Monday, July 31, 2017

Fresh Betrayal by Your Husband? Your Reaction is Normal.

You will grieve. You will grieve. You will mourn. Do not feel as if you are over-reacting. It only makes sense. The man you knew is no longer there, especially if before you found out, he was a paragon of virtue. There are some husbands who the wives are only waiting for confirmation about, and others who are so 'holy' that it's the last thing their wives and friends would ever imagine. This will cut through your heart. "But how could I be so wrong about him? Who is he?"

You will mourn your broken heart that you know will never, ever be the same again. Not the way it was when you still believed in true love. Not when you used to shout, "No, not all men cheat" while thinking about your faithful husband. Now you'll be thinking, "Mnxim, all men cheat, they just haven't been found out, or they're yet to do it." Everything will be upside down and your default emotion regarding love and honesty will be cynicism. If he could lie, everyone will lie. Nothing is the same, everything is different. He's not who you thought he was. Yet he's the one who held your heart in the grip of his hand before crushing it, squeezing the life out of it till it was wrung out and parched.

Your life will feel like it has ended. And it has. Life as you knew it, will have. From now on, you won't be, "Happily married Anne. You'll be, 'Though I was faithful, he wasn't' Anne.' You will question how you missed it. What else he's done with whom. You will start to wonder if he was really at the meeting he was at. If he's really telling you the truth about others things. Life will really be different.

You will cry daily, hourly. The pain will come unbidden like a wave and it will overwhelm you. Everything you lived for, swept away. On purpose. I think that's what will make it worse. This was done on purpose by a so-called Christian. How could it not cause you to weep in grief and shock?

You will suffer like you've never suffered before and it will be an utterly lonely terrifying feeling as you lose your grip on self-control.

You will feel as if you're in a neverending storm.

It will be hard. You will never be the same again just like he's not the same man you married.

But the storm will end.

After effects? Permanent.

But the storm will end.

If you're at the beginning of the storm, take heart. Please take heart. Maybe the woman in front of you in the shop queue went through the same thing. Maybe she also wept as she chose lentils for supper. But there she is, still standing. Still able to have a coherent phone conversation about mundane things.

Your life will feel like it is over. But it is not. You just have to create a new (albeit jaded and hurt) version of it. And this is where your Christian faith will meet it's toughest battle. Being a woman with grace when your beloved has been ungracious.

Yes, you will feel like a cliche. Like one of those old songs by Mary J Blige. But they sang it because they lived it..and survived it.

It may not feel like it now, but you will survive. You will survive.

And if it feels like you won't,

that's also normal.

After all, there's nothing normal about having your dreams and joys taken away from you by the very one who was meant to build your dreams and double your joys.

Any reaction is normal. Whatever it may be.

Housewife- What's in a title?

 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.Ps 127:3

The other day when I took Little Guy to the hospital for testing, the admin lady asked what my occupation is. Honestly, I feel more like a homeschool teacher, but that isn't really a 'known' thing. In that it doesn't appear on forms where you're meant to tick a box. Usually I say homemaker, but I forgot, so just said housewife.

She very quickly and emphatically typed, "home executive."

Ha ha.

I always laugh when these folk 'champion' what I do so much. I just feel like, "Ugh, whatever. I know what it's like to be a present mom, house cleaner, teacher and all. If others look down on the title, too bad for them, I know what God thinks, and that's all that matters."

It's not about the title. It's about the job. And I just had the most wonderful, blessed feeling just now. Yes, I did have the "How do we get this girl to be perfectly behaved?" moment, but wow. Just wow. How did I ever get four blessings?

I had always dreamt of adopting, ever since I was ten and read about an abandoned baby placed on a doorstep. I just 'knew' a mother would place her baby in my care, and it happened. And then we got another one. And despite two threatened losses after being diagnosed as infertile, I had two children. How? How did I get this when the journey is so difficult for other people? How come my losses were just threatened, not real? Why was my adoption journey so short? How did our little girl survive a blood infection that kills others? How was I so blessed with so much love?

I have four children.

A security guard (His accent sounded like he was from the DRC)at my friend's work once asked, "As these your children?" And I responded in the affirmative. He looked so happy as he exclaimed, "Nice! You are lucky!"

I am lucky. I am blessed. I may not have material luxuries, but I am blessed with children. So important are children that God took the Egyptians' ones away as final punishment. He knew there was no greater loss. And it was punishment for what they'd done to the Hebrews. Children. So precious.

As that man marvelled at how lucky I was, I was a mother. Mom. Plain old mom.

What's in a title? What's in this title?

Blessings.

Whether you have one, three or 6... They are blessings. Cherish them, mom. They'll grow up and lthese days will be gone, all gone and you'll remain Mom but without the actual 'verb.'.

Housewife doesn't cut it. Home executive sounds pretentious.

You are a mother. Occupied with raising children for God. You mother (them.) All day. Every day.

But, we'll use homemaker for now.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Topic Change: Homeschool Expectations

(Yes, I'm still a homeschool mom and homemaker with friends doing the same. That might slip in too every now and then.)



