Wilderness 101: Finding the purpose in waiting

Newly pronounced husband and wife.
Newly pronounced husband and wife.

It’s really a painful thing to watch God give you a tremendous blessing – like marriage – and then see Satan seep in and try to bring about something negative to steal it away.

I’ve seen it a lot of times, actually, in my own life. The Bible calls Satan the “Father of lies,” because he fills our minds with junk and shoves out the joy and hope we’ve worked so long to renew them with.

In some of my graduate studies, I’ve learned that one type of therapy or counseling is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In this type of therapy, a counselor spends a lot of time talking out the patient’s problems with them. Essentially, over the years, sin and society, along with circumstances, have convinced us to believe lies about ourselves:

“I’m too fat, no one would love me.”   “I’ll never amount to anything because I have no direction.”   “My life is worthless because I’m not rich or famous?

But these things are just flat out lies — that Satan wants us to believe so we will become ineffective for Christ.

Right now, my husband and I are ready to move on to the next step God has in our lives, but we can’t seem to find the open door. We’ve been praying together each night that God would open all the doors He wants open and shut all the doors He wants shut. We know He’s in control and can and WILL do exceedingly more than we could ever imagine.

But the waiting is difficult. It’s like a holding pattern, the wilderness or a weeks-long wait for a return diagnosis. It’s dry, barren and it all looks the same. Sunshine looks gray, there’s no breeze, no water, no food and no life. Satan would have it strangle every last drop of hope out of us.

But! Here’s the rub: Satan can’t do anything to us that God doesn’t permit. Considering the story of Job from the Bible, that’s pretty scary. But then there’s David, Joseph, Jacob, Paul, John and Moses. I’m reminded of a song that was recorded in the early 1990s:

“There is nothing that can come against me, that doesn’t pass through Your hands. So I’m finding that You’re faithful and true and I’m placing all my trust in You.” (“There is a Love”)

My husband and I are moving on all right — we’re moving forward into victory, and into a deeper relationship with God. We’re building the foundation of our marriage of 3 — Brent, Sarah and the Holy Spirit — so we’ll be strong when the tides of life rise even higher.

And so we wait, with courage, trust and hope, knowing that God’s purposes never fail, and He has purposed our beautiful life together.


Caring for my husband with shoes on

The legend of the horseshoe and soul fusion.
The legend of the horseshoe and soul fusion.

Wow, did I ever get challenged regarding my last post — and right away!

Previously, I wrote about caring for your spouse, wondering what that even meant. I determined that caring means wanting the best for the other person even if it’s not what you want — and doing your part to make that happen. Especially when it’s uncomfortable.

Last night I came home from work about 11:15 p.m. and found my husband unresponsive on the bed. His eyes were partially open and I tried to wake him up for about 10 minutes. His eyelids fluttered a bit, but he didn’t respond to me and didn’t move. His breathing was shallow and turned rattly, which sent me into a panic.

Aside: For those of you who know me, this was very similar to what happened to my dad in 2012. No matter what I did — gently taping his cheek with my hand, knuckle-rubbing his breast bone, shaking him, pinching him, talking to him, squeezing his hand — dad didn’t respond. It was much the same with Brent last night.

Partially out of panic borne somewhat from past experiences with my father, I called 911, rolled Brent onto his side and waiting for the paramedics. When they arrived, Brent sat up and was talking to them. His heart looked good, but some of his readings were high and they advised him to get it checked out stat.

Once they were gone, I got Brent a cool towel for his forehead, a huge glass of ice water with a straw, and propped him up with all our pillows so his neck wouldn’t ache in the morning. I made sure he didn’t tumble on his way to the restroom and called his dad and brother to offer Brent some comfort.

As I laid down next to him — all my late night plans smothered — I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be. I held his hand and he cuddled close to me — unable to say much without getting scared and worked up. I rubbed his arm and hummed some soothing hymns to him. He finally fell asleep after wrapping me in his arms and setting my head on his shoulder to sleep (he had all the pillows ;0) ).

Brent’s going to be just fine, just FYI. But what a night! And what a privilege to care for the person I love most in this world.

