My husband is gone now traveling. He's got visits to do and some work in another country he's overseeing. To be honest, we enjoy him gone. It's a breath of fresh air, a chance to recover, a time that laughter seeps back into our home and no one looks over their shoulder anymore. We plan tomorrow to go explore a ravine hike nearby and spend time outside. We'll stop by and visit some friends on the way home. We'll smile, we'll laugh, and we'll take photos of us goofing off outside.
It's telling how relaxed the kids are, how peaceful. Even my daughter who is so tense usually is calm. She had a meltdown the day before he left, partly because he chose to get angry and not come home that last evening until very late.
(It was also my 40th birthday which he ruined by getting mad at me. He also ruined it the day before by asking "So what do you want me to do for your birthday? Do you want to go out?" When I said no because we had visitors and we had meals planned already, he said, "good, so then I don't need to feel guilty for doing nothing for your birthday" and walked away. No. He doesn't need to feel guilty. In one sentence he made me feel as unloved as one could on that day.)
But my daughter had a meltdown that night, and I spent about an hour with a sobbing child on my lap in the hallway. Sometimes you just sit down where the meltdown occurs. She cried and talked for a long time, and then she said, "Mommy, will you all get old, you and brothers, and die before I do, and I will be alone?" How to answer? Very likely she will be the last living one of our immediate family, yes, but she shouldn't be alone. I told her that we may die before her, but she'll be praying she gets a few minutes alone since she'll have a husband and somewhere around eight kids and 17 grandchildren and maybe a few great grandchildren not to mention dozens of nieces and nephews.... so alone will not exactly describe what she'll be. She settled some and giggled and told me she might not have exactly eight children. I told her that I also expect her to take care of me when I'm old and drooling on her table, so she'll probably be relieved when I am gone anyway. She giggled again. We had a long talk sitting in the hall. She's been peaceful ever since.
I did take her with me when I went to the birth. I pulled her out of school for three days and took her with me. Some people are horrified that I would take my daughter out of school, but I just told the school that I gave birth to her, not them, so I will make the decisions. I figure she learned more in three days with a woman in labor and a newborn than she would have in three days learning spelling and math. (I did find a friend to keep her for the 8 hours of the active labor and delivery.)
We have a week of peace left before he returns. He's writing some now. He's tired and not sleeping. I'm not saying anything, but I think "guilty conscience". I'm really not sure what God is doing or will be doing or anything. All I know is that I am done "catching" him and "fixing things". Sometimes I think you have to fall hard before you get any sense knocked into you. Perhaps this means he will crash and not be able to work as he is. Perhaps not. I don't know. He is not my responsibility.
My older two are disappointed that there is only a week left. They had plans to do some things. With me gone for three days with the birth, we didn't get the chance to do all they wanted. I told them there is another trip planned in about a month, and they were happier. "Maybe we can do it then."
It's telling that the kids plan for and look forward to when their father is gone. That says a lot. It makes me sad. I worry about them. My biggest worry is that my kids will have their view of God the Father clouded by what their father is like. My next worry - that they will grow up to be like him. If anything keeps me up at night, it is these worries.
If anything makes me sad, it is that I wanted to love and be loved. I really wanted to have a good relationship with my husband, to be friends, to talk, laugh, and love. There are brief moments when we laugh, but those are interspersed between the anger, the angry silences, and the simple too busy-ness of his life. I am not loved, yet I am married.... so I am here. I will not be loved in a relationship like I wanted. And that is at times hard. This is no little girl's dream. No one says, "When I grow up, I want to marry a man who is angry at me or doesn't talk to me at least half of the time." No one says that. No one even imagines it.
And yet, he's such a wonderful person in public. So much so that people say, "I can't imagine him angry." "He's such a people person. So sensitive to people's needs."
The struggle for me is that my husband is a extremely valuable person. He has giftings and skills that few have. Missions leaders literally drool over him. He has potential, and even I, with all my doubts about why God uses such a messed up creature, can see that he is doing stuff that few others could do. To be honest, I really struggle with this concept. It is one of the things I look up at God in hurt confusion the most about. Do I matter? Or is he so valuable that my pain is not worth hearing in the situation? Am I the more expendable one?
They are tough questions. Tough with no good answers. The problem is that I am deeply committed to the people and country we work with. It is a place with little happening. A place generations have worked and prayed for with little result. And my husband, as awful as a husband as he is at home, seems to be a good missionary.
He's not the first, you know. Good missionary, bad husband and father. There have been many others. Even some of the "heroes of the faith". Even Abraham was a bit of a selfish, mean husband in twice letting someone take his wife before he would risk his own skin.
I discuss this with God often. Wondering how He can build straight on a crooked foundation. Wondering when He will step in for me, for my kids, and right our wrongs. But the truth is that I will sacrifice for this country. That is why we all left our countries and went out. I just didn't expect the sacrifice to be here - in the home. In another situation, I may have walked away from this marriage. Not divorced perhaps, but walked away. Not needing to live under anger. But if I walk away, much of this work comes falling down, and people get hurt. So I survive. I ask God to act. And I wait. I ask God why He allows this to go on, and why He seems to continue to bless the fruit of one who is not a blessing in any stretch of the word to his family.
God is silent still. If He answers, I'll let you know. Now, He is silent. Except to tell me that we are valuable to Him. But sometimes, that is hard to hear when I am in meetings and everyone tells me how wonderful my husband is and how great a work he does.... I know all that... but I want God to step in and say, "enough. You can't treat my daughter like that."
I wait. I wait and I watch God, waiting for an answer, for strength, for the ability to continue to love. I don't have a clue what He's up to, but He's the only thing that is stable, so I wait.