I found a counselor who works with PTSD and trauma survivors. We’re slowly uncovering the work to be done. I’m finally ready to undertake it.
Kathy Escobar is still far better at putting words to the feelings that I’m only just now beginning to take the first faltering steps to articulate:
“one of the most painful losses during that season is that my experience rocked my faith, shook it to its core. it was like the scales had fallen off my eyes and i began to see all of the craziness of what i had been taught about God & the systems that are built in his name. i began to see the realities of believing-just-because-everyone-else-was-nodding-their-head-thinking-it-was-right-because-a-pastor-said-it-was. i admitted that everything i seemed to believe about God had become hooked into the church systems i had been part of. i started to wonder what was real from God and what was just fabricated by my experiences. what if i was wrong and rebellious & unwilling to submit to what was right? what if i was just being prideful by refusing to play by the same rules anymore?”
Encountered this excerpt in an excellent article regarding conditions for CNAs working in nursing homes — this section jumped out at me as the most lucid characterization of the situation in so many missions teams, including the particular team environment I experienced:
“This is hard because reputations are such subjective things—someone might like you while another might not for some random reason. In a workplace where gossip is rife, and where the stress on the job creates many opportunities for misunderstandings and tension among co-workers, it’s hard to have a clean reputation.”
“We were IMB missionaries from 1986 to 2009. We saw the IMB change not by asking the missionaries what they saw could be improved in reaching people, but dictates coming down from regional leadership and Richmond leadership. Many, many on the field, trying their best to give a witness everyday were told that suddenly we are doing everything wrong. Change to do ONLY what we tell you to do, or there will be no place for you. The list of those who left just from our country is a very long one. It included some of the best missionaries the IMB has ever had on any field in the world. As those folks left, we wondered who would be next.
Then one day we were told we were not wanted anymore. We were devastated. However God told us very clearly there was life after the IMB. God provided a way for us to return to our former country as tent maker missionaries. We realized the IMB may not think much of us, but God still had confidence in our ability to share the gospel.”
-‘Richard’, excerpted from a comment here