My Wordspace

A dumpster full of various musings over life, God, scripture, and any random thought that may fly by meanwhile. Comments welcome.

Women

Posted by Iszi on August 18, 2004

Greetings, Readers.

Today, I’m going to write about something a little more personal than I have in awhile. That is, personal in the degree that it does not just involve myself. Hey, this is a journal, isn’t it? So bear with me here.

Lately it seems I’ve been going through some very trying times with my wife. I know some of it, if not a majority of it, is my fault through my own laziness. But still, some of it seems to have originated elsewhere. Where, I’m not entirely sure. But if it has to deal directly with me, I don’t know how.

Before my wife and I met, I had yet to know what it really was like to be “on fire” for God, as I do know. (And am learning more each day.) Conversely, from what I’m told, she was thoroughly active in her church and in various aspects of keeping up in her relationship with God, or at the very least maintaining a Christian attitude and outward appearance. This was even reflected in the screenname she was using when I found her online. Me? Yeah, I went to church now and then. I went to various youth groups and some social outings associated with the like, but I never had that fire, and my life outside any “Christian” setting was just that of any other ordinary Joe.

Fast-forward a couple years. We moved in together down here, and occasionally went to the church I’d been going to for a year or so, as our schedules and energy levels allowed. Later on, the “schedule and energy level allowing” part seemed to happen less and less often to the point of almost never.

(If you’ve already read My Bio, first I say kudos for sitting through that whole thing. Second, a lot of the following will probably be redundant of that post, but some previously unmentioned details are included. So you may want to read or skip.)

At some point, my brother invited us to the church we are at now, ChurchInTheSon. Originally, I stayed away because “I didn’t have the time.” or “I didn’t have the energy.”. I also didn’t want my wife to go without me because I wanted us to experience it together so we could make a decision as a couple on it. At some point, my brother convinced me to stop holding my wife back, and she went and loved it. She wanted this new place to be our “home church”. Still reluctant to change, but not wanting us to be divided on this, I gave it a shot and after a time formed my own connection to the church.

Meanwhile, my wife is on fire. She’d joined the choir and a cell group as soon as she could, and went on the first Encounter she could round up funds for. During this time, I was slowly starting in the direction that put me where I am now. I started getting involved in The Living Room, helping set-up and tear-down when I could, and helping with the PowerPoint presentations that assisted in leading Praise and Worship.

At some point my brother and my wife got me to go along on an Encounter, which was when I truly felt my Spirit get fired up for possibly the first time in my life. After coming back, I got myself plugged into a cell group, and started coming to church on Sundays more consistently than I ever have since my parents’ divorce.

Meanwhile, my wife started getting a little worn down. She’d been coming to church early to be in choir for first service, then go to Post-Encounter, then to be in choir for second service, then actually sit and listen to the sermon in second service. And that was just Sundays. Mondays she came to church to meet with the cell group she was in, but she had to show up early to get me there to help set-up for TLR. From there, I would usually catch a ride out to the cell group I was (and still am) in, and she would just come home after her cell group which usually met during or shortly after (depending how fast we were) I was done helping with set-up. Then, Tuesdays, we’d show up early so I could check the PowerPoint presentation for the night, and help with any last-minute setup issues at TLR. Then she’d stay late with me so I could help tear-down. Thursdays I had nothing, but she had choir practice to go to.

So, understandably, she was starting to get a little “burnt-out” of church. She figured it would ease things up if she dropped out of choir, instead of me dropping off TLR since TLR is usually the more short-handed of the two. I was reluctant to agree to this, but it sounded reasonable enough. It also helped fix my transportation issues on Sundays. (Usually she’d have to leave the house before I’d hardly had a chance to get home from work, so I ended up having to bum rides from friends and family if I wanted to go.)

Life rolled on a bit like this. She transferred cell groups to one that was being started by another member of the one she’d been in, and met on Sunday nights. She also went on a second Encounter during this time, as did I not too long ago.

Lately, though (not quite sure exactly when it started, probably been a month or two now) it’s been like pulling teeth to get her to come to Sunday morning services. And almost as much so to get her to go to cell group meetings. While I on the other hand have stayed dead-set determined not to miss a Sunday regardless of circumstance or her own choice. This week has been prime example of that trend.

Saturday, she told me I’d likely have to find my own way to get to church. Again her excuse for having backed off was because she was “burnt out”. Sunday, she didn’t start to change her mind until she began to realize that I was dead serious about riding my bike if I had to. However, I insisted that unless she herself wanted to go to church, I wasn’t going to let her take me because I didn’t want to have to deal with having the unpleasant company of someone who didn’t want to be there in the first place, whether it be my wife or otherwise.

I ended up taking my bike. A ride that lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes (albeit it’s no stretch I’ve not done on a regular basis before) in late-summer heat ended with my arrival at a church that had no power and was running on generators just enough to have lights and speakers up. (In case you haven’t noticed, I am in central Florida, and we did just have a hurricane through here, so it’s not an uncommon condition in this area right now.) Amazingly, the church building felt refreshingly cooler than the outside, despite the lack of air-conditioning. Where others were fanning themselves from the heat, I was thanking God for the cool atmosphere.

Also while I was there, I had to deliver the message to my wife’s cell group leader that my wife may or may not be showing up that night – she was undecided. Later on, I learn that she’s actually wanting to leave that cell group and find another, after she’s already formed bonds and relationships with the women in her current cell group – the kind that shouldn’t just be broken on a whim.

Monday came then, and I had to face the prospect of finding my own transportation to set-up for TLR. This time for legitimate reasons, but the past few weeks haven’t been easy either, when there haven’t been. Fortunately, set-up was cancelled anyway since there was still no power.

