Friday, October 8, 2010

Alone in a Sea of Women "Just Like Me"

Joanna and I, well, let's face it, have not had great years. And we're not the kinds of people who gloss over issues for others comfort. Last night we went to a group of women meeting together. I got to see my friend Kim who I haven't seen forever. But I walk in with Jo, who has a FAB new do, by the way!!!, and just felt yuck. I was not feeling well to begin with.

But people who have known me for like 6,7,8 years were asking me what was wrong and if there was anything doctors could do about it. I was like, really? I have Myasthenia Gravis, remember?

Anyway, there was a sure highlight and the bit of a lowlight. The lowlight was a few women who spoke about how busy every one's lives are{check.} And that sometimes you just have to remember that not every one's problems are YOUR problems to fix or solve. Two women talked about the same thing. (Testimonial type thing.) And I really do get what they're saying. You can't take the burdens of the world on your shoulders. You can't MAKE some one's burden YOUR OWN. But where in the Bible does it say you don't need to help?

See, this is my frustration. This has been my frustration for 10 years now. I have had this illness for 10 years (well 15, but I was hospitalized 10 years ago...almost died, ect). The woman at that church that had been my best friend told me I was selfish to want help and I needed to repent. This was around the same time that I was so weak I actually fell. off. the. toilet. Yah. But darn my selfishness.

Bear with me a moment: the church I grew up in was not so great from a preaching-teaching standpoint (which is not acceptable.) The music was ho-hum. People piled in the back first. However, when someone had surgery, had a baby, death in the family, the women cooked. They took care of children involved. They had a system in place, and it worked. Do you think my mom, with 5 children in private school had the time or money to do this? Probably not. But she did. Every. Single. Time. But we always had money to pay the bills. There as never a question of "Are we doing anything for so-and-so who just had such-and-such?" It more was like "Who's doing what for so and so when that baby comes?"

And they just did it.

Granted, the chronically ill in a church are probably less than 25%; even less for people like me who are disabled completely by this disease sometimes. And some folks are really good at sticking by ya....for a few weeks. So if these newer churches springing up hither and yon have no structure to begin with, and no plans in place to "feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned," which if I remember correctly is what Jesus commanded us to do.

I never read "make sure you have this program, or that new sound system..." Would a teenager benefit more from going to youth group, playing games, playing music and hearing a message, or from going to a Soup Kitchen once a week and talk to the people there, who may really need Jesus. I'm just sayin'.

It just frustrated me to no end that some women last night will hear what I heard, from Christian women they look up to: If you're stressed, you don't have to take on other's problems. What about Galatians 6:2? 'Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.'

Matthew 25: 35-41 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

I know I feel strongly about this and I've harped on it before. But from my perspective, it's devastating when you have NO ONE to call to help you with your energetic, rambunctious 4 year old because you can't seem to find a church who will take you in for who you are. When you have ONE person who is willing to watch him almost anytime, but if she's not there...I have been through 3 churches in 10 years who couldn't seem to do this. Two of them even told me told me I was selfish to ask for help. I physcially couldn't care for my self on some days, let alone my child, but I was selfish to take away from someone else's need. Shame on me.

I reconnected with an old friend of the family on facebook, and within a month, she was asking what she could do, and last week brought six frozen meals. (She lives an hour away from me.) I hadn't seen this woman in literally 30 years. I know churches are busy. I've been intricately involved in growing 2 of the 3 we attended. But if the family of God can't be there for you...who will? If you're SO busy and stressed that you can't help a fellow brother or sister in need, maybe you need to take a tough look at your schedule. I know I'll probably ruffle some feathers, but if my point gets across, it will be worth it.

"You've made your point," you say. "So move on." That's just it. I wish I could. There is still no system in place, and in MY Bible, it says it is the believer's job to just do it. I help anyone I can with whatever I can. I may not be able to help you clean your house, we can certainly give you some fresh meat from Doug's latest butchering session. : ) I make and send cards for card ministries, when I'm involved in a church I do what I can from I'm not just saying, here I am, I'm a lump and want to be waited on handand foot. HARDLY. And anyone who REALLY knows me will be laughing right now.

I am fortunate to have 3 friends who really haven't and hopefully won't leave my side, even though they go to different churches. We still don't go yet, because 1. can't figure out where to go, and 2) both Doug and I are skittish. History is supposed to predict the future, so the future tells us there's nothing before us to go to either. So stay in spiritual limbo. And it's very sad, because I feel very, very isolated, and thought that God's children would help us. So if you know someone who needs help, HELP THEM. Yes, pray for them. Maybe even send a card. But a prayer can't chase a 4 year old, and a card can't clean up after said 4 year old goes potty all my himself, and all the good wishes in the world ain't gonna get dinner done.