I've noticed that we as homeschool moms tend to be very hard on ourselves. When our children are babies and toddlers, we admire their cuteness, how they recite verses randomly, how they mimic us and want to do exactly what we are doing. They do these cute little things that make you smile.

Then they grow.

And they make friends.

Friends who aren't like us. Friends who don't do "cute, little things." Friends they prefer to talk like, dress like, act like. Friends who influence them in a different direction. And that direction is not one we prefer them to take, and the blame comes. "I am failing my children."

Short of locking our children up so they never go to the park, never venture outside their homes, never go to church, there is no way you can keep them 'safe.' Sometimes all you can do is realise that what you are doing is working on a process, you're on a journey and you aren't there yet. There will be challenges along the way but the growth process isn't over yet. Scraped knees, bumps, brusies don't mean you're a bad mom, they just mean the path is bumpy. It's not you, it's the path.

But at the end of the path, we will find growth. Our part will be done. And the question won't be, "When they were little and still growing, did they do everything you told them and modelled for them?" It will be, "When they were growing, did you do your best, by God's grace, to be what they needed?" It's heartbreaking when they do the opposite of what we expect, but it's not our fault. That would be like blaming God because we forget our principles. The very fact that they do certain rebellious things means they're using the minds God gave them.

But let's be honest. Isn't that like adults too? Doing things we know we shouldn't be doing? Should we then be surprised when our children act like naughty children, as hard as that sometimes is to accept?

And another thing, we need to be objective and not too hard on ourselves. They are still growing, still on the path. We can't expect them to act as if they've arrived when they're still plodding on. It just takes one stranger's compliment to remind you that you're not a bad mother. Just one person saying, "What a polite child you have" to remind you that you're not a failure. They are learning to be kind, responsible, respectful, loving people.

You are not a failure.

You are doing your best.

Please don't be discouraged. Please keep plodding on and praying on. That flower is blooming and when fully mature, will be even more beautiful than it already is. Please see the beauty while you work on pruning and feeding. See the beauty, and thank the Rainmaker for those blessings. It won't happen in a day. But it will happen. 


For I, the Lord Thy God Am a Jealous God

As much as I would love to speak for all wounded wives, I cannot. Because I cannot understand them all. As much as I would love to counsel all types, I cannot. One thing we were taught is that you are not required -as a Counselor - to counsel EVERYBODY who comes seeking it. You might realise you just don't fit together well, the person might need more than plain counseling, you might despise the person and be unable to be objective and impartial. At that point, you refer them elsewhere.

I cannot speak for the woman who when the husband has left the home, calls the family to get him to come back. If he's gone, he's gone. His heart has left and you're only bringing the heartache into your space while he continues his sexcapades where you BOTH live. I can understand getting him to continue financially caring for your child(ren) but this... I do NOT understand. I'm of the mindset, "If you cannot love me the way I deserve to be loved, go. I'd rather be alone than to love someone who does not know what love is."

God referred to idolatry as "going awhoring after other gods, adultery, breaking covenant..." And that is how I feel when a man knits his heart or body with an interloper, his idols, his false wife. He has gone to his idols and in the same vein where God said, "Ephraim has join himself to idols, LET HIM ALONE," I too would let him go. Which is why the only reason I would choose to stay, is if he said he was sorry and still wanted the marriage. I don't want someone who doesn't want me and me ALONE. After all, that's what Christian marriage is about.

I understand the woman who leaves him to go enjoy himself with his mistress. The one who knows her worth and knows she is worth fighting for, not against. I can't put myself in the shoes of the one who begs for another woman's scraps. I cannot counsel. I just sympathise. And hope she never looks back and wonders why she brought him back to inflict continued pain  when she could have moved on long ago instead.

You do not deserve pain. Do not force a man to come back. If he will not do it for God, for you, for his vows, but because of what people are saying, he's not really BACK.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

"But I Thought I Was Marrying a Christian"



SO many women have lamented this sad fact. "I thought he was a Christian. But look at what happened? My good, Christian guy turned out not to be so good nor so Christian. Where did I go wrong? Why did I not see it?"

There HAVE been cases where the lady finds out a day before the wedding that her husband-to-be was canoodling with another woman but pride stops her from cancelling the wedding. There are a few red flags that don't really seem to be red until hindsight. Sometimes you ignore red flags because hey, "God can change anyone and he wants to change." But generally, you don't get married and while listening to his vows, think to yourself, "I'm preparing myself for heartache, this is not a good, Christian man."

Maybe he was.

Maybe he WAS Christian all along.

Maybe on that day, at that moment when he promised to make you his entire world, he was a truly good guy.

Like Lucifer. Adam. Both created by God Himself. Not born in a sinful world. Perfect. Absolutely flawless. Not bound by bad genes, no bad traits to inherit or fight against, no family history of evil and disobedience to turn their backs on. There was nothing within them that would have even made them hanker after evil. No alcoholic-gene, no fighting the effects of prenatal exposure to hard drugs. They matured in perfection. They were perfect too.

