Another Deficient Christian Man?

I have a long-time friend who moved to a different state several years ago. We don’t talk often, but we do keep up because our oldest  daughters are good friends.

We talked last night for a long time. She’s that kind of friend where we simply pick up where we left off, always comfortable. And, interestingly, always some same themes run through her conversation. One of those themes is a topic we cover often out here from many different angles.

My friend is married to a nice, quiet kinda guy. He’s solid and predictable. He’s kind to her and their three daughters. He provides well for their family. But compared to what “Christian circles” teach of how a “Christian Husband and Father” should be, he’s a wet dish rag. He doesn’t train the children properly. He doesn’t lead the family right. He doesn’t measure up on the Christian Dad Yard Stick at all, and he certainly doesn’t hit all the bases on the Christian Husband Ball Field of Life.

Oh, don’t get me wrong … he’s not a Bad Boy on any level. He’s an all-around Good Guy. He just doesn’t come home, sit the kids down, and drill the Bible into them … or force them to memorize scripture … or sit his wife down each night and read the Bible to her … or have family and husband/wife devotionals … or search out ways to lead in ministry all over the church. He’s your Average Joe trying to lead a good life, be a good husband and father and provider for their home, and live a life of character and integrity. He does love God and have an intimate relationship with God, he’s just not all preachery about it.

So I spent a good amount of our conversation laying the truth of divorce out for her. Divorce is hell. Divorce is a hell that never ends. It’s horrible.

“But, doesn’t it get better when you remarry a good man? Doesn’t your new husband wipe away all that old stuff?”

Interesting question. And, no. Don’t get me wrong, my New Husband and I have a great marriage, but we would both give it up in a heart beat if we could have our first marriages back. The pain and sadness of divorce never goes away.

She thought about that some. Her parents divorced when she was a child. She said her dad has had a sadness in him since then that has never left. “But my  mom was the one who left, and she was fine,” she mused. Yet after talking it out for awhile longer, she realized her mother never was fine after that. She did remarry, but she also was unhappy and became an alcoholic.

I cautioned her to be careful what she hears from her friends when they talk about their husbands. No one ever tells the whole story. Sure, her husband may lead family devotionals, but he’s just another man. His wife doesn’t need to, and shouldn’t, share all his weaknesses with the masses (or women’s bible studies).

Interesting that it is in the Christian world that she feels her husband is deficient as a man to the point where she wonders if staying married to him is the right thing to do.

He’s Not Only Stupid…

…Steve Johnson sucks as an NFL receiver.

He had a golden opportunity to be the hero. He was wide open in the end zone, in overtime. He had everything a receiver could ask for. The ball was well-thrown. And he dropped it.

Instead of saying something that a responsible adult should say–like “They pay me enough money; I need to be catching those passes. No excuses–he rants the following:

I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…

How about this, Stevie?

Why don’t you just admit it, Stevie Boy? You suck! You couldn’t catch syphilis in a crack whorehouse.

A Day Just for Thanks

It is evident when one lives a life of gratitude, and it is evident when one does not. When I start getting a bit whiney, God straightens me out, my husband buys me chocolate, and all is good again.

As has been alluded to, my life is very hard right now … stuff I can’t talk about publically, but it’s a rough ride. It is my habit to write in my journal, then read my Bible, then write out whatever verses really touch me, then write out praying through those verses. Sometimes it’s just one verse; sometimes many. I like to work through books of the Bible. When life gets hard, I often come back to the Psalms. I’ve been in the Psalms again for quite some time.

Last night I began crying to God as I wrote in my journal. Then I opened up to Psalm 55, the next place for me to read. Wow. I was blown away. Everything I cried was right there. Life may be hard, and it may even be really, really hard, but God is much more good than life is hard.

I am thankful …

… for a God who is Sovereign, Holy, and Just … and who knows me better than I know myself, who never leaves or forsakes me, and for whom there are no surprises in this life.

… for a Husband who loves me … I mean, really, really loves me ~ PMS, perimenopausal, and all (and that’s a LOT!).

… for great, amazing, funny, full-of-life kids! My girls amaze me everyday, and my Step Son blows me away and makes me laugh.

… for a spoiled rotten little weiner-mix dog who brings such warmth and joy to our home.

… for incredible friends … really incredible friends.

… for my church – this is huge for me.

… for a safe house to live in, clothes to wear, and food to eat.

… for not dreading the holidays this year for the first time in many years.

And I’m thankful for this place … for Amir for inviting me to write here however long ago that was … for Mrs. L who has brought so much fun to our online family … for all of you who visit and read whether or not you comment … and even for Recon and Sneaky, too.

Happy Thanksgiving

Oh. Wow.

So, yesterday Amir & I were in the gym. At the gym, there are 5 televisions that you can “watch” (if you have headphones). I noticed that Oprah was showing on one of the televisions. There were nuns as guests. Since I’m at home today and things are kind of relaxed, I decided to find a clip of yesterday’s show to see why the heck nuns were Oprah.

I thought maybe they were there in order to show their support for the TSA or something like that.

Oh, no. That’s not why they were there. That would have been tame compared to the real reason for their appearance.

My tummy is doing somersaults right now.

Family Anxieties

Sooo … here is my beleaguered situation.

