Can't Sleep

This hasn't happened in a long time, but I woke up a little before 2:00 am ... and I do mean WIDE awake.

I know this is not a coincidence. The recent discussion on my blog has triggered memories and emotions. In order to confirm the accuracy of my memory, I have to revisit conversations that are unpleasant to revisit. Forgiveness is sometimes a choice you have to make over and over because unforgiving feelings can creep back in and trouble your heart, even when the desire to overcome them and truly forgive is strong. I know it's true for all of us; not just me. I also know what God requires.

I am a very trusting person by nature. And I am naive. I have trusted when I shouldn't have. I have many, many times given someone the amunition to exploit and hurt me because I am so willing to be vulnerable. Restored relationships have always been my longing until very recently, when I reached a place of acceptance and came to the realization that there were people I loved and forgave, whom I no longer needed to be in relationship with. In fact, I realized that if a healthy relationship wasn't possible, then no relationship might be preferable. It is not that those people are disposable to me. It's taken a lifetime to be able to let go of my desperate need for their love and understanding. But I've let go. I think it has been healthy, both emotionally and spiritually.

I am not a guarded person. In all honesty, it's next to impossible for me to keep my guard up even when I know I must. It's just so opposite of my nature. Therefore, I would rather avoid someone if I have to guard myself. Does that mean I am refusing to be reconciled in the biblical sense? I don't think so. Does forgiveness imply trust? I don't think so. But I want my heart to be right; so I ponder the question.

When I wake up with something heavy on my mind, that is normally a clue that I will be up for a while.

I decided to go to CLLCF and catch up with some of my friends battling CLL. One friend who recently lost her husband is hurting and missing him terribly, wondering how she will ever get through this. Another has been in ICU for almost a week. My heart breaks for these friends. I realize my challenges are small in comparison. I am humbled by their struggles and their dependence on God for strength.

Suddenly I don't feel nearly as troubled. I feel thankful. God will help me find answers to my questions or He will just give me grace to trust Him without all the answers.


Shari said…
PS to Libby (if you're reading)...

One of the things on my mind in the middle of the night was my desire to supply you with the emails in question. I do not want you to think I have misrepresented how our communication ended.

I realized this morning that the saved emails are stored on a hard drive that we recently replaced due to power supply issues. It didn't crash, it just won't stay on. I would have to spend a few bucks to do it, but I'm sure I could retrive the file and send you all of the emails in question.

My mind is satisfied that I remember our conversation accurately. I remember rereading every email while writing the book. But what makes me absolutely certain I remember correctly is that you claimed I dismissed your apology.

Libby, I never dismiss apologies. Anyone who knows me knows - and will quickly tell you - that I would never respond to anyone that way. It isn't some great virtue. It just isn't my personality to respond that way. It never has been. I err on the opposite extreme. Always.

I went to great pains in those emails to try to get through to you about my love for your daughter and my genuine desire to simply tell the truth and do the right thing - to help you to see that my motives were not what you were claiming they were. Your perception of me back then obviously still meant something to me. I cared. Why in the world would I have invested all of that emotion and energy and then dismissed an apology from you? It doesn't even make sense.

I know in my heart - even without retrieving the emails - that it did not happen that way. But if you want me to repair the power supply and print all of the emails and send them to you, I will. It is that important to me to make sure you know that I have not misrepresented the truth.

As far as I'm concerned, it's water under the bridge. You've asked me to forgive you now and I do. I have no desire to reread those emails and refresh any pain I have put behind me. The only reason I would even consider retrieving them would be to satisfy you that I am telling the truth. But I'm ready to put all of this to rest if you are. I want no ill will between us. I hope you can understand why I don't feel it is necessary to meet in person to do that. I actually think talking in person could wind up putting a new obstacle in our way because we will not ever look at any of this from the same perspective. I would so much rather just let bygones be bygones.
Jennifer said…

You know me so you know that I always get right to the point, so there is no need for me to do it any different now. STOP!!!!! What are you doing? Why are you allowing her to pull you back in? Believe me I understand. After I read what she wrote to you I wanted to scream WTH!!!!! I am hurting and wanting to cry and punch someone at the same time. I was molested and it was covered up (which she still says didn't happen that way). She has stood behind lie after lie even if it was by being silent. I wanted to vomit when I read that truth is important to her. Who's truth would that be?

