Sunday, January 13, 2013

Choosing to Stay Within an Arm's Reach of Anger.

Last night I had a night I slept, I think.  But I feel as if I didn't.  I slept and I fought.  I struggled all night with an unformed shape in hand to hand combat, gasping for air, wrestling.  I woke exhausted.  My muscles ache, my body hurts, and I fight to keep my eyes open.

A dream.


I had done something I thought was right.  Something I felt led to do.  And it went wrong.  Terribly wrong.  What could have been a peaceful night of sleep began with fifteen minutes of being yelled at... somewhat quietly as we had guests.  It ended with him walking out.

I lay in the dark quietly.  I had lain quietly when the yelling started.  Still, calm, quiet.  Not cowering, only still.  Waiting. Then he walked out.  Tears stung at my eyes.  Voices in my head.  "You idiot, why did you do that?  Obviously you made a mistake.  Look what you did."

I chose then to say no.  Not to listen.  I told myself that I did what I felt led to do, and I am not responsible for the result, only for my own obedience, and I silenced the voices.  I am choosing to guard my mind.  To stand on solid ground.

Then I told myself, "go to sleep."  I have a special ability to calm fussy babies.  I think it is because I consciously chose to relax my body to an almost sleep while I am awake.  I did that now to myself.  And then I began to pray from a not tense body.  To rest.

I asked God how I need to pray for him.  To teach me how to pray.  What are we dealing with here?  Show me what to do.  And I prayed.

Then I went to sleep.  I guess I slept.  But the instant I fell asleep, I was engulfed in this battle.  Fierce wrestling, battling for breath, for survival.  I fought.  Determinedly.  I didn't thrash in the bed.  I was still, but my body was soaked with sweat when I woke.

I woke with him back in the bed, reaching for me.  With an apology for the evening before.

And yet, within a few short hours, he is back to throwing verbal barbs at me.  Little lies, little put downs.  Which hurt.  Even more now.

The up and down of the roller coaster.

Except that I have a strong quiet assurance that God IS working.  I can't see it yet.  I see bits at brief times.  Not the "oh, honey, I'm sorry" type of bits of hope.  It is not only a relationship that needs mending.  It is freedom and healing that is needed deep in his own soul.  I think the relationship will be an easier fix after that.  So I am looking for, praying for, hoping for changes there.  And I see little, little things.

I have hope.  But that hope is built on the sheer strength of knowing God's voice, not on encouraging things I see.

I asked God to show me what we are dealing with, and I wrestled the unseen.  Today, I hover between two worlds.  Living in the seen, aware of the unseen.  Quiet before God, with my pain, with my own wounds that make being there for another even that much harder, but aware of the sure-ness of God.  I've seen Him work.  I know what He can do.  I'm quiet in that.  Confident.

And I am not blind to what it means to walk beside someone.  Someone walked beside me once.  I think back to that time.  What I remember makes me still.

In church today, the verse was read that light came into the world, but men loved the darkness because their deeds were evil.  I thought as I listened that men loved the darkness not because the darkness was so attractive, but because they could not handle what they could see when the light showed what was there.

I know that feeling.  Light, when you are not ready for it, is terrifying.  Absolutely, hands down, utterly terrifying.  It is only as there is grace, gentleness, and a cleansing of what light shows that light becomes welcome.

I took many side trips back into darkness out of sheer fear of the light.  I was blessed.  I had someone walking with me who didn't give up or get frustrated and angry with me.  But I remember those days, and I remember the sheer hate darkness has of light and the anger directed against it.  Darkness hates light.  And when you begin to deal with roots buried deep within the ground, there is a reaction.

What makes me very still today is realizing the weight of the anger I had against the one walking with me. Oh, it wasn't always there.  I do love him, but there were days I hated him.  I was comfortable before he began to ask questions.  I fought, kicked, squirmed, and protested.  For years. Now is different.  Now I love light like one used to walking in it.  Transparency feels safe to me, not frightening.  But the journey there is rough.

And I realize that if the darkness is challenged here, I am the one standing closest.  A lightening rod.

But I am still.  Quiet.  Watching God.  Asking with my eyes what He wants from me.  Aware that to help others, you often must be willing to stand within arms reach of anger.  Aware also that I am safe.  Loved.  Valued.  Secure.  Yet able to be hurt.  Not defeated. But wounded.

Yet I follow a God who chose to be wounded for us. 

Our pastor has something he says enough that we can all repeat it.  "It's not your party."  It is not all about you.

I want a healed marriage.  A husband who loves me, who thinks I am great.  A peaceful home.  To be valued and seen for who I am.  I don't have that. I can fight for that - for all that I deserve or have a right to have.  It is wrong how he treats me, and it should not be.  OR I can fight for him.  For what he needs.  It is not my party.  It is not all about me.

More important right now than me having my needs in a marriage met or me being protected from hurt is him getting the healing he needs.  Of him knowing that in light there is real freedom, even from the things that look too big right now.  These things are more important.

So after a night of hand to hand combat, today I am still.  Quietly watching.

I am not weak.  I am not a push-over.  I actually stand in a place of great strength because I can (mostly) control myself.  The one who can control himself is stronger than the one who can control a city.  But strength is not given to defend yourself, strength is given to help others.

There is a balance in all this.  I know that.  That is why today I am quiet, watching.  I have confidence in God to show me where that balance is.  I have people who hug me, people who simply see and I know they love me and care.

Right now, what I hear from God is to be here.  To stay stable.  To choose love, to choose joy, and to be willing to be hurt.  To not focus on my own needs, but be praying for his.  And to wait.  God will work in His time.  I don't need to act or force or anything to cause action.  I simply am waiting, confident in what God has told me.  He will work.  I know this.  The road may be long and the struggle fierce, but He will work.

But tonight, sleep.  And perhaps a few tears.


Anonymous said...

I've never heard it put like that... how the darkness hates and fights against the light, but it's a profound and in a way, encouraging thought. Praying for the day when the light overwhelms the darkness... and that for you it is very soon!

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the "it went horribly wrong . . ." I think it went right and that is why it was so hard! He's fighting you because he is fighting God. God is calling, drawing him and he is kicking against the goads.

"For we wrestle not with flesh and blood . . ." Patience, my dear friend. Patience. May your wrestling be suspended for a night. May you be rocked to a peaceful sleep in the loving Father's arms tonight.


(I'm sorry this is always anonymous, but I can't figure out how to post as myself rather than my husband!)