I have a private blog where I discuss my marriage problems in-depth to a few caring people, but I wanted to provide a general update here as well. I am on depression/anxiety medication now, and it was rough at first, but my body has adjusted to them. I’m definitely experiencing more even emotions without the roller-coaster ups and downs. And yet, depression still hits, like when my husband of 12 years doesn’t know that I need my glasses for far away (I’ve only been near-sighted for most of my life). And when I’m making financial decisions based on the fact that we have no net income, and my husband tells me I can spend as much as I like (because he knows I won’t spend too much). He doesn’t understand how confusing and frustrating that is. I want to get a job, but I have three kids to take care of.
And then there’s the whole trust thing. It doesn’t work. I find myself starting to be able to meet his eye, talk back to him, and then he says something that sets me back to where I was. I hate it. I actually find myself hating my life.
In Christ, I am loved. In this house, I am loved by my children. Desperately loved. Hugs and kisses every hour or so. I kind of get sick of it, but I am grateful, too. Why do I need to be so affected by my spouse’s lack of faithfulness and love? I wish I could get over it. I wish I could pour my energy into an art project or writing project, and use that as therapy, but all that seems too frivolous for these desperate times. I would feel guilty for being artistic when I should be practical. I find myself hating who I am, too, and I know that’s wrong. It’s hard to talk myself out of these thoughts. What is that called? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Change the way I think.
I’m not telling you all this so you can see how low I get. I’m writing because I need to know myself, and then I can work on praying about the specifics. And you can pray, too. Because God is in control, and He listens and understands.
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.
— “Piano” by D.H. Lawrence, 1885-1930
I was looking for something beautiful and complex to think about. Memories of past music will do. This poem makes me think of Sunday evening church services in my childhood. The varnished wood ceiling slanting up to a peak. The dimmed lights as the sermon begins. The worn wooden benches. Blue hymnals and Bibles in the shelf in front of me, green hymnals beneath the seats. The backlit cross behind the pulpit. A hushed and holy atmosphere, unlike any atmosphere I’ve known since.
How is it that last night I could write about the beautiful promises in Isaiah and be all happy about God taking care of His people, and today I am an insecure mess in need of a good cry? And feeling like people will be angry or dismissive of me if I cry?
So I read the promises again. They are wonderful. They are true. And I’m still struggling big time.
I’ve even been doubting my vocation as mother and homeschooler. Maybe I should be working. I can earn more than my husband; support the farm. He doesn’t want to quit farming and the cows are doing awful. Maybe I should be doing that. Or work and homeschool at the same time. It’s been done. Who will take care of the kids? I don’t know. I don’t know anything right now. Except that I’m trying to do everything right; follow the rules, live in integrity. And I feel like I’m doing it all wrong, anyway.
Even my freelance writing; it’s a source of income. But it’s not steady or predictable, or enough to cover groceries. And if I spend too much time on the computer I end up thinking of my husband at counseling saying how I was on “that stupid computer” most nights. But I was taking care of the kids during the day. And this stupid computer is actually one of my favorite places to be. And I don’t think, deep down, that it’s wrong for me to be on here. But maybe it is. Maybe I’m always wrong about everything. Maybe I’m a horrible wife and mother. I don’t think so, but I also do.
We had a sermon on Isaiah 43 tonight, and it got me thinking more about that lovely chapter. Here are some things I’ve been thinking about.
Vs. 1b: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” To be told not to fear is a wonderful thing in itself. I do fear. I fear a lot. And I shouldn’t because God has called me by my name and said I am His. He takes care of His own.
Parts of vs. 2: “…they shall not overwhelm you… the flame shall not consume you.” Wow. So when I feel overwhelmed and consumed, it’s really just a wave or a flame that’s touching me while I am in the very safe grip of God.
Vs. 4a: “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” It reminds me of that hymn, “Jesus, Lover of my Soul.” Just when I think I am unloved, I am proven wrong. And actually, when one person unloves you and dishonors you, that’s when you begin to realize how many others really do love you.
Vs. 13b: “I work, and who can turn it back?” That’s so reassuring. God is at work, and all the sanctification He works in me and others cannot be turned back or dismissed or reversed with lies by anyone.
Vs. 26: “Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.” Ha, I’m not exactly sure what that means, and I’ll probably check my study Bible later, but right now I’m thinking, hey, this is an invitation to communicate with God and to claim the promises He has given in His word. I’m not a big fan of arguing, but reminding God of Himself seems like a thing I can do.
As I tried to enjoy what should have been a lovely chat about romance, I made a proper promise to myself. Absolutely no more letters in the magazine.
I had meant well, but I’d nearly put dear Kathleen in the most difficult position. The thought brought me up short. It was bad enough not telling Bunty I was writing back to the readers, but if Mrs. Bird ever thought Kathleen suspected me of tampering with advice in the magazine and not reported it to her, it would be very serious indeed.
— from Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce, 2018
I finally found another book I really enjoy. It has been awhile. Dear Mrs. Bird takes place in London during WWII, and the heroine, of course, does not stop tampering with advice in the woman’s magazine she works for. The language in the book is really funny, full of Capital Letter Words which imply something is Terribly Important. The relationships in the book are endearing, especially the friendships formed. I appreciate that it is clean. I haven’t been able to recommend much on here lately because of too much immorality, to which I’m sensitive lately. Dear Mrs. Bird is totally recommendable. Go read it!
I’m letting my mind take a vacation to Norway tonight. At least for a few moments. I read somewhere that picturing a beautiful image in your head during moments of stress can calm you down. I’m going to try to make that a habit. The trouble will be choosing one beautiful image. Our world of art has so many!
Psalm 43 has meant a lot to me lately, and I want to take a few moments to tell you why.
Everyone goes through tough patches in life. It’s how God grows us. Mine is now, and I’m often confused and lacking hope. Verse 3 says, “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me.” And that’s what I’ve been praying.
When God sends me His light, then I can see more clearly what is happening. I will be more understanding of myself and others, and I will be less likely to react in ungodly ways. How does He send me His light? I think it’s through lots of little and big ways. Through sermons (we just, conveniently, had one on marriages, which is applicable to my problems). Through counselors. Through devotionals and Bible readings. Through books, like the Boundaries book I’m studying. Also through friends who pray for me. Natural light actually produces Vitamin D in our bodies which nourishes us and fights depression symptoms. Spiritual light fights hopelessness in much the same way.
When God sends me His truth, then I know that if I follow His truth, I won’t be wrong. It is reassuring to understand that God’s opinion of me and His understanding of my motives matters more than anyone else’s opinion. If my vertical relationship with God is right, then my horizontal relationships can be out of whack and it doesn’t matter that much because God will either pull them back into position or… I don’t know… leave them the way they are. Because God cares about me. God sends His truth and light to me. And He doesn’t do that to every single person out there.
I still feel in the dark sometimes. But I know God will answer “Yes” when I ask Him to send me His light and truth. And I know He will also answer “Yes” when I ask Him to lead me. It’s a matter of faith. I don’t see all the results yet, but I know God is working on His Yes answer.