Clearly she has no problem going public about what she thinks yet where was she during this for me her daughter. I'll tell you were she was, she was sitting in the seats at CGT. She talks about how much pain this has caused her. Had her pastor done what was right then this never would have happened. All of the outrage should be pointed in his direction. They ALL gave us no choice when it was said that the Church committed no wrong doing. So what if over 40 people (including her children) were molested in that Church and nothing was done about it. Who cares if our assistant pastor was a rapist and adulterer. Who cares that our lives were completely controlled by such an evil man. I know that people don't like to think of Cornelius as evil but I think the above comments about what he allowed to happen to us as children qualify him as evil in my book.

If we weren't telling the truth then why were 2 cases settled out of court including her own daughter (me). Why after hearing evidence that I provided did a judge rule that there was enough evidence to move forward with a trial if I hadn't been able to prove things? Why is everything sealed? I have an email that Libby sent out to the director of SNAP when she was trying to stop them from working with me to expose CGT and in that email she sent she said that she was against gag orders and yet all the cases that were settled have gag orders in place. Hypothetically, who would have something to gain by wanting those things sealed?

Clearly she is not a peace with what has happened because if she was then she wouldn't be doing this. She's not going to stop unless you just stop communicating with her. I don't think she will ever comprehend how much she has hurt people. I don't know if she is even capable of understanding it.

I clearly remember you telling me about that email and your memory is correct, she did not apologize to you. Hell, all I can ever get from her is, when r u going to let this go or why are you still making this about you and the occasional, I may not have handled everything right.
Jennifer said…
I had to decide that the only way I can move on from this is to have no interaction with her. I have done pretty good at that but when I read what she said to you I had to respond because I felt the need to defend you because I know first hand what you are up against. But after reading her last blog on here I decided that I can't read them anymore. It causes to many emotions in me. It is just not a place I chose to go anymore.

This is your blog and I understand why you don't censor people but you write as an outlet and you have every right to block someone from posting if they are toxic to you. Just ask Libby, because she blocked me from commenting on her blog because she didn't like what I had to say.

You have nothing to prove. You have forgiven her and now it is ok to close that chapter of your life. You owe her nothing. But you do owe yourself and your family not to add anymore undo stress in your life.

This has nothing to do with you and it is all about her. Clearly she is the one with the issues and she is the one who needs to make peace with her own actions during this time. She talks all the time about God, love, peace and Jesus and yet I don't see of any of that when I think of my mom.

You have told her in a very polite way that she is not a welcome poster here, yet she comes back. You have told her that you have no desire to meet with her, yet she keeps asking. That says it all really.
Shari said…
Thanks, Jennifer. John gave me the same advice. I know I have nothing to prove. I really was just trying to handle this right.
Libby said…
You both are absolutely right about this one thing: "she is the one who needs to make peace about her own actions".

Absolutely I do. There is no way I acted right. I carry the burden of the heartache and disappointments in almost every direction I look. I am ashamed at what took place in our midst. I am grateful to God that I can feel shame. I am thankful that I can look to Him and not despair.

In Him I find my being.
Shari said…
From my heart, I sincerely thank you for these words, Libby. I especially appreciate that you are willing to say that publicly, on my blog. I was not expecting anything like that.

I want you to know this. It has never been my desire to judge you. All I ever wanted was for you to know that my actions were motivated by love for Jennifer and other victims. I had to stand up for them. But what it has cost me has often been very painful.

I am not a bitter person as some have suggested. My heart breaks for everyone who has been caught in the "cross hairs" of all this.

If the immediate response from the leadership and the majority of people in CGT had been what you just stated publicly, I probably never would have written a book. And I know there never would have been any lawsuits. It all could have been so very different.

So, again, thank you.
Jennifer said…

I am not sure if Libby will read this or not but I recently found out what she was talking about when she made the comment about us going to the kids school and that we didn't see to care about them. Well one again the rumor mill was at work and people assumed things that aren't true about us.

