Under Attack… so tired

Circumstances

So, my prodigal spouse / ex-wife / thorn in the flesh… whatever you want to call her, is at it again. I have to go to court, once again to fight for my right to be with my children half the time. She seems to have unlimited financial resources and nothing better to do than re-hash this custody thing again and again until she can eliminate me from her life. My desire to be a part of my children’s lives is a serious inconvenience for her.  Sadly, my practicing grace and being cooperative over the last two years has put me in a situation where she could win. Apparently, I should have been uncooperative, unyielding, and generally mean-spirited and stubborn.19245602372_9767683f2a

I know that these are “circumstances” and that God is bigger than all of this, but I’m becomming very tired. I am growing weary. I am running out of money. I need the strength that only the Holy Spirit can offer… I am so tired.

Who my true enemies are

So, I know that my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I know this, but I am tired. Some days, I just long to ask God to put my prodigal spouse in a diabetic coma for a month or two so that I can have some peace. I’m just so sick of the daily harassment. I’m so sick of constantly being given situations that I need to react to. I hate feeling like every co-parenting decision is a choice between following Jesus and maintaining my tactical advantage in court and that they are mutually exclusive. I know He is in control, but so far, I’m not seeing any divine intervention in the arena of my custody fight. I just need to tag out of this ring and have Him fight for me a little bit. I am so tired.

Answers to prayer

I know that He answers prayer! I know that He speaks to hearts and changes people. I know because I’ve seen it… in everyone but my ex-wife. She becomes more conniving, evil, and bitter every day. She now attends Bible study regularly, listens to Christian radio in her car, and teaches our children a Christian homeschooling curriculum. Yet, she is still consumed by darkness. I know I need to keep praying for her. I’m so tired… It’s taking all of my strength not to pray against her. I need you. Yes, you. If you’re reading this, I need you to stop and pray for me and for her right now. I need you to pray that these rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms would give over this attack. I feel tired, oppressed, and defeated. I need to remember that I have the victory through Him. Oh how I long to shout this victory from the mountaintops, lighting up this online network of believers with stories of His great deliverance.

Father, for your name sake, show up and deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Let me not be put to shame, Lord, for I have cried out to you!

 

 

Vent

Let me tell you about my week.

My ex-wife / the prodigal spouse / whatever you want to call her has really upped her game.

In addition to regular text message harassment, and I mean harassment, she has made several legal, but highly unusual maneuvers to make sure I don’t see my children for most of the Month of December. She has also managed to schedule the time I do have my children full of events running back and forth to where she lives, 90 minutes away.

Finally, My Ex-wife changed our children’s dentists (without consulting me) and gave the dentist her address as the children’s primary address. The dentist sudsc_0363-2bmitted to my insurance with her address. Now my insurance will not pay the claims unless I provide legal documentation of my custody rights. this means that I now need to pay my attorney (likely a couple hundred bucks) to process and submit the correct forms. The dentist is now regularly contacting me about these unpaid claims. I love how I keep paying for her evil and betrayal over and over again in a million little mundane ways.

Just to recap:

  • She left me for another man.
  • She forced a divorce on me that I did not want.
  • She has tried numerous times to remove me from our children’s lives.
  • She consistently undermines me, manipulates me, and harasses me.
  • She is re-married.

There have been some well-meaning brothers and sisters who have recently posted here in the comments:

  • That I am sinning by dating someone new.
  • That I have prayed for my estranged wife out of a place of selfishness.
  • That I am selfish for loving a new woman:
    • That has been abandoned.
    • That deserves to be loved.
    • That treats me like a human instead of like trash.
    • Whose son desperately needs a father.

Bear in mind that I

  • Refused the divorce for as long as I legally could.
  • Tried to reconcile.
  • “Stood” for more than 2 years, wearing my ring the whole time.
  • Prayed desperately for my prodigal spouse’s
    • Deliverance
    • Salvation
    • Rescue
    • Freedom from deception

I consistently asked God to show me what He would have me do, and He consistently gave me signs, little miracles, and regular provision.

Finally, he made the ultimate provision for me, in the form of a woman that I love deeply and who loves me for all the reasons that my ex-wife hates me. In my uncertainty, He has consistently confirmed that I am in the right place, in His will.

So, standers and non-standers, I feel I need to encourage you with the following:

  1. Standing for your marriage is good.
  2. God can and does often bless it.
  3. You may or may not be “called” to do so.
  4. Sometimes the other person’s heart is too hard or they were never saved to begin with.
  5. Moving on and loving someone else will not doom you to hell for eternity.

