….

Life can knock the wind out of you…

But God…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

The Golden Chalice (Guest Column, Steve Stutzman)

My friend, Steve Stutzman, shared the following story with me some time ago, via facebook, and asked me what I think. I began to weep as I read it, and that’s precisely what I told him in my response.

“I’m sitting here weeping… and can’t seem to stop. Does that answer your question?” I wrote back.

“That bad, huh?” he asked, with typical Steve-kind-of humour.

“If it was that bad, my heart wouldn’t have been yanked around like that. It’s very touching! God has given you a gift for expressing yourself, and touching hearts, that’s for sure!”

Steve has graciously allowed me to post the story here on my blog. My prayer is that you will be blessed, as I was, by this beautifully written story.

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The  Craftsman looked down at the masterpiece in His hands. “Perfect”, He muttered under His breath. “Just Perfect.” His helpers gathered around in awe to admire this latest of all creations by the Master. Made of fine beaten gold, and overlaid with crystal-like glass, every element and curve of the vessel gleamed. Without it gave the appearance of having been carefully carved, and within it had a polished surface. “I’ll put My Life in it one day”, the Craftsman said, as if to Himself.

The helpers quietly discussed this elegant piece of exquisite  design. “So beautiful”, breathed one. “Yes, but so fragile”, said another. “Surely something so delicate and precious must be protected, not bumped or jarred”, commented yet another. “Probably no one but the Master will ever be allowed to hold or use it.”

Then the helpers fell silent. A  far away look of musing appeared on the Master’s face, and a tear slid down His cheek, and fell onto the vessel in His hand. “Oh yes” , He crooned. “Yes, others will hold it. I fact, I shall make many of them, each one very like the first, yet each one very distinct. And I will give them to my servants, to have, to hold, to cherish. Some will be filled with the finest of wines, and be treasured, polished and prized. But some…” the Master choked a little, then went on. ” some will be dropped, shattered, or broken. It is up to the servant, how he chooses to treat my Masterpiece. But ALL of them will be close to my heart, for I am the Master Designer.”

As the helpers watched, they realized that each element of the chalice had been so eloquently designed, so perfectly fitted, so excellently  conceived, that regardless of how broken the vessel may become, the Master could rebuild it. And not only so, but each element, when rebuilt, reflected the colors of light and wine more succinctly. Truly, the Master has created the ultimate vessel.

One day, the Master smiled at me and handed me  a Golden Chalice. It was a good thing, He said, and I had obtained His favor. I cried that day. I wanted the Golden Chalice, my heart longed for her…. But I had no idea how to care for a Golden Chalice. I wanted to drink of the wine, but had no idea how to refill the Vessel. And somehow, intuitively, I realized the Master cared intently how I treated this masterpiece of such great value.

He never really told me why He made it of such finely beaten gold, or why the beautiful crystal cover.The Chalice doesn’t come with a printed owners manual. The Master told me He wrote the owners manual deep inside me, and I could find it written there if I looked hard enough. It took years for me to grasp the delicateness of the Chalice, and I fear I have dropped and broken it more than once, to my shame. Today, not a day goes by that I do not realize the delicate, fragile, yet priceless nature of the Chalice given into my hands.

I feel anger rising in me when I see a Golden Chalice used to play in the mud or the sandbox.  When servants believe they can use their Chalice to scoop the muck of daily work, then expect fine wine in the evening from the Chalice, the Master is not pleased. When  servants drop the vessels, and grind on them with their heels,  what exactly do we expect the Master to feel? The Golden Chalice was made to be treasured, protected and loved…. not only used.  I can only conclude that either servants do not realize the value of the Chalice, or else they are intentionally trying to anger the Master, and either scenario is not good.

I suppose you realize I am writing about women. My heart is grieved with the way I see men today in so many places treating the precious vessel given to them. I weep for the shatteredness of the little girls that no one protected, no one treasured, no one loved. All they wanted was to feel like a princess, to be convinced they were a Golden Chalice, to be filled with the very best wine  of confidence and beauty. When somehow a man feels it is his divine right to trample all this into the ground, and drive the women in his life like a rented mule, and use the Bible to justify it, I will freely admit to being more than a little annoyed. Do we not somehow see the disrespect this is to the Master Designer?

Yes, women can be a little difficult to understand. And no, God never intended for them to be in charge. But somewhere deep inside the man lies a roadmap to the woman’s heart. Somewhere down there  lies a realization that this beautiful creature, the crowning of all of God’s creation, The Golden Chalice, represents the Bride of Christ. She is most precious and delicate to Him, and God’s intention was that the way we treat her be a picture of Christ and the Church.

Seize that inheritance. Kill the Goliath of anger . Fight through the issues of your own life and past, and begin to set free, with your words, the beauty in the woman (and daughters) in your life. Treasure and protect the Chalice, carry it very carefully. Wash it with your words, gently. Being invited to drink of the wine from a Golden Chalice is one of the most intimate and priceless things a man can ever experience. It must not be desecrated and cheapened. The Master is watching.

~  Stephen Stutzman ~

© Trudy Metzger

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