What Can They Do To You?

22 December 2016 | By andrena in betrayal, Church, death, Friends, General, grace, Healing, Health, rage

I didn’t realize that my silence has been felt by a few…thank you for checking in on me. It’s been a lot going on, and I have had to ‘ground’ myself as best I could. I am relatively okay, and I love you.

As you know, this has been terrifically challenging year for me and mine. I know as I was going through, I took a lot of you with me. I believe that is how Christ would have us be during challenging times. Things were going so fast and hard at one point, I can’t believe I didn’t lose my mind, in addition to almost losing my life.

I have suffered great loss, this year:

Serious loss of my health as I knew it, loss of my vocation, loss of the congregation and membership. Some of that loss seemed and felt unnecessary in its machinations.

But as Paul would write to the church in Corinth:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”– 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

I am sure my feelings were not in the same manner as Paul’s, considering what he was going through, but I can very well attest to these feelings, and gosh darn-it, a few times I almost caved in.

My heart was about to give out on me, I had to have not one, but two operations for a successful pacemaker/defibrillator implantation.  I don’t have to repeat everything that happened during that time, I documented it all on Facebook, of which I was somewhat chastised.   I have had my copies postings bandied about in my face, copied and pasted and whatever.  But I am who I am, I am whom I have always been and chose to share my journey with whomever wanted to go along for the ride.  Those who chose to use my postings against me?  Good for them.  That also almost had me running for the hills.

God knows, with the exception of a few, I felt really alone.

But I digress…it’s no longer important.  I am alive.

The church which I pastored had it’s doors closed on September 11, 2016, with what was supposed to be a “Holy Closure”.  Again, hard and fast, with no strength in me to get a good understanding of what was going on and why.  Our heads are still spinning.

Again, I digress.

I have had to seek out my own pastoral care, and am grateful for the ones who stuck by me from February 2016 until now.  It has been a lonely journey, a painful journey, a frightening journey, and last but not least, an intimidating journey.

Again, a favorite scripture comes to mind from Isaiah 53:

The Suffering Servant

Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

by Maxwell Lawton

The Man of Sorrows by Maxwell Lawton

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

I used to think of this scripture, whenever I gave a talk about living with HIV; specifically about the body of Christ having AIDS.

Ahhhhh, but this experience took me even deeper into suffering.   I wrote a few nights ago, how odd it felt to feel like an outsider in a fellowship such as this.  But is it really?  Who was I kidding.  I’ve always identified with the marginalized.  Christ himself was marginalized.  Did I dare think that a collar and membership into an institution would raise me up?  Did I dare believe that I was above reproach?  Did I dare believe that I would be treated as Christ taught his disciples, and as we teach those in the pews?  Just how blessed am I?

Silly rabbit, tricks ARE for kids!

But hold up!  I AM blessed!  Jesus teaches me that in the beatitudes!  You remember that lesson, right? (Matthew 5:1-12)

3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,

for they will be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I AM blessed!  No matter whatever, no matter whomever.

Out of all the things I have lost this year, in-spite of how I have been treated/not treated….no one can take my blessing away from me.  I AM blessed because of all those things.

Again …. I digress!

The other night.  The night of the anniversary of Steve Biko’s birth (December 18th)…I watched a movie about Nelson Mandela:  The Long Walk to Freedom.  In it, there is a scene when Winnie Mandela is released from jail and speaks to her followers:

“I say to my Jailers, “Thank you”
And I say to the Government,”Thank you”
You’ve helped me grow up
I was very young when I married Nelson
I am not young anymore

And I am not afraid. Anymore.”

AMANDLA!

And so, I am tired of writing for now….

But I say to you I have been relatively quiet, trying to figure out what the hell happened this year and why.  And I am not talking about my health.  I kinda get that.  What I don’t get is why people treat people the way that they do.  What I have been trying to figure out is my fault in all of this (if any).  I have just been trying to quietly (as possible) figure stuff out.  What has happened to me is nothing new…it has been going on since the Roman Empire and the Colosseum.

And I have felt as afraid as the disciples back in the day.  Afraid of what someone might do to me. For real!

But shoot, there’s even something in the book of Romans about that:

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My mom asked me the other night, as I shared some things with her.  And she said:  But NeeCee, what can they do to you?

And I responded somewhat with:  Considering all I have been through in my life, nothing.  They can’t do nothing to me, ma.  I thank them.  I have grown up, even more.

Amen, ache, and Amandla!

 

 

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