Saturday, 19 October 2013

Regret and Responsibility

I have been dealing with some accusations regarding my marriage lately that have made me angry, and I wonder if there is truth to them. Am I wrong in the decisions I've made lately? Part of me wonders if it really was "that bad".. bad enough to choose this direction. Was there something else I could have done, should have done? Is this my fault?

Am I wrong? I don't believe so. I honestly believe that I tried everything else. I believe this is my last option. I don't think I am doing something wrong by choosing to separate. I don't think I am in sin by choosing to use the legal system to protect myself and my children. I don't believe I am wrong to say enough is enough, and no more will I allow someone to treat me as less than human.

Was it really that bad? This one is hard. The human heart holds onto the good so easily and forgets the pain so quickly. We look back at the "good ol' days" and pine for a "better time", thinking our past was better than our present. We forget the trials of yesterday, getting lost of the anxiety of tomorrow. So I re-read my journals, my message board thread, my blog and force myself to remember that .. yes, it was horrible. It was tense, it was scary, it was forever watching what I said, what I did so as not to upset someone else, it was bondage and captivity. And I remember the sense of relief, of freedom, of breath and air and emotion that I've received since.  Yes.. yes it was bad enough to choose this direction. Something had to be done.

Was there something else I could have done? I again have to say, I honestly believe I tried everything else. I don't think I could have done anything else. I have been told I waited longer, gave more chances, offered more forgiveness and trust and willingness to work and commitment than was expected of me. I don't know what else I could have done?

Is this my fault? Yes.. and no. Yes, it is my fault. I chose to separate. I chose to pursue legal options. I chose to say enough. But no.. I did not choose to be ignored. I did not ask to be treated with such disrespect. I did not want to be terrified of saying or do something that would trigger a rage. I did not choose to live in fear. I am not responsible to control someone else's actions, words or emotions. It is not my fault.

What am I responsible for? I am responsible for the times when I spoke in anger, when I held a grudge, when I did not give grace, extend mercy. I am responsible for my hatred, my unforgiving attitude, my sarcasm, my mistrust. I am responsible for not asking for help sooner, for hiding our relationship issues and pretending all was well when it wasn't, for lying to protect myself, for hiding things from him. I am responsible for my own feelings, my own actions, my own words -- and not everything was right.

But not everything was wrong either. I did ask for help, eventually. I did tell the truth, eventually. I learned to forgive -- and to set boundaries. I learned to let go -- and to stay quiet. I learned to give grace, to extend mercy, as God gave me grace and mercy. I learned (and I am learning) that is ok to not be perfect, that I don't have to pretend, and that I don't have to hide. I am becoming more genuine, gaining more integrity, and speaking truth in love.

No.. I did not do everything perfectly. I wish I did. I have many regrets. But ultimately, ending my marriage was not an easy decision, made lightly or impulsively. It was hard, after years of trying everything else, and decisions were made sorrowfully and prayerfully. I trust that God will bring something out of this for my good, and for my children's good.

I stand by my decision. I think I made the right one. I'm not going to change it, for good or ill. I will follow God's leading, and right now.. He is leading this captive out.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Alone, yet not alone

Ever been in a big crowd.. and felt very alone? It's not a good feeling. There may be dozens or even hundreds of people around you, but no one is there with you. You might as well not be there, that anyone takes notice of you.

This is how I've felt my entire marriage. In fact, most of my life. I may be surrounded by people. I have spent hours of time with someone. I have sat side by side, even holding hands.. and still felt like I could have been on the moon for all the notice I was given. Alone, yet not alone.

It's hard to describe the loneliness of a difficult marriage. Marriage is supposed to be about unity, a oneness-- not a singleness. It's supposed to be the ultimate expression of relationship, not separate-ness. So when you feel single and separate from the one you are married to, the pain of loneliness there is worse than if you were actually single and separate.

To be alone, yet not alone is agonizing.  There are benefits to solitude, to being truely alone -- relaxation, silence, the ability to do and think for yourself. But when you're alone, yet with someone, you get none of the benefits of being alone, and none of the benefits of being with someone. You aren't alone, in that there is someone there -- you may even have conversation, or shared occupation, but at the same time, you have no connection.

