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 (  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.


Conquering Fear

The first week of a new school term is finishing up today with three quizzes.  Last week I must admit that I was a bit anxious.  The school load is ramping up (accelerated courses) along with beginning two of the toughest classes in the program.  Making sure that I could have access to all the right textbooks was a bit stressful.  Scanning through all the assignments and browsing through my subject matter, I had thoughts of giving up.  It is too much work.  Too many things to know.  I am old and cannot keep up.  It took lots of work and prayer to tap down all those lies.

After Thursday, I felt so relaxed and on top of everything.  All my work was getting done ahead of deadlines and I was able to learn new information without too much difficulty.  The song that kept playing in my head was by Francesca Battistelli.  “Fear you don’t own me, there ain’t no room in this story…I know I’m strong and I am free…”  I took time to relax and get stuff done around the house.

So, Saturday night, knowing that the next day was filled with those quizzes, I decided to start studying specifically for them.  I pulled up the study guides for each class, only to discover that I had not even begun one of them.  One of the hardest classes and I had not even read the chapters!  Logically, I should have panicked and worried.  But I didn’t.  I chose to believe that there really is no room for fear in my life.  God tells me over and over in the Bible to not fear, be strong and courageous, do not be afraid…I choose to trust Him.  Everything has worked out for me to go to this school and this program, to get my degree and eventually get the job that God has waiting for me.  He will help me to get there.

Not being afraid is good, and so is studying.  I focused several hours last night on that one class and I will do more today.  All work must be turned in by midnight, so I have 11-12 hours to study and also take time to go to church.  All is well.  There is no panic in my life at this time.  I will try to remember assignments in all my classes from now on.

Husband is in a good place these past few days.  He has not fallen since Tuesday.  He will take care of most of his messes with very little prompting from me.  He is definitely better physically than he has been, but I know it is only temporary.  He still drinks 15-20 standard drinks every 24 hours.  It makes no medical sense that he is alive.  It is a miracle, but he does not realize that.

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.

Finals Week

It’s finals week, my head is scrambled, and I am so ready for a change in classes and scenery.  The day after my last exam I am going to fly out to see my mom and spend 5 days with her!  I have not seen her in over a year and am really excited to relax with her.  But, I still worry a bit about things here at home.

I will make sure that I have enough alcohol in the house so none of the kids have to buy any for their dad.  Same with all the other personal items he will need while I am gone.  I am praying that he doesn’t die while I am away, because I don’t want the kids to have to find him or deal with all the practical stuff that has to occur.  Just in case, though, I have written step by step instructions and phone numbers of what to do and who to call.  My husband wants to be cremated, so I bought an urn just because I want to be prepared.

When I am seeing that my husband’s skin tone is turning a grayish yellow color, when my in-laws are having health problems, and when I see the signs of incredible hurt and sadness in my kids, I have to run to the only one who can handle it all.  Jesus is the only God who is so loving and kind and concerned about all the little details.

The ugly inside of me is oozing out when I interact with my husband.  I seem to have no patience.  I am ready to be done with this term at school and I am ready to be done with watching a slow death unfold.  I still want to walk on the path God has placed me on, I just want to go faster. Like a child on a long car ride I ask, “Are we there yet?”.  Jesus please help me to be patient and content.

I was playing an old cd the other day and came across one song by Twila Paris that I have always loved.  The orchestration is beautiful, the melody sticks in my head, and the words express the deepest longings of my heart.  “Where He leads me I will follow, when He calls me I will hear…”

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.