ANYWHO...on to the fantabulous Melissa Mashburn from Mel's World! She was the guest speaker. She is HILARIOUS, ya'll. I mean put-down-your-drink-secure-any-sharp-objects-funny! It was so fabulous too, that even though she was from Ft Lauderdale she was actually a brunnette! An adorble fluffly, make you pee your pants funny brunette who was so down to earth I wanted to simply kidnap her to stay up here. She and I are alike in that what you see is what you get. I don't wear a mask anymore...I won't put on aires in the hopes of impressing someone...I'm good enough for my God so there ain't nobody on this earth that I need to impress.

It wa truly a pleasure to meet her, and I hope you all go check out here page. It won't be a waste of time, trust me.


Karin said...

It's NOT being selfish to ask for help - you, of all people, deserve to get it. Without the BS. I was super-duper sick with mono when I was a teenager, and a "Christian" fellow told me it was because I was Jewish, and that if I converted immediately, I could save myself and get better, but if I remained Jewish, I would also remain ill, plus go to H-E-double-hockey-sticks. Now, is that not the craziest thing you've ever heard? Well, I'm a lot more ill now that I was then, but, to the best of my knowledge, I'm the luckiest girl alive and not at all in HE11. However, at this time, I am too far away to bring you comfort or food, but you are definitely in my heart, thoughts and prayers, and maybe one day, I'll be more able to help you out. (I'll put your boy & my puppy in the play yard & let 'em chase each other!) I am glad you can still see humor when it comes your way. God Bless!

Hello! I'm Kate. said...

Kerri, I'm so sorry. Bravo for taking on this topic! My dad always says, "Don't judge God by his idiots." What those women said was idiotic.

One time when my family was leaving mass, right after the entire service had been about Matt 25: 35-41, there was a church family that was standing outside. They were out of gas in their car, they were very poor, didn't have any money & asked a few people outside of the church for some cash. Not one person except my father gave them any money. It was literally one ear & out the other!

My dad said that he couldn't not give them money after hearing in mass that God will ask us what we have done for Him! It was chilling to watch all those people just ignore that family. Unbelievable. I'm still speechless about it to this day.

Kerri said...

Thanks ladies...
Karin: I can't believe someone told you that you would go to hell because you were Jewish! That's awful!

Kate: It breaks my heart to see that kind of stuff. God must simply weep.

CoconutPalmDesigns said...

I think I must really be missing something. You are selfish because you ask for help when you need it because it would take away from helping someone else? So why are they supposedly more worthy of being helped? I seriously wish we lived closer so Matthew and Jacob could chase each other around and wear each other out. I'd offer to help with food too but you're likely better off without eating my cooking. :-)

I'm sorry you have to listen to such BS from supposedly good Christians!

Cheers :-)
- Rainforest Mommy

melaina said...

Thanks for speaking on this...even if some people may think it's harsh. i just attended a weekend seminar on incorporating adolescents with disabilities into youth/college ministries, and it was truly eye-opening for me. It's not that i ever made the conscious decision to ignore those who needed help with chronic illness or disabilities, i just never thought to focus on it. But now that i have seen the need, and the lack of support, it's definitely something i want to incorporate into ministry. By speaking out on this subject, maybe more people will understand the great need that is being ignored.

ps- i'm in the Giraffe tribe with you @ SITS!

Young Wife said...

I cannot believe they said you were selfish for asking for help. I try to tell people, especially David, how important it is TO ask for help. It's so much easier to help someone before they collapse and are hospitalized than after. The church is not doing its job, and I agree with you about youth groups. Our church in Texas was great about having youth serve. And yes, while you can only do so much, maybe if some families quit year round soccer and gave up an hour of video games a day, they'd have more energy to help the chronically ill.

Dreaming again said...

I'm late in reading this (just by 10 months lol)

What about the scripture verse that says if your brother asks you for your coat,give him your shirt too?
Implying that they may ask for a little, but you're to give your all.

In no way does it imply the person in need of the coat is selfish for asking but sacrifice by the one being asked.

I'm so sorry, I wish I didn't understand, but unfortunately, having MG in the heart of the name it and claim it Bible belt ... having been told a zillion times I just need to believe ... I get it all too well.

I can't help that I dont' believe that MY quoting scripture, or MY belief will be what makes the difference but rather GOD'S power, will and design.

God doesn't promise us perfection, ease of life ... but rather that he will ALWAYS be with us and never leave us no matter how dark the valley of death gets ...