Tag Archives: marriage

Joy

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A strangely difficult, beautiful conversation came up recently.  From it came, what is happiness, what is joy?

Once upon a time, shortly after Melody told me she’d been molested… a frien-emy (I did not set myself out as this, but they constantly only ever had negative things to say to me and never edified with me, so, I can’t call them my friend really) told me for someone who talked about joy all the time, I sure wasn’t very happy.

I chuckled to myself because I knew the me that once thought JOY meant “super happy cheerfulness!” But in that valley, I knew that joy is completely separate from happiness. They can mingle together sometimes, but they are not by any means intertwined.
Joy can radiate from those that are broken, hurting, and very unhappy.
Like peace that surpasses understanding, joy is a choice to be made about our view of life and our level of faith in God. It can connect, deeply, with emotions, but it almost isn’t one in and of itself.

During the conversation about negative people, happiness, joy, struggles… someone shared this beautiful song from YouTube. I listened and wept. It was the epitomy of my life from the time Melody told me she was molested, until the day the verdict was read at the criminal trial. I could FEEL this song and it immediately brought me back to the most unhappy, joyous time of my life. It made me yearn for that joy once again.

This is the song, Joy, along with the story behind it (that I found after the first hearing).

This triggered memories of the time from Melody telling me of her assaults, all the way through the hellish three years after the trial, in which I stopped choosing joy and chose bitterness, brokenness, and anger instead.

And tonight, I realized something completely new. Something I’ve known this whole time, but not put together in my puzzle of that time.
While I was grieving my child’s molestation, my husband’s clear abandonment, everything… I never felt abandoned by God. I never felt as though He didn’t care. I knew His Truth, and that gave me joy unspeakable.
Toward the end, before the trial, He placed Daryl in our lives. I had never felt so loved by a man, romantically. I still haven’t, praise God, truly.

When I railed against God and the world in the hours after the verdict was read at the trial, I lay scared, angry, and weeping on Daryl’s couch, and uttered words I will always regret. Basically, “I hate Him. I hate that He could allow us to go through this hell, allow her to be abused by him, and then have the world act as though we went through nothing. He hates us and I hate Him for letting her go through this for nothing.”
I saw deep sadness spread across Daryl’s face. His eyes read pain. I knew it hurt him to hear me say this.
After actual hours of crying and railing, I looked at Daryl and told him that I loved him, but I could feel something shifting in me and I knew I was going to be angry for a long time, maybe forever, and I didn’t know what my faith life was going to come to. I told him that right then was the opportunity to break off our engagement if he wanted to, and I wouldn’t blame him one bit.

He looked me in the eyes and told me he loved me, and he wanted to love me like God loves me. Even when I push away, He wanted to be there to love me, and Daryl wanted to love me like that. I tasted Grace in that moment, even as I was spitting at God.

For almost three years, I struggled with God. After a few weeks, I turned my face to Him, but I resisted Him and I distrusted Love, even though I knew I was wrong for doing so. For three long years, Daryl loved me as a bitter, negative, scared, broken-spirited person. I was so very different than the woman he met and fell in love with.

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How can I not look back on that as a gift from God? In the midst of feeling abandoned by Him, in the midst of my sorrow with Him, in the midst of my fear of His will for my life… He ensured a daily surrounding and caressing of my soul with His love for me in the grace, mercy, and patience of my husband. And I’ve known this all this time… yet… never placed it into the pattern of my life: as one of a thousand generous gifts of God to a wounded, bitter, broken daughter.

How can I not want to chase after His Joy when I come to see all of this?

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Dream of love

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Stairway of Dreams by Josephine Wall

In 2009, three months after Melody told me what Captain Hammer and Dr Horrible had been doing to her, I wrote a post about mourning. An excerpt was:

“I walked down a rose garden path to meet my new husband just about 7 1/2 years ago, filled with hopes and dreams, planning to spend my life with him, entrusting my (and his) future generations in his hands.
If you’ve read any of my posts on marriage before all of this happened, you know that I have firmly believed there’s almost no reason to get a divorce for a Christian (even citing Exodus for not divorcing due to domestic abuse – God says that domestic abuse and divorce are both wretched and one does not justify the other). I have always believed, however, that there are times, and sometimes long times, that separation is necessary… such as adultery, domestic abuse or substance abuse.
I did not at all imagine, walking down that garden pathway, that there would ever be the one door in life that would open up to allow divorce. Yet here I stand at that doorway.
Once I walk through that doorway, I can’t go back. It’s a door that will close, and forever. I am scared. I am terrified that the man I loved, trusted and obeyed (well, for the most part) during our 7 1/2 years together has become a monster in my eyes.

And yet, deep, deep down… I love him. Not just who I remember him being, or who I wanted him to become again, but that man right now.
It leaves me so confused. I literally am repulsed by him and am drawn to him in one breath. I dream of him at night and long for those dreams to be my reality… when I wake up, I find that it’s life that has become my nightmare. I would rather stay awake for all eternity and remember that this is real, than to dream those dreams again. All they are is an illusion of what I thought we could have.”

That post came to mind as Melody and Leela were watching Adventure Time, and an actually very beautiful song was played, called Dream of Love.

I did not dwell on that old post for long, as seeing the little old lady elephant in her kitchen made me think of my grandparents and how my grandfather must have missed my grandmother that way after she passed away… and tears began streaming down my face. To be loved by and to love someone the way my grandparents did – I finally experience this with Daryl – it is beautiful to be broken together this way. Daryl is my best friend… to be parted from him at any point in my life will feel too soon. I felt so grateful that I saw this love, broken together, from my grandparents and my parents.

I felt overwhelmingly thankful that I have had 5 beautiful years now with Daryl, to be able to hear that song on a silly cartoon and be moved by it… because I have been loved so well by a good man and he has accepted my love in return. In late¬†2009, I could not fathom my life beyond sheer survival, much less to imagine life with a man seeking after the Lord, who loves me so well. I want to savor every moment I have with him, with our family. They are gone in the blink of an eye.

God is good.