Hope Deferred

Proverbs 13:12 tells us “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”   For 4 days my family tried to get my husband to go to rehab, with varying measures of success.  Tuesday the answer was no.  Wednesday the answer was yes.  We actually got in the car and went to the very first step of admission.  Once there, my husband changed his mind so we went back home.  Thursday was a yes again but it was too late in the day to do anything.  Friday morning he had changed his mind back to no.

Friday I asked him if he ever thought about how good, gracious, and patient God is to allow him to live another day.  He has another chance to live a life that is glorifying to God.  He has another chance to determine to change and leave our children with a good memory of a dad who loved them enough to choose to live.

This past week has been very hard and somewhat depressing.  It was the hope of him changing and then the reality of him still choosing the pity party that made my heart sick.  I was caught up in the waffling back and forth.  I was frequently angry with him.  I don’t know if it was because of him changing his mind so often, or having so much of my time wasted.

Music really helps me to refocus on God’s truth.  I wish that for my husband it could be as simple as listening to a song and having a change of heart and mind.  I will not dwell on wishes and hopes too much, though.  It’s too painful.

Never Too Far by Jordan Feliz is a song for all who are hurting or are in a dark place.

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A Busy Day

I have been home for 24 hours now and it has been a day full of battles that I mostly won.

I was able to get out of bed and go to work and be cheerful.

I was able to rake the yard, wash all the dishes that my husband had dirtied while I was gone, empty a cat pan, and scrub the kitchen floor while maintaining a cheerful attitude.

I decided to wash 2 loads of my husband’s dirty clothes.  He has had some of them sitting in his room for at least a year.  I got tired of smelling them.  I was able to get this done without grumbling.

After 7 hours of coaxing, asking, demanding, and threatening to call his mom, I was able to get my husband to change out of a pair of pants that reeked like an open sewer.  Lots of words were exchanged in the process.  Sometimes I raised my voice, sometimes I spoke softly.  I was able to not retaliate when he verbally lashed out.  I realized that it had to be painfully humiliating for him to be confronted about the state of his pants.

Overall, a decent day of keeping a good attitude while serving my husband.

Then, quite the opposite.  I was asking him how alcohol got spilled on top of the clothes dryer. Instead of telling me how it got there, he asked me if I had cleaned it up.  Bad choice of words on his part. The tongue lashing I gave him was short but potent.  I let him know that not only did I clean up that mess, but I also cleaned up every mess he made in the past week, plus all the chores he said he would do but never did.

As I sit here in my room, avoiding my husband, I wonder if I said the right things.  I know that my husband is not at a point to do all the tasks that I did today.  But, can he do some of them?  Am I enabling the alcoholic and his behaviors?  Am I serving and taking care of a sick man?  Do I genuinely want to help him?  Do I just want to make myself look like a good person?  Right now my emotions are jumbled up and my brain is moving slowly.  (Perhaps because I am tired.)

I remembered a song from the radio this morning.  It seems to fit.  “There’s a wrestling in my heart and in my mind…I can barely breathe, God help me...”  Sleep is needed now and tomorrow will be better.  “I don’t know the future, it’s one day at a time.  But I know I’ll be ok with your hand holding mine…”

But I don’t want to go home…

I’ve been in California for a week visiting kids and making new friends.  Today I fly home to Cincinnati and I don’t want to go.  I don’t want to continue to see my husband slowly kill himself with alcohol.  It is so tempting to forfeit my plane ticket, quit my job, and stay here.

However, I am sure that most of these feelings are brought on by lack of sleep and a deep love for my kids.   At home I have kids that I also deeply love, family, friends, and lots of other things that remind me just how blessed I really am.

As I cry in my morning tea, watching the sun rise, I try to calm my heart with promises from God’s word, “Do not fear for I am with you.  Be not anxious for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will hold you with my righteous right hand…” (Isaiah 41:10)

God has not called me to leave my husband or home.  He has promised to give me strength for each day.  I still choose to be His servant even in the hard places.  I will still cry this morning as I leave family and friends.  I love my California people.  Sometimes it takes my emotions a little bit of time to catch up with my head.

Germs

Continuing education courses are meant to empower and enlighten.  I took one on multi-drug resistant organisms.  Now I am just a little paranoid about what is lurking in my house.  So many diseases can stem from poor bathroom hygiene.  End-stage alcoholics are famous for their lack of personal hygiene habits.