Connection is what we crave, as human beings. It's what we were designed for. We were created for connection; connection with our God, and with our fellow humans. We were made for relationship, soul-deep, satisfying relationship. But a marriage without connection is lonely.

Now that I'm truely alone, I find it easier, less lonely. Not saying I don't get lonely, because believe me, I do, but the loneliness isn't as stark, as obvious. Nothing is worse than seeing the water behind impenetrable glass, when you're desperately thirsty, to highlight your thirst. You can't focus on anything else but the thirst you are suffering. And when you're alone in the one relationship that God designed to be the most intimate, connected relationship we can have this side of heaven -- all it does is highlight your loneliness.

My stbx is in a trial mode, where he is attempting to be "nice", gentle and kind and thoughtful.. and all the things he thinks a good husband and father should be. It's hard to endure, because there is still no desire for connection with me behind it. He's doing it because.. he wants to look good, he thinks he has to, he still wants control over the relationship (not let me determine when it's ended).. for whatever reason. It is difficult for me. In one sense, I feel guilted in to letting him attempt this, on the justification that repetition creates habits, and perhaps his actions may lead to the right motivations. In another, I feel violated, that my boundaries are being tested beyond what I want, and that I'm being pushed into something I have no desire for any longer. And ultimately, I feel less understood, more ignored and more disconnected from the one person I should have been most connected to. I feel more alone than ever.

It is times like these that I "lift my eyes up to the hills", as the psalmist said. I know my help comes from the Maker of Heaven and Earth, and that He is my refuge, my "strong tower". I remind myself of His promises, never to leave me nor forsake me. I treasure the passage that says that before I was formed in my mother's womb, He knew me, and again, that my name is written on the palms of His hands.

The song I listen to most right now, that is speaking to me most, is Blessed Redeemer by Casting Crowns.

Blessed Redeemer, Precious Redeemer
Seems now I see Him, on Calvary's tree
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading, blind and unheeding
Dying for me

He wanted me so much, He gave up His life just for a chance, a hope of having a relationship with me. Not even for the sure thing, just the hope. I am awed and amazed. When I think of what He did, I feel cherished, desired. No one has ever wanted me that much. And I don't think I will ever settle for less again.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Dreams .. do not always come true..

I never thought I was a "fairy-tale-ending" type of girl. I love reading them, but I never thought I would get one. You know, the type where she's leaving or in trouble, and the guy wakes up, realizes he loves her and rushes to rescue her, the kind of story where it ends with the couple in each other's arms, and you know they will live "happily ever after".

I've never had someone love me like that.

And I just realized.. I want that. I am a closet romantic, though a lot of the big traditional romantic gestures leave me embarrassed and uncomfortable. But I want someone to come after me, no matter what I say, what I do.. to push through my walls and find out who I really am, and still want to be with me. I want that "wake up" moment.

You would think marriage would have provided some of that. But no, even during my marriage, what I got was slammed doors and silence, with the occasional chocolate bar to buy my peace. To this day, I don't enjoy chocolate bars as much, especially those that used to be my favorites. I didn't get passion and pursuit.. I got ignored, and when not ignored, abused.

It makes me sad. It also makes me realize that I will never again settle for less.

I settled for less when I married. I understand that now. I settled for the appearance of religion rather than a man who truly knew God and loved Him. I settled for convenience rather than commitment. I allowed him to just play house, rather than build a family, and a legacy. And I paid for it. I made a mistake.

I ignored the warning signs -- the aggression, the lack of financial stability, the "loans" I made him, got for him, the lack of ambition, the lack of plans for a future. I ignored the spiritual imbalance, the emotional immaturity that was obvious, and even the fact that I was already being taken advantage of. I even dismissed the warnings I was given by family and friends before my wedding. For what? Because I was afraid of being alone. Of being a single unwed mother.. again.

They say if you can dream it, you can do it. But dreams do not always come true. Sometimes it's because the dream isn't a good one. Sometimes because it's simply impossible. And sometimes.. sometimes it's because you tried, and you failed. You made a mistake, took a wrong turn, had an error in judgement.