I’m sure I will get a lot of differing thoughts in comments. That’s fine. I welcome your feedback, and I’ll likely approve your comments. Just know that if you have time to reprimand me, you also have time to pray for me, and that is always welcome.

There your heart will be also (Moving)

As I load the van a second time today,

I realize that moving, for one like me,

Is just transporting the debris of my broken life

from one place to another and then hiding

it from myself.

 

This load goes to the landfill.SOLID WASTE AUTHORITY-2

My daughter’s crib can go.

Why did I keep that?

A box of carefully packed framed photos

of the wedding.

 

I will see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living…

Some kids toys that didn’t fit in this house

ended up becoming squirrel habitat

in the shed.

 

Oh, God, why didn’t you kill me

three years ago when I was blissfully ignorant??

I know I shouldn’t treasure anything

in this life, but my family

was a treasure.

 

I don’t want to do this anymore.

I don’t want to be alone.

I’m sick of helping people.

I’m sick of my fake surreal life.

I want out.

 

Where is my breakthrough?

I’m trying to come to terms

with your bringing everything to term.

I don’t know what’s going on in this womb of despair.

I just want out.

 

God, I hate my life. I hate it.

I know you’re in this, somewhere.

I know you have a plan,

or I wouldn’t still be here.

Any hints?

 

I take another walk down the roadIMG_4689

that crosses behind my house.

I look out across the fields through tears

at farms of people I don’t know.

I cry and snot…

 

I’m shouting at You in the middle of the road,

out across the fields.

If anyone is around I’m sure they think I’m crazy.

Maybe I am.

Maybe…

 

Three tissues weren’t enough for this walk.

I’d better return to the house.

It’s not home. I’m homeless now.

Any house without a helpmate

is not home.

 

Daddy, I know you’re a jealous cuss.

I know you don’t want me to want this

near as strongly as I do.

But you can’t hold me at night or fall asleep

drooling on my chest.

 

I’m tired. I hate this. I hate me.

Everything is so gray and tasteless.

I can’t even sleep anymore.

Won’t you at least let me sleep??

Help me!

 

God, I hate moving…

 

The games people play

An open letter to Christians dating (especially the ladies),
I wrote the post below last night, hit publish, and continued to play the game until I fell fitfully asleep regretting it:

So, I just got off FaceTime with my kids. They are at “the other house” this week. I keep going over the last few years of my marriage and the things my wife said to me the night she left. 2913052110_86f6b014a2_z

It seems like the biggest mistakes that I made in my relationship, the ones that ultimately drove my wife into the arms of another man and out of our marriage were:

  1. Being too available. I gave up a lot of hobbies and a second job to be at home with her and the kids and to help with the kids / housekeeping etc.
  2. Letting her know regularly how much I loved her. I bought cards just because. I wrote little notes. I sent texts. I bought flowers. I bought gifts. I never wanted her to doubt how I felt about her.
  3. I shared my feelings, concerns and weaknesses in a transparent and vulnerable manner.

No, I am not being sarcastic in the least. I know that those seem like the qualities that we’re all told to have as Godly men. Those are touted as positive characteristics that all Godly women are seeking. The night my wife told me she was leaving she shared all of the things she couldn’t stand about me and why she just had to “get out”. They included:

  1. You’re always around. You have no hobbies. Your whole life is me and the kids. That’s really pathetic.
  2. I feel like you care for me and love me far more than I do you. That’s not fair, and I can’t stand to look at that “I love you” look on your face anymore.
  3. I don’t feel like you’re a real man. See, you’re crying right now. You’re kind of a big baby.

Wow. This feeds into everything the male relationship gurus say about how we have to “play games” and pretend to be indifferent, disconnected, and unavailable to get a girl. Apparently this also applies to keeping a girl, even one you’re married to.

So, here we are, two years later. This girl I really like, who really seems to like me (we call or text every evening) hasn’t contacted me all day, and I haven’t contacted her. I’ve had plenty of opportunities. I’ve thought about her several times. I feel as though I initiate conversation too often though, so I am painfully letting the silence hang and waiting to see if she will contact me. How ridiculous is that? I really want to call her or text her, but I feel like if I do, I’m setting myself up to “lose the game”. I feel like I have to play the game. I hate feeling like that. I hate it.

I don’t want her to think I’m clingy. I don’t want her to think I’m too devoted. I don’t want to look like “a big baby”. That phrase will never leave my head. Thank you, prodigal spouse.

I also can’t help but think this is unbiblical or wrong, but it’s become a part of the courtship process because of the fall and I just have to live with it.

I hate this.

 

So, I regret playing games. I pray that I’ve done no lasting damage to my relationship with this amazing woman. All I managed to do, I think, was miss an opportunity to talk with her, but perhaps she enjoyed the break.GAMEFREE-2

Either way, I think if we have to play games, maybe the relationship isn’t worth it. My end goal is marriage, and I think the worse-case-scenario is not that I’ll lose the girl. That’s happened to me already in the worst way possible. I think that the worst thing that can happen is that I’ll end up married to someone I have to play the game with. I’ll end up with someone with whom I cannot:

  • Serve
  • Love
  • Honor
  • Cherish
  • Be transparent with
  • Love as Christ loved the church.

I don’t want that. So, this girl, as amazing as she is. This girl that I’m willing to wait for even though she is really busy, deserves more than to be played with. That said, if she wants to feel the need for “a chase” or desires a guy who is aloof, unavailable, and disengaged, then maybe she isn’t as awesome as I think she is and I’m better off without her. I will allow God to be my anchor, and no human relationship, no matter how much I desire it. I need to look to Him to hold this fast if it is His will. If it isn’t, then I’m better off without it. It’s just hard to see that sometimes, particularly when I’m down & feeling insecure.

Christian ladies, go read the dating advice websites. See what is being said about women and what they want. If you ever want a relationship that lifts you up instead of tearing you down. If you ever want to have a real spiritual leader in your home, you can begin by stopping with the games. If you’re getting a text every hour, yes, he may be a clingy-stalker-psycho. If you’re getting a nice text or call every day, he just might care for you, which I would think is what you want. If you’re seeing someone, and you don’t want him to second guess your feelings and whether or not he’s constantly being “tested”, don’t assume he knows. The social media marketing is intense. Every single or divorced guy’s Twitter and Facebook feed is filled with invasive intense marketing by these guys who say YOU WANT US TO TOY WITH YOU! Go ahead, send your man a text right now. Tell him you don’t need him to play hard to get. Tell him you appreciate his transparency and authenticity… that is, if you really do.

Blessings.

J.


 

Nearly 2:00 am

A Prayer…

IMG_4676Well, God, it is 1:58 am, and I can’t sleep. I’ve asked You for sleep, but You’re not giving me sleep for whatever reason. I got on my knees and prayed. Maybe I’m supposed to be praying for someone…

I ended up sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor crying. If You want to have a conversation, then here we go. I hate my life! I hate it so so much. I just want it to get better! I want out of this depressing in-between place where nothing seems right and everything seems gray and dull and meaningless.

I’m dating someone really great… Thank you for bringing her into my life, and I hope that that goes somewhere. She’s pretty non-committal, though, and she doesn’t have very much time to devote to spending time with me. Is this just one more person who is passing the time with me waiting for something better to come along? I can’t take much more of that.

The wife of my youth is now officially married, with the name-change and all, so don’t talk to me about standing and restoration. That ship has sailed and You didn’t do a damn thing about it. So, I’m asking You to bring me into something new. I’d like it if you would bless and grow the relationship I’m in now, if it is a relationship…

Honestly, I just want to hold someone and be held in return! I want my help-mate! My life is not “very good”. It’s very not good. It’s ugly and empty and broken and sad and lonely and I hate hate hate it so bad!

Why, God, did You not just kill me three years ago when I was blissfully enjoying my life? I even remember telling You that I was so happy that You could take me out right then. You didn’t. You left me in this world to experience more pain than I ever thought was possible. You know me. You are supposed to love me! You know how much I hate being alone! You know how much pain I’m in right now! Daddy, if you love me, why won’t you help me?  I know that sometimes we need discipline and challenge and trials to grow, but we need love and tenderness and gifts of love too! I feel like an abused, neglected child. It has been two and a half years!

Help me! Show up! Did You forget about me, over here in the corner, crying my guts out? Oh Father, have mercy on me! Help me! If nothing else, just let me sleep! I keep proclaiming that “I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).

I will wait upon you. I’m trying to be strong. I’m trying to take heart. Father, I’m waiting for a breakthrough. You know what I want. I know You have a plan and You know what’s best, but I am in a lot of pain right now. This doesn’t feel like Your best.

Help me! I want out of this in-between place! Help me!

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Contentment & Zombies

So, here I am. It’s a Sunday afternoon, and I’m wondering, “have I been ghosted by yet another one?” Maybe I have. Maybe I haven’t. If I have, the only thing I can chalk this one up to is divine intervention. We were getting along great, like day before yesterday. Yesterday, she had to cancel a date. No big deal. I was totally okay with that. Then suddenly, silence has ensued for almost 48 hours. She’s read my messages. No response.