What does it mean to care for your spouse?

Goofing around pretending to be sick on the ER bed.
Goofing around pretending to be sick on the ER bed.

We have been sick the past couple weeks — me with digestive problems and Brent with nausea and fatigue — which kept me out of the loop for a while on this blog. Sorry for the delay in posting new content.

Well, my husband and I are in going into our 6th week of marriage. Our illness has caused a few bumps in the road, but it has also brought us closer together. Brent took me to the ER last week at 1 a.m., when I’m sure he’d rather have been at home, snuggled comfortably in our bed, catching himself some healthy Z’s.

Instead, my handsome, sleepy man was with me, waiting for an ER doctor to deliver a diagnosis. He made me laugh, nearly to tears, laying on the Stryker bed and pretending to check his ears and nose with those little lighted tools. I snagged a few photographs (I’ll add one here) and swung him through the Whataburger drive-thru on the way home. I wouldn’t have made it without him.

I have spent a few nights myself, woken up by Brent’s coughing, feeling seasick or unable to stay asleep. Made for groggy mornings, but I have no greater pleasure than taking care of the man I love.

And isn’t that marriage in a nutshell — CARE-ing for another person? Love is transcendent … you can love a man and never be married to him. You can love a woman and never take care of her. Tending to another person in the good and the bad times is totally different. To care about someone means to work for their best, even when love is absent.

Or, in the case of marriage, when love doesn’t come naturally. When you don’t feel like loving your spouse. When your mate has hurt you…or failed you…or disappointed you…or..has not taken care of you. Have you ever felt that way? Not cared for and not valued, you decide to recuse yourself from being caring toward your spouse. It’s fortitude that gets you through.

What do you think its means to care for your spouse? Tell me in the comments!

Turning rage into respect: How to love my husband better

We had so much fun snapping photos of us as newlyweds.
We had so much fun snapping photos of us as newlyweds.

Our new marriage has been strained by a lot of big changes.

My husband was officially retired after 18 years in the military a couple weeks after we wed. We’ve both been sick with stomach issues and last week, even the dog started puking during the night.

On Sunday I was feeling particularly poor while I was working. My husband took me to the Emergency Room and sat with me while I drank medicine to relieve my digestive symptoms, got my belly x-ray’d and waited. We were there until about 1:30 a.m. and my usually early-to-bed man was steady on for me. Of course, we made a What-a-Burger run on the way home for him, so I think that took some of the sting out ;0)

We’re also facing another problem: my anger.

I’ve never been someone who was full of rage. Normally, I burn hot but fast, and I don’t tend to hold grudges. I’ve always been somewhat proud of that because I don’t make too many enemies.

Turns out I banked on that character trait too soon. I’m under a fair amount of stress in a situation involving some people I love dearly. I’ve internalized it and only at times have let the madness pour out from me. Unfortunately, I’ve been directing that anger at my new husband as of late. Little things explode into marriage-rending hatred spewing from my otherwise innocent mouth. I have become the person I never wanted to be like — my mother in her younger years.

When I was growing up, my mom let her anger at my father lead her around. Everything was a factor or symptom of my dad divorcing her, doing things that weren’t kind or not placing enough importance on our family. She made every flaw, failure or foible his fault, even when it wasn’t.

I think that rage fueled a lot of my mom’s choices. She was very active in social causes and most of the time took me along with her. She was dedicated to the point of obsession, and I think those things became outlets for her rage. But when they weren’t, I was.

Here’s a list from the Christian Post that I think I may post on my fridge. It suggests ways for me to love my husband, and I love the idea that other people need this information too.

A lyric from a song by Avalon sums up how I feel about it all: ”

“Why do I live like I’m in chains, when you have set me free? Why do I have to break your heart, before I fall to my knees? I know it’s time to pray for change, give all I have to give. I wanna love you better than this…

Renew me, remake me, undo me, unbreak me. Come into the empty spaces, of my broken places and Consume me, complete me, pursue me, redeem me. Let your Holy Spirit living through me, renew me.”