I have been gone for months and it seems like years. What God has done ... is more than I could have ever imagined. Above what I could have asked or thought.
As some of you knew, My family was working toward getting a house through Habitat for Humanity. That required 450 hours of sweat equity. Don put in 18 hours, and I did the rest. Most families finished (even the single mom's) in about 4 to 6 months. It took me, however, from June 2004 until October 2005, because of my health issues.
I almost wound up in the hospital more times than I can count.
It was exhausting. Don seemed to resent every hour I put in on the house and instead of supporting me, would fight. The more I did ...the more abusive and angry he became.
The homelife became worse and worse and worse. My house was a spiritual and emotional battlefield. I would go to church ... and I truely understood the term sanctuary ... that will never again be just an architectual term for me as it is for most people. Church services were truely a sanctuary from the war inside my home.
The worse my homelife got, the further into God I had to dive. I actually finally went to my pastor and admitted to him most (but not all) of the horrors going on inside my house. Halloween weekend, Benjamin asked me if when we got our new house if we could make Daddy move out and if a judge would make him and his brother see him. When I told my pastor about it, my pastor realized just how desperate of a situation I was truely in.
However, I was still stuck in the situation of needing that Habitat house or living in government housing for the rest of my life. So, my pastor, reluctantly, stood with me, praying with me for endurance and patience and SAFETY, until the house could be built.
A few days later, I finished the 450 hours. 5 Days later, Habitat called and said that even though they promised us that they'd build in the area of town that we live in, that they would not be doing it, and we would need to move clear to the other side of town (about 30 miles away). BOTH Don and I freaked out.
We appealed and were told no. I wrote a letter telling them that if they make us move they would be removing us from our medical support system, our family support system, our spiritual support system and our emotional support system. They said no. They had made a commitment with the city of Tulsa to revitalize that other area of Tulsa and that is where all the building is taking place.
Don (and I for that matter) was furious and wanted to go down and fight. Which terrified me. I was not going to let him ruin all my hard work. I felt that gathering my prayer partners would have a far better effect. I barely kept him out of the Habitat office. We had till January 31 to pick a lot ... and if we didn't we'd be removed from the program.
In the meantime, my mother had a knee replacement surgery in October, she had an allergic reaction to lortab (her tongue swelled & hives) and then did not react to morphine AT ALL (no drowsy, no sleep, no pain relief ...nada ... nothing) then she needed a blood transfusion ...then she started to hallucinate on the darvocet (what's that about ... morphine doesnt' do anything and you hallucinate on DARVOCET?)
When she finally got out, she was VERY sick ... and for 2 months could not function on her own. Don be came very jealous of my caring for her and became even angrier.
Things became worse and worse and worse. The Tuesday before Christmas, I had an appointment with my pastor and he and I discussed the Habitat situation and the worsening situation in my house. As well as some stuff that had come out in my own emotions this fall ... some realizations about my own history ... the true root of my eating disorder ... situations that I thought were one thing... that were really another ... I realized that I really had been a victim of sexual assault as a child/teen ... I never forgot the situations ...but somehow, I thought they didn't 'count' ... so all this is bubbling up ... all at the same time ... and Don is becoming worse as the days tick on ...
My pastor was very concerned and says that if Habitat won't build where we need him, and Don won't go, I need to consider going anyway. Then he rephrased it and said that I need to go anyway. He had no intention of letting me let Don move into the new house until or unless he knew that I was safer than what I currently was. I knew he was right.
AT the same time, my drawing closer to God was giving me a strange since of comfort ... I knew that GOD was my rock, my source ... and he had planted my feet ..and he was my shelter ... and not Habitat ...and it was going to be OK. Either they were going to honor their agreement and build where they said they would, or God would make it clear why HE wanted me moved across town away from everything within my reach. I also knew that HE was being my husband when Don was not.
Also, last summer, had come to realize that the onlything that was going to help Don was my testimony (1 Peter 3)
And was standing and praying on scripture afte scripture after scripture ... daily ....
The wednesday before Christmas, we came home from church and I gave Don a cup of coffee without him asking for it. He wanted to know what I wanted. I didn't want anything, I never do when I get him one. He tore into me accusing me of manipulation (a normal reaction).
I looked at him and said
"I gave it to you to see you smile. That's why I do things for you, to see you smile. Last week when you were sick, I made you chicken noodle soup to see you smile. I could have gone to the store and gotten Campbells, which you like, by the way, but I made it from scratch ... to see you smile. Did I ask you for anything? Name one time in the 18 years we've been married that I've made you chicken noodle soup I've actually asked for anything in return! When I get you a cup of coffee, it's to see you smile! Name ONE time in 18 years I've asked for anything in return! When I bring you a blanket when you're sitting in your chair and I see you're cold, It's to make you warm, name one time I've asked for something ... it's to see you smile!"
For 10 minutes, I listed thing after thing after thing that I do for him on a weekly and daily basis for him ..just to see him smile.
He just gave me a blank look and walked out of the house.
Weird. Don doesn't drop arguements.
The next day, we had to go Christmas shopping.
Saturday, we both still had to go Christmas shopping, Don was annoyed that I wasn't done. I reminded him I hadn't had time ..and he said "I know, I'm sorry"
My head jerked up ... Don, had NEVER apologized. Now, I had already noticed that we had 48 hours of calm in the house, which was weird ..now he said he was sorry?
Christmas day was NICE, pleasant ..fun even ... strange.
Two days after christmas, he picked an argument over money ..then called me to apologize and said it was no big deal. HUH????? WHAT?!
A week later, my house was still calm and I called my pastor and told him something strange was going on, but I wasn't sure what and wasn't sure if I should say anything or not. He agreed that I should probably let Don lead the conversation.
The next Sunday, Don and I went out for coffee. We'd been sitting there for 2 1/2 hours, laughing, talking, enjoying each other's company. A friend whom we've known since before we were married came up and asked me who the man I was with was ... and said it couldn't be Don because he hadn't picked a single fight with me.
I told him I didn't know, but I thought I'd keep him!
So then I said "Now that Milo's brought it up ... you've changed dramatically ... what's up"
He told me that he'd gone through his life thinking that his relationship with God was fine, people were the problem.
He and a friend were talking and the Wednesday before Christmas, his friend made him realize, that he'd been holding a grudge against God ... and that made every thing that anyone did nice for him look like a manipulation .. and then he went home ...picked a fight with me ..to which I laid it out for him that I never do that ... and I just want to see him smile ...
He left ..and went and talked to God.
He told God that he wanted God to take over ...and that he wanted to surrender his life to God ...and that he wanted God in control not him anymore.He wanted God to forgive him and he wanted to be the husband and father and man God created him to be.
He came home a new man. Literally. A demascus road experience.
He is so not who he was. The change was complete, total and thourough.
It has taught me a wonderful lesson about God's forgiveness for us. I now have a clear understanding of how God can no longer see our sins once he forgives us ..how it goes into the sea of forgetfulness as far as the east is from the west ...
Forgiving him was so easy ...Don is so different ... that nothing he did before that Wednesday before Christmas matters. He is NOT that man. None of the abuse, none of the infedelity, none of the cruelness ... that is not who he is ...so it doesn't matter. He truely is a new creation in Christ and therefore he is not accountable for those actions, they have been washed clean by the blood of Christ.
It has been an incredible journey. My husband walked out the door that night an angry, bitter, abusive man who had cheated on me, would not back me up parenting and would not make the boys do chores and was completely inconsistant
He walked in
Kind, gentle, patient, with self control, and loving, supportive and suddenly we were on the same page parenting with him backing me up and HIM making the boys do chores and and consistency has become his main characteristic!