lessons learned?

As I look back over this past week I am so thankful.  For my mental health class it seems as though I have been put with the toughest clinical instructor at a facility that keeps us busy from start to finish.  Quite opposite of other groups.  My classmates talk about how easy and boring their clinical experience is.  They can get homework done or just relax.

On the surface, such an easy time seems very appealing.  I would love to have more free time.  But, I am looking at the bigger picture.  I have had a clinical experience which will be more like my future job.  I have had the opportunity to hone my skills and meet the needs of dozens of people.  My clinical instructor, by pushing us hard, has given me advantages in my other classes.  Just this morning I took a test and was able to answer some of the questions correctly because she had challenged us last week to go above and beyond.

This week I also learned that schizophrenic audio hallucinations are most likely the result of stress.  It’s the mind’s way of crying for help.  Watching the TED talk that is posted below made me so thankful that I have a God who is willing to take all my issues, worries, and cares upon Himself.  Listening to this woman’s story made me wonder why her and not me.  I still get stressed out at times.  Stress causes imbalances in the body.  Christians under stress can have the same consequences sometimes as non-Christians.

I still have sadness, fear, insecurities, and anger that I deal with.  Most of the time those things are shoved aside and, for the moment, are non-existent.  I am very good at building walls to hide behind.  Compared to last year, my ongoing issues are decreasing in intensity and frequency.  I don’t think that it is just because I have gotten good at hiding them.  I believe that I am seeing more and more evidence that God is moving before me and all around me.  I am greatly loved and held tight in His hands.  Why can’t I learn that lesson and then remember it?

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Past Meets Future

Yesterday I stopped by the house of a friend to give my condolences of his wife’s death.  Then I found out from his neighbors that he had actually died the week before his wife.  Well, I was a bit shocked for, even though they were both in their 80s, he was in much better overall health than his wife.

“Why him and not my husband?” was one of the first thoughts running through my mind. This man was an alcoholic.  He was 20 years older than my husband which likely gave him more overall years of abusing his body, but he only had 4-5 drinks a day compared to the 10-20 that my husband does.  This morning I still wonder why my husband is alive and can he please die soon.

I know that my perspective yesterday and again this morning is mostly due to fatigue.  I am physically tired and mentally stretched with all that I need to do for school.

The song running through my brain this morning as I woke up was Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons” reminding me to look at the big picture and get my focus on God and all that He has done for me.  I was having a really hard time until I remembered a conversation I had last Sunday.  One of my friends (named Redmon) felt that God wanted her to remind me of some truth:  that He is slow to act for He desires that nobody perishes.  At the time we did not know why that particular aspect of God’s character was important and singled out.  It sure does fit with my thought processes today.

So, here I am, still tired, still no caffeine yet, still not quite ready to take on my schoolwork.  But, resting peacefully for I know that God is with me on this journey.

In the past, He prompted Redman to write a song based on scripture (https://scriptureand.blogspot.com/2017/08/bible-verses-for-10000-reasons.html).  Last week He prompted Redmon to remind me of specific Bible verses.   Both to converge onto today when I need to be reminded of what is true.

the test

Wouldn’t you know, right after I wrote that last post and asked Jesus for patience, I had the opportunity to display patience and kindness.  I passed but not with flying colors.

I checked on my husband to find him lying in the doorway to the backyard. Still breathing, not bleeding, and somewhat awake.  I had to pull him in a bit so he had room to roll over and get onto his knees.  He didn’t have anything close by to help him to push up on one side.  He refused to use the walker and instead asked for my hand.  I was not going to pull him and risk throwing my back out.  I braced myself and held out my flexed arm as something he could pull on.  This whole ordeal took 15-20 minutes because he kept arguing with me about proper body mechanics, telling me that I don’t know my excrement, but I am full of it.  I did tell him to shut up several times even though I have ingrained in my brain that “shut up” is an impolite term.

I did not berate him for his behaviors or all of his irrational and obscene statements.  I just wanted to make sure he could come all the way inside the house and I could get the door closed.  It seemed like an eternity because he was moving so slow.  It was really quite sad because I wondered how much of this loss of muscle ability is due to the amount of alcohol today or the cumulative effect over the years.

Once on his feet again he commanded me to go away and leave him alone.  So I complied.  I did check on him a half hour later.  He was coming up the stairs to go to bed.  He apologized for saying some very unkind things earlier in the morning.  I didn’t say that I forgave him.  I did tell him that I was used to it because he gets really stupid when he drinks.

Standard procedure when he leaves the basement is that I go down there to turn off the tv and lights and make sure the outside door is closed.  Today I also had to pick up soaked disposable underwear that had just been left on the floor.  There was also a massive wet spot in a line towards the toilet.  Mopping up urine and sanitizing the floor was suddenly on my to-do list.

Alcoholism is such a horrible disease.

Got everything cleaned up and tried to study.  The song in my brain that is making it hard to concentrate reminds me that in spite of failing here and there in this Christian life, God still loves me.

