I've had a strange few days. This weekend I discovered Raphael was reading my blog. He felt compelled to write me about it, too. If you checked out the blog then you may have seen I put up one of his messages. I was very angry at the time--it's officially one of the stages of grief, but I never enjoy being unkind. I think I wanted to expose him, unvarnished to the world, for his continued attempts to manipulate me. I've since taken his message down--one of the several he sent. He requested that I do so, but really I did it for myself. I have enough going on. I don't need to renew the unpleasantness of dealing with him.
That leaves me with an interesting challenge. He's probably still reading. Raga-d has always been a safe place for me. You may not have seen me physically naked here--God forbid!--but you've certainly seen my soul stripped down. Facing the prospect of continuing to tell my story with him reading along with you is daunting. I sure didn't picture him as being in my audience. I like to write unfettered, courageously, and with great love. The thought of him being here made me intensely comfortable. I felt I needed blogland security to keep me safe.
There really is little security in cyberspace. You can write,but you cannot control what happens to your words. I don't want to make this a private blog. Too many people stumble here by grace, and leave with unanticpated blessings. I can't seem to delete this blog. God always reminds me that these are not just my struggles, but his, and every cross I've borne here, he has been my Simon the Cyrene, helping me carry them. My security is God's love and providence, and his awesome protection.
It really does take courage to write, especially when you tell the truth. And the truth is tricky. You interpret it, and it takes a great deal of humility. Raphael thinks I'm deceiving myself. To that I say, I'm speaking the truth in love, though like all of us, I see through a glass darkly. But I pray every day for the light of truth. Every time I sit here to write, it is an act to breaking myself open so that light can pour through the brokeness. It's all about the light, and love. Any of my books will reveal that. They are not perfect. I did what I could. God used all the books, and that is a mercy. He uses Raga-d, too.
I love Raphael. You cannot turn of love that burned so brightly once upon a time. I do not like him. I refuse to hate him. He would be surprised to know that he rarely crosses my mind, and I place the blame for my raggedy life solely at my own feet, but those feet of mine are firmly planted at the foot of the cross. Every day I ask Christ for mercy.
All that to say, I made a decision. I'm going to continue to write The Naked Pregnant Woman and share it here. I will likely stop at some point, since I'm trying to sell the memoir, or I will finish and delete it if I get the editor wants to move forward on this. In any case, I know for sure that this book isn't a demonization of Raphael, or even my own attempt to cry victim. This memoir is good news for battered women, a testimony of the grace and resources necessary to find freedom. When I was standing outdoors, vulnerable, pregnant, and naked because the man who was supposed to protect me cast me out instead, the wonder was not that anyone could be so cruel, or that i could be so stupid as to let such a thing happen to me, the real treasure is that each time it happened I found extraordinary kindness to cover my shame. I was not left out there, with no help--no love, even from strangers. God used those strangers, and I hope to be a stranger and friend to cover another woman like me.
There is life after abuse, and joy, creativity, and great love, of God and self and remarkable friends like you all. No one can take the dignity you refuse to relinqush. I was, and am very fortunate, and even though it has taken many years, God has made a beautiful mosaic out of my life. I will not give away my dignity now, to Raphael or anyone else. The scriptures say we overcome by the blood of Jesus, and by our testimony. The Naked Pregnant Woman in the Yard is My victory dance. My song of praise to God, and my siren song of freedom to anyone who has been so violated.
My friend Joe May taught me the welcoming prayer. So, with open arms I welcome even Raphael here to read. I simply will not allow his presence to deter me from completing a holy task. Mind you, just because he is reading does not mean I welcome his commentary. I am required to love him, not to be a dumping ground for his opinions and philosophies. If you continue to write me, Raphael, be assured I will not read. If you comment here I will remove your posts. You will not subject my readers to your views. Get your own blog for that. If I find in anyway you have crossed a line, and my patience for some things is quite generous, know that I will not hesitate to get a restraining order barring you from contact with me. And that is that.
I'm going to work on chapter two during my lunch break tommorow and Friday. Hopefully by Saturday I'll have a new chapter up.
I love you all, and thanks for hanging in there with me.