Tuesday – tonight – my wife’s original plan was to just drop me off at church for TLR and leave me to find my own way home (which I’ve never had trouble finding – praise God – but still never much liked imposing either). For some reason she changed her mind and stayed anyway, even though she knew I’d connected with some other guys and was going to hang out with them afterwards and have one of them take me home, therefore rendering her presence unnecessary. (Not to say I wanted her to go home and miss service – just that I wouldn’t have needed her to drive me home after.) In any case, had she stayed with her original plan, that would have left her without any connection to church for the entire week, and still leaves the fact that she’s continuously been a hinderance to all the things I’ve been trying to do there throughout the week. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering about my cell group meeting for Monday, it’s moved to Thursdays and I’ve got a ride that’s been pre-arranged and regular for awhile anyway. Makes enough sense since my wife has no need to be in that vicinity at that time anyway, so it’s no big.)

So, things have inverted themselves here. My wife used to be the most devoted, spiritual, and otherwise outwardly Christian of the two of us, leaving me in the dust. For awhile during my recent growth period, we seemed to be nearly on the same level. Now it seems I’ve grown more, and she’s pulling away to the point that not only is it likely hindering her spiritual life, but it’s also putting a lead weight on mine.

So far, the Bible has yet to encourage me much either. There’s several examples I can clearly recall where, when a woman (typically, a spouse) gets involved with affairs between men and God, they only serve to (at least try to) screw things up, whether that be their intention or not.

The first example sadly starts with the first woman. In Genesis 3:6-7, we see Eve being the first to sin directly against God, and then inviting her husband Adam to join. Albeit the man had his own free will, he’d probably learned by that time that it’s usually not a good idea to argue with his wife. 😉 Thus began what is widely known throughout the Christian world as “the fall of man”. In this case, the influence of Adam’s wife (who allowed herself to be influenced by Satan himself) served to distance Adam (and, consequently, mankind) from God, and to get them evicted from their original residence in paradise, to a near-barren wasteland where they (and again, consequently the rest of mankind) had to work hard to make the ground produce what they needed to survive.

Another example is Job 2:1-10 where, after Job has experienced much suffering and trial, and yet is still continuing to stay faithful to God, his wife comes to tell him to (verse 9) “… Curse God and die!”. Isn’t that just the most uplifting thing your wife can say to you to help a rough time in your relationship with God? (Note: sarcasm) This is one case in which a man has the bravery to stand up to his wife and say “… ‘You are talking like a foolish woman…'”, and not listen to her advice. Had he followed her suggestion, he likely would have been far separated from God in what was once one of the greatest man-God relationships in history.

In Genesis 15, God makes a covenant with Abraham, then known as Abram, saying that he will have a son and his heirs through that son will be as numerous as the stars in the heavens. Abram’s wife, Sarah (then known as Sarai), had yet to bear him children, although they had been married for quite some time. Moving on to Chapter 16:1-5, in order to make this miracle work – in a sense – Sarai told Abram to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar. Again, looking back to my comment on Adam and Eve, Abram did have his own free will and could have very well chosen not to listen to her, but who’s going to want to argue with his wife, particularly when they make something out to appear to be a part of God’s plan? So, Abram slept with Hagar, she conceived, and then Hagar began to despise Sarai for what she had done, to the point that Sarai came back to Abram and blamed him for the whole fiasco. So, not only did his wife’s interference lead Abram to sin, but it also served to make trouble in his wife’s relationship with her servant, and his relationship with his wife.

And so now I have to deal with a wife who is constantly hindering my own connection to God and the church. In fact, this past night, she kept asking me why I don’t stay from church this week since I had been having problems sleeping well lately and was quite cantankerous upon waking to get ready for TLR. It almost came to the point where I had to yell at her and tell her “No, I’m going and I’m not going to change my mind!”.

I do love my wife and my daughter very much, and further I do know that to divorce is sin, so I do not even consider that ever an option for me to take. Yet, at the same time I wonder how much longer I can take this? What is it I’m doing wrong that I have to change to fix this? I could understand if she was just wanting to back off from going out for things that are essentially just for me (i.e.: Monday and Tuesday nights), but now that she’s backing out of Sunday services and cell group meetings on top of that, it makes me feel like it’s not just something wrong with me. It makes me wonder what is going on that she won’t tell, that’s keeping her from wanting to do these things? Probably the most bothersome of my worries is this: If I am (And I am) called to be in ministry – to preach and minister to others – how can I fulfill that calling, to the best of my abilities and God’s satisfaction, when my wife is like a dropped anchor dragging along the bottom of the sea that my ship is sailing across?

I guess it’s time to weigh anchor, but the only question is how?

My prayer tonight:

Father God, I come to You in thanks for all You have done for me in my life. I thank You for the power that is in Your Holy Spirit which You have sent to dwell within me. I thank You that You have given me such a fire to have Your will done through me as needed. As always, I can do nothing in this world that is of You without Your help, and I need that help now. Please help me to understand what is going on in my family now, Lord. Give me Your wisdom, so that I may see what is necessary to straighten things out. How can I work to build Your house, Lord, when mine is in a shambles? Help me to better hear your Holy Spirit, so that it may guide me in the re-construction of my household, that it may grow to be a better representation of Your house, to bring glory to Your name. I thank you for the fruits your Holy Spirit has planted in me, particularly that of longsuffering – patience and perseverence – that has helped me to better stay the course through these times. Help me to not be angry, or to loose that anger upon my family when the days are harsh. Please help me to open up better communication with my wife so that I may come to understand what is going on in her life that is working to try to separate her from You. Help me to have wisdom in handling whatever this is that has come against her, to bind it and cast it out of our lives and this household. This, Lord, I pray so that our relationship with each other, and with You, may be strengthened, and also that I may grow to be a better servant in Your will, to better build Your household to the glory of Your name. All this, I pray in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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