Saturday, December 03, 2011

Stigma - how it makes me feel

I'm sorry for pursuing this topic just a bit further. But it's in my thoughts, and when it's there I must share. What better time?

Yesterday I felt much better about life. I was able to cast off the pain I had felt the previous day. God led me on a beautiful walk with Him, leading to a sense of gratefulness to Him. My time with God took me to a beautiful old hymn, one I love very much: How Great Thou Art. Hope you will have a listen. I shared the thoughts that led to this with friends. I wrote encouraging emails to people. All in all, it was a wonderful time and a sharing of God with people who were important to me.

Actually, as I write this post, I'm reminded of another wonderful song of praise. Great is Thy Faithfulness. Both of these songs easily draw tears from me. They so very much mirror how I feel about God.

But back to that ugly thing called stigma. Although I was up yesterday, this morning some thoughts brought me down again - though I don't plan to stay there. This morning I was able to pinpoint exactly what it feels like when I'm stigmatized. When people make comments like my friend did - the comment I wrote about in my last post, I was made to feel she doesn't think I'm worth anything. Like I'm not as human as other "normal" people. The things I do that are good don't count for anything. The good things about me are ignored.

Thing is, I know that I'm worth a bundle to God. He loves me just as much as everyone else and has blessed me by giving me a big job to do for Him. At times I feel too small - even unworthy - to carry such a load, but He has entrusted this work to me and I feel very grateful. Because it's obvious He does think of me as a person of great worth. How humbling that is and how I need to take care of myself so that I can continue working! How important to rest in Him in spite of the big commitments I have made, in spite of so often feeling overwhelmed!
How important to cast off this pain and to ignore people who are so in the dark about the truth!

I will pay no attention to this kind of treatment. I will keep my distance from the people who stigmatize me and cause me pain. And when I need to talk with them about something, I will treat them as warmly as I can, in the way I would want to be treated. Maybe one day they will come around. I will have to pray for them.

In my last post I mentioned that there were only three people who support me. But in that dark state I forgot many things. Looking at it today, I can see that there are many people in the church who love me and appreciate me. Yes, the church as a whole is very supportive. They see me as a worthy human being, a person worthy of their love. Most members of the church know what I deal with and will openly talk with me about it when we have one-on-one time. And they feel that they can talk with me about their problems too.

No way would I want to leave this church. It offers everything I need and believe in. I thank God for this wonderful Christian community.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you're appreciated more than you know - by people in your family and in your church, and by readers of your blog. Your openness here and the unwavering faith you profess, even in dark times, are such a blessing!

marja said...

Thank you, Anonymous,

You encourage me.

Wendy Love said...

Hello Marja,
I haven't visited for such a long time and I was so sorry to hear that you have had to endure this kind of pain. There is no pain like relationship pain. I sure do understand how you must feel.
I also know that even though my husband has to put up with a lot, we have a good marriage and he loves me and I give him love and support too. The person who said those unkind words didn't know what she was talking about!
My first husband and I were divorced after 24 years of marriage. It was a painful time for me. After that I never judged divorced people again because I realized that no one knows 'what really happened'. It pains me when someone is talking about a divorce and they say something like 'I can see why he left her'. I always correct them and say 'no you don't, you have no idea about what went on'.
Glad you have decided to stick with your church for now. Changing churches has its own pain too.
Nice to be in touch once again.

Annie said...

Dear Marja, I mainly want to wish you a Merry Christmas and the peace that the Prince of Peace gives. We Christians really need to encourage and free one another, sometimes even from the pain other Christians give us.
I've experienced that quite often also, so can emphasize with you. The biggest one for me was when a Christian bookstore refused to take my book on consignment because "Your type of Christianity isn't what we want to portray in our store." When are we going to love and accept one another in spite of our slight differences?
My blog isn't workable yet, but I may comment from time to time. God bless and lift us all up from the wounds undiscerning people cause us without meaning to. Make us strong, Lord, in your power and might (Ephesians 6:10).
Love in Him. xoxo

marja said...


It's been so long since I heard from you. Thank you for dropping by once more. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your comment.

Love, marja

marja said...


Merry Christmas to you as well. I think I'm finding some peace, though I kind of blew my top with a couple of friends on Christmas Eve - the result of a whole string of disappointments. I will have to apologize tomorrow, though at this point I don't know exactly what I said to them or what I'm apologizing for. I lost my head. Overwhelmed with sadness. Discouraged. Depressed. And I pray tomorrow will be better.

Yes, Lord, give me the strength - and the peace - that only You can give.