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Archive for September, 2011

” ‘God doesn’t love me.’ . . . This lie is based on the trust that we place in what we are feeling to be true rather than what we know to be true. We think, ‘If He loved me, I wouldn’t feel so lonely and unloved.’ ” (Lies Women Believe – DeMoss)

Here is yet another lie I struggle with. I know He loves me. I know what lengths He went to show His love for me, I bask in the knowledge of that love but being ME, an imperfect, insecure, emotional ME, I often look for daily affirmations of that love . . . and when I don’t see or feel it in a way I think I should, this lie is whispered to my heart.

Based on DeMoss, I should first identify the area of bondage that keeps me believing this lie. Hmmm, in bondage? Me? Ok . . . That I need love? Both to give and receive. Don’t we all? Isn’t that how we were designed – in His image – since He is Love. But how am I defining “love”? As a feeling ~ an act ~ a thought ~ a word ~ a choice? This took some reflection, but then I started to realize that my bondage is not in my definition of love but in the way I measure love.

I measure love based on how well I feel I am being taken care of. Selfish love. Needy love. Human ME love. To dig deep and expose the root of why I do this is something I’m not yet ready for. It’s too close to the reasons my heart is so vulnerable to begin with. Too close to the child within me that I still need to protect.

But the next step in which De Moss tells us to replace the lie with the Truth is simple. Straightforward. Not requiring quite as much self analysis. Here it is: despite the circumstances in my life, I am not abandoned and my only measurement of His love can be this ~ For God so love ME that He gave His only begotten Son, so that I could have everlasting life spent with Him!

So much more than I deserve, yet knowing He desires to do even more.

Can anything ever separate us from God’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity or are persecuted or are hungry or cold or in danger or are threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loves us. Romans 8:35 & 37

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Channel surfing again. It’s late. My husband is sleeping and the only light in the bedroom is the flicker that comes from the tv as I change the channel every few seconds. I set the remote down when I come to the PBS station. A couple is being interviewed. The title of the segment, “ADD and Loving It.” I listen as they talk about their marriage and the dynamics of their relationship. It sounds very much like my marriage, but instead of speaking with despair, the wife seems to be light-hearted about the challenges of their life together.

How can she do that?” I wonder. But it is only a passing thought, since I am “working on me” these days, and trying to understand my husband’s behavior or resolving my marital issues have not been a priority.

A few weeks pass . . . I am “blog surfing” and this catches my attention:

” . . . For the past three years, my online exchanges with hundreds of partners to people with undiagnosed or untreated ADHD tell me this: They desperately love their partners, and yet they’re desperately hurting and confused. They need help . . . They didn’t know ADHD had anything to do with their partner’s rage, compulsive spending, and difficulty being a parent. Many live with partners in complete denial, refusing to even hear of ADHD. It’s not that the non-ADHD partners consider themselves paragons of mental-health virtue. They represent a spectrum of personalities, behaviors, intelligences, and neuroses — as their ADHD partners do, too. Most of them want to grow, change, expand, and meet their ADHD mates halfway or more.

Yet, when their partner’s untreated ADHD creates chaos at every turn . . . They’re left unable to act, only react — sometimes until they reach “meltdown.” Even the most formerly confident among them start to believe their partner’s accusations that their partnership woes are entirely their fault . . . On top of that, they are often dealing with financial difficulties, performing most of the household chores, and often working a full-time job.

For the most part, it’s not the little ADHD’ish things that wear them down. They can live with those (mostly) once they understand their underpinnings, and they can work together on solutions. Rather, it’s the big, teeth-rattling things that send them seeking support . . .The following list of most-problematic “hot spots” – again, primarily found among those refusing diagnosis and treatment — is not for the faint of heart . . .

Financial: They wrestle with their partners’ secret (and not so secret) debts, impulsive spending . . . Mention E-bay to them at your own risk; their closets (and garages) are filled with their partner’s impulsive and expensive online purchases . . .

Children: An often-heard phrase is “We feel like single parents.” . . . They have to act as referee between their children and partner . . .

Support: Not much. Their families often see the charming “social” side of their partners and think they’re exaggerating. Their closest friends commiserate but can’t help them, other than to say “get out!” Their in-laws often are wrapped up in their own undiagnosed sagas, decades in the making. Much of the public, including the family doctor or their therapist, relegate adult ADHD to tooth-fairy status: They don’t believe in it . . .

Self-Esteem: When they are consistently not valued or “seen,” they slowly become invisible. Even to themselves. They’re blamed for the sky being blue . . .

Provocation to anger: They hate themselves when their anger overwhelms them – it’s a new behavior for most of them — and they hate that their partner keeps provoking them. They are bone-tired of fighting.

Getting Help: Many place trust in doctors and psychologists only to find their problems worsen due to their ignorance about ADHD. While their ADHD partners can conveniently forget the trauma that’s transpired or place the blame at their feet – they are so traumatized, confused and depressed that, to the untrained eye, they often look like the cause of the relationship woes.

It often takes from 5 to 30 years before they gain a clue their partner’s behavior comes with a name – and hope for change. But by that time, much damage has been done . . .” (G. Pera)

Wow. This really resonated with me. Could it be possible I am married to a man with ADD? No . . . Not ready for that question or answer. Still “working on me” . . .

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John 15:13 Greater love hath no one than this, that one lays down his life for his friends.

‘I never thought in my comfortable American life, I would ever see a person lay down his life for another, but in my years of homeschooling, I have seen some do just that. Over and over, I see mothers and fathers with a committed force about them as they say, ‘We homeschool.’

There is when one lays down his life for another. The one he lays it down for is not facing a firing squad or a torture unimaginable. No, the one he is laying it down for is usually not even aware of the sacrifice being made.

