Location: New England, United States

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Marriage

More time passed and my relationship with God grew in fits and spurts surrounded by long periods of repose. Our little family never returned to church, but I would pray when I remembered, and read my Bible occasionally. To me, God was like a light bulb - there when you needed some light. What I didn't know then was that he was patiently waiting. He was waiting for my committment to him.

My family, however, was not doing so well. My husband changed jobs with the changing seasons, and frequently he would spend long periods with no employment. I suspected he had been fired more than once. During these times of unemployment, he would drop our daughter off at his mother's house and disappear for the day on the pretense of looking for a job.

Bill collectors would call or the water would be turned off for past due balances. Once a sheriff, accompanied by one of our creditors, came to repossess my daughter's bedroom furniture. Each time, my husband was absent as though he knew when the creditors would call or come to the house.

We moved annually and there was a restlessness surrounding our life. He drank - mostly beer, but it was included in his daily menu. I learned not to argue with him for I perceived, correctly, that he was a firecracker just waiting for a match.

In contrast, he could also be charming; almost child-like in his abandon, and I swear he never met a stranger. He had an easy going charisma with neighbors and friends, and it was he that people sought out. Still, his dark side was impenetrable and frightening.

The Ohio Valley can become oppressively hot and humid in the summer. It is as though the westward winds just skim the top of the valley leaving the heat and moisture below undisturbed. Such was that Saturday.

I had spent the day cleaning and working in the garden. We had no air conditioning and after I had gotten my daughter down for the night, I took another cooling shower. Finishing, I could hear my husband on the phone in the other room. He quickly came down the hallway dressed in slacks and a dress shirt open at the neck.

"Are you going somewhere?" I questioned with confusion.

"I can't stand it in here. It is so hot. I am going for a drive to cool off."

He left and I had my doubts to keep me company. He did not return until the next morning. This behavior continued the next weekend and the next until I confronted him with evidence. His mistress' name was Linda.

Expecting my confrontation to end the relationship, I was summarily disappointed when he announced that he was glad I knew. Now he would not need to sneak around. We lived in the country with only one car, so he left me Linda's phone number in case there was an emergency during the night. The affair continued; now in the open. Each morning he brought the car home so I could go to work. Then when I returned home in the evening, he showered and dressed to meet Linda.

I was in shock that whole summer. I could not eat or sleep. There was no one to share my misery as my family lived miles away, and all my friends were shared with my husband. Also, I feared the result of a strong confrontation with him, so I walked through the next few weeks with indecision and heavy grief.

One night, I could not sleep. I walked the quiet house with nothing to occupy my mind. Even television could not capture my imagination, and my desire to run away was thwarted by a lack of transportation and a responsibility to my daughter sleeping in her room. I went outside on sat on the porch. It was late and even the traffic noises were silent. A light breeze blew the scent of honeysuckle to me and the stars above seemed to swim through my tears. I cried in earnest, and my release esculated. I wailed out loud for there was no one to hear me.

Emotionally exhausted, I blubbered to those stars. "Nobody loves me. I have never been loved; not really loved. I am loved only when it suits the other person. I am loved only if I am good. That is not the kind of love I want, I want to be loved 'no matter what'! I want a love that will last anything, and I want it to engulf me so I have no doubts. That would be a perfect love."

As I sat there on the porch, I realized the foolishness of that request. For someone to love me perfectly - they would need to be perfect, for only a perfect person could love perfectly. That one thought jolted the pain from me and replaced it with curiousity. Could it be that a perfect love was available?

I ran into the house for my Bible. "OK God, I challenge you. You said that you love me - prove it! I know that you are perfect, so you can love perfectly. Do you love me 'no matter what'? Would you love me if I killed someone? Would you love me no matter what I do and say? Will you love me perfectly?" I let the Bible fall open. It opened to Isaiah 62, and he spoke to me.

" For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name which the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My delight is in her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth. The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: "I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink your wine for which you have labored; but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary."
Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples. Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him." And they shall be called The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD; and you shall be called Sought out, a city not forsaken." RSV

I read the passage over and over realizing that this was a love song from God. Just as a woman takes a new name when she marries, God had given me a new name. I now belonged to him. My new name - "My delight is in her"- Hepzibah.


Blogger Trailady said...

What an incredible story you have shared!! Thanks for being real. May God continue to sing His love to you.

Blessings Be Upon You.