They were "truly good" until one day, they weren't.

David, a man after God's own heart. Until..he wasn't. Until he took another man's wife. He was so far gone from God that God had to send a prophet to show him that he'd stopped being the "good guy" he'd taken from the sheep and put in a palace.

To you who honestly thought he was a "good Christian guy" and are now wondering if you were blind back then. If you were sincere, if you were living up to all the light you had... Maybe you weren't wrong. Maybe he WAS good.

But one day..he wasn't.

And it has nothing to do with you being stupid and missing the signs. If there were no signs, how could you read them? You did not put yourself in the mess you are in. You were not stupid for choosing to love that "good, Christian guy" you'd prayed for. He was an answer to prayer, just like David was what the Israelites needed.

Until..he wasn't.

The question now is, what is he doing, how is he reacting, when his Nathan comes to show him that he is guilty?

He was good.

Where does he stand now?

We cannot say. Just like we assumed nothing untoward was happening till we find out it is, how will we say that now things are the way they should be? We cannot say. Just like no wife can say with certainty that her husband is guarding himself. Not unless she can read his mind. But we can definitely say what good MARKERS of the way forward  are.

But that's for another post.

(For this post, I focus specifically on men like the ones in the previous post. Men who through their (alleged) repentance convince their wives to choose to stay. The others.. the others who still bring their women to the marital bed when the wife chose to stay are another story. I have no respect for them as priests of the home, I despise the pain they cause these humble women, and I would tell a wife in that situation to leave if conditions allowed. Hey, if I had extra room I'd take them in till conditions did allow for them to live separate lives instead of having those floozies thrown in their faces week after week. Those men are-biblically speaking- bad today.)


Friday, July 28, 2017

Sabbath Thoughts- On Choosing to Stay

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Only one of my married friends chose to leave. She's the only one who has had divorce papers served on her husband. I know it wasn't easy, so I'm not about to go shouting and celebrating, "Yeah, he's gone!" because what that really means is that all her hopes and dreams are gone. They weren't done having children. They only had one and were going to continue having more.Though I am glad she does not have to look at his face and imagine it close to someone else's, it's a hollow victory.

One friend left his wife for his floozy. I feel as if his death would have been better than leaving her with 4 children by choice.

Obviously, I mean choosing to stay if he begs you to. If he asks you to. If he claims he made a terrible 'mistake' and wants to rectify it.

The guy above never said he wanted his marriage. But some do and then down the line decide they were lying.

Now this is my fear. What if we stay, but then get replaced anyway? What if all his protestations of repentance and desires to rebuild are not genuine? Won't that make the fall that much worse? How much betrayal can one take before losing their mind? Would it not feel 'better' if one were to leave BEFORE the newer model comes along?

But where does forgiveness and giving second or third chances come in?

This is why I cannot say a single thing on choosing to stay. I do not know any man's heart. I know what I said before I got married. Now, I remain silent while letting my friends decide.

Only one of the courting girls got rid of her boyfriend. I personally -now that I've seen how many cheating boyfriends turn into cheating husbands-would have left the cheating boyfriend. I still didn't sing some "Independence" type song with the one who decided to be single. It was sad. She loved him. But he didn't know how to love her.

I will not tell you to go either. No, scratch that. I have three whose husbands not only are cheats, but are also violent. One has even lost her unborn baby because of it.

LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!! RUNNNNNNNNNNNNN! I don't want to see you dead. I don't want to see the winces as you try move that bruised part of your body.

I hate worrying that tonight he's laying his hands on you again.

GO!

I do have one limit. A cheat who is also physically harmful is not worth staying for. Remove yourself from harm and your children from scarring. What will the children learn? What will they think is good? How will they treat others? When you stay at this point, you're no longer "staying for the children" as many women say.

I need to do more research about where you can go though. Where the shelters are etc. I have one who is planning an exit strategy. I support her but don't want to push her. After all, leopards do change their spots. I'd rather the leopards changed with their prey far away though. But all my friends are adults and I cannot decide for them. I can just worry. And worry I do.

Back to my Sabbath thoughts.

Sabbath is meant to bring rest and peace. It's meant to be a day of calm. A day of reflection. A day of enjoying God's mercies. But when God seems so far away, what do you?

Sabbath is also a day of fellowship. You cannot bear this burden alone. You cannot. Find that one friend. The one who has the same principles as you do and therefore knows how damaged you are. Understands who broken you are. If you have the sad privilege of a friend who's gone through the same thing and made the same decision to stay, fellowship with her. Especially when the wound is still fresh and you need to unpack it over and over and over.

Rest in your friendship. Find fellowship in someone who will pray for you when you cannot pray for yourself. Find someone who will listen. Not counsel, but listen. Someone who will not pressure you to stay if you start thinking of going, but someone who will not push you to go if you are still unsure. Someone who will provide peace amidst the storm going on in your heart. Someone whose presence speaks peace. Someone who though you aren't sure you want to talk to God, will talk to Him for you. Understand that just because you chose to stay does not mean you will have peace in your heart. Find that friend who for those brief hours, will bring you some peace through her presence and comfort.

One last thought. What we choose today might not be what we would have chosen yesterday.
 If the further you move from the day you found out, if the further you move from having decided to stay, if the days pass and you feel less and less peace about choosing to stay, if he does not do his part in reassuring you that you are again his one and only, if he gets tired of doing what you need (within common sense) that he is now trustworthy, and acts like you are punishing him for his wrongs when all you want is peace about staying, when you all you are asking for is peace in your heart about having trusted and been wrong, and want to know that you are now right...

If you chose to stay but realise you made the wrong choice,

There is NO sin in leaving. God allows it. He understands.

That's the peace He leaves with you. Peace to do what is best for you when the one who should have done his best, did not.

Then, maybe then, you will find some measure of peace. A peace hopefully greater than the one you feel. I can only hope so.

Sometimes the Lord of the Sabbath reminds you that peace comes in transformation and change. In renewal. In resting from the past and moving onto a new future.

Peace comes in knowing you can rebuild if both choose to, or you can build anew elsewhere.

Shabbat shalom.



Taking Off Your Wedding Ring and Hating Your Anniversary

Bearing in mind the controversy within our movement with regards to wedding rings and how I think most of us (in my friendship circle) don't wear them anyway, I'll still use this example because some do.

I have come across posts in which the betrayed wife talks about how when she found out her husband had been giving his heart (or body) to someone other than her, she removed her wedding ring even though she chose not to divorce. But she can't exactly say why.

I've come across other women who say for them, they no longer have an anniversary. That day is a terrible marker and they pass it by without mention. This does not make sense for all women, not even those who have also been betrayed. These are also women who choose to stay married, that I'm referring to.

(The choice to stay is a topic for another day.)

I'll try explain it.

I would hazard a guess that the wedding ring and the anniversary are not mere objects or days, they are symbols. The ring means more than just, "I'm married." It speaks to how the husband made a promise before witnesses-heavenly and otherwise-that he would be faithful to this woman forever. Forever. There was no question about it. He didn't make promises about making sure to wash the car when it got dirty. He didn't promise not to be boring. He didn't promise to stay vegetarian for the rest of his life. He promised to protect and nurture and love only her..forever.

Once that promise has been broken, that ring no longer symbolises that. All it is is a sign of a promise that could not be kept. It means he lied. I'm not saying on his wedding he knew he would cheat (Though there are men who were cheating before their wedding day and still went ahead) but that the ring means nothing anymore, like their promises mean nothing. Nothing except a broken heart. Why wear something that has no meaning to the one who gave it to you?

As for the anniversary. What the people who don't get it, don't get. is that you anniversary also symbolises something. It's the day you two-not a secret third- pledged to bind your interests, joys, hopes, hearts, bodies together. It's the day you pledged to be one-be it in public, or in secret where only God and His angels reside. It's the day where you vowed to begin your lives together as one. One in every regard. Where he said his job would be to make his wife-and no one else-happy. Before you found out, each anniversary was a celebration of lives in union. It was a reminder of how far you'd come, how much you'd grown TOGETHER as a unit. It was a reminder of promises made and kept.

Now, after finding out, an anniversary says, "This is the day you vowed to be true to a man who made the same vow but couldn't keep it." It's not exactly a happy memory for everybody. Some feel forced to stay with their husbands and I think this would be even worse. An anniversary then becomes the day you chose to bind yourself to someone who you'd be stuck with not because you give each other joy and can't imagine that same joy with anybody else, but because despite him finding it elsewhere, you're now unable to get out.

Also, your wedding day was the day you vowed to be one. When you found out that he chose to make himself one (be it in heart, spirit, body or soul) then for many women, they are no longer actually even married. There's now a third person, and they never signed up for polygamy. One man. One woman. One heart. United. And now that's all gone. The day of the anniversary becomes a lie. No joy to celebrate, no "We made it against the odds." No, "Despite the world attacking us, we stood together just as we did at the altar."

Rings and anniversaries aren't only symbols of marriage. They are symbols of what marriage is meant to mean and be. And when your marriage turns out not to be thus, I understand why the symbols are now meaningless... And painful.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

On a Totally Different Note

I have a friend who has left Facebook and isn't looking at news. I wanted to confirm the Kempton Park hair saga that I mentioned to her but hadn't fully read when in my hunt for it, I came across the St Johns College one.

Why can't we all just get along?

How many Greeks are that school by the way?

But seriously, I wish that if we felt like 'hating' each other we'd at least do it based on recent actions. not stereotypes based on race.

I hate that our children are still growing up in a world like this, where they're made to feel they're less than just because of how they look or what their hair is like.

South Africa, will we ever change?

Where is the love?

My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Meet Patricia*. Patricia-not her real name but her real story-has allowed me to share her story. It's similar to those of my friends. Her husband, respected in the church, just like the others' in fact, only two of the males have not been either pastors, elders, deacons, lay missionaries or lay preachers. I share this story so that if you are the friend of a 'Patricia,' you can understand a bit, a tiny bit, the pain, the shaking of her foundations, that she has gone through.

Patricia. Devoted wife, mother, caring friend. Selfless, giving, loving, kind. Just a good Christian woman with a good Christian husband. Everyone loved Mr Patricia. He was a good man, humble, holy... If any couple was going to heaven, they were. They were the epitome of godly love.

One day, Patricia went into her online photo album. She wanted to delete photos from there. You see what happens is that when they take pictures with their phones, the pictures automatically upload onto their online album, and she had taken multiple pictures of the same thing. Blithely, innocently, she took her phone and entered.

Her life would never, ever be the same again.

She saw her. A woman she didn't know. "Who was she? Why was she in her and her husband's online album?" She knew. You see, her husband, like most of the husbands I know, was a very conservative Christian. As a rule, he did not have female friends. He taught every where that males and females should keep their distance from each other. Patricia knew in that instance, that SOMETHING WAS VERY WRONG. Yes, the woman was in a normal setting, no, she wasn't naked. But she was a stranger. No. She was an enemy.

In a blind panic, Patricia got in touch with her husband. She asked, hoping to be reassured, "Who is that woman in our album? Why is she there?" He did not know what she was talking about. Then he remembered and said, "Oh, that's Noodle.* (Not her real name) I lent her my phone because hers is broken. She's sightseeing with it." Patricia was not happy at all. "Why would you lend her your phone when you are so strict about keeping your life separate from other women? Our personal pictures are on there! Why give some woman who each time you've said her name I've told you I don't trust, a phone that has my pictures on it?? Why couldn't she buy her own phone? Or ask her husband to use his phone? WHY DOES SHE HAVE YOUR PHONE???" She felt the panic rising. She felt the fear coursing through her veins.

THE PHONECALL WAS NOT ALLAYING ANY OF HER FEARS AT ALL.

Her husband had always been like some other husbands. You know the husbands who say, "I always let my wife read my WhatsApp messages and respond, we have no secrets." So, she had access to his email account. After all, he had given it to her-they were one. She went in. Looked for Noodle's emails.

And her heart broke into two. Two jagged pieces of pain.

Nonsense was sending innuendo laden emails to Mr Patricia. Mr Patricia instead of rebuffing her, instead of saying, "Don't be nasty, send those to your husband and leave me alone," was enjoying it and asking if Noodle wanted him to do those things to her. Email after email. Him complimenting her, she lapping it up. Mention of a husband. Poor, unaware husband.

Patricia felt sick. Her heart was irreparably broken. Mr Patricia of all people? Mr Patricia who everyone agreed would never do such a thing? Mr Patricia who was so respected as conservative Christian man?

There was no more Mr Patricia, just a Stranger where before was her husband, keeper of her heart.

Her life as she knew it, was over.

With panic, pain, so much pain, she again contacted what used to be Mr Patricia. She sent him screenshots of the conversations he'd had with Nonsense. It was over. He could not pretend it was innocent any longer.
In pain, Patricia sent an email to both Nonsense and Stranger. With pain searing and deep and raw, she wrote telling them of the pain they had caused. There was no anger, just pain. Deep, heartbroken pain. How could a wife do this to another wife? How could a man who'd vowed to bring her joy bring such misery? How could they collude in something so unholy when he had acted so holy? How? How? How? Maybe if they saw the pain she was in, they would have compassion and end it. Maybe their consciences would be awakened and they would both apologise for forgetting to whom they had made their marriage vows.

She expected too much. Only a woman with scruples would ever apologise for the hurt she had caused. And generally, women with scruples don't do things that would cause such pain in the first place.

He said he was sorry. He said he wouldn't do it again. He promised he was avoiding Noodle. He showed her his phone, "See, you can check every email account, every message, any time, anyday. I have cut contact with Noodle. I am yours. I don't know what I was thinking. Forgive me. I will never hurt you again."

And she forgave. She forgave. She wept every morning in the shower. She wept in the afternoon. But she tried. She held those two jagged pieces of her heart together and tried to move on. "He told me he will never do it again. He told me he is sorry. He told me he never stopped loving me. I will survive."

And like a good Christian woman, she prayed. "God, please, please help me to heal. Take this pain away. Please, please help me to believe. Help me to believe that the past decade of our marriage wasn't all a big fat lie. Help me stay when I so want to leave. God, help me. I am alone. I am alone. I need you. Hold me while I walk through these waters.

I thank you for not forsaking me while the man you gave me did. Thank you for holding me in the palm of your hands. I will be ok. He has promised to make all things right.

Amen."

She wept. Cried. Groaned. But she stayed. God forgave. God forgave those who betrayed Him, she could do the same. She was going to work on her marriage. Fix where she had gone wrong, try be 'better' and be what Stranger needed even though looking at him caused her pain.

Until one night.

