A Listening Posture

This is what’s in today’s reading of a little book called “Jesus Calling”. There’s a big fat exclamation mark beside the first paragraph – I am so glad I made notations like this during my deepest distress. Each one builds my confidence to keep listening for and trusting God in all that matters. And really, pretty much everything matters!

The Scriptures for today’s reading first:
Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will counsel you and watch over you.”
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Jesus Calling, October 27th by Sara Young:
As you become increasingly aware of My Presence, you will find it easier to discern the way you should go. This is one of the practical benefits of living close to Me. Instead of wondering about what is on the road ahead or worrying about what you should do if . . . or when . . . you can concentrate on staying in communication with Me. When you actually arrive at a choice point, I will show you which direction to go.
Many people are so preoccupied with future plans and decisions that they fail to see choices they need to make today. Without any conscious awareness, they make their habitual responses. People who live this way find a dullness creeping into their lives. They sleepwalk through their days, following well-worn paths of routine.
I, the Creator of the universe, am the most creative Being imaginable. I will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths. Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know. Stay in communication with Me. Follow my guiding Presence.

In the days following my husbands answer to ‘the question’ on the other side of the world, I was understandably whirling, reeling, and in utter disbelief. In one of those surreal moments I told God point blank and out loud, “I am a desperate woman. I’ve not been one of those ‘charismatic Christians’. I don’t know how to truly listen to you and obey what you tell me to do, but from now on that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I am going to have a posture of listening for and to YOU. YOU will have to figure out how to speak to me so I can hear, and YOU will have to protect me from listening to Satan who wants to destroy me, ______, our kids, and this marriage, I don’t trust my ability to listen to the right voice.”.
In that moment I became like a child who wanted to trust and obey their parent. I haven’t always been good at it, but my Parent is so patient and supportive of my decision to trust and obey. I know my Parent has a good goal in mind and knows better than I how to get there. My Parent is so creative in communication and I feel loved in being so known by the One who has created me.
I catch myself going back to deeply rutted paths of habitual responses, but my Parent reminds me of the adventures we’ve been on together and I grab hold once again. Adrenaline rushes can be addictive!

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Sex and Mid Life Calm

You think I’m really going to talk about SEX on the world wide web? Are you kidding? Well, I will kinda talk about it, but mostly I’d like to refer you to others who are more adept at speaking to this topic. ¬†When I started this blog I was pretty sure I would never even bring up the word sex – just too shy. I hardly know you anyway. BUT, I can’t skirt the issue because it’s just too dang important. SEX is IMPORTANT in marriage.

Over the years I’d accumulated enough bits and pieces from workmates, reading, friends, acquaintances to know that it was pretty important. I remember one colleague saying that once they got married she established a 1x per week sex night – usually Saturday nights but she would change that if she felt like it. We were in our mid 30’s then. It came across like she had him well trained. If so, that is just plain mean. Another gal, many moons ago, told me with certainty and Biblical backing (more like wrong headed thinking) that sex was for the childbearing years only. I hear her husband goes out on sailing trips for LONG periods of time. LOL. I’m thankful that what I mostly heard and took to heart was the healthy and good – my very devout Mom was forthright and ‘full steam ahead’ regarding good sex in marriage. Yeah for sexual health even amongst fundamentalists!

The years where the kids were little and hanging off my body in one way or another were tough in this area. I had thyroid issues as well so the exhaustion lines blurred one into another. I fully admit that over our 31 years of marriage I have done my fair share of “lie back and think of England” – a phrase erroneously attributed to Queen Victoria.

I was given a lot of time to think about this aspect of married life during our time apart. And think I did. No doubt you are thinking a lot about it too. I dreamed of him coming home to me in the middle of the night . . . . I dreamed of showing up at his hotel and then later his apartment (I still wince just writing that) wearing nothing but a trench coat . . . I longed for him. He didn’t come and I didn’t go. Well actually, I did go. Twice. That was the 1st time he left. When he left the 2nd time I knew better. Conjugal visitation was something I thought would be good for me, for him, for us, but only served to thrust the knife (a little double entendre for you there ūüôā ) deeper in my soul. Not advised. I never once saw that furnished apartment he had rented downtown for 5 months and am so thankful for that.

