Finding Ellen (and she’s packin’!)

Posted: July 31, 2014 in Uncategorized, When Church Hurts
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My first blog was “findingellen” and it was birthed as I was living through the hell of spiritual abuse and trying to make sense out of what was happening.  Anyone who has been through spiritual abuse knows that it just doesn’t make sense.  Well, it does, but in a way that you can’t or don’t want to consider.  Spiritual abuse victims tend to be very committed to their faith and have the (mistaken) notion that those in authority, leadership, and the pastorate, are even more committed than they are.  Findingellen was where I first told my story as part of the process of realizing that I was and had been abused for a very long time.  My spiritual “leaders” had treated me in such a way for so long that I was absolutely convinced that God had no interest in me, that no matter how hard I tried, I just simply wasn’t acceptable to the church and, therefore, to God.

The culmination of that blog and the leadership’s reaction to it, was being told that we were not to return to the church.  No meeting.  No conversation.  No communication beyond that.

Which is exactly what I needed.

That cutting of all ties was the beginning of my road to healing.  And my road back to who I really am – to finding Ellen.

Today, I realized that I am someone the people – and especially the leaders – of my former church would never have liked.  And perhaps that’s why I was never acceptable in the first place.  Because I wasn’t the kind of person they find acceptable.  No matter how hard I tried.  And that isn’t just because I am not afraid to speak up, ask questions, point out problems, don’t live in the right neighborhood, work in the right place, make the right amount of money – or more, have the right last name, etc.

Today, I realized that I am no longer ashamed of my name, my family of origin, my background, my income, my appearance, or my past.  Today, I realized that I am proud to come from a red-neck, blue-collar, hard-working genealogy.  I am proud to have factory working siblings.  I am proud to teach in a school in a town that is struggling with poverty and cultural adversity diversity. And I am proud to be myself.

I am more myself today than I have been in a very long time.  How do I know this?  Because when I went out for my morning walk, I took my Glock.

You see, I come from a smoking, drinking, gun-carrying, bar frequenting, poker-playing swear-like-a-sailor-and-not-even-realize-it family.  Now, I have no plans to take up smoking or bar frequenting, but I’ve always been a mean poker player and I love a glass of wine a few nights a week.  And I’m known to spew an occasional “Oh, sh**!” but I would never, ever, ever swear in front of my mother, God rest her soul.

But, a few weeks back, when I was out on my morning walk, I decided it was time to make good use of my concealed carry permit that I got just because I believe in our 2nd Amendment rights.  You see, I live in a very rural area.  The nearest neighbors are a quarter-mile away and they are gone to town to work every day.  The next nearest neighbors are at least a mile.  Ours is a well-traveled road and we have a big brick, century-old home that sits close to the road.  Lots of people stop in to our place to ask for directions.

So, there I was, out for my walk, and this red Chevy pick-up comes along.  He drove past me about 150 feet and then slowed way down and stayed in front of me for several minutes.  Then, he drove on down to the corner near my house and turned north.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Until he turned around and headed back toward me.  I pulled my phone out and dialed my husband, who was working 25 miles away, and told him I was a little wigged out by the guy in the pick-up because he was coming back and driving real slow.  The guy drove past me again and I could see that he had on a camo hat.  He went on down the road and pulled in to a field driveway.  And turned around to come back.

Right then, a retired man from about a mile away come driving up and I waved him down, got off the phone with my husband and said,  “Thank God you showed up! “Do you know this guy that’s coming in the red Chevy pick-up?”

Now, please understand that this retired farmer has lived in this neighborhood his entire life and knows virtually everyone.  “No, I’ve never seen that pick-up before,” he said.  The red pick-up went by two more times while I was talking to the neighbor, so we both got a fairly good look at him, but neither of us thought to get his plate number.  Finally, other vehicles started coming along and I let the neighbor go on his way, called my husband at work again, and talked to him until I made it home about five minutes later.

About thirty minutes later, the retired farmer’s wife called and told me they had checked with several people in the neighborhood and no one knew of anyone in the area with a pick-up like that and if I saw him again, to try to get his plate number.

I found out a couple of days later that what that driver of the Chevy pick-up was doing is called an “interview.”  They check you out to see how vulnerable you are for whatever it is that they have in mind.

Six months ago, I would never have considered carrying a gun for self-defense.  Good Christians don’t do that and my church-mates would have been horrified.  Horrified.

Now, I carry it with confidence.  I have it at the ready throughout the day.  My brothers, my nephews, my step-father are all ecstatic.  This is where I am from and this is what we do.  Even my son boasts to his co-workers, “Yeah, my mom’s packing’!”

I think all mom’s get a lump in their throat when their children boast about them, don’t they?

  1. lwk2431 says:

    “Today, I realized that I am someone the people – and especially the leaders – of my former church would never have liked. And perhaps that’s why I was never acceptable in the first place. Because I wasn’t the kind of person they find acceptable.”

    One trait that many in these positions require is an unthinking acceptance of their authority. People who “question authority” (think for themselves) are a challenge to them. That might explain a lot.

    Glad you survived your encounter with the guy in the red truck. There is a book by Gavin de Becker called “The Gift of Fear” that talks about the “interview” and how many have become victims because they didn’t listen to the alarm bells of their intuition (with perhaps less obvious clues than this guy in the red truck gave).



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