I made a mistake, but I don't have to do it twice. In fact.. I did do it twice. So I'm a slow learner when it comes to this relationship thing. I can learn. And I will learn.

I'm no Disney princess. But I am a royal princess. I'm the daughter of the King of kings. And I think, if there's a next time, and that's a big IF!, I'll wait for my Daddy-God to pick the prince instead. Then maybe I won't end up with just the frog.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Fragile Feelings

Today was hard. I feel very fragile emotionally. And I don't feel free to show it, necessarily. I have very young children, who don't need to see their mother break down. Don't get me wrong, I do show my emotions around my girls, but they don't need to see me lose it, and that's exactly what I was on the verge of doing.

So I busied myself away from them for a bit. I cried in the bathroom, and sobbed while doing laundry. I was able to get control again, and be mama again after a few minutes, but I still feel raw. I find my throat hurts lots these days, from unshed tears.

The odd thing -- I still don't miss the man or the marriage. It's the heartbreaking thoughts of what could have been, what should have been .. what would have been if only he'd .. if only I could have.. These what-if thoughts drive me crazy. Moments like planning for Christmas this year, or going on a trip, only now without their father, make me hurt so bad for them.

My own loneliness doesn't seem as bad as it once was. Loneliness is magnified when you're ignored. Now, I'm just alone, not necessarily lonely. But I find myself acknowledging things I never wanted to admit. For example, I do want the companionable silence of marriage. But in order for silence in marriage to be companionable, there needs to be a friendship -- and that was never a part of my marriage.

I am trying to plan for my future, as a single woman. I don't believe I will ever have the opportunity for another committed relationship, and I know I will settle for nothing less, so I am putting aside those hopes. It seems like it was just a vague dream anyway, something I never really understood, let alone wanted. I have my family now, and I will be content with this.  I am trying to look forward, so envision what God may have in store for me. All the while, I mourn the passing of a future I thought I may have, that turned out to be mist and vapour, blown away in the wind.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Grief and growth..

As it stands right now, my marriage is over. My soon-to-be-ex husband views me as an object to get something from, as opposed to a person he can give to and who will give in return.  After 3 years now in counselling, my counsellors have told me that I should just go ahead and end the relationship.

I have been grieving this loss. I have lost not only my marriage, but my hope has died, my dreams are beyond reach, and my family is broken. I imagine that the death of a spouse would actually be better, because I would rest in the knowledge that my spouse loved me, even though he was gone. My husband doesn't love me, and doesn't want to, and that hurts worse than any physical attack.

I grieve the hope of a shared future, of future children. I mourn the loss of plans we -- apparently just me, in reality -- had, of making this house a home, of learning and growing and developing as a family. I feel lost, thinking about the impact we could have had, the influence and the ministry we might have had.  I feel robbed of security, of hope, of love and trust. I wish things were different.

I admit that I expected more and I am disappointed. I feel foolish too, because I look back and wonder if I had made different choices, would I be in this position, and I know I could have changed things. I have regrets, and at the same time, I am grateful.

As much as it hurts to end a relationship, there is a sense of relief too. The pain of an unfulfilled relationship is over. The abuses and hurts inflicted on me have ended, and I have the space and freedom to heal.

I trust God. I know my Father will redeem me. I know that my broken heart is safe in His hands. I am not anxious, though I am sad. I know this was not God's will -- God's will is for restoration, for renewal -- but I recognize my ex's right to choose. I also know that God promised to work all things together for my good, because I love Him, and it is His will that I have a future hope. I will grieve and heal, and I will look forward to better things.

I have grown closer to my first love. The distractions of my emotional confusion, my heart's desires and my mind's distrust, have cleared away, and my eyes turn back to my Saviour and my Best Friend, Jesus. I have been let down, again, and I am reminded that the only one who will never, never, never ever leave me or turn His back on me is Jesus. My mind goes back to the moments in the past where I was held by Him, where He provided, where He comforted.  I live in moment to moment, refusing to worry about my uncertain future, and refusing to be bitter about my unhappy past.

I am grieving... but I am growing.