Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 2 - Joy is Yours

Joy is mine. That's what Jesus came here to give me, and that's what dwells in me as a believer filled with the Spirit. The joy of the Lord.

Once, a few years back, one of my children was struggling with a drug problem. And by struggling, I don't just mean smoking pot on occasion. I mean mightily struggling, with some of the nastiest street drugs you can imagine. This child and I enjoyed a particularly close relationship, and my heart broke to witness what addiction was doing to him.

But in the midst of this struggle and suffering, I experienced an overwhelming peace. The Lord was in control, the Lord had plans. My sister even said to me, "How can you remain calm while all this is going on?"

My simple answer was, "God." And even though I had to accept that God's good plan may include the loss of this child, I had the peace of Jesus. And I was blessed, as the Lord's plan was to bring my child through this and use him. This is one of the major miracles I have been given in this life.

And I tell you all that because, friends, I am struggling now. As heartbreaking as dealing with my beloved son's addiction was, my husband's betrayal is, at least right now, even harder to accept. I guess that's because it was so personal. He claims he has a dysfunctional personality that allows him to get pleasure from sneaking and hiding things....and I know that has to be true, because of the many things he's hidden and been shady about in our fourteen years together. If he wanted to sneak and hide, there were plenty of ways to do that without chasing another woman. This was an attack that didn't really involved anyone else. It was against me. He betrayed the vows we made to each other, as well as the many many times he looked into my eyes and swore he'd never cheat on me. (This was almost always in the context of something else he would do...but at least I had this promise.) But this time, he chose to cross that line as well.

Okay, I guess I have to give a bit of background here. First, I need you to understand that my husband never met the woman he was pursuing - at least, not in person. This was an emotional affair. He was pursuing a relationship with a woman he met in an online game (twist the knife here - this was a game I introduced him to, and made him promise he'd never chat with someone he was playing with. His answer to that was, "I only play with you.")

He started chatting with this opponent about the game, then crossed numerous lines into the names, greeting her upon rising each morning and wishing her good night before he went to bed, telling her details about what we were doing and where we are, seeking out links to songs to share with her. Oh, and the biggest red flag - never mentioning he had a wife. (I would have hated to see, "My wife is such a bitch" or some such, but honestly? It's worse that I wasn't acknowledged at all. In his fantasy world, I did not exist.)

Oh, and how do I know this wasn't just playful banter? Well, the obvious answer is because he hid it. But there's another answer as well.....because it's exactly the way we started. Fifteen years ago next month, I met him in an online game. We started with teasing about the game, he started sending me links, the whole deal. So no matter what he admits or what others think, I know exactly what this was.

And I know that I need to give this to God, but I struggle with the intimacy of this wound. He compares it to all the other times, and his dysfunction, but he seems to ignore how this is different. I stood by him as he revealed secret after secret to me....drinking, smoking, drugs....and together we got through everything. But now he's crossed a line he promised he never would, and I don't know that I can trust my heart to him again. I don't know if I'll ever respect him because I know he's capable of such decisions.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Plan!

Okay, I'll start with the confession - my plan to read the Bible in 90 days crashed and burned. Seriously, it got ugly. I am still kinda reeling about all that's going on in my marriage, and there were some days that waking up and getting out of bed took all the energies I had to expend. Honestly, the very air around me hurt. (I'm sure you'll hear me repeat that again, as the story unfolds here.)

So I was in no condition to take on the task of reading through the word of the Lord in 90 days. Oh, I tried. I knew any effort would be blessed, so I attempted to keep pace, but it wasn't happening. My mind would go back to my husband's betrayal - "How could you? After you promised? Why?" - and I would lose my focus on anything else.

That's not to say I won't attempt this challenge again. It's a new year, after all, and there's plenty of time. Now, however, is not my time. I still want to immerse myself in the Word, but I have to do it at a less taxing pace.

And so I'm starting a different challenge today. This is the 50 day plan detailed to the book, Addicted to God. The cover promises "50 days to a more powerful relationship with God." Oh, I so need that right now.

Today is day one - An Attitude of Thankfulness. Today's questions asked the difference of being thankful for your circumstances and being thankful in your circumstances, as we are called to both. A really good question for me right now....I think I'm grateful (though never grateful enough) for my circumstances. My life, a job, a good family, some true miracles, a home...these are all God's blessings, and I am truly thankful that I have been on the receiving end, when I know so many have so much less.

But being thankful in my circumstances? Well, not so easy. Of course, the Lord isn't saying that I should be thankful for what happened ("Thank you, God, that my husband decided to pursue another woman") but that, even in these circumstances, I should be thankful. Yes, even thankful for the pain that has come to me. After all, I trust in my Lord and know He is with me no matter what is happening in my life. For that, I give thanks, even through my tears.