A couple of months after Stranger had promised that he would never disappoint her again, after he had told her that she had nothing to fear, Patricia fell asleep. And in the night, she had a dream. Noodle. Noodle was there in her dream. Laughing. Gloating. "I have your husband and you don't even know it. He lied to you. He's mine!"

Patricia woke up, heart in tatters. It was only a dream. But it remained with her. Two nights  later, when Stranger went to shower, she looked at his phone. While he had been ignoring her because he was 'working,' he'd been emailing Noodle. The evidence was there and overwhelming. Meetings they'd had. Appointments they'd set.

This time, Patricia had a different reason for reading their emails. She was hunting. Hunting for evidence that Stranger and Nonsense felt guilty. Hunting for evidence that Stranger was some innocent man being lured by an evil woman. Anything to reduce the pain she was in.
There was none. No evidence to show she was thought of. No evidence to show that Stranger even spoke about her in a positive way to Nonsense. Just evidence of his inability to be true. No evidence that they had consciences any more. No evidence that she mattered.

All Patricia had was evidence that though she had given herself wholeheartedly, forever, to Stranger, Stranger had given himself to Noodle. Instead of Patricia's joys being important to him, Stranger was infatuated with Nonsense, even telling her that her joys were bound in his.

There was no evidence of the repentance he claimed.

There was no evidence of his undying commitment to rebuilding what he had torn down with his bare hands.

Not a single shred of evidence of guilt, of respect for their spouses...Nothing.

Patricia gave up.

It was over.

No need to look for evidence that she mattered, that at some point, Stranger remembered her and his love for her.

Patricia's heart, the two pieces that she had held together, shattered into a million pieces. A million tiny pieces that no-one on this earth will ever be able to put together again. In fact, some pieces are gone, never to be found again.
Not the best counselor in the world, not an allegedly repentant Stranger... No human will fix Patricia.

Patricia no longer believes in love.

Love died the day she realised Stranger cared more for an enemy to her marriage than he did for God and for her.

Stranger killed her soul. Stole her dreams. Took away her confidence in the future. Shattered her heart, her heart that she had given him to keep safe, and spat on it with Noodle.

Patricia is now a shell of herself. She gave herself, her body, her heart, her joys, her sorrows to Stranger. Stranger promised to be her Protector. But he harmed her. He shot the bullet himself.

The night she found evidence that her husband was still a liar, that her 'Christian' husband had forgotten that he was a husband, was the night Patricia screamed, "My God, my God! Why hast thou forsaken me? How could you let another human being hurt me like this? Why did you let me marry him if he did not love me the way I love him? Do you not love me? Did you not see the pain I was in before?? Why did you talk to Balaam with a donkey, but you did not stop my husband from his actions? Am I that evil that you chose to forsake me rather than to protect me? Where were you when he pressed 'send?' Where were you when he hugged her where anyone could have seen her and added to my embarrassment? Where were you when instead of telling me how sorry he was, he was writing to another man's wife, telling her that he needed to see her?

My God, where were you when my heart broke into a million tiny pieces that will not ever be picked up to form one whole heart ever again?

Why did you not kill me before I found out that the man I loved did not love me enough to be true to me?

Why did you not kill me?

How will I survive when I have nothing to live for. When the man I lived for decided to live for someone else?"

In the depths of the darkness, in the loudness of the silence, he screams of anguish went unanswered.

God did not speak.

He did not tell her what she was meant to learn from her emotional torment.

He did not tell her if Stranger was being honest that 'now' he 'really' was sorry.

He did not tell her how she would survive if she took her children and fled.

God did not tell her that unlike other children of divorce, her children would be ok.

God was silent.

And Patricia remains. A shadow. Pretending she is something when she feels as if she is nothing.

Waiting for death to release her from lies. From people she cannot trust. From painful memories. From scars that cannot heal on this earth.

                                     ..............................................................................................

God help all the men who have done this to their wives. It is the most painful thing I have ever seen. If a husband dies in a car crash that wasn't his fault, at least she has pleasant memories to cling to. But when a man does this, all the pleasant memories are not real. And she wonders if Stranger was ever her husband, or if there was a Noodle hiding in the background all along. An enemy who had been let into their sacred circle.

Love died the day Stranger was unable to choose life, to choose God, to choose Patricia.

This is why I write. Your story will not be like Patricia's in events, but the pain is the same. The betrayal, the inability to trust again. Different, but the same.

And I am sorry. So sorry that the commitment you gave to your marriage was not shared by the one you were/are married to.

So sorry.


