May 15, 2015

It is Raining...

Yes, I am trying to remain calm. It is raining outside, and I am in HOG HEAVEN! I get excited (as do almost all Phoenicians) when it rains at any time prior to the Monsoon or winter season. We normally get most of our rain in January and then in the hot and humid summer months we call our Monsoon season. Today it is raining, and it is blissfully wonderful outside. There is such a nice steady rain beating down on my window, and the outside air temp is just above 59 degrees. Whod'a think that we'd have cool temps (under 80) and rain in mid-May? No one. No one, at the least, who called Phoenix their home.

Loving this change of pace, change of season, and change of temperature!

I heard on the news today that we are in a once-every-ten-year pattern where we get a lot of rain during the spring, summer and fall seasons. I am down for that, I am game...

I wonder about cycles sometimes, and now that I consider myself to be a social scientist, I do think about patterns often. Today, I started to think about how much my life has changed over the last 10 years. I mean, in May 2005, I was a SAHM. I was home schooling my son, having just completed his 6th grade year. He was 11 going on 12 then, and my life was wrapped up in home schooling, AWANA, and website design. I worked about 35 hours a week from home, and I volunteered as Commander of SBC's Awana program for another 20 hours each week. I loved, loved, loved Awana, and I loved working from home, teaching my son at home, and generally being a SAHM.

My marriage was in a funk, but then it had been for a number of years. I was a devoted wife and mother, and I tried my best to make a happy home for the three of us. I also spent a lot of time helping to take care of my parents and my in-laws. I was in many ways "busy" with life, and truthfully, I put my marriage on the back-burner. It wasn't intentional to start, but this pattern of busyness just happened over time. I guess I used busyness to help me deal with the loss of intimacy in the relationship, with the lack of affection and attention I received daily. I loved my husband, don't get me wrong, and I defended him to friends and family all the time. I never spoke bad about him, and I believed that our marriage was just "different" than my friends marriage. It was all business with very little passion, intimacy or affection. We were cordial to one another, nice, and we always were pleasant. We didn't yell, scream or hit. We just lived in this very quiet and very restrained home, without much passion, excitement or joy.

I thought this was how our marriage was going to be, and I was thankful to be married. My friends had these fun relationships where their husband was their best friend. They loved each other clearly, dearly, and with such intention. I assumed that my husband loved me and he loved our son. He just didn't show it much, and I cut him slack for that, and I made excuses to my family when asked why he never showed any overt affection toward us. I would say "that is not his way" or "he is just not demonstrative." I told myself that my husband loved us, but that he didn't show affection. I accepted the fact that there was no affection in our relationship, and I believed it was "normal."

Of course, I came to learn later on that it wasn't normal at all. In fact, it was abnormal. I spent 26 years in a non-affectionate relationship, all the while believing that the reason my husband wasn't affectionate toward me was simply because it was "his way." I learned through study, counseling, etc., that while it was his way, how he related to individuals, it wasn't a normal way at all. It was dysfunctional, and the fact that I was made to feel inferior or the cause of the lack of emotional attachment, just put the onus on me as the cause of the martial problem.

My mother-in-law believed we lacked communication skill. In some ways, she was right of course. In some ways, she was wrong - dead wrong. My ex didn't communicate with his parents, and he didn't show affection to them so they had accepted it as "his way" too. In the long run, I spent many years believing that I was to blame for the lack of intimacy in the relationship. I was to blame for our marital problems, and the reason why my husband didn't want to fulfill his role as husband to me. I took the blame, and after many years of trying to make things better, I just chose to keep myself busy. It was easier than feeling guilty, and it kept my mind off the issues that were at the core of our marriage troubles. In short, I stuck my head in the sand, ignored the more flagrant problems, and I worked hard to keep up a false front. As far as the world was concerned, we were happy. On the inside, however, we were a very fractured and dysfunctional family unit.