Libby and others believe that we went to the private school that some of the kids from CGT go to. I would just like to clear that rumor up and again point out that people didn't even take the time to find out if something was true about us before just believing it.

4 years ago I received a call from a friend of mines sister. Her name is Janette. I had met her sister over 12 years ago at work. I had told her about the abuse and she knew that we came from CGT. I hadn't spoken to my friend Kellie in years so I was suprised when her sister called me.

She called me to ask me about CGT. I hadn't even gone public at that point with everything. But the court battle was about to begin. She told me about her friend Annette Jones and how she belonged to a Church that also had a school. She told me that some students there belonged to CGT and that when her friend Annette had told her about some feelings she had, Janette remembered that her sister had mentioned I was from there.

So Janette asked if she could give Annette my number and I said sure. Annette called me and we spoke for hours. she asked me questions and I answered them honestly. She then asked me if I would meet with some other concerned members of that Church and if anyone else would be willing to speak. I called some people and DeeDee, Katie, Natalie and of course myself met with this group of people.
Jennifer said…
They asked us lots of questions and we answered them. Before I went to that meeting I didn't even know that my sisters kids went there. This wasn't about us going after schools that the kids went to.

I received a phone call and I answered their questions honestly. I am sorry that kids were hurt by this but that was not our faults. That falls on their parents for still being apart of CGT. If answering questions honestly make someones Church look bad or makes people not want their kids to be involved in any of it, well to me that is the problem. Annette had not heard anything about CGT but she had a gut feeling that something was just not right after she met different ones. She investigated them and found me.

So again we are being blamed for just telling the truth and again the facts of what happened have been twisted. We didn't make that call. I remember getting a call from my sister asking me why I would do that.

I still don't understand how us telling the truth about our own abuse was doing something to them. How is me telling about something horrible that was done to me always become about them? It was nice to hear what Libby had to say on here but I also know what she is still saying about me even since writing that and it is clear that she can't see what was done to us and I don't think she wants to or she wouldn't still be talking about me the way she is.

Oh and one other thing. You (Shari) weren't even there for this but of course you have been lumped into it. Libby said the truth matters to her and that she loves the truth. If that is true then she should make sure something is true before repeating it as if it was fact.
Shari said…
Thanks for clearing that up, Jennifer. I didn't know what she was referring to. There may be other people who have made similar assumptions.

The comments certainly did seem to me as though Libby thought I was involved in everything she was citing. But I didn't know what she was talking about.

It reminded me of the chapter in the book where I talk about going to my dad after a long period of not speaking, and discovered things my dad believed I had said and done that I hadn't. One thing he was certain I had done had never even crossed my mind to do and I wouldn't have considered doing it even if it had. The other involved a story someone in a leadership position told him that was an absolute fabrication. It did not happen. The story didn't even resemble what happened.

To this day, I don't know why she told him that story other than to get his sympathy and make him think bad of me. She had to have known she was telling an outright lie. In hindsight, perhaps I should have gone right to her and asked why she made up a story about me to my dad. My stepmother at the time confirmed what she told them. I will never understand the motive. But it made me realize that she didn't have a problem with lying. All I cared about was that my dad knew the truth. I never confronted her. I knew she wouldn't admit she had lied. And it wasn't important enough to me to have a confrontation over it when I knew she had so much influence with others. So I let it go. And I learned something from it.

As far as all the dialogue that resulted from Libby challenging the integrity of my book, I just have to say that it's frustrating to me when someone alleges intentional harm or a lack of integrity, but speaks in generalities and won't be specific.

If you're going to call me a liar, then have the integrity to say why you're calling me a liar. And be specific.

On the other hand, if you won't openly challenge a pastor lying under oath; why come to my personal blog and suggest I am a liar over a different perspective? Where is the integrity in that?

I don't want to get anything stirred up again. I do appreciate Libby acknowledging that there was wrongdoing and she is ashamed of what has gone on there. I want to give her credit for that. But I'm also glad you explained what she was talking about, since she left it so ambiguous (and yet it someone was certainly being targeted as doing wrong).

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