We, homeschool parents, have all had the same conversations with others, and heard statements like, ‘Oh, I could never homeschool, I don’t have that kind of patience. Or, ‘I enjoy my job and we really need the money.’ And how about, ‘I could never be that organized.’ You get the picture. All these statements suggest that homeschool moms have an extraordinary amount of patience and organizational skills. That we did not like our chosen profession. That we do not need or miss the money we could be earning. Well, let me dispel all those ideas right now. You see, we do not miraculously homeschool our children based on our own abilities, or because of our dedication to their education and love for them. We are only able to homeschool them because of our love for Him.

Human love and affection for our children would not in and of itself cause a person to have the long-suffering strength it takes to continue to homeschool day after day. Love for our children, though a tremendous force, would not allow us to ‘lay down our life’. Our own desires would get in the way. However, because of our love for Him, we get up, regardless of how we might feel, and in good cheer, we meet and greet, feed and wash, read and write, cook and clean, discipline, tuck in, say ‘amen’ and cause the little children to come unto Jesus every day that we go without pay, or sleep, or just our own way. We have made the decision to lay down our life before Jesus – our talents, degrees, desires and careers. We have lost what we thought our life was about and discovered what life really is . . . It is love . . . Love found in Christ . . . Measured by sacrifice . . . And extraordinary to common man. “

These are the words I spoke to a group of parents several years ago and I post it today to mark the end of my 10 year homeschooling career. All of my children are now “in school”. Even when I stood behind the podium, as I spoke to those parents on that spring day, I knew our homeschool experience was not an indefinite one. While we took each year one at a time in terms of whether it would be a homeschool year, we still had an “end date” in mind. We have now reached that date.

Such mixed emotions for me! Not trusting I could find the words to describe those emotions, I end with this: (the same words I ended with that day)

Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, will find it.

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June 2009

Welcome to the Mommy Club!” the card read. It would accompany the bouquet of flowers I had just ordered. The florist would have to deliver our “Congratulations” since the new mom had let us know she was too “overwhelmed” for visitors. Having had her first baby at age 40, it was understandable.

What was not understandable was that after a few months, having still not received an invitation to meet the new baby of my husband’s cousin, my husband told me that he had met the baby, had been over several times (without my knowledge) and had even been asked to babysit.

Confused? So was I. ¬†Apparently, this cousin had invited (only) my husband over because she wanted him to be “a part of her daughter’s life”. His explanation of this behavior on both their parts made absolutely no sense. Just like all the rest of his behavior.

Does anything about this seem wrong to you?” I demanded. “Have I done something to offend her or her husband?” was my next question. He answered “No” to both. He claimed to have no idea why she didn’t want me or our children to meet her new baby and felt he should not have the responsibility to “facilitate” a relationship between her and us. He also saw nothing disrespectful in going to visit her when she was clear in saying to him that his wife and children were not welcome.

What is wrong with this man? The dysfunction is obviously familial or else what other explanation could there be for his cousin’s behavior?

December 2009

He has been distant, difficult and defensive. I am now familiar with his cycle of behavior when it is directed towards me, but when he pushes the kids away as well, I find it intolerable. This month, with Christmas coming, his behavior is all the more apparent since he has not participated in any holiday activities with us as a family.

The annual “Live Nativity” was the only event he had agreed to meet us at after work and the kids were looking forward to the community affair. It always drew huge crowds and we arrived early to get in a line that serpentined around several blocks before the doors even opened. The sun had long set and the spotlights were on the angels atop the church building as they moved in time to the Christmas music. Camels, donkeys and lambs were led though the streets. Men dressed as Roman soldiers walked by, demanding us to “pay our taxes” and “register for the census”.

It was in this line that the call came. His aunt had come to town to visit her daughter and now 6 month old granddaughter. He would be spending the evening with them instead . . .

December 2010

He asked almost tentatively. And rightly so. Our relationship had been through one of the worst years of our marriage and could not take much more strain before it was broken beyond repair.

His aunt would again be coming to spend the holidays with her daughter and now 1 1/2 year old granddaughter, but she would also like to spend time with our family as well. Would it be possible to host them all for a Christmas Eve dinner?

With all the graciousness I could muster, I smiled and said, “Of course.” As much as I enjoyed entertaining, I knew this dinner party would require a grace that could only come from God.

Christmas Eve came and the kids and I worked non-stop to make sure the house was picture perfect. I set the table with our best linen, crystal and silver. The menu was simple but delicious. Martha Stewart I am not, but that night, she would have been impressed. When I cleared the table after dinner to set out tea and dessert, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the end of this stressful evening was in sight. Up to that point, I tried not to be resentful that my husband had not lifted a finger to help with ANYTHING, nor uttered a single word of thanks for the effort we had put into it all. Instead, I tried to take satisfaction in the fact that I had been gracious and hospitable with our guests, despite their bad manners.

Not knowing if they were aware we could hear them as we sat in the living room, my husband and his cousin could be heard laughing in the kitchen. My cheeks flushed with humiliation as she questioned the formality of the evening, the choice of menu, the size of the tea cups (who drinks from those?!) and my husband in complete agreement with her as they both laughed . . . at me.

Today

I feel I haven’t received all the answers I need to explain and let go of ANY of my husband’s past behavior. Until that happens, I don’t think I will ever be able to trust in all the ways needed to make a marriage work. I may never get those answers . . . And then what? Or what if I do get answers and I am still unable to trust or let go of all the ways he has hurt me? Either because of the answers themselves, because of so much prior abuse, or because of my own flaws?

“Lord, I am broken. My life is in pieces, but Your strength is perfect in all of my weakness.”

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