Don't Feel Bad For Feeling Upset When They Say It's "Just" an Emotional Affair

Matt 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
(To reiterate. I am doing this specifically for sisters in MY church who have found no support in their congregations. More than half of my close SDA friends have been cheated on. That excludes the two who were in a courtship. That is NOT a good statistic unless I just happen to be unlucky. And no, we didn't link up AFTER the adulteries. (Some people get in touch because they think I care and can help with various emotional issues or advice. Not in this case. Only one person has gotten in touch specifically because of their heartbreak, these are all long, old friendships which have had bad news and little to no support in their congregations. In  In case there are others not getting much support, I continue this series.)
It might as well be full adultery. It's not 'just.' So don't ever feel guilty for feeling as if your world fell apart. It did. It did. He could have sacrificed anything and everything to avoid harming his soul, breaking his promises and adding a third person in your sacred circle, but he didn't.
The words said/texted/emailed to her, were words meant only for you. The compliments, the time spent together, the hours spent planning flights together, visits at workplaces... That is time God allocated to you, as the wife, and no-one else.
The harm to your emotions is never to be diminished with regard to its intensity. You were betrayed just as much as the man who took off his clothes and united his body with another's. He knit his soul with another woman's instead of keeping it knit with yours, and yours alone. The commitment made that you kept, he did not. It will hurt. Do not feel bad for not thinking, "Oh well, at least they didn't sleep together." Marriage is about the meeting of two hearts, it's not only about sex.Sex happens AFTER the knitting of two hearts. If friends act as if it's not a big deal, chances are it's never happened to them, maybe they themselves are guilty of it so honestly don't realise how harmful it is, or they are just not as emotionally invested in their marriages as you are, or are just blissfully unaware and don't mean to hurt you by minimising it. Ignorance is bliss and for their sake, it's best that they do not fully understand it by experience! 
It makes sense that you'd be hurt and unable to trust and give yourself fully after that. While you were planning what to cook for him, he was planning when to meet her again. While you waited in vain for an SMS from him, he was texting her. While you were planning a surprise birthday party for him, he was meeting her at a restaurant. While you pictured yourself greeting him with a loving embrace, he was busy hugging her and holding her close.
Your pain is justified. Valid. Real. Deep. Understandable. 
Horrific. Awful.
Do not ever feel invalidated just because he says "We were just flirting." 
We (As traditional Christians) all know he was meant to keep his flirting for you, and you alone. The oneness you promised each other, he shared with one who wasn't you. It was wrong. Period.
Emotional affair means just that. The emotions that should have been kept for you, were invested in someone else. Don't EVER feel stupid for feeling deep sorrow. Even Christ who was never married knew how bad it was that his romantic thoughts were towards her. You are not being extreme.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

To the Betrayed Wife

(I am a Christian. All my friends who have been betrayed by husbands and boyfriends are Christian. Everything I write is from that viewpoint. Also, these posts are written from very specific standpoints, collected from real people I know. They might not be relevant for your specific situation.)

The husband sends a text. "I need you. My wife is too fat. Is too frigid. Can't bear children. Is bossy. Is lazy. Is uneducated. Doesn't give me attention.."
Excuse after excuse to break his vows.

Those are excuses used by immature people. Mature Christians, Christians who are truly following Christ, don't need to give excuses for bad behaviour, because they analyse themselves and realise they're veering off the path and draw even closer to you. As soon as that man thought, "Hmm, here's my chance," he stopped being a Christian. He became a hypocrite. And you can't take what a hypocrite says, seriously. Not when it's an excuse for doing wrong.

At the altar, he never vowed to only forsake other women if you didn't gain weight. If you got a degree. If you pursued him lustfully every single night. If you acted as if he was God's gift to the universe. There were no conditions to his vows. He promised fidelity forever. No excuses.

When a man becomes a drunkard, I've never heard the wife blaming water or juice for being boring. So why do we insist on blaming ourselves when this choice is made. When this choice is made over and over and over? It is not ever your fault. His excuse is an excuse. I know you won't believe this because it hurts too much and by nature we tend to focus on, "What can I fix? What does she have that I don't have?"

She has loose morals. (Yep, even her friends have told her to leave him alone but she has no scruples.)I don't think you want a lack of morals. She has a heart that deceives her boyfriend/husband/God, and doesn't care about breaking families, all she wants is your husband. I don't think you want to become the cause of eternal heartbreak and broken vows. You want your husband, the one you promised to love eternally, not someone else's.

SHE HAS NOTHING YOU WANT, AND IS EVERYTHING YOU HATE.

The problem is your husband. not you. He forgot his God. He forgot you. He chose to go after someone who forgot her husband, her vows to be faithful. What a sad situation, when two people choose to hurt those they claim to love rather than to fix themselves.

Sis, you have nothing to fix. A mature man who has real 'concerns' will talk to you. He won't talk to another woman. If he doesn't feel like he's getting enough in the bedroom, he will talk to YOU, not get it from another woman. That's what real Christians do.

Have you ever thought that you actually bore this marriage on your shoulders? That his smelly feet, his untidy habits, his not asking you about your day, his boorish manners and fat belly did not turn you off? That you loved him despite how inept he is in bed? How unsatisfied you felt after he rolled over and went to sleep? You never ran to another man when evening after evening all he spoke about was work, work, work and never you and his love for you. You never cried to another man about wanting attention when he was working till midnight and you had to fall asleep feeling lonely and unloved all those nights.

You also had excuses to sin, but you never took them. You love him despite the flaws. You meant your vows.

You were not messed up, there is nothing to fix that will stop him from straying. Only God can stop a sinner in his tracks, if the sinner sees his wrongs and repents.

One day you will see it and get it. His excuses are excuses. There was nothing so wrong with you that would drive him to lie and seek another woman instead of seeking God or counseling or understanding of your situation. Nothing.

There's a reason God said adulterers should be stoned to death. He Himself knew that you as the wife were not the cause of the adultery. He knew that no matter what kind of a wife you were, your actions were not what drove him to another woman. He could choose the life you chose. To be faithful despite the 'flaws.' But he didn't.

There's a reason God commanded the stoning of adulterers. He knew how hard it would be for you to live with that husband for the rest of your life, hurting, unsure if you would ever be emotionally healred. He knew how painful it would be for you to choose to stay for the sake of your children who you don't want to suffer. He knew. And took the choice away so you could never feel guilty.

Whether you choose to stay or go, know this. It is not your fault what happens after your choice. It is his. Just as it was his fault when he chose to forsake God who has a way of escape out of every sin if we choose to take it.

You have forgiven worse than what his excuses were. You never sought the embrace of another man to fulfill the 'needs' he wasn't fulfilling.

You are not to blame.

One day you will believe me.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I'm Not That Bad After All

We're all wretched worms (Scriptures talking) and worthless, our righteousness like filthy rags. But I have come to realise that we're also more than that.

The past few years have shown me the dark side of marriage. The suicidal phone calls years ago from a broken wife. The pained messages from hurting sisters... We can't, we shouldn't ONLY think of ourselves as wretched, useless. Because it is when we only view ourselves as useless, that we begin to believe the lies their actions teach us. When they whisper to another woman, "You are beautiful," he's not telling you that you're ugly. He's really saying HE is ugly. His soul is dark, wretched. When he breaks you with those punching fists, hurting you so bad that the police are called in, HE is the one who deserves it, not you. Not you, the one who dealt with all his flaws, his failings, his errors without ever laying into him either verbally or physically.

A few years ago, I stopped rejoicing at weddings. I knew what the Blueprint was, in terms of how couples should (biblically speaking) behave towards each other, how they should respect each other..and there was very little of that. I saw anger, heard bad words, in the presence of little children and in ours, uncomfortable guests. And I thought, "If this ugliness is allowed to happen before me, how bad does it get when there are no witnesses besides the little ears?"

With each husband who 'jokingly' put his wife down, I felt bad. With each woman who emasculated her husband and spoke to him like he was a piece of dirt, I wanted to hide myself.

And so, I feared. Will they be happy, or are they smiling today in their neat suits and white wedding gowns only to grow tired of each other in a few years' time? Snapping and hating each others' presence, telling all and sundry that they cannot wait for the other to just go away?

Now it's even worse. I'm older. Those couples have moved from even that stage to a worse one. One where they call me in tears. One where they have been so badly broken by the one who was meant to protect them that I don't know how they have not fallen apart. I have had the horror of begging my weeping friend not to kill herself. Over the phone, in a totally different province.

I have seen the worst side. The dark side. The secret side. The abusive pastors. The lying elders. The hateful husbands. All within my own church.

I have seen and I will never be the same again. I have sought for counseling help. There is none. Our church has roughly the same divorce rate as the world but there is nothing. No resource. Nothing to help our sisters who are trying to recover from infidelity. No sermons aimed at them. No ministry focused on building our sisters down who were torn down by the ones who swore to love, protect, cherish, and honour.

Who will love our sisters when the ones they gave their hearts to trampled upon them in the worst way possible? Where will they look when there's nothing to see within our own doors? Where will they go for help when no-one seems to care?

Why are Sunday-keeping churches open that infidelity exists and that it is a crisis that needs to be talked about?

The Lord of the Sabbath cared about our hearts, our souls.

The lack of support. Of ministries. Of practical advice is destroying the silent sorority soul by soul. Some have stopped going to church. Some no longer read their Bibles.
The men who claim to represent God on earth, who claim to be His mouthpieces have no words of comfort for my hurting sisters.

When there's no-one at church to turn to, where do we expect them to go?

It's not only the youth who are leaving the church.

When will someone do something about it?

*I might be wrong about the specific church where you are, but sjoe, I was born in the church. Have been to churches in England, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania. I've looked online and seen TD Jakes' sermons, sermons by Sunday women... And most importantly, my sisters and I know for a fact that where WE are, no-one cares about those wounds caused by the ones we sleep next to at night. They are the invisible sufferers. Uncared for.

I am back. I do not know for how long. Nor how often. Nor what I will blog about.
I know I will not share what is going on in my own life, as I have also seen the dark side of blogging, where people stalk but do not comment. Where people read not to support but to spy. Not to learn, but to gossip. Not to be inspired, but to cause harm.

But I have seen the dark, raw, 1am WhatsApp messages side, and I could not be silent. If I don't speak for the hurting sisters, who will?

And back to my title. I am not THAT bad after all, as imperfect as I am. And neither are they. They will never be so bad as to deserve to have been lied to before God, the angels, family and friends. Never.