Cartoon-Zombie-300pxWhy does this upset me? I am not content. I know that we are to be content in Christ. I know that I need to love God first and delight myself in Him. My heart is sick with discontentment. I long more than anything for someone to hold and love and cherish. I hate my life so much that I often express the ultimate discontentment to God by asking why he hasn’t killed me.

I am not suicidal. My dad did that. I won’t ever do that to my kids… ever. I just sometimes wonder why God would have kept me alive through all of this while so many people around me who had good lives and were doing good works for Him have died. Seriously, If I had gotten terminal cancer three years ago,

  1. My wife would have been able to find someone new with a clean conscience and without sinning.
  2. My children would not be in the middle of a giant custody tug-of-war that didn’t end when the legal agreement was signed.
  3. I would be with God and wouldn’t have experienced any of this ongoing pain, frustration, heartache, and discontentment.

I just keep telling myself that God must have some purpose for me. There must be some plan. What does He want from me? What am I supposed to do? Why am I still here. For some time after my wife left, I had a vibrant walk with God, where he used me daily. Some of the highlights include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Helping an old lady, named Madeline, wandering along the side of the road on a cold winter evening.
  • Helping someone with car trouble in the Library parking lot.
  • Regularly ministering to a friend whose wife had died of brain cancer (again, a woman who was by all accounts worthy of sainthood).
  • Helping a lost and confused elderly gentleman, whom I ran into at the pizza shop, find his way home.
  • Meeting, ministering to, and praying for of a retired kick boxer from Puerto Rico in a part of town I would never normally have been in.

Lately, though, I’ve been moving through life like the walking dead. For the last six months, despite practicing the presence throughout the day, surrendering myself to Him daily, regularly crying out to know His will, and often asking to be put in the right place at the right time to do His work, I have been living a half-life.

My prodigal spouse has officially moved on. She introduced her NCP as, “my husband”, at a recent viewing I attended. I felt the last hope for our marriage die inside of me, and at the same time I did feel a renewed sense of life. I felt that, “now I can escape this liminal existence!”

The presence of a new woman in my life (she texted me back, by the way 🙂 Yay!), while very pleasant, does not bring contentment. Only God brings contentment. I am trying to learn contentment. So, today, I cried out to Him a lot. I asked the Holy Spirit to Comfort me, to lead me and guide me, and to teach me contentment.

So, now, even though I don’t feel like it, I will praise Him.

Psalm 29
A psalm of David.
1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his[a] holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
Sirion[b] like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks[c]
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.

 

Sitting this one out

Dear Reader,

Please don’t let this discourage you. Standing is a good thing. It is the right thing to do, even, particularly if God has affirmed it and called you to do it. Keep it up as long as God leads you to do so.

I was going to leave this unsaid. I was just going to live my life and not record it here, but I don’t want anyone to be mislead. Some of you know me in person. A very few readers have actually spoken to me face-to-face, even though I write under a Pseudonym here.

I’m done. I could go into all of the reasons. I could spout off the circumstances, the depth of my pain, and even the ways God is encouraging me to put this in my past. I know that none of it ultimately matters to you. You will simply assume that I have become a broken apostate Kool-aid drinker, who has abandoned faith for reason and given up God’s plan.

So be it.

Pray that God will reveal His will, whatever it may be. My stand is over. May your stand be as blessed as mine was cursed.

Much Love,

Me

Crap not to say when his wife leaves…

genericawkwarddialSo, the big D is becoming a reality for more and more people in the church. The part of this sordid story that I’m noticing, though, is that it’s not typically a mutual decision. Further, it is happening to a lot more men, against their will. There seems to be a stereotype of men running off with some wild woman and leaving the wife and kids at home. I’m not seeing a lot of this in my church or community. In fact, I’m seeing the exact opposite. What’s more, wives don’t run off and leave the family. They find a replacement husband, justify their actions, file for divorce, and fight for majority custody.

The church’s reaction to this has been lackluster at best. I haven’t seen many churches or leaders take any kind of stand against this because it isn’t politically correct to do so and it’s much more common in the congregation than say homosexual marriage. But let’s put the institutional response aside for a moment and look at the body of Christ itself.

In the awkwardness of trying to comfort our brothers, we say some pretty stupid crap. You ladies in particular could use a lesson in how not to rip a marriage-grieving man’s heart out of his chest and urinate on it. So, here is a list of stuff not to say to a man grieving the death of his marriage.

There is a reason for everything. / God is in control.

To tell a man (or woman for that matter) that “there is a reason for everything” or that “maybe this part of God’s plan” implies that God did this to him. That is a seed of doubt and bitterness that the enemy is already trying to plant in his mind. Unless you really believe that God is going around breaking up marriages, ignoring the covenants He oversaw, and destroying homes, don’t say this.

Can God bring good out of evil? Of course. That’s Biblical. So is the sovereignty of God, but it is a profound and perplexing mystery how sin, free will, and the fallenness of man plays into this dynamic. Unfortunately, it is very easy to imply to the broken man’s heart that God is controlling evil and causing it to happen. This does not help his relationship with God when he needs that relationship the most.

You need to get a pet.

There is no phrase that causes me to want to punch you in the teeth more than this.

First, I don’t need one more thing to be responsible for. Yeah, I have so much down time between dealing with custody arrangements, legal documents, running a household solo, and dealing with frequent attacks from my prodigal spouse that I think taking on the responsibility of pet ownership seems like a great idea! Really????

Second, this somehow implies that a pet is an acceptable substitute for my one-flesh partner who decided to rip herself away leaving my life with a gaping hole. God noted that from among “all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals… no suitable helper was found” (Genesis 2:20) for man. Are you smarter than God?

If I tell you I am despondent, lonely and miserable, don’t suggest a dog. By the way, that’s really insulting on an epic level, but we won’t go into that.

 

Count your blessings. He has taken good care of you.

While this is profound and undeniable truth, it is not really what a man wants to hear when his world has been shattered. Yes, it is better to concentrate on the positive and to “speak victory” over our lives. Yes, being down in the mouth does make a horrible witness to the goodness and provision of God. Yes, He probably had provided a lot of protection, help, and support during this process. All in all, that doesn’t change the fact that this man is reeling from monumental loss, cold betrayal, and ultimate rejection. So, when someone has been abandoned and rejected in this way, he likely won’t feel like proclaiming the goodness of God from the rooftops for quite some time. Give him a freaking break. Shut up, and pray some blessings over him.

 

You need to focus on your kids. That’s what is important.

Yes, they are, but this implies that the marriage isn’t. In God’s hierarchy we have God > spouse > children. Don’t make light of how incredibly important this relationship is, or should be, to a man of God. This isn’t selfishness. He’s not unaware of what his children are facing. On the contrary, he wants to protect them as much as he can.

Having his home ripped apart and being rejected and abandoned by his helpmate affects every aspect of a man’s physical and emotional health. It is hard to sleep (or stop sleeping), eat (or stop eating), concentrate, and even do daily tasks like opening the mail. Don’t tell him to “man up” and focus on his kids. He’s not neglecting them or ignoring the blessing they are in his life. They just aren’t his spouse and they never will be.

 

This your chance to find someone better.

Yes, any marriage has its ups and downs, and people are always, in a sense, unequally yoked. It is however a covenant. It is supposed to be for life. Divorce can mean a clean slate in some sense, but that isn’t “God’s best for his life”. God’s best is always our original one-flesh partner. That relationship is not meant to be disposable, and this is not a “blessing in disguise”. Calling something that is is identified as a “curse” in Deuteronomy a “blessing” is foundation-ally and fundamentally wrong.

 

If there’s anything I can do to help, just call me.

He will never call you. If you are a close friend, come over to hang out and help with the kids. Come and spend the day when his prodigal spouse has custody and he is alone. If you are not a close friend, be diplomatic in what you offer, but be specific. Offer to grab a bite to eat, play a videogame, watch a movie or help open mail. Honestly, he doesn’t know what he wants or needs, and he is likely unaccustomed to asking you for help and companionship. Offering the vague non-committal “anything” will make you feel like you’ve done something when, in reality, you’ve done nothing.

 

God never gives us more than we can handle.

Oh, yeah! You are so right! I’m pretty sure I saw this on an attractive landscape posted to Pinterest. It must be true! How, in fact, do you know that God never gives us more than we can handle? I suppose the folks who have been beheaded by Isis were mentally and physically equipped to “handle” parting with their head…

The only scriptural reference relating to this at all is speaking of temptation, not trials and hardships. The God I read about in the Bible is constantly putting His children in way over their head. That’s the nature of faith, perseverance, and learning to trust God. I remember telling God multiple times that the one thing I could never handle was this… Guess what?

 

We need to set up your dating profile

“It’s been awhile. It’s time to get over it. Let me help you setup your dating profile.”

One, time is irrelevant when it comes to healing a broken heart. Two, do you really think he hasn’t thought of that? Chances are he has one already. Chances are he’s getting a heaping helping of rejection there as well. I have personally, in my own rebellion, sent out roughly 50 messages over two different dating sites and have received roughly seven views and three replies. One was a flat, “not interested”. Two fizzled out within a few days and turned into silence. I am not obese, scarred, or deformed in any way, but people flatly ignore me. Maybe God took the hedge of thorns I prayed for my prodigal and put it around me instead (thanks a lot), or maybe I am that worthless and disgusting…

The point is, the abandoned and rejected man is broken and fragile. Subjecting him the the shallow superficial world of online dating is like inviting a friend recovering from chemotherapy to participate in your MMA class. The constant rejection and flat-out dismissal that a man experiences on these sites simply cements the idea that “something must be fundamentally wrong with me. My wife chose someone else and none of these women like me either. Maybe I am worthless and disgusting”.

A cry for encouragement…

OK friends help me here because I’m struggling.

I know that the enemy is working overtime against me, as I sit here at my children’s soccer games in my wife and her lover’s city of residence… I know that I’m struggling because I have to watch my kids cuddle with my now ex-wife, her lover, and his mother while I sit here, alone in a strange place. Either way, the spam from hell is rolling in. I know it’s lies, but I really need some encouragement. All I have here is discouragement. Even my closest friends and mentors have given up on my stand. I have recently had about five very mature brothers in Christ pretty much tell me that I am not going to be restored. One even told me that the Holy Spirit told him not to pray for restoration for me. I asked God for a sign of encouragement (Covenant Trucks), and He gave me the opposite sign (Payne Trucks) about 18 times in the last two months, and not one Covenant Truck.

Then, today, on the way to the soccer game, I see two Covenant Trucks, one of which is the painted over variety. I feel like a wave blown and tossed by the wind. I don’t want to be double minded. I want to be standing or not standing. The thing is, if I’m not going to be restored, I’m not going to stand just out of obedience and self-sacrifice. Unless God sends an angel into my bedroom to tell me I must stand in lieu of restoration to be a light in these dark times, I want to stop being lonely and miserable.

I’m an educator, and for better or worse, my whole life revolves around data. We don’t use a technique in the classroom unless the numbers back it up. So, here is my struggle. I can’t bring to mind one single testimony of a prodigal wife turning around without seeing her husband move on to someone else and becoming a stander herself or without contracting some terminal illness and coming home to die.

Seriously, if anyone has any data on this please reply here. Is my faithful stand doing a darn thing? Are there any numbers to suggest that women are not consumed with so much pride that they simply don’t come around without some drastically negative stimulus?

Help me out here peeps. I mean maybe I missed something. I did, after all, stop reading Saturday testimonies, from Rejoice Marriage Ministries about six months ago, when I started to realize that roughly .04% of testimonies were about wives actually coming home. A lot of times, I would see a man’s name and get excited, but it would just be something about how he was able to be a testimony or some such thing. It was never, “my wife came home and praise God, we’re restored and happy”. Perhaps men just don’t share testimonies. I can tell you that if God brought my wife home, I’d be shouting it from the mountain tops and glorifying His name in blogs, tweets, podcasts, profile updates, and everything I possibly could.

The thing is it’s been almost two years… I know, some of you have stood for much longer. Maybe you got a promise of restoration. I never did. Maybe you’re good at doing life alone. Maybe you don’t whither when you are are left without companionship for long periods of time. Maybe this wasn’t your one worst nightmare, the thing you told God you could never ever take, coming true. Maybe you’re just a bad ass and you can take severe emotional and spiritual punishment like a champ. I am not that strong, and the Holy Spirit has stopped providing my “strong-stand-juice”. The divorce is final. Everyone I know has stopped praying for my restoration. I can’t name one personal Christian mentor in my real-life circle (not online friends) that is not encouraging me to “move on” (A.k.a. find somebody else and stop being so darn miserable).

Come on peeps. Give me some encouragement. Flood the comments with stories of women who came home to their husbands without seeing their husband move on to someone else or contracting a terminal illness. Don’t bother if all you have to say is that I’m saving my wife from burning in hell (I’m a bit of a Calvinist, so that argument is meaningless), or that my stand is going to make my children better people, or that God is going to bless my obedience in the afterlife and be disappointed in me otherwise. I don’t need guilt. I need encouragement. If the only reasons to stand are negative ones, then what is the point?

