Hey friends! I skipped last week - purposefully. I've been working hard on getting 2 posts a week up and I just wasn't emotionally ready to share this part of our story. I prayed about it and just had peace on waiting.
If you haven't read the rest of this series, I encourage you to hop back to read the first 3 parts. Here are links to them.
I'll be honest, there are details that won't be shared here. Some details only a small handful of people know. Which says a lot, as I am a pretty open book. My purpose in sharing this series with you, is to show you how we grew thru the ugly. It's to show you that marriage and parenthood is a roller coaster. It's to remind you that we fail many times on the journey of life, even if we look like we have it all together. I can't tell you how many times people have said "You just seem to have it all together and do it all so well". My reply was always "Oh gosh, you only see a glimpse, I do not, I try, but I do not". You see we can either take those moments of making mistakes, no matter the size, and grow, OR we can stay stuck on it, and be held back in our life.
First I want to start off by saying Chad and I would consider that we have a strong and happy marriage. Sure it's been an adventurous ride and we have had some very hard seasons BUT we have always worked through them and have grown stronger. The 2 years prior to this season had to have been our strongest. And when either of us look back neither one of us can see ourselves doing this journey called life without the other.
Now if you remember from the last post I talked about the financial mess we went through. Finances are known to be the one the biggest challenges in marriage. It's never really been a problem for us and honestly it wasn't the money it was the stress for us. Can you imagine what that kind of stress does to 2 control freaks when they almost lose their home, have to give up their cars, and everything absolutely everything seems to be under water? They feel like they are drowning?
Chad felt unworthy. Like he wasn't a good provider. Which made him in his eyes a bad husband & a bad father. He was so tired. Then he'd come home to kids making noise, mama trying to do 100 things and he just couldn't function. I am sure he wanted to run away every single day. This affected not only him, but me and our kids. Because all those feelings in his heart and mind were felt though his words and even just his energy.
I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I constantly worried if Chad was upset with me. If this was all my fault. Oh crap, here come the tears as I write this. I questioned God. I was so confused. I was trying so hard to make my business be successful or asking God if I should get a job. He was either quiet or He would tell me no. I'd even apply for jobs and you know what, I'd get calls or contacts would be excited and then I wouldn't even get contacted again for an interview. AND I was overqualified. I cried, I screamed, I worried, I prayed not nearly enough. I felt so abandoned by God. Wow! That was a hard truth to write. And more tears... sigh.
My kids saw the 2 of us fight in ways we hadn't fought in years. These weren't just disagreements or silly moments of bickering, these were painful, mean fights.
The more stress my kids saw and felt, the more stressed they were. I can imagine how insecure it made them feel.
My oldest daughter has her own battles and the meltdowns just seemed to increase. If she melted down then her younger sister would sit in the other room and cry, no, sob, while she tried to care for her baby brother so Chad and I could manage the meltdown. We are all feelers and if someone is hurting, we hurt too... it's like we can feel their pain. I know, it's weird.
These moments would then cause fights about parenting.
Nothing, absolutely nothing seemed to be going right.
"God, why? What do I need to do differently? Why did you tell me to come home if it was going to hurt my family? Destroy my family?"
Chad and I struggled. We knew we loved each other. But neither one of us felt it very often. We had good moments. I can think of many times getting the hugs I needed that made me feel secure, or our normal silly moments. He's always lovey touchy... and makes me laugh. But it just wasn't the same. There was tension there too. He is a sarcastic dude. Which is who he is. I also believe it is one of the ways he protects himself. And even though it's usually fine, sarcasm can be dangerous. He made comments regularly that made me feel unworthy, not enough, stupid. He doesn't often realize how his words affect others. There's more to Chad's story on why he doesn't and sometimes can't understand. But that's not for here and it's not an excuse. Often when this would happen I would fire back at him or I would just hang my head. I began to wonder what happened to the strong woman inside of me? I began to wonder why I allowed it. I knew I didn't like it and that I didn't like how I felt or how I fired back at him. I cried to God often.
AND, I cried to 2 very lovely people in my life. Oh, wow tears again as I write. I can only imagine that if during my season of hard, my season of complaining, if they would have distanced themselves from me. Who would have held me up? My dearest friend and my lovely sister held me up when I couldn't stand alone anymore. Oh gosh, the puddles. They prayed so hard for me, for my husband, and for my family. And they stepped in and loved hard. So hard.
You guys, I immediately think of Moses when I think of this. You see it says in
Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”
So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.
I had tried to talk to Chad in every way I knew how. But we were so stuck. Then one day as I cried to my friend, she said "is there anyone who can step in and talk to him? like maybe your brother in law?" I shared this with my sister and she felt the call but didn't say anything. Not long after, gosh it may have been the next day eve,n we were at her home and the opportunity presented itself. You see, she observed a situation where Chad made a joke, & immediately saw my hurt. Later as we ate she noticed I hadn't dished his plate like normal and he wasn't at the table. You see, he had asked me why he felt as though he had done something wrong. All I could do was tell him I had no idea how to explain it, that I have tried my I just couldn't find the words anymore. He got up and quietly walked out to the porch. We were so blessed to be somewhere safe, somewhere quiet, no, still. Before I ate, I did go talk to him, I told him I loved him but what was happening was hurting us and his words were tearing me apart. I needed him to step up. Sarah later took him a plate of food and just sat with him, loved him, and more. Most of all she spoke God's word to him.
Over the next few days Chad and I had some quiet yet purposeful conversations. We aren't quiet people and so I knew God was really working on both our hearts. I struggled because all I wanted to do was fix it, say I was sorry, do all the things to create action. But I knew I needed to wait patiently on him. Then 1 afternoon there was an opportunity to have Orion babysat so we could be alone. So I gently asked Chad if he'd go for a walk with me. I think back and I giggle as I think about how we both hesitated to hold each others hand. It was quiet, it was beautiful, it was needed. At first I felt as though I had failed in waiting on Chad like God had nudged me to do but then another close friend who was aware said "Amanda all you did was remind him you are still here and that you still need and love him". I cried. God orchestrated this walk. I look back and each step taken was a step towards healing. This walk was the piece of healing that told both of us that everything was going to be ok, our marriage was only going to be stronger because of this
Friends, after that walk it's like a switch was flipped. Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect. It's not like everything went back to how it was before we struggled BUT we had new eyes. We looked at each other knowing we could overcome anything because HE has overcome the world already. We still have disagreements, mostly about parenting or not getting to be with each other enough. But we have not had an argument since then, well maybe 1 or 2. You see the Lord did good work in both of us and still is.
Today, I am so grateful for my never boring, sarcastic man; my kids; and the people who supported, loved, prayed, and encouraged us through this. Most of all I am so grateful for Grace and a Father who loves us so unconditionally.
Next week will be the final post of this series. And friends, I'll be sharing the beauty that has since happened.
Thanks for reading!