As the worship song says, "Though the journey has been hard, I will confess your goodness, God, I still believe...."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

B90 Plan - Day Two

Yes, January 1 was day two for me. I got a head start by doing my first day's reading on December 31, which was probably smart since I'm already falling behind. Today's reading included the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - and I still have a couple of chapters to read. Still, I wanted to check in here, for consistency and accountability's sake.

Some thoughts on today's reading - first, Genesis 24:50 - "Laban and Bethuel answered, "This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other."" This really spoke to me about my mindset. If something is from the Lord, it needs no explanation or expansion or questioning from me. The Lord is in control; what do I have to add to it?

I did have a couple of questions. When the angels visited Lot in Sodom, he protected them by offering the mob of men his virgin daughters. Why was this an acceptable alternative? How could it cross his mind? These are questions I'd like to research once the 90 days are done.

Also, when the angel interacted with Abraham at the time he was going to sacrifice Isaac, the angel said repeatedly, "your son, your only son." But clearly Isaac wasn't Abraham's only son at the time. What about Ishmael? If anyone has any insight (if anyone is out there!) please let me know.

On the homefront, things are getting quite confusing. It's very strange, in that one minute I want my husband to leave, and the next I want him to hold on with all his life. I guess that's really a simplistic way of putting things. It's really a fuzzy time for me right now, and worthy of its own post, but that won't be tonight.

Off to finish this day's reading.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Getting Off To A Fresh Start

Okay, so I got so busy raising Waltons...or just living with five diverse, semi-grown update like I had planned. But now a new year is breathing down my neck - and a new crisis has emerged in my life - and I think I will give this another try in 2013.

More on the life, and the crisis, is to come, no doubt. But I want to start with this - with God's help, I'm going to start 2013 with the Bible in 90 Days plan. Now, confession - I have started this plan numerous times before, and never finished it. Most recently was this year, 2012, when I started with the best of intentions but with a heavy heart dragging me down. Early in January, my brother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and a lot of my focus and energy was on that, and him. One of my biggest accomplishments in 2012 was having a talk with said beloved brother to find out if he was a believer. I am glad to say I will be seeing him in heaven one day....but not for a long long time, as his past five PET scans have been cancer-free, thank God.

Right now, I'm starting this with a heavy heart again. Late in December, I discovered my husband had betrayed me....not quite an affair, but definitely, in his own admission, over the line drawn by God when two people make vows in front of Him, vows that include the words "forsaking all others" and "to death." And right now, this is pretty fresh and very hard. A friend took one look at me and said, "You're suffering," and that pretty much sums it up. This marriage will never be what I thought it was, and I can't say where it's going, and most of the time I'm consumed with asking my husband and my God, "Why did you do this?"

My husband's answers are hard to accept, considering the trust that has been lost over the years. But God's answers are always good and faithful, which is why I think delving into the Word would be the best way for me to face the coming year with some hope.

I would love for someone, anyone, to join me on this journey. If someone wants to hold me accountable, please chime in! And if there's no one out there, well, that's okay. God is always there, and He will bless my efforts.

If you want to learn more about the Bible in 90 Day plan, check out Mom's Toolbox, a wonderful resource. And let me add a disclaimer - I know that reading through the Bible in such a short time won't be any deep study. I am hoping to continue with my own studies and devotions. But I love reading, so I am approaching this as my "leisure reading," in hopes that together with my other activities, I will be emerged and focused.

So what are your plans for 2013?


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Such A Walton

Once, in the heat of an argument, a friend of my older daughter hurled his worst insult at me: "You're such a Walton!" He meant it as a biting statement, an accusation of being hopelessly old-fashioned and behind the times. But instead of being insulted, I embraced my inner Walton. (I also wrote about the incident - including my most appropriate response, "It's better than being a Soprano!" - here.)

Hopelessly old-fashioned? Hardly. But I do confess to being out of step with today's philosophies. In fact, I'm not only confessing - I'm bragging. When I look around at the world today, I'm a bit glad that I don't fall in step with a lot of the things people think are okay - even normal - in our society. And if that makes me a Walton, so be it.

So I have to start this blog with a disclaimer - if you're looking for advice on raising your children to be regular John Boys and Jim Bobs, you're in the wrong place. I do have a brood of children - five of them - but despite my best efforts, I get things wrong more than I get them right. Still, I keep working on myself and praying for guidance and making sure we sit down for a meal together on a regular basis. I screw up, and my kids screw up, and maybe there's not a Walton in the bunch.

But still, I'm striving to find the words, the ideas, the products, the way to bring them up with the values that are timeless. Belief in God, to begin with. Importance of family. A basic determination to do your best and be your best. Hard work, even in hard times.

And when I put my head on my pillow each night, I count my blessings and failures, my smart moves and backwards steps, all the challenges and the smiles in between. I close my eyes, and consider it all joy.