So, not washing hands after bathroom use, not bathing for months, not brushing teeth for years,and not changing clothes for weeks all lead up to a fantastic festering hodgepodge of potential bacterial or viral diseases on my husband.  Add to the mix the chronic cough from smoking and the daily coughing up of phlegm.  This is why I use the bleach cleaning wipes or spray disinfectant on all surfaces that he touches.

Unfortunately, my husband does not understand that he is a walking petri dish.  When I refuse his sexual advances, he believes it is because I hate him.  How can I be romantically involved with somebody who is verbally abusive to me, smells like a cesspool, and would probably give me half a dozen diseases in the process?   I have enough self-respect to say, “No”.  I ask him to bathe and get counseling.  He tells me that I am full of bovine excrement.  (He uses different terminology.)

Every day I am thankful to God for the health that He has given me.  I am thankful that the courses I took help me to be more aware of potential health dangers.

 

 

A Miracle is Coming?

Reading in the book of Acts, a disciple is whisked away by the Spirit of the Lord and reappears in another area of the country.  (How fun would that be!)  Saul sees a vision of Jesus, becomes blind, receives his sight days later, and is quite the opposite of who he used to be. A lame man is able to walk again.  Peter raises Tabitha from the dead.  Several accounts of miracles done by God.

I really believe that all that is written in the book of Acts happened once and miracles still occur every day.  Why is it so hard for me to believe that God can work a miracle in my husband”s life?  When I see my drunken husband, incoherent, looking for a fight, and wallowing in his own filth, can I see past it all?  Can I choose to remember who he used to be?  Can I look forward to the day when he finally submits to God and becomes a new man?

This little blog is helpful.  I can write about an awful moment, and in so doing, release it to God.  He then blots it (or most of it) out of my mind.  Writing is helping me to be forgiving, sometimes hopeful that a miracle is coming, and able to refocus on what is true.

“Thy Will”

This morning I read “in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight”.  Was I going to choose to do that today?  I wanted to, but the feelings weren’t there.  Then, the first song in the car on the way to work was  “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott.  “I may never understand that my broken heart is a part of Your plan”   Will I trust God in the hard times?  “I know You’re good, but this don’t feel good right now”.  Exactly what I was thinking.   “It’s hard to count it all joy”.  I really wanted a pity party.  “Sometimes I gotta stop, remember that You’re God, and I am not”.   There is a power in music.  Soon I was singing along:  “I know You hear me, I know You see me, Lord.  Your plans are for me, goodness You have in store.  So, Thy will be done”.  

This evening when I got home, I saw that my husband had again done nothing all day but drink and be on facebook.  I asked him to clean up his mess in the kitchen and help me with yard work.  That led to a litany of “woe is me, I shall kill myself”.  Yes, I have heard that many times before, but this time it filled me with pity.  For tonight he sounded different: defeated instead of defiant, sad and remorseful instead of snide and vengeful.

Perhaps this change is due to the fact that today is our 33rd wedding anniversary.  In 1984 I married a kind, gentle, sensitive, and loving man.  Alcohol changed all that.  Today, I am definitely not in a place that I dreamed of, but I am in the perfect place that God has chosen for me.  Trusting, submitting, believing that I am held tight in God’s hand.

Sleep in Peace?

I did not sleep well last night.  Every time I woke up, I heard Doris Day in my head singing, “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck…”  In my sleepiness I tried to pray, to remember Psalm 121, which I sang to all my babies to get them to sleep:

  I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;     From where shall my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord,    Who made heaven and earth.
 He will not allow your foot to slip;     He who keeps you will not slumber.
 Behold, He who keeps Israel    Will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord is your keeper;     The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,     Nor the moon by night.
 The Lord will protect you from all evil;     He will keep your soul.
 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.”

Doris Day sang louder and I kept mixing lines from both songs into a unique jumble.   I finally decided that maybe God was trying to tell me that He loved me a bushel and a peck.  When the creator of the universe loves me more than words can describe, watches over me to protect me, and promises to always be there, why should I be stewing and losing sleep?  I then had some very peaceful sleep and woke up refreshed.

The mind of an alcoholic is so opposite.  He loathes himself so everyone else must, also.  He perceives any intervention and even most interactions to be fueled by hate.  When we ask him to bathe and change clothes because he smells like an open sewer,  he believes that it is really because we hate his very being.  What a sad perspective.  It will take a miracle of God to reach him with truth.