Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Okay, so I said I wouldn't talk about it anymore but...

Thank you for your previous comments. I know I said I wouldn't say anything about our situation with "you know who" again but I did want to share something else.

I have to remember that having her a part of my life means I am a person God has placed in her path to pray for her. I honestly don't harbor any animosity toward her. Forgiveness is a gift from He who forgave all.

I have mentioned many times that my husband is on Disability for bipolar symptoms. Actually, it is the severe environmental allergies he developed as a teenager which caused such challenges in his life, eventually doing enough damage to his brain (with all the swelling through the years) that his symptoms are bipolar as well as mental confusion.

He can be just fine one moment and hardly functioning the next (which is why he was put on S. S. Disability the first time he applied, something rare... but he had over forty years of documentation from doctors). We know that "bipolar" is a huge umbrella of many causes.

I used to complain to God about my husband as a "normal" life has never been possible. At the least it has been the source of financial chaos but also daily stress from living with a person who is entirely unpredictable and can be nice one moment and in a rage the next.

I complained until the day when He finally got through to me that my husband is a ministry He has given me. I had images of my early and teenage years run through my mind and realized everything He allowed me to experience helped later to help my husband. He has said many, many times that he would not only have left his walk with Christ long ago but most definitely would have committed suicide if not for me.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have been far from perfect. I mean... really far from perfect. I've stomped my feet, cried, yelled at God and everyone around me (blush...), buried my head in my pillow and sobbed, complