Lies and the Truth: Introduction

August 31st, 2015

 

One of the most crucial assignments my counselor gave me last fall and winter was to write a truth script.  That is, as it was discovered what lies I had come to believe, I wrote them down, and then had to work, with the help of others as needed, to answer each specific lie with the truth. 

Before that truth script is copied and pasted here on The Blessing of Verity, it may be helpful to read the following:

 

During the toughest months with Tommy, I allowed myself to be mentally and emotionally bullied by those who unkindly voiced their opinion to us that our other children should not have to make sacrifices or be given additional responsibilities due to his presence in our family.

When the mountain fell on us, mostly on me, with Tommy’s needs growing out-of-control during the long months of government delays with his paperwork, desperately trying to access any available help or support while living with less than no margin caring for a child who needed full time nursing care without any outside help, I was in an exceedingly vulnerable emotional position.  During this time, I was swayed by the wrong-headed thinking of those who themselves would begrudge making similar sacrifices in order to take on the time-consuming and sometimes unpleasant care Tommy required.

For me, the trouble was complicated by the fact that Tommy was adopted and that we were a somewhat public family.  As my counselor has sagely noted, the internet world magnifies everything.  I felt inhuman levels of inward and outward pressure to make it all succeed, to show that I was competent to do the job I had said I was competent do even though the situation was turning out to be far different than anyone could have predicted based on all the best facts available beforehand.  I was highly aware of the scorn of our enemies, engaging in constant negative self-talk (that I now readily recognize in many other conscientious moms), struggling terribly with wondering why it seemed like God had withdrawn His help from us, harshly judging myself to be responsible for every perceived failure.

I viewed our family through the lens of those who hate us, and I saw failure in every direction I looked.

This unhealthy perspective and my subsequent poor decisions had many ill effects on our family.

For instance, in order to avoid the negative judgments of others, I stayed home from church for many months rather than ask our older children or our church family to help us make Sundays work.  By doing this, I effectively stole the opportunity from others to receive the blessing of helping by convincing myself that we would become a resented burden to them.

I sucked up as much of the extra workload and responsibility onto myself as was humanly possible to avoid letting it fall on anyone else, so much so that everyone else in the family would be done for the night at 8 pm at the latest, while I regularly stayed up until 2 or 2:30 am, working to ensure everything was ready for the next day, which for me typically began full force around 5:30 am.  In order to make hospital appointment days or any other special occasions work, I had to rise after one or two hours’ sleep.  This meant that for months I was working an impossibly physically and emotionally demanding job, driving my exhausted body along mostly on stress and coffee, similar to a single mom taking night classes who also has to work two jobs to make ends meet.

I even turned down the much-needed help Grace Kauk offered us primarily because I foolishly let myself be bullied by the strongly-worded opinion that if we accepted Grace’s offer, we would be immorally perpetuating her supposed patriarchal notions that women were just made for serving, when we should be urging her to pursue a real life.  Apparently Grace wouldn’t be offering to help us unless there was something dangerously wrong with her upbringing, her worldview and maybe her psyche, too.  Unfortunately, the advice I was given fits neatly with our innate human self-centeredness and our culture’s prevailing view of a real life, which is based on a lie, and not on God’s perspective.

All these decisions and more flowed from my emotional reactions to the wrong-headed perspectives of others both inside and outside the church.

After Tommy died, it took the hard work of many months with the help of a remarkably clear-headed and skilled counselor to unravel the lies I had absorbed and bring clarity to my thinking.

One of the reasons those lies are not true is that they fly in the face of how God designed human beings and families to thrive.  By giving our children responsibilities integral to the success of the family and appropriate to their ability levels, Joe and I are not living in the dark ages, expecting our older children to raise our younger children, stealing our kids’ childhoods, neglecting their needs, or keeping them from their best chance at a fulfilling life.  God made us to be a family, and a stable, loving family who meets challenges together is the best environment for nurturing healthy future adults who can contribute great good to the world they live in.

During the whole time that I was reacting to the judgments of others against our family for supposedly depriving our other children of a normal childhood and unfairly loading them with adult responsibilities, in reality, Joe and I were providing our children with all the key ingredients of the healthy, happy childhood that would best prepare them for successful adult life: an affectionate and cohesive family unit, a solid education, many opportunities for fun and healthy social interactions, a generous amount of free, unstructured play time with access to plenty of fresh, outdoor country space, great books, and creative materials, and required chores appropriate to their level of development, among other benefits.

God designed people to thrive and succeed best not when they are encouraged to think first of themselves and their own agendas, having their feelings consulted and indulged at every turn, receiving their favorite everything (preferably without delay), of course making sure it all looks good for social media, but when from an early age they are given ability-appropriate responsibilities that benefit their entire families.  Even our self-absorbed culture is beginning to catch on that it is detrimental to the futures of children to rear them with the Disney princess belief that life is all about themselves and their own achievements:  Wall Street Journal:  Why Children Need Chores

In addition, the truth is that God has designed the specific circumstances of this family to help form the character of each of our children and to prepare them for the future He has for each of them.  If He calls parents into an unusual calling, such as the foreign mission field, adopting children with special challenges, or any other ministry, He will use every experience to accomplish His purposes in each of their children as well.

Our children’s responses to the difficulties God will allow into their lives are ultimately between them and God.  If they choose bitterness, yes, they might join the ranks of those who blame their parents for every difficulty in their lives and publicly blast them on social media or join hater groups that promote online bullying.  We can not and must not make our parental decisions based on fear of the possibility of our culture’s present scorn or our children’s potential future scorn.  We have all known kindhearted, delightful, joyful, empathetic people with harsh and loveless upbringings who focus on how blessed they are, and bitter, angry, cruel, hardhearted people with normal, stable upbringings who focus on what they think they deserved and didn’t get.

We would never deliberately lead our family into certain disaster, but we know full well that even if we would attempt to keep out all potentially unpleasant challenges by placing barriers of NO around our lives, God could choose difficulties for our family that we would never choose for ourselves.  I think of a close friend who, along with her family, has lived for years with the limiting effects of her crippling arthritis.  If we could design what we considered to be the best possible upbringing for our children, would we include a mother with crippling arthritis?  Would we ever include serious illnesses, accidents, disabilities, tragic losses, financial straits, or any situation that appears to be less-than-ideal?  And yet, is it not possible that without these challenges, our children would not be prepared for the unique future that God has for each of them?

Is it possible that God’s plan for us and our children will be radically different than our culture’s ideal?

Whose vision for our lives are we committed to living out everyday?

Who is ultimately in control?

Does God know what He’s doing?

Can we rest in His goodness and sovereignty and embrace the path He lays out before us and our children, challenges and all?

God knew exactly what He was doing when He brought Tommy into our family.

 

More telling-it-like-it-is in the next post in this series, Lies and the Truth: Part One

 

IMG_0138

 

 

 

 

Share it!

22 Responses to “Lies and the Truth: Introduction”

  1. Rachel says:

    You go, girl! Tell it like it is! Keep it up. I’m proud of you becoming healthier and closer to our Father. A hearty “amen!” is coming from me!

  2. Jeannie says:

    Amen!

  3. Angie R says:

    Thank you for sharing! Yes, I have heard all the lies myself. I’ve struggled immensely with inward criticism. It takes a single minded battle to continually block out the worlds views of things, and only make choices based on Gods view. Thank God for his mercy, no matter how confused or down we get, He is there, pulling us up out of the muddy pit. Looking forward to part 2!

  4. Dear Suzanna…your story is powerful….remembering that God takes the bad and uses it to glorify Himself. Though this whole process you have been transparent, truthful, humble. God is going to help you rise out of the ashes and be a light to many struggling adoptive parents. We all have thought we should be able to do it all….that is the lie. When we find ourselves isolating ourselves from the church, the church needs to be trained to recognize this and step in with support. God calls his people to be a light….you are an amazingly beautiful bright light shining for Him!

  5. Mary says:

    Oh Susannah, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post. Your honesty pierces right through my life right now. I can truly say that I can relate to each word that you have written. I have and continue to walk a fine line with all that comes with our day to day life. Thank you for pointing us toward our Lord and Savior, The author and finisher of our faith. This is where our true strength comes from, right? Can I share with you my daily devotion that was in my David Jeremiah book for today, August 31st? It’s right on!! “When Less Is More” “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13. “Less” plays a significant role in our lives. On the one and, it’s good to be fearless, ceaseless, ageless, cordless, errorless, guiltless, painless, and odorless. On the other hand, we don’t want to be jobless, friendless, homeless, penniless, fruitless, shiftless, spineless, aimless, careless, feckless, or lifeless–especially lifeless!! But of all the things we don’t want to have less of, none is as important as hope. We definitely need to have less hopelessness. In Romans 5:3-5, the apostle Paul had a way of explaining why hope is an ultimate value to grasp in life. And how it derives from an unlikely source: tribulations. “Tribulation” he wrote “produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. When we lose hope in the face of tribulation, it means we have lost sight of God’s love that was poured out in our heart. And to lose touch with God’s love—to be loveless–is to lose touch with the greatest thing of all (1 Corinthians 13:13). Hope then is the measure of our realization of God’s love. Grasp His love today, and you will grasp hope as well! “Christianity knows nothing of hopeless cases!”—-Alexander Maclaren Love you Joy! Praying this encourages you this day in choosing to have hope and faith in things unseen! Love you my dear friend!

  6. Sandi - bbcooker says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! for this post! Thank you for sharing. As you share, you are building up the body of Christ (me).

  7. Dana says:

    Oh, I started out reading this, thinking “Good for Susanna” and then right in the middle, I was convicted that I had been believing some of these things myself!!!!!

    I know this is from God, through you, to me.

    Wow.

  8. Gracias Merci says:

    Susanna. I read your blog. I am appalled to think you were bullied by ??? what? internet trolls ??? You are a wise servant who has multiplied the talents the Master gave you. Those trolls? Not so much. I firmly am of the opinion trolls have nothing but their own wrecked lives in “real time” and they destructively plop their missiles of criticism and scorn on the true heroes of the faith, folks such as yourself. Indeed, why else would they have SO MUCH time to spread their dung? They drink Hater-Ade in real time and they spew Hater-Ade on the Internet.

    Sorry you were/are their target. Pay no more attention to them than to the seagulls at the beach. Ahem.

    I love this post. I cannot begin to fathom what it has taken from deep inside you to get you this far along to processing the loss of Tommy in such a tragic way.

    Follow YHVH’s leading. Continue multiplying the talents He has lent to you. You have done and continue to do so very much more than most of us.

    Salute!
    Gracias Merci

  9. Taylor-Tots Mom says:

    Yes and Amen! Thank you for clearly writing the truth. I pray for you frequently in this season of recovering the truth. May you persevere in His strength as His “handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [you] to do.” (Eph 2:10)

  10. Jill says:

    So many wonderful gems of truth in this post. Thank you.

  11. Blessed says:

    Thank you so much for writing TRUTH. I need to hear all the truth I can get, since I believed lies and saw myself through the eyes of unlove/legalism for way too long. I’m still learning, so please do share what you have learned so the rest of us may benefit.

    I too am very sorry for how you felt and am appalled that people (I have the feeling they were not all trolls, but some were people in your real lives. : ( were so hard on you. God really opened my eyes about 2 years ago to the fact that I tend towards legalism, and judge myself by it (even if I’m much more gracious with other people). He reminded me that legalism = law = death, whereas grace = Christ’s love = life. That was a really super-helpful realization for me, because it showed me how really well-meaning people could speak death into my life because they were speaking legalistically and not grace-fully.

    Funny, now that I type that I realize that none of my believing friends understand how important that is for me–they always want to give other labels to what I mean, like calling “legalism” “perfectionism” instead. No, not quite. But that’s a good reminder to me that these ideas I’m sharing might not at all be helpful to you–maybe they were just from the Holy Spirit to me, to give me freedom–but then again maybe they will! And that’s another good reminder–that its ok if nobody understands our personal journey to ever-closer walking with Christ. Your journey is blessed by Him just because you are walking and reaching out–my prayer for you this morning is that you will always continue to reach, and He will always be found.

    I remember being very worried about you when you would make comments here on your blog about getting just a few hours of sleep at night. Whatever negative comments you are hearing, I think you should assume there are WAY more people who aren’t necessarily saying anything, but who are drawn in love and admiration to you and who are praying for you. : )

    Much love to you today!

  12. Andrea says:

    “By doing this, I effectively stole the opportunity from others to receive the blessing of helping by convincing myself that we would become a resented burden to them.”

    One of our boys’ physical therapists is a Christian, and has become a dear friend through our bi-weekly hours together over the last few years. When we were in the midst of adopting Krassi (and at the same time doubling the size of our house so my memory-challenged mother-in-law could move in with us), he countered my [wrongly] self-sufficient tendency to take it all on myself by reminding me soberly of very much what you stated above – when we don’t ask the Body for help when we need it, we are selfishly robbing them of the opportunity to serve. I’m still struggling to take this in, and am grateful for the reminder (through this post) to continue deciphering the lie from the truth in the way I live my life.

  13. Anna T says:

    “Dear Jesus, Please continue to put Your hedge of protection around Susanna Musser and her family as they follow after You wholeheartedly. Give them Your wisdom, strength and peace that surpasses ALL understanding. Help them to see with Your eyes the path they should continue to take as they desire to be Your hands and feet in this lost and hurting world. Thank you Jesus that You are the Great Physician and that you have started a good work in each of us that You will carry through to completion. You are Sovereign over all. A-men”

    I wanted to share that (surprisingly) for me, from time to time my DH brings up when we helped you so many summers ago. Before I asked him, I was afraid to ask thinking the answer would be no and yet feeling as if I should offer and wanting to offer (and please know that I didn’t offer to help until after I had his OK). Thank you for the opportunity. Getting to know your children better was such a blessing to us and has made me question how we normally “do” things in our country…what is the final goal? How are we giving God the glory? How are we raising up future women and men of God? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but am learning with Jesus!