11:41 AM  
Blogger KayMac said...

thank you

4:08 PM  
Blogger Wolfsong said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog! But my entry was actually meant to be funny - I was kind of being sarcastic to those who picked on me thinking I was a rich snob. I have been sad about it...but mostly, I try not to notice what people tell me unless they're people who are a big part of my life. Your blog looks great...I will take some time and read it soon. Thanks again!

12:43 AM  
Blogger Wolfsong said...

I haven't read the whole blog...I started with this one and I had to stop and comment. That was beautiful. The part where you cry and talk to the made me cry (and I don't like to think of myself as someone who cries easily!). Can I please quote that passage in my blog? It summarized exactly what I ask God sometimes. I don't know how to be loved by Him because His love is so mysterious - free and constant and yet as humans being used to imperfect love, we can't accept His easily. Thank you...wonderful passage.

5:43 AM  
Blogger The Lost Butterfly said...

Things happen for reasons. I believe that God knows best. May God bless you in whatever you do.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Hi Annie, Thank you for your kind wishes and encouragement on my blog. Charlie "The Old Blogger" from Down Under.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

I have now had time to come back and read some your stories and I'm so glad I did, it will take me a while to get through them all, but I will.
May friendship fill your life and may your God be with you always.

4:09 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

I just happened upon your blog doing a keyword search, and read this entry.

Wow does this bring back some memories for me. I too found Jesus to be my joy when my world was crashing around me. Good for you! Your strength will be in the Lord.

Years ago, I sat in my old dumpy car, looking at my sagging garage with my daughter asleep in the car seat behind me, and envisioned Jesus standing there, bigger then life. I handed Him my heart which He took in His loving hands, where I knew it would be safer then anywhere else. And while there were those that were telling me to payback the wrong that was being done to me, I knew that I was far too precious to throw away like that, and that my heart, and the sanctity of my body was a gift that was to only be given to my husband.

I did not know if God recognized the man whom the world acknowledged as my husband, to be my husband, I doubted it for I knew finally then that the man's sincerity was not there from the start to create a marriage in God's eyes, but still, I left that up to God.

And as I sat in that car envisioning my heart in Jesus' loving hands, protected, I said "Dear Jesus, from this day on, you are my lover, for you are the source of all Love that is True. I give my heart completely to you to care for. I will not take it back. Keep it forever unless there is a man of your choice who you decide is for me, and let me not be mislead or decieved, be it (my ex's name), be it someone else, or be it no one at all. But no man shall have it unless you give it to him, for my Trust is in You. In Your Precious Name dear Jesus I pray."

Such comfort was mine, and I worked still at being a good "wife" though it was useless, and he eventually left shortly after. And then finally, years later when my ex filed for divorce because he found it to be less of a financial burden come tax time, and the manner in which it all played out, I never felt alone.

Though time was hard, and quite frankly sucked, tho money was hard to come by, tho the ex was very abusive to the degree of having to have the police come, etc etc, God was always there, holding my heart. And then years later, He did indeed bring a man into my life, and though there had been many others that sought to have a relationship with me, this one was very different, and everything fell into place, and I was stunned. I was prepared to be alone for the rest of my life, and actually rather happy about the concept if not for the upbringing of my child without a good male role model as a father (that was the only thing for me, don't let anyone fool you. Children in single parent households do suffer. It should only happen when it is the lesser of the two evils.). But here was this trustworthy man who valued the sanctity of the marital embrace, who drew me closer to God, not further away by tempting me with the ways of the world.

We eventually married, and it has been 5 years now. God blessed us with a child.

God indeed is the keeper of our hearts, He indeed is the Great Lover. He brought me together with a man that fully understands that in the words of Fulton Sheen it takes "Three to Get Married".

You have chosen well dear sister, in turning to the Lord with your pain. He is a Great Lover indeed, the source of Real Love, not this fake imitation the world promotes.

10 Thus says the LORD: Only after seventy years have elapsed for Babylon will I visit you and fulfill for you my promise to bring you back to this place.
11 For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. 12 When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you.
13 When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, 14 you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot; I will gather you together from all the nations and all the places to which I have banished you, says the LORD, and bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.

Jeremiah 29:10-14
Just a word of caution. When walking the path with your heart in the hands of the Beloved, there will be those that the deceiver will send your way, for he does not want you be with the Lord, and such temptations will be great, especially as a formally 'married' woman. Keep Jesus and His plans for you first and foremost, do not stray, do not take your precious gift back from Jesus' hands.

A man that respects his future marriage vows with the gift of chastity, can be trusted to respect them after.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight
Proverbs 3:5-6

5:20 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

This was a great story, and such a good reminder we truly find perfect love in Christ. Thank you for sharing this.

2:41 PM  

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