I hate my life. I hate waking up. I hate going to bed. I hate eating. I hate silence. I hate music. I hate television. I hate reading. I hate everything I used to love. Hanging out with my kids is even bittersweet. Almost every moment and every conversation reminds me of her and how she was stolen by another man, with whom I am going to have to share those precious children for the rest of my life… I am tired. I am tired of hating everything. I am tired of living a life washed in gray. I am tired of not sleeping. I am tired of being tired. I have told God that I am willing to be willing to give this all to Him. I have asked for His help to let this all go. I have asked for Him to help me love Him so much that He is all I need. I don’t think He meant for me to live this way. So please, no pat answers or Bob Steinbeck quotes about how I need to suck it up for the sake of her soul. Send me some real testimonies. Give me some hard data. Give me some real encouragement that this does happen in the wild. I want to know that real wives do come home.

Someone help me.

7 out of 18 ain’t bad… well it is bad…

I recently re-read Bob Stienkamp’s devotional entitled “18 Signs that something is happening“. Turns out, I’m currently rocking seven out of 18 to some degree or another. That should be encouraging or uplifting, but it’s not. In fact, I’ve felt like it’s been 11:59 for about two months now, and I’m really starting to run backwards, rather than even crawl forwards.7out18

You feel like giving up. The enemy will make you think nothing is happening and nothing will ever change.

I am certainly here. More than any of these other signs, this one is manifesting itself powerfully in my life. I feel like my hopes and dreams for a better future have shriveled up and died inside me and my heart is becoming harder and more cold and lifeless each day. I am still standing, but it’s like a routine. I’m going through the motions, but on the inside I have retired. I’ve stopped praying for miracles and have started to simply plead for relief from the daily onslaught of fresh attacks. I know that as Christians we have the freedom that comes with not having to fear death, but I fear life. I fear loneliness. I fear years of perpetual pain, rejection, and isolation. I haven’t even seen a Covenant truck in months. I feel like its just over for me, like I missed some turn I was supposed to take and I’ll never leave this valley. So I just need to find a half decent place to settle down here, while my Shepard steps out to tend the rest of the flock.

People are constantly reminding you about your mate’s free will and how you have grounds for divorce.

As my prodigal finds new ways to attack me every month, legally, financially, and through custody challenges, my friends not only remind me that I can sign the divorce paper any day, but also that I can counter sue for fault divorce. After all, they say, she left you for another man, and now she is taking you to the cleaners. After all, I am the wronged party. They want to know why I am continuing to allow her to have the upper hand.

People tell you God wants you to be “happy.” In truth, God is a lot more concerned about your holiness than He is about your happiness. He also cares about your mate’s lost condition.

Everyone has someone for me. They’re sick of watching the slow train wreck that is my life without doing anything to improve my circumstances. I am desperately lonely and worse I have a strong spirit of rejection hanging from my neck like a leech. I don’t want a mate near as much as I want someone to want me, to like me, or just to not hate me and treat me like dirt. My own rebellious heart is telling me that God wants you to be “happy”, during my better moments. During my worse moments, it tells me that God wants me to be “miserable,” so I can be more like Christ, and I despise Him for it.

You can see no way out of specific circumstances, such as financial problems. Remember, God works best when nothing else will.

I’m literally being destroyed. My prodigal is making sure that I am financially beaten down in every way. I can no longer see a means out of the hole that I am in, other than a miracle of God. At one point, I was standing for restoration. I was standing for my wife’s soul. I was standing for the family of our children. I was standing for the Glory of God’s name. Now I’m standing for survival. I’m standing because when it’s all said and done I want to know: Does obedience really bring blessing, or is His Word as fallible as everyone says it is? Is He omnipotent or impotent? I have no other hope left. If God isn’t who He says He is, then I am doomed to a life of poverty and loneliness.

You are tempted to take off your wedding ring.

This is happening a lot more lately… Okay, it’s happening every day. I feel like Frodo, buckling under the weight of it. I cannot stand up under any more legal fees. I do not understand why my wife, my helpmate for so many years wants to destroy me so badly. She left me for another, and I am suffering the consequences. I cannot face this vast army. I no longer have the mental, emotional, or financial capacity to defend myself. If God does not show up now in a big way, I will be financially ruined. I’m not sure I will have a place to live next month. So, do I feel a great desire to proclaim my devotion to a covenant with someone who wants to destroy me? My human nature wants to fight back. My flesh wants to run into the arms of anyone who will love me and tell me it will be okay. I shouldn’t need a woman for that, but my comforter is apparently on vacation this year. So, I find myself wanting to pocket this ring every time I find myself in a room containing available females who might make me feel like a person if they came up and spoke to me.

