About Me

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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Facing Fears (Continued)

As I said in my last post about facing fears, very often when we are on a mission trip we are seperated from all the things we would normally lean on and without those crutches, we are forced to deal head-on with our fear and insecurity. This past summer I faced one of my biggest fears regarding mission trips.

The Pine Ridge trips are very different for me than Romania, Haiti, or the relief trip after Hurricane Katrina because I was "in charge" (in other words, I was the one taking the blame for whatever doesn't make someone happy). Leading a mission trip was W-A-Y out of my comfort zone. I am shy, painfuly shy, by nature and would MUCH rather hide in the background than to be in the spotlight. But for whatever reason, I am the one leading the trips to Pine Ridge. And I have never been completely comfortable with that role.

For that reason I have always leaned heavily on Brian for support and guidance. I have this tendency to "react" rather than "respond" so it was always comforting for me to have my wise, calm, controlled husband around to go to whenever a "situation" arose. I really came to rely on that.

Then, this past summer, Brian was not able to go along on the trip with us. I wanted to panic. Actually, I wanted to cancel the trip but that wouldn't have been a good thing - so I went. And I was forced to deal with my fear and insecurity. I was forced to trust that God would somehow find a way to let me know what to do should something come up that required wisdom.

And something did come up ...

It so happened that while we were there they were having a "camp meeting" at Wounded Knee and we were asked (expected) to attend. We arrived and began to settle in and listen to some of the pre-service music. Then I went out to use the restroom (outhouse) and as I walked back toward the church building a young Lakota man approched me, shook my hand and intorduced himself. I thought he was perhaps a member of that church and just greeting me. As I walked away he said, "No wait! I really need to talk to somebody". I turned back to him and he began to tell me that he was struggling with a drinking problem and was feeling suicidal. I listened for a few minutes as he poured out his heart. Then a disturbing thing happened.

A couple that was "ministering" there for the camp meeting approached us and basically shut the conversation down. They assurmed the young man that he would be fine, prayed a very generic prayer for him and sent him on his way with a handful of Christian platitudes. He said, "Well, if you don't want to listen, that's OK, I'll leave" and my heart broke as I watched him walk toward his truck. Another thing also happened. I burned with anger. I am shy but I get royally ticked off when I see injustice and that kind of insensitive brand of "Christianity" (if you can call it that) was unjust and unloving. My heart broke for this man who was so lost and hurting and had likely come to the church because someone had told him he would find help there. To be sent away with no care for his pain was, well, wrong.

I can have a bit of an attitude when I lose respect for someone and I really thought of saying exactly what I thought and perhaps even making a scene over the issue if need be. In short, there was about to be anohter uprising at Wounded Knee.

That would have been one of those times I would have leaned heavily on Brian to calm me and guide me as to what to do. But Brian was not there.

As I stood there, sad and angry and prepared to fight the religious leaders for this man's heart I thought of the youth that were with us on the trip and what kind of an example I would be setting. I thought of the relationship with the missionaries there that we had built over time and the damage that relationship would suffer were I to go off. I thought of how that might affect our work in the village and how many other Lakota children would be affected by a damaged relationship with the missionary. And I knew that I had to walk away and keep my mouth shut. It just about killed me to do so, but I did.

Well, sort of.....

After he had been sent away and I had been escorted back into the sanctuary I went back outside to see if he had really gone. He had not. I attempted to continue the conversation we had been having but lo and behold here they came again and shut it down again. I couldn't believe it. I did something I rarely do - I played the "I'm a minister's wife card" hoping that might give me some respect with them and they might leave us alone. I even told them I had been a pyschology major in college but they were not impressed by that either. I realized that I was not going to win this one. So I gave the man my bracelet and told him that I would be thinking of him and praying for him and that I wanted him to wear the bracelet and when he saw it he would know that somene cared about him and wanted him to find peace and live.

I left and went in to the service to listen to a preacher talk about all of his great and mightly deeds and his great faith. I had the feeling I was watching someone spiritually masterbate in public and it sickened me to no end.

I don't know what happened to that young man who was so in need of someone to listen. I was frustrated that religious people do not understand that church can be done in many different ways. I was scolded by them for not being in the sanctuary but I felt that I was in the most important sanctuary. For them though, there was only one way to do church.

If there was ever a time when I would have leaned on Brian to give me guidance and wisdom, that would have been it. But he was not there. In the end I feel a peace about how I handeled the situation. It didnt' turn out like I would have hoped but I did the best I could under the circumstances and I'm OK with it. I found out I can handle things without Brian's wisdom. I'd still rather have him with me though.

For those wondering .... yes, I will get back to Romania and some other fears I faced there.


Anonymous said...

You aren't supposed to have your own identity apart from the husband.

At least that is what I was taught about the role of women.

I was my college friend's best man at his wedding, and I was pretty good friends with his wife as well. She was one spunky girl with an independent spirit.

Now she has become a "graceful and submissive woman of God" Gone is her individuality. How she talks to her husband and kids is all in cardboard platitudes and cliches.

It's quite courageous of you to stand up to the rules and scripts imposed by the system.

Anonymous said...

You have grown so much...in listening to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and in so many other ways. Last year was a good growing experience for you, as frustrating as it was. Know that I'm always on your side and very, very proud of you!

Amber said...

For me it was never a matter of having my own identity apart from Brian. I don't think either of us bought that teaching for a second. For me it was more that Brian has certain strengths that compliment my weaknesses and those strengths were needed when doing a trip like this.