We have fought very hard to get out of that raging whirlpool. I plan to keep reading, learning and making time for love. On my bike the other day I was thinking about all the painful shit my husband said and did. Thought to myself, “I should write more of this stuff out on my blog so readers don’t think that my case wasn’t as bad as theirs”. (double negative there, I know)Like somehow all these resources and learnings would be discredited if it was deemed that I hadn’t suffered enough. Ridiculous. But, I had it all written out in my head nevertheless. (Healing is SUCH hard work. Sometimes it’s like a gift that drops in your lap, but mostly it’s the continual decisions one makes that are ‘healing forward’). You know what, my own words came back to me. Actually, I don’t believe they were my words but instead words the Holy Spirit gave to me at a pretty important juncture of our restoration. A lot of stuff doesn’t matter when you want something bad enough. That said, I really do resonate with Anne Lamont’s quote, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them they should’ve behaved better”. Haha! I wanted Mid Life Calm desperately – not trouble free, but calm and peace between us so we could handle life TOGETHER once again. So NOPE to rehashing the negative, aiming to keep it real while moving forward!

Here are a few good resources. Not too heavy. You can find heavy if you want as the gamut of sexual help resources are out there. 5 Things You Can Do About Your Husbands Mid Life Crisis from Chloe of the Mountain is great and she has some other good posts too. I like her pithy, straightforward, fun writing style. I really like Sheila Wray Gregoire’s writing too, especially on this topic. Spend some time here if this is an area of struggle for you. Gotta keep it fresh, gotta keep reading to remind ourselves of the importance of true intimacy. We need it too girls, it’s not about keeping our man happy. How’s this to get you started – 29 Days to Great Sex. Scroll down the page to find the 29 topics to click through for excellent advice, reassurance and encouragement.

I’ve hesitated to write about this because when you’ve been left, you are down on yourself about everything, and you think you must be the worst type of lover. If that’s where you are at presently please be assured that I know that feeling SO WELL. I pray for my readers and I’m sorry for your pain.

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Flippin’ Texts and Emails

Some of the best texts and emails I ever wrote were the ones I didn’t send. Haha. Actually, that’s quite accurate! It must have been around 90% of what I wrote, whether unsolicited or as a response, I never sent. I wrote, edited, sometimes saved to draft, printed out and burned . . . but rarely sent any of it. Of the ones I sent I regrettably have to report that there were about 3 that should never have left the coop. Those ones nearly took us out in terms of any hope of restoration. What I said was understandable given the circumstances, but they weren’t part of waiting and watching for God’s voice (Psalm 130) which is what I’d committed to do. I sent them from a place of deep emotional angst.
As I’ve said many times, I read a lot. I was reading story after story of women who had done what I considered super human things in order to be in a place where their marriage could be restored. Women who were waiting for their husbands to return to them even when their guy was with another woman. These women were and are way out of my league! Mostly they were patiently quiet and let their spouse carry on without their escalating emotions. These women went about, and are still going about, the business of restoring themselves and becoming healthy is all areas of their lives. They too had days where they wanted to pull the sheets over their heads, and they were okay with that and soldiered on. They knew/know their husbands were/are unwell, and that in some cases it takes a very long time for wellness to return. Remember too, that you are also unwell. The nature of this kind of crisis causes continual upheaval of your whole mind, body and soul.

Virginia Wolfe says in Orlando (part biography), “All extremes of feeling are allied with madness”.

Most of the rapid fire texting, messaging and emailing done in the heat of rejection and misunderstanding will almost certainly have altered perspective and be lacking in grace, even be tinged with madness. Gosh, do I ever know that!

Please remember that he is in a different kind of anguish than you are. He’s holding the reins of the situation, astride a wild steed going in several directions at once, rearing up at will, riding hard. He thinks he knows what’s best for himself and for you (!!!) within his wild wilderness. It has to play out, there is no telling the length of time it will take. He won’t remember much of what he’s doing and saying. You know more about what’s going inside of him than he does – zipped lips though – thus your anguish is indescribable.

So write, especially if that comes easily and naturally for you. Please send hardly any of it if your spouse wants to leave or has indeed left. Trust me, they really don’t want to hear from you and what you have to say won’t likely be helpful in any shape or form. They’re in a flippin’ funk, so don’t flip texts! Leave him flippin’ alone.

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All’s well friends . . . . .

I realize I haven’t written for awhile. I have this thing where I don’t want to write a post unless I feel that it’s truly worthwhile. I perseverate a bit over each post, but now here I am, about to go on a little vacation with my love and I’m just going to quickly drop a quick post.

Things are well, really good in fact. Yes, this sort of thing has a long tail and there is always going to be stuff that comes up. The main thing lately is the fact that some close family and friends have not yet seen my husband or us together since ‘the earthquake’. That plays out in very painful ways and yet, if I look, I can find some silver linings in even that. Sometimes it’s just plain funny too and I get a good giggle about it to myself. I can tell that it’s a really big deal to some people when all of a sudden we are thrown together with them. Inside I roll my eyes wishing we could just be with friends or family who have been with us lots since getting back together. BUT I persevere as they eyeball us carefully looking for nuances that might give some clue to all of what transpired or what they think transpired. Who really knows what transpired right! I bite my tongue just short of saying, “so then, once you’ve sorted out what went wrong with us could you kindly send me an email spelling it all out because sometimes I’m just dying to know how I could have prevented all this . . . “.

We’re going to be with some family shortly who haven’t seen us together. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to this. This is the family I chose to go be with for a period of time back when my husband left for the 2nd time. This is where I rode my bike for hours, talking to God but mostly I listened for Him and read, rested, hung out with these relatives and had the change that was needed. They can’t wait to see us and have told us both as much in their inimitable way! We were out for coffee last Friday and one of them texted something that brought tears to my husbands eyes. Is that healing or what?!!!

The other super healing thing that just goes to show that one should never burn a bridge! There has been some fairly not nice stuff and unsupportive stuff over the years and especially during our marriage crisis from part of some extended family. We just came through a wonderful large celebration for one of our kids and there were some healing pieces that all of us felt from this extended family. I mean significant pieces and they were quite overt actually. Like an olive branch bouquet!!! We find ourselves ruminating over these expressions of love, respect, and enjoyment over and over again.

Thank you so much for reading this blog. I pray for you guys you know. I can’t begin to say how much I wish you weren’t reading this because I know you’re here because of the great pain you’re in or you’re reading to help a loved one through their great pain.

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Vacation to Save a Marriage?

Surely a holiday would bring us closer together again, right?!! Please go through this check list:
– Does it feel like my husband isn’t into me?
– Am I walking on eggshells around him?
– Is his participation during intimacy mechanical, devoid of affection?
– Is a vacation WITH ME his idea?
– Do I usually feel like I can’t do anything right?
– Am I trying to do anything and everything to please him?
– Is the ‘anything and everything’ making a positive difference?

There are so many thoughts rushing through your brain as you try and figure out what’s happened to your husband, what’s happening to your marriage, how are the kids faring . . . . on and on and on the thoughts swirl. One of those thoughts is inevitably going to be about the need for a vacation (related article). Obviously, it’s not a ‘one shoe fits all’ decision, but I’m here to temper your putting weight into these thoughts. Measure carefully please – this may not be the time at all to throw yourselves together.

It WON’T WORK if you’re not on the same page, trust me, you will only dig a deeper hole of sorrow. It is not a solution, it is a gift waiting to be opened at the appropriate time.

We just returned from a 2 week holiday and you know what I realize? April 22nd came and went without my even recognizing the date – we were exploring a part of the world we’d not been before in the way we like to explore and we were so compatible and had such a good time . . . . hold onto hope if your spouse was a ‘good egg’ before all this hit. Active waiting. Active rest. Active trust.
Such a good time – something I thought would and could not be truly possible in all it’s fullness. I left expecting to personally have a good time because I know how to do that now, but I could not have possibly expected that WE would have such a good time TOGETHER for 2 whole solid weeks!
April 22, 2012 was the day (last day of a 12 day vacation) I learned that my husband was unhappy and had been checking out apartments on Craigslist. The day I thought was an ‘anniversary’ I’d never forget! I completely forgot.