Your Love Never Fails

I am so thankful for neighbors who have given us buckets of water so we can flush the toilets.  I slept well and woke up exhausted.  In my mind I heard songs reminding me that I am held in the Father’s hands.  I read that God promises to never leave me, to give me strength, and to always take care of me and cause me to become more like Him.  I still feel physically tired and am emotionally level.  I am trying to not grumble or complain.  Even without running water, I have been given too many things to ever justify whining over something that is not there.  We have a house with electricity.  We have plenty of food and clothing.  I am still a bit annoyed with my husband because he has inconvenienced all of us.

I spent time this morning focusing on God through songs.  It is the only way to gain real strength, especially this morning when I would love to just crawl back in bed and do nothing all day.  Now, after worship, a chat with the water company, caffeine, and a nutrition shake, it is time to get some school work done.  Hopefully, the water can be turned on before I need to leave for class.

Blessings Unnumbered

Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your many blessings see what God has done.”   An old hymn with lots of truth in it.  Today I was overwhelmed with blessings.  Contact with old friends, going to church and having a grateful heart for the people there whom I have come to know, the ability to sing praise songs, the people I know through school, my relatively good health, my relatives, my children and grandchildren…

During worship at church today I needed to stop thinking of how good God has been to me.  Had I continued, I would have been a sobbing, blubbering mess on the floor because my heart was so overflowing with joy.  (I cry when I am happy.)  Really didn’t want to cause a scene like that.

At least for today, I am not going to look at all the death and dying around me.  I choose to look up.  Life can be beautiful and full of blessing and joy.

smoky mt

More Family Destruction

It has been an eventful family reunion kind of week.  All of my husband’s siblings were in town.  Our son and his family, who have not been here in a year, spent the day with all of us at my in-law’s home.  It was a shock for those people who had not seen my husband in a year or more.  Our son told me that he didn’t even recognize his dad at first.  Some people tried to have a conversation with him, but it was very difficult to do.  Most of the time he sat in the recliner staring into space.  He didn’t even sit at the table with us when it was dinner time.  Every so often he would slowly make his way to the back yard to have a smoke.

My heart hurts because I know my children are all sad/mad that they don’t really have a father anymore.  I am so sad that my granddaughter will never know how wonderful my husband could be with little ones.  My daughter-in-law has never been around my husband when he was not drunk or a mind-numbed shell of a human being.  She will never be able to listen to his odd sense of humor or his deep, insightful outlooks on just about anything.

This week was also the birthday of our daughter.  My husband never said anything to her acknowledging that event.  Did he know what day it was?  Of course.  He was on the computer, he was on facebook.  All he had to say was three words:  happy birthday D___.  She was crushed but tried not to show it.  A mom can tell, though, when her children are not right.

So much disappointment, hurt, anger, sadness.  Through it all, I kept hearing snippets of Aaron Shust’s song, “Ever Be” in my head.  “…Your praise will ever be on my lips…”

I am still taking care of him, washing his clothes, changing all the wet sheets, cleaning up his messes.  The other night I popped my head into the room and asked him if he was talking to me because I thought I heard him, but it was unclear.  He said that he wasn’t talking at all and asked me if I wanted to talk to him for a while.  I was in the middle of studying for a major test, so my answer was no.  As I left the room, I realized that I wouldn’t have wanted to talk with him even if I wasn’t studying.  I don’t like him.

His bad choices have not only hurt me, they have hurt our children.  His parents, siblings, and even that quirky cousin have all had their lives negatively affected by my husband.  These are all people I love and care about.

My deepest inner being is crying out to my creator in praise and worship.  The other part of me is avoiding interaction with my husband because I really don’t like him right now.  Such a contrast, but this is my reality.

Surrender-it’s a good thing

It is finals week and life is intense.  I still don’t know what to expect from my husband.  One minute he is telling me how proud he is of me in going back to school and making good grades.  An hour later he wants to get into a verbal fight with me.  When I don’t respond, his go-to reply is, “Are you so stupid that you can’t have an opinion?”

Last night I asked him what was all over the floor, pee or water.  He said it was pee, but he cleaned it up.  “Then that is a puddle of water?” I asked.  The next few sentences out of his mouth claimed that yes it was water because he cleaned up an accident, and no, it was pee because he had an accident.  I tried to ask him which it was and his response was, “Really?  You’re that stupid?”

He will complain that nobody talks to him and that we all must hate him.  Shortly after that little rant he proceeds to insult me, our children, and my parents.  He doesn’t always remember stuff that we do tell him about.  Most of the time though, we have shut him out of our daily lives because it is too painful to keep him fully involved.

It has been a long time since my husband’s flip-flopping has increased my blood pressure or gotten my emotions out of whack.  I haven’t always been able to express why this is when my closest friends ask me how I am doing.  All I know is that there is something about the peace of God passing all understanding, if I am willing to surrender.

I have one dog who will let me totally cover her up with a blanket.  She does not freak out, probably because she knows I would never hurt her.  My other dog hates to not be able to see, even for a short time.  Which dog will I choose to be like?  I don’t know if today is the day my husband dies or if it will be next year.  I do know that God has a perfect plan for me and a path to travel.  I cannot see it, but I am ok with that.  My God has covered me with his blanket of peace, and He loves me.

“You still my soul with quiet joy…through the fire and the flood, I know that I am loved.  I can hear You singing over me…”