It was a Sunday morning, two days after returning from a week out of town, when he said "I have something to tell you."
And you know, you just know... it is going to ruin the day.
And he says "I have to go out of town again next week."
Again? AGAIN? But he promised THIS time is would be different. THIS time he would not be away from home so much, THIS time he would put his foot down and set his priorities right.
But this is the third week out of four that he has been gone. And it is the week that houses his birthday AND Valentine's Day. And more importantly than ANYTHING, I NEED him here.
I am tired of doing it all, all by myself. I am tired of tucking four little, rambunctious children into bed each night and changing every single diaper and answering the 'boy questions' and leading family worship. I am tired of doing chores and taking out garbage and homeschooling and cooking and feeding a fire. I am tired of being a mother AND a father.
I am desperate. I can get through the school day and the dinner dishes and the fire starting if I had him to appreciate me. If I only felt cherished. If I only felt loved. But how can I feel love when I am lucky to speak to my husband once a day and to go to bed each night alone? How am I to feel cherished when my husband doesn't have time for me? When I can't kiss him? How can I keep doing what I am doing without him to comfort me and acknowledge my work?
"He can't do this to me again. I can't do this. I don't WANT to do this." I think.
He says "I don't understand. Normally you are so strong."
But I am weak. Very, very weak. Doesn't he SEE? He doesn't understand how weak even though I try to explain. I plead.
I feel abandoned. He made the choice to go back to work and I hated it and now, because of him, I live a life that leaves my children fatherless and me desperate and unlovely and alone. And I am stuck here, to be housemaid and schoolteacher and farmer and cook, all alone. This is my new life. And I don't want it. And I tell him so.
I get angry. I become very unlovely, indeed. My face is swollen with desperate tears and my words can't be taken back. But I don't want to take them back~they are real. I apologize for the venom, but not for the truth.
My tank is empty. It has been for two months. I've been running on fumes and I have done what I had to do while he is gone-but there is nothing left. I am spent.
Hours pass. I cry at every whim. But the venom I spit has left a strange hollow in me. A quietness. A tiredness. And in the quiet, I am stirred.
Matt can't give me what I need. I love him so much, but he can't.
And it occurs to me, I have been wrong to ask that of him. I have been looking for my tank to be filled, but I haven't been going to the right place. I've been going to the movies, instead of the gas station. I haven't gone to the Filler of tanks.
Maybe that is why divorce is so prevalent within the church? Because people realize they can't be fulfilled by their spouses? So they give up and move on, looking for fulfillment, without making the next, most crucial step of realizing the truth~
The truth that being fulfilled comes from somewhere else-SomeONE else.
You can seek it all you want~ fulfillment~ but you will never, ever, ever find it until you look in the right place.
I realize, too, that I have been blaming Matt for my shortcomings when the truth of it is....it is me. Me floundering. His heart need to safely trust in me. That means, when he is gone I HAVE to do the dishes. I HAVE to take care of the children. I HAVE to clean the house and keep the fires going and lead family worship. I HAVE to do chores and finances and schooling. That is what being a helpmeet is. That is what being a wife is. And I have to do it joyfully. That is what being a Christian is.
When your tank is dry and you are running on fumes~ go and get a Fill Up. Pray for strength. Pray for strength. Pray for STRENGTH.
Don't go to the grocery store. Don't go to the movies. Go to the Gas Station. Don't ask your husband to give your soul the rest it needs, He can't. Ask God. He can.
When times are desperate and the trials seem too much to bear~ stop thinking of yourself.
Think of Abigail Adams, who spent many years of married life alone and with responsibilities to the household, law firm and farm placed squarely on her shoulders.
Think of Juris Wippe, and the letters he wrote on his deathbed. Letters to his wife. To his children. Think about receiving such letters.
Think of George Muller and sitting down to an empty dinner table surrounded by dozens of hungry bellies and thanking God for his provisions, in faith, without a lick of food on the table.
Remember that God wants obedience in all circumstances and realize that your circumstances could be much, much worse.
When all you want to do is give up~ give thanks. Get happy. Count your blessings.
I stopped counting for a while. Now is a very good time to begin again.
#819: startling realizations
#820: safe travels
#821: my husband, who has a birthday today
#822: God preserving my Darling from: death by waterski, death by electrocution, death by fire, dealth by ice hook, death by drowning, and many other deaths throughout his life.
#823: another shirt to smell as I sleep
#824: a friend who shares personal secrets for my help
#825:a winning streak
#826: straws to make sulfur water go down faster
#827: homemade strawberry wine and candles, dropped off this week by my sister-in-law
#828: old men who buy their wives flowers for Valentines Day, a day early. I saw it. They made more than their wives happy, they made ME happy.
#829: a washing machine that sputtered back to life miraculously and has given me a few loads of clean laundry before it has another 'poor spell'
#830: this verse:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"