The fascinating thing about all this reflection is the fact that over the last 10 years, I have become a vastly different person. My life has changed completely from a quiet person into quite a strong-willed and dynamic communicator. I am living the dream, Baby! I am living out my dream of becoming a professor, getting my PhD, and being free to go where I want, when I want to do it. In truth, I have complete freedom to go wherever the Lord leads me. He may choose to keep me here in Phoenix for a time or He may choose to send me to another place. In either case, I am free to go where He leads me. This excites me because it means that the whole world is open to me. My life is an open book now, and I can go and do whatever I feel the Lord wants me to do.

Right now, that looks a lot like becoming a full-time professor. It also looks a lot like I will be moving sometime in the near future, and it means that my life has so many possibilities. I am so stoked to be able to even consider a different outcome. Frankly, I was very content to remain here in Phoenix, and to live out my retirement years in Northeast Phoenix. Yes, it is true. Most people come here to retire, but for me, I am not ready to retire. I am just getting started, and I want to spend the next 30-40 years living life to the fullest. I don't want to coast through these years. I want to go and do work, good practical work, good ministry work, and I want to live my life blessed, richly blessed, and highly favored. God knows the plans He has for me, and I am excited by the plans He has for my life. I want so much to go, go, go...and do, do, do. I just need His release to go, and then baby, I am gone, gone, gone!

As I think about today, and I consider my future, one thing seems to be certain...the path that I am on today, is the path of His choosing. Ten years ago, I was languishing in a dead marriage. I was finding joy in whatever little way I could, but I was the unloved woman in a relationship that was built on a business like contract. I did what I had to do (negotiated) to get what I needed. He did what he had to do to get what he needed. We never gave what the other person needed, and we never approached the marriage as one of give-and-take. It seemed I was always the giver, and he was always the taker. In truth, he said the same thing of me.  I think we both learned how to negotiate in marriage, and whenever you start down that path, what you end up with is a business relationship and not a marriage.

I would love to be married again, to be in a relationship that is based on God's design, God's covenant. I would love to be able to give myself 100% to a man without fear that he will take advantage of me, of my kindness or generosity. I don't want to get sucked dry again, but I am willing to sacrifice my self in order to bring joy, happiness, and contentment to another person. I believe so strongly in the covenant of marriage, in the sanctity of marriage, and in the blessing of marriage. I believe that what God joins together can be fruitful, blessed, and so wonderful. The key is that God must do the joining, and not two people legally joining themselves together. I believe that God puts two people together and joins them spiritually. When they complete the marriage civil ceremony they are legally bound together. Then when they consummate the marriage on the wedding night, they are physically bound together. The important part that is often missing from marriage, even Christian marriage, is the first part. God must join the hearts together as companions, friends, and lovers. He does this by building a relationship that is not sexually based, but rather is built on the Word. Once this is established, then the relationship can proceed toward its expected end -- the wedding ceremony and night. I think many young couples (and old ones too), forget to let God do the joining of the hearts. They are physically attracted to the other person, emotionally interested in them. They may share similar spiritual beliefs, but there is no binding of the hearts. Then they commit to marriage, get married, and they pray God will bless the union. I am sure that He does bless the union many times, but there are times when people marry for physical, sexual or emotional reasons. Some marry out of convenience. I think many of these relationships succeed, but not without hard work and effort. I believe though, and perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but if the relationship is started by God, there is every good chance that it will succeed so long as the two individuals remain committed to God and to each other. It just makes sense...

What God has joined together...let no man separate.

Will I marry again? I hope so. I believe the Lord has factored that into my plan or the plans He has for my life. I believe that if this is His will, He will do things His way. My job is to let Him have His way. I need to let Him join my heart to another, build the kind of relationship that He desires, and then in His time, bring those two hearts together for the civil ceremony and all the blessed fix'ins (the wedding night). I believe that the Lord knows my heart well, and He is concerned about what I do on a daily basis. He manages every detail of my life, and because He is intimately involved in what I do, I have no worry about the relationships He chooses for me to be involved in. In truth, the Lord governs my every thought, emotion, and way. He makes a way for me, and it includes any potential love relationships. I am not out seeking a man nor am I "testing" relationships out. This would be spiritually wrong, and I would not dishonor the Lord in this way. No, I am letting Him bind my heart to another of His choosing, and I am trusting in Him, trusting that He is really good at putting two people together for a life-long commitment and the covenant of marriage.

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