It’s been a rough week. I am not sure what I expected. But it was not this protracted grieving, regrouping and stagnant periods. I was up all night last night. It was after 6 am when I finally fell asleep. He had fallen asleep on the kid’s bedroom floor and this had been part of my angst filled insomnia. Didn’t he understand that I needed his physical presence in the bed next to me? Couldn’t he see that this felt like just another rejection? If he really loved me he would have wanted to lie beside me.
These hurts as well as others stole my sleep last night. That and the knowledge that he holds the power to create or destroy my hope for a happy marriage. I am stuck in this marriage. But he continues to make me feel that he does not want to be here and it leaves me feeling so trapped. Stuck. Imprisioned. Insane.
There is that eternal -optimist -warrior-girl inside of me that keeps whispering that I can find a deep joy in loving him despite his hurtful actions. That tells me my happiness in this marriage is up to me. That even if he never loves me well, I can have a happy marriage. But today I just don’t want to listen. I’m too tired.
And then there is the knowledge of small subtle changes. The days his eyes are soft and his embraces gentle. The evenings he sits with me instead of disappearing to another room. The way he intervenes and distracts the kids when I have had too much parenting for one day. When he asks me if I am feeling ok. Did I sleep well? His tenderness this morning…how I was startled awake by him tenderly tucking the blanket around me and kissing me goodbye before he left for work.
But then this is tempered by question: “How did we get to the place where this is such a victory?”
I want to believe that my desperation and depression is just another ploy of the enemy. The ease of which the angry words want to slip off my tongue, the bitterness that seems to have returned, the sarcastic remarks that I have to refrain from mumbling are just tactics the enemy wants to employ to destroy us. I want to believe that a hidden work is being done in my husbands heart. A fragile, precious change that my harsh, angry words would damage. Maybe I am merely called to silence right now. I don’t feel like I much more to give.
A few weeks have passed since those few paragraphs above were written. I cringe a little at the bitterness my words convey. They serve as a great reminder not to act on emotions. Even valid ones. God can step in and change so much if we allow Him the time to work. So much has happened. Battles have been waged and by God’s grace we have seen and tasted Victory from His hand. Someday I hope to tell those stories in more detail. But I was thinking today, how much of what I record is merely a summary. I often feel compelled to write in the aftermath of a great struggle. It’s when I am exhausted from the fight. But so much of life is lived in the in-between. In the days where the good and bad, the highs and lows mix to create a normal-”We’re OK”-kind of day. Thankfully these days are starting to outnumber the days on the battlefield.
This change seems to be ushering in a new season of life. A season typified by reflective, meditative, prayerful, nose-in-a-book kind of days. A beautiful and quiet season that is occasionally punctuated by moments of intense spiritual warfare. Sometimes I bulk at the quiet and slowness. I want to fill these days with activity. I fear that I or my kids are missing out on something. But then God sends someone or something to remind me that this season is needful. I had one of these reminders recently and it helped me embrace the quietness of today
I believe that the battles are “won” because of quiet, ordinary days like today. Days where I wake up late- maybe feeling a little guilty that Thomas the Train served as such an excellent early morning baby sitter. Days when I declare it a “Movie-day” and we ignore the pull of the outside world. The days we are still in PJ’s at dinner time. It’s these days where I end up curled up in bed with my Bible, journal, devotional book and cry my way through the afternoon. God uses His Word, my time journaling and praying and the words of a Christian author to break through my hurt, sadness, lingering bitterness and hopelessness. He speaks life, peace, hope and renewal to my soul. These are the days that change me. They bring healing. The hours spent curled up next to Jesus make this journey bearable. Joyful even. These days give me strength when the battle ensues. Yes, in these quiet, green pasture days the victory is found.
Days have passed since I last wrote….
I took an impromptu trip down memory lane -Facebook style- tonight and boy did I suffer the consequences. Nagging thoughts of discontentment and fear-fill questions surrounding “her” trickled in. I started aching for the perusal and attention of an impassioned lover. Insecurity and restlessness followed me around the rest of the day. They poisoned how I responded to my husband and I became acutely aware of my need to spend time in the Word. To run my emotions through that purifying filter.
One of my greatest sources of discontent has been my husbands lack of emotional expression. He is just inconsistent. And I believe that is one area where I let the enemy start whispering. And as usual, he slips in enough truth to make his words dangerously convincing.
For example I had the thought tonight: Am I expecting him to show emotions that he’s just not feeling?
Does he not say all those pretty romantic things because he knows he’s not a good actor?
Does he just not “feel” all that in-love with me every single day?
Ok, don’t throw anything at me for that last obvious statement-question.
I get it. I know. I have preached the same sermon to others that you are aching to repeat to me right now.
But take a deep breath and remember where I am speaking from. My entire world was turned upside, ministry abandoned, dreams crushed and ocean views exchanged for cramped apartments due to his “feelings” for another woman. An international move was made to keep him from following through on those emotions. So don’t I-his wife-deserve a daily, equally spectacular display of emotions? Shouldn’t he be able to work up some expression of his love and commitment to me to make up for all he put me through?
It’s these kinds of thoughts and emotions that I have to take to my Heavenly Father or they consume me. God is able to change my heart and clarity comes after I have spent time with Him. It’s not about ignoring or stuffing these emotions, but about who I take them too. In the beginning of all this, I took these emotions to my husband and expected him to pay for them and fix them. And he was incapable of doing either. And I just kept hurting the marriage more. But God, now He is able to hear them, heal me and give me wisdom on what things I need to let go of and what things need to be brought to my husband to worked through. What a difference it makes.