My youngest sister lives about 20 minutes from me. We are not close. My oldest sister, who is only one year older than my youngest (I am the 0ldest of four kids) lives about ten hours from me. They, and their families, and my girls’ cousins (their children), will all be congregating at my youngest sister’s home for Thanksgiving, just a mere twenty minutes from my house.

My dad and his new wife will also be there – they live about 22 hours away.

I am still not comfortable around my dad who abused me in so many ways growing up and who will very likely never accept responsibility for his choices. Not only am I not comfortable around him, I am not comfortable with my daughters around him.

However, we would continually be in a group setting. Neither of my girls, nor myself, would ever be alone with my dad. That would never be an option.  Still, his very presence makes me anxious.

But my sisters and their kids, and even their husbands, would be fun to be around. The cousins all have fun playing together. And my girls do not get to see four of their cousins often at all.

And I’ve not yet met my dad’s new wife; neither do I have any desire to do so.

Sooo … do I spend an anxious Thanksgiving with my family so my kids can have fun with their aunts and uncles and cousins? Or do I skip out all-together because my dad and his wife are showing up, and go with another option.

These are the things I hate. I did not choose to be abused by my dad as a little girl and all through my life, but I am the one forced to continue to make choices that put my whole family on one side of the fence and myself alone on the other side of the fence.

My youngest sister has totally taken my dad’s side in our parents’ divorce a few years ago – that’s a no-duh as my dad is the one w/the money (relatively speaking). My oldest sister has no memories of her childhood, so she stays neutral. I am cautious with her simply b/c our youngest sister will use her to get to me.

My oldest sister and her family will gladly meet us somewhere without my dad, but my dad will know.

And when it all comes down, I just can’t go. I can’t. He’s asked if he can come visit us in my home. Nope.  Even though all the answers are no, it still makes me anxious, and I will be very glad when I know my dad and his wife have once again left the state.

Savvy: Conversing with Feminists

This is not aimed at Savvy, but rather some of the nutbrains she chronicles, who don’t get it. And if they think the Christian men are impressed, they’re deluding themselves. Read the conversation for yourselves.

Hopefully, Savvy will get some better friends. These folks are worse than enemies. The People’s Republic of California is not a good place at all…

Hell

I talked to my mom a week or so ago. This is significant because I only talk to her a few times a year at most. She had forgotten several of her grandchildren’s birthdays, and while my sisters were raggin on her, I decided it best to call and make sure she was okay. She is okay. She’s working a demanding job and simply forgetting things. That’s “normal” for her. I’m not offended. It’s who she is.

In the course of the phone conversation, my mother said something that has bounced off the walls of my thoughts since. She said, “I wish I would have worked toward my nursing degree thirty years ago rather than helping your dad build his business. His business would have grown without me. But I would have had the financial ability to leave him then.”

Thirty years ago I was fifteen.

My parents were both abusive, but they didn’t divorce till a few years ago. I grew up in an intact home. I wonder what it would have been like to go through my parents’ divorce as a kid or teenager, and I shudder. I shudder when I think of my own kids living in a divorced world.

It has been a bit over five years since my girls’ dad left us. I put my girls in counseling and spent endless hours caring for their devastated hearts for years. While there has been much healing (by the amazing grace of God), there will always be horrible scars. And there is still pain.

We are in a healthy environment now. My New Husband is not at all abusive. He does not try to invade their lives, and he does not try to be their dad on any level. He rarely takes any kind of disciplinary role, leaving that all to me (as he should in our blended family situation). He is very much more my husband than their step dad.

Still, just last night, Youngest said to me, “Mommy, if I could have anything in the world, ANYthing, I would want you and daddy to be back together again. I mean, I know you have to be divorced because marriage-rules were broken. And I’m okay. But if I could have anything, I would want you and daddy to be together again. It’s hard, Mommy, having two homes.” This from my daughter who is the most adjusted of all of our children. She was not angry or bitter or crying. She was longing for what should be.

The up side of the conversation was that she also said, “Mommy, I have love from you and daddy and sister and step-dad and step-brother and dog. I’m full of love in my heart!” She has no empty holes in her heart … she will never even know what it’s like to have empty holes in her heart b/c either her mom or her dad or both don’t/can’t love her.

I wish I could give my girls what I had – the opportunity to grow up in an intact home. But I cannot. There are some (huge) differences, though, that make it easier. Had my parents divorced, my younger sisters and I would have been extremely vulnerable to my dad’s abuse. He ended the physical sexual abuse when I was seven and we moved to a house where my bedroom was not isolated anymore. But, if my parents had divorced … .

And my mom was never very stable or the motherly type … if they had divorced and she delved into a career, we would have been even less supervised.

I have been a rock for my girls, an anchor. I have been there for them day and night, never leaving them, always there. I have sought wise and biblical counsel for all of us when needed. I have nurtured and nourished them and provided an environment for healing. My girls are great kids, and despite what they’ve been through, they are doing great. To God, alone, be ALL the praise and glory.

I write this to say, again … divorce truly is a hell that never ends, especially when you have children. Parents delude themselves when they think their kids will be okay. Kids will not be okay in a divorce. There were about three days between my ex telling me he was filing for divorce and when we told the kids. I spent those days on my face, pleading and begging God to take this away from them. Such pain to inflict on a child!

Do what you can to strengthen marriages. Avoid inappropriate relationships with married folks. Hold your married friends accountable for their actions. Honor marriage vows and encourage others to do the same. And when your friends bad-talk their spouse, stand them up.