You mistakenly start to view your local church as a hindrance to restoration. Satan may give you fear over how your returned prodigal would fit in. Your pastor may come out against marriage restoration. The returned spouse and their church relationship is one of the many areas that God can and does heal for restoring families. Right now, you need the love and support of a church family.

Since I began my stand, despite support from my head pastor, my spiritual director, and most of those closest to me, I have at times seen my church as an apostate, seeker sensitive Sunday Show, serving up cool aid Christianity to the myriad adulterous couples seated around me. My spouse said she never felt connected or accepted there when she left me. I have visited the local AOG church in hopes of finding more “spirit filled” believers. I have made friends at a local Mennonite church in hopes of finding a smaller, closer community of believers, but my church is my church. If I cut ties with that community, what do I have left?

In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat was able to proclaim a fast for all of Judah. I do not have Judah. I have my church. I have my friends to call on. In a lot of ways, I have found that my church, the body of Christ for me is actually my immediate circle of brothers, mostly from my church, but some not, who hold me up, support me, keep me accountable, and love me through listening and helping with the mundane tasks of my life.

Prayer partners may be removed. There came a time in Charlyne’s stand, near the day of our remarriage and before the Internet, when my wife’s personal prayer partner moved out-of-state. God was telling my wife that she needed to depend on Him, not others.

Everyone has a life, and it seems like everyone’s life has them right now. My strongest prayer partners will stand with me for a season and be removed by tragedy, other interests, bouts with depression, and even trials and temptations. It seems I am constantly reaching out to someone new to stand with me and relying on people from many different parts of my life. Prayer partners burn out. Honestly, I feel like a lot of folks are still praying for me, but many have stopped praying for my prodigal. Despite supporting my stand, they’ve given up on her. Many of them say to “give her over”. They don’t realize that despite the hurt and the pain and daily attacks coming in from her, saying, “give her over” is like telling the spouse of someone with cancer to “just shoot her and put her out of her misery.” They mean well, but… “give her over to her sin and let Satan have her?”

You are tempted to make major changes in your own life. It could be reclaiming your maiden name or changing the door locks on your home for no reason. Whatever you are considering doing, it would say to your prodigal spouse, “It’s over!”

In some ways, I don’t have a choice. I have to move. I have to give up our marital home because I cannot afford to buy my prodigal spouse out of it.

Honestly, I’m ready to sign. I know that is a choice. I’m tired of being hurt with something new every week. Despite what I said above, I’m a little bit ready to “give her over”. I am such a contrary mess. What it all comes down to, is in my selfishness, I want a companion. I want a partner to hold me and tell me it is going to be okay. I want to be loved not hurt. I want to be wanted not hated and despised. I want to be valued and cherished and desired.

You sense a certain uneasiness in your spirit. Where you had once started growing in the Lord as a stander, you now feel something indescribable in your life. Some people confuse God wanting them to intensify their stand with Him, with God wanting them to give up on their stand for a healed home.

How about, I feel spiritually dead. I know that God brings growth and wisdom through pain and suffering. I know that he is looking for my complete surrender. At some point though pruning turns into cutting and eventually destroying. I’ve experienced so much growth over this last year and now it’s turned 180°. Now rather than growing me the pain is killing me. Each day for the last month I’ve become a more hardhearted rebellious and despicable person.

Is that an uneasiness in spirit? I hate my life, and I don’t want to live this way anymore. I’m tired of proclaiming His greatness when He wont be my genie and give me what I want!

I’d like to stop at seven…

I don’t think I can take any more. Honestly, I could totally go for:

Satan sends a counterfeit into your life. Just when things are the bleakest, Mr. Right or Miss Perfect arrives. Some standers make the mistake of thinking, “This must be of God because we are so perfectly suited for each other.” Counterfeits always look better than the real thing.

Of course, that won’t be the card I’ll pull. I’m not even going to say out loud the one that would destroy me. Everything else I’ve ever told God I could never take He has done to me in the space of a year and a half. I really don’t need any more. I can barely convince myself that getting out of bed in the morning is a good idea. Honestly, I cry out to God every morning to give me the strength to get up and face the day because I don’t want to do it any more.

The 11th hour…

I know that His timing is perfect and He’s known for coming in the 11th hour and changing everything in an instant. Well, it feels like 11:59 for me. Something has to give before I do.

Pray for me.