I had a growing deep sorrow under the surface on that April 2012 vacation. It was well founded sorrow I was soon to learn. What I didn’t know is that the changes I was noticing in my husband were going to all gain speed and barrel down the mountain like an out of control freight train ¬†. . . . . right straight for me.

God is unchanging yesterday, today and forever. I love Him more than ever for what He is and for what He is not.

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Another related article.

Posted in marriage problems, marriage restoration, mid life crisis, my husband's not into me, vacation to save a marriage, what's happening to my husband | 2 Comments

Cannon Shots and Fresh Canvas

When you’ve been left, and it drags on for awhile, you move into a place of acceptance in¬†being alone. ¬†There is this deep desire to be reconciled, juxtaposed with the strange new feeling of being okay with alone. ¬†He’s a different man anyway now and by golly, he’s not looking like my type anymore. What if the¬†needle is stuck¬†and he stays this way, playing this new album¬†and the tunes aren’t the ones I would choose. Maybe he’s thinking the same thing about me.

I often fantasized about just letting him go, it seemed that’s what he wanted anyway. I’d rent a little apartment with a water view, heal and then carry on from a new place of strength. ¬†I’d read enough to know that women were and are continually doing this all over the world. I’d be another such woman.¬†Certainly not my dream world, but it was starting to look a whole lot more comfortable than living with an open wound that wasn’t getting an opportunity to heal. You get weary, real weary. The sorrow,¬†the bravery, and everything in between takes it’s toll.
Even when we had started dating again and after he’d moved back home I often went to this fantasy world of living on my own. Still do from time to time. Any kind of restoration is hard work and takes time.

I had a chance to visit Tucson, Arizona recently. I love art so even though I was there for only one full day I made a beeline for the nearest art museum which happened to be at the University of Arizona. Interesting story of how U of A happens to have 26 of the 50 altar pieces that are from the Ciudad Rodrigo cathedral in western Spain painted between 1480 and 1488. I think this link gives the best info on this permanent exhibit if you’re interested.
One of the scenes from the life of Christ had a hole in it. Turns out that during the Peninsular War in 1812, the British commander, Duke of Wellington, led an attack on Ciudad Rodrigo (Napoleon was otherwise occupied with sending forces to Russia) and unbeknownst to him there were these paintings, in disrepair, that had been put into storage in the cloister of the cathedral.
BOOM! Cannons are fired and one cannon shot happened to make a rather large hole in one of the alter pieces. Fast forward . . . paintings are found, change hands until New York collector Mr. Kress obtains them and has them carefully restored with the integrity of and regard for the artists intent and creativity as the highest concern. The cannon hole is deemed too big to repair and becomes part of the collections history. This painting really resonated with me! I’d hit a stage in our story where I was lamenting the fact that this marriage earthquake is part of our family history. It will always be part of our story and I was hating this fact.
I spent a lot of time with this painting. God was giving me some insight, some healing and I needed to stick with it. This was one of my languages and I felt loved by God in this gift of time and art.
There’s going to be more brush strokes on this in the months and years to come. All I need to know for now though is that this painting of ours is going to take time, it’s going to be unique, it’s going to have it’s own beauty, it’s going to help others understand their stories better and the cannon shot is part of it. It’s too big to cover or camoflauge. Actually, it’s part of the integrity of our painting. I accept. Furthermore, in our case, the canvas already had a lot of beauty to work with. I’m thankful to not be starting with a fresh canvas. Fresh canvas? Who am I kidding anyway – there’s no such thing when your heart has already been capaciously painted on.

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Bit of Something to Keep You Going

Brief Bit of Spring Encouragement for You!

Sometimes, in the mess of it all, you will be the vessel of hope for yourself, your spouse, your family and maybe even your friends.  Praying that the chartreuse green of spring will come soon to those of you who need it.

Emily Dickinson says it well.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

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