    You are precious and dearly loved by Jesus. He is rejoicing over you (with singing)!

    ((Hugs)), prayers and love,

    Anna T

  14. Jen says:

    Loved that you shared this Susanna! Thank you! Love you and prayers!

    JennyO

  15. Cassandra says:

    One of your best posts yet. If I am to be honest, your specific examples add credibility to your words. Not you in particular, but so often christian woman speak of some so called victory in their life and I have to wonder if it is a script. Because unless I hear something specific, I wonder if they are just trying to improve their christian-eese.

    I do sound cynical and I guess I am. On the rare occasions when I am vulnerable and transparent about a family concern, I feel marginalized. For instance, last week I shared with a friend that my child’s lack of math skills (truly 7 years behind in spite of non stop, targeted instruction) worries me to no end, she says, “Well, remember how much you have changed her life – she’d still be in the orphanage .” What? At that moment all I can think of to say to her is, “What question are you answering? Because if it were my bio children I were talking about you’d suggest Kumom, more private tutoring, professional workup, etc.”
    I continued on to say that it would be like me saying that really her child’s serious asthma isn’t a big deal because if it were 100 years ago, he’d be dead. Non sequitor.

    There still is a sentiment that says adopted children are less than. That they should be happy with scraps. So the stupid things people have intimated about your life don’t surprise me. I don’t understand why ppl don’t understand that we all just a second away from being entirely dependent on another human being’s generosity of spirit. Any single second can change the rest of our lives – and often it is not for the better.

  16. Lisa says:

    Susanna, this post made me think of you: http://www.feminagirls.com/2014/02/24/fight-for-us/. Thank you for being Christ to us in so many different ways over the last few years!

  17. mary kathryn says:

    I’m so glad to see you post this. It’s true that when we are exhausted, as you were, we are more susceptible to lies. We know that all lies (esp. the ones that destroy and damage) come ultimately from Satan, and it is his goal to break down your family. And Satan is clever, so clever — it’s not surprising that he would choose a vulnerable spot for you — your love for your children — to tell you the lie that you were somehow robbing or damaging them by foisting Tommy’s care on them. It’s a lie, but one specially designed for you.

    If it had come from a bunch of pagans, you wouldn’t have listened, I bet. I hope I don’t sound too jaded (I apologize if I do), but we have been more hurt by fellow-Christians in our lives than by pagans in the world. I think Paul felt the same.

    You gave to the least of these. You helped and received the orphan. That is true and undefiled religion in God’s book, and there is no changing that fact. The reunion of your family in heaven — for eternity! and not just a few short years — is the glory to keep in mind. You are cherished.

  18. Susanna says:

    Friends, all of you have blessed me by your comments here. Thank you so much for responding with life-giving words. To many of you, thank you for being faithful friends to me.

    Lisa, I have missed you! I haven’t been able to read your blog since you went private, or contact you since I didn’t have your email address! I would love to know how you and your family are doing now! So thank you for speaking up here; I’ll email you! Thank you also for sharing the article. It gave me good food for thought and positively shed some light onto the ongoing open question about whether I should continue blogging here. At times, the ONLY reason I have not quit is because my enemies want me to so badly, and they have demonstrated over and over again that if God loves it, they will hate it. I’m not kidding!

  19. esther paris says:

    Your house is a Haven. A true Haven. God Bless You All!

  20. Esther Paris says:

    I detect a smidgen of Fr. Pat Martin in there & it makes my heart sing with joy. God is better than we are. If we wouldn’t wish arthritis or other ailments on anyone, or disasters, how much Less would God? God does NOT send the ailments, difdiculties or disasters. God only sends Love, Mercy & Joy. Love & Joy from RI. I’m stingy about Mercy coz I need it for work. Laugh!

  21. I read your post last week and wanted to share that we live in a different time now than most of mankind has known. Just think, a little over a hundred years ago when a woman had a family her husband worked on the farm on the same property. He was always nearby and available if needed. The woman of the house had a mother who lived with her, sometimes sisters or other family. They all lived nearby or with each other and helped with the kids. Meditate on this for a few minutes. We don’t have this anymore. It is sad. God built us to depend on others. We can’t do it all by ourselves. And that’s good! But it’s not good in the age we live in, that’s why there’s so much internal pressure within us.

RSS feed for comments on this post. And trackBack URL.

Leave a Reply