June 28, 2010

Some Changes Ahead

It is hard to believe that today is June 28th, 2010! Who would have thought that we'd be six months into the year so quickly (actually, June arrives at the same speed every year; it just SEEMS to have gotten here much faster this year than in previous years! LOL!!)

As I sit here, I am thinking about previous June's and some major events that took place in them. Some of these memories are happy, and some not so happy. I recall two specific events right off; the first being my DH's heart attack back in 2007; and our great trip to Montana in 2005. These two June events mark opposite ends of the spectrum for me. On the one hand, our trip to Montana was a wonderful family time together. We spent three weeks traveling and camping through some of our countries loveliest National Parks. We had fun, and enjoyed being together. It was the last real time we had fun like that, at the least, that is how I see it.

In 2007, my husband suffered a major heart attack, and nearly died. I consider this a turning point for me, and the start of what became the demise of our marriage for him. Often, this is the case, especially with men. My DH took stock of his life, and determined that the root of his unhappiness lay squarely with me and our marriage. He wanted out, he wanted a different kind of life, and he did what he needed to do to make that happen. I, of course, like many wives who thought they were devoted to husband and family, didn't see the signs. In truth, I did see them; I just didn't want to believe they were true.

Over the last couple years, I have had to face that truth over and over again. In 2009, my husband suffered a brain hemmorage. He almost died then as well, and there was the great fear that he would be disabled and unable to work due to the type of bleed. He recovered, but the fate of our marriage was sealed, signed and delivered (though not officially until later last year). The signs by now were flashing red, glowing neon, and I was aware of them, but unable to deal with them. I did what I thought was best, only to find that my efforts proved to be anything but successful. I earnestly believed that I could love my husband back to our marriage, and believed the Word when it says a wife can win her husband back without a word. Yes, this is true; often, it is true. But, in some cases, it is not to be. Such was my case, such was my case.

Now, as I face another end of June, I recall these two events and think about how my life has changed in the interim. I am at a completely different place in the road, and I am moving quickly away from my old life and farther and farther into what I think is my new life. Counselors often say that couple's who separate rarely get back together. In fact, many Christian counselors advise against separation, even within the home (as we did). What always seems to happen is that with a time out, each person begins to reflect on their own life, and almost always (not always, but often) chooses to go it alone. This is exactly what happened to me. As I spent so much time alone, in prayer, in counseling, and in study; I began to see my life in a different way, in a way separate from my husband. I began to see what I didn't like about my life, and what I didn't like about myself. I made changes, major changes, and altered my mind, my attitude, and my willingness to do what the Lord asked of me in His Word. In doing so, I grew up, I matured, I became a person who has far greater understanding and capacity for acceptance of reality (the ugly truth of it). As I accepted the truth of my own life, and of my own behavior, I had to acknowledge that I had made some grievous mistakes over the course of 26 years of marriage.

Don't get me wrong, all marriages and all married partners make mistakes. The key to successfully making it through all those errors is really a combination of things: 1) the willingness of each person to forgive and understand the other's failings; 2) the strength of the relationship (personally -- the friendship and love the two people share); and 3) the dedication of the couple to remain true and faithful to one another despite their own sinfulness and willingness to err into sin. What often happens is that when a couple is faced with such overwhelming information, such as the sin of one or both people; the couple must determine the following to successfully move through the trial: 1) can they forgive one another?; 2) can they move on, move passed whatever the issue or trial or sin?; and 3) can they remain committed to one another and remain in a relationship based on trust and fidelity? If any of those three things returns a negative response, the possibility of saving the marriage drops in probability. If two out of three occur, then the likelihood of any chance for reconcilation and restoration becomes truly unprobable.

After nealry 26 years of marriage (28 of relationship), I found that 1) neither me nor my husband were willing to forgive the other for past sins; 2) neither me nor my husband were willing to move on, to move pass the sin in our life; and 3) neither me nor my husband were willing to trust the other to remain faithful to our relationship. How did this happen, and how did I go from being a faitfhful and committed wife, from a wife who sincerely believed that her marriage was rock-solid, and her family intact (for life) to a wife who was willing to walk away from her marriage, and establish herself as a single person (at almost age 50)? Well, I can tell you that it didn't happen over night, and it wasn't the result of a single, solitary event. Nope, it was comprehensive, complete, and complicated. It was a lifetime of living with deception, with deceit, and with the disappointment of unfulfilled promises.

I am not blaming all this failure on my husband, please do not think that at all (earlier in the crisis, that was the tack I took -- but that is almost always the case during the first few days and weeks). I have spent a long time evaluating my life, my choices, my own sinful lusts and desires, and have accepted the truth of my own failings as a human being, as a wife, as a friend. I came up short, I didn't do the right thing, and I chose patterns and behaviors that were not conducive to producing a happy and sustainable marriage. Yes, that is my part in this story -- my complicit behavior that enabled our marriage to go on for 26 years, but without the devotion and dedication of true and faithful love (and friendship).

I don't blame myself completely, of course, because as that old saying goes: "it takes two to tango." Yes, my DH shared in this outcome too, but my part was just as devastating to the outcome as was his. So after so many months of trying to understand the why's and wherefore's of our marriage collapse, it has been decided that the best course of action now is to come to a truce, to come to a conclusion, to finalize the end. If neither of us is willing to forgive, to move on, and to be committed to fidelity; then there is no possible hope of restoration. There is literally and physically no way for a marriage or any relationship for that matter to be healed if there is any unwillingness within the heart to have that action performed and completed.

In the end, what does that leave me with? Just this -- I have in my heart forgiven my husband for his choices over the years. I have forgiven him for his most recent behavior that brought our marriage trouble to light, and to a crashing end. What I cannot forgive is this: I am unable to forgive myself for choosing to enter into a marriage that I believed was not God-ordained. I cannot forgive myself for behaving as I did, despite so many warnings from family and friends. I cannot forgive myself for choosing sinful behavior as an escape from my heartache and sorrow and sin against God's Spirit. Yes, I am forgiven -- the Lord has forgiven me -- but I am unable to let go, to move on, to let things lay. The damage and the destruction of my self, my being, my psyche, so to speak, has been so severe, that I simply cannot move on. I have chosen instead to allow the Lord to move me, to use me, and to heal me in His own way and in His own time. I have come to a river I cannot cross, and it is only through the very Grace of God, that I can even imagine crossing over. I cannot do it, I have tried, I have yeilded, and I have resigned myself to the truth that sometimes things that are shattered simply cannot be put back together again.

This is how I see my life, how I see me in relationship with my husband now after everything is said and done. I am shattered beyond repair, I cannot be put back together, I cannot be restored in such a way as to become a functional and contented wife. No, the damage is far too severe in my mind, and in my soul. I am lost, hopelessly lost to that kind of life. The good news is this -- the Lord has chosen not to restore my soul, repair the damage; but to give me new life. He has chosen to take all that was shattered and create something viable, but brand new. This is how I can live today, this is how I can remain faithful and contented. He took all that was destroyed, and then set it aside. He then made me into something new, completely brand new. The old is gone, thrown away, and what is here now is nothing at all like the former thing.

I am still the same Carol, recognizable to friends on face value; but I am not the same Carol on the inside. My thoughts, my mind, my attitude, everything about me is just different. I don't even think the same way anymore, I don't see things as I once did. I am new, new, new; and it is so exciting to live now. God took what was so badly beaten and broken and destroyed; and He gave new life to it. I am alive today because of what He did for me, what He did because of me, and what He did to me. I thank Him and I worship Him and I give Him every ounce of my Praise for only He is worthy to be praised.

"For with God nothing will be impossible." Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

Update: June 29, 2010

Today has been especially difficult for me. For one, I am incredibly tired, really worn down. Two, it has been incessantly hot, I mean HOT -- upwards of 110 for the past week. And, three, I am close to the end of all this trial, I know it; I can feel it; I can sense it; and I believe that it is so. Lastly, I am impatient, having waited for so long already; yet, knowing that I must wait a while longer. It is not like waiting before, now the expectancy is in high gear. It is like arriving at your destination after a very long car drive. Once you get within 30 minutes of your arrival, your entire being changes and you start to get yourself ready. You sit up a bit, take stock around you, put things away, and maybe even spruce yourself (comb your hair, put on some makeup, and generally try and smooth the wrinkles out of your clothing). This is exactly how I feel right now. I am in the car, waiting for the last mile, and expecting to turn anytime soon. It is right here, the turn, I mean. I can see it, I can see it -- but there is still some roadway to cover. This last bit of waiting is far more difficult than the previous three years of wait. I have come through an amazingly long journey, learned so much, uncovered deep truth (about myself and others), and been asked to accept some things that were difficult to even consider. I have done it all, and now I am ready to embark on the next phase of God's journey for my life. I am impatient, yes; but, I am also relying on the Lord to see me all the way home. His hand is on the wheel, and He is the one holding the map. He knows when we will turn, and when we will arrive. I am simply His passenger, waiting and prepping myself for our arrival.

Update: July 25, 2010

I just go my confirmation back on how my online schooling will work. The Lord has told me over and over again not to worry about this, not to fret over how the classes will work; and yet, I have gone ahead and worried. I fretted. I didn't believe what He was saying to me. This makes me wonder what else He has said to me that I have disregarded in favor of fretting and disbelief? I think there is a whole lot out there, a whole lot of things He has clearly addressed for me and instead of taking Him at His word, I chose to go about my business and believe what I wanted to believe. I just prayed and asked the Lord for the truth regarding this matter. I don't want to do this anymore. I want to believe what the Lord says to me is true.

Two things immediately come to mind. The first is graduate school. The Lord has repeatedly told me not to worry about my financial aid. He said it was done, taken care of and I don't have to worry at all. The second was a job. He has said to me that He had a job in mind for me, a job picked out, a job chosen; and yet, I didn't believe it could be. He was right on both accounts, and He was right about schooling and my schedule. He is always right, always. He always tells the truth because it is His nature. He is TRUTH. There is no lie in Him. He always tells it to you straight, and we just don't like to believe that is the case. We are so used to getting lied to, decieved, and betrayed. This is human behavior, and not God behavior. God is always right, always honorable, and always faithful. He never wavers, He never changes. He is and always will be because He has always been. There is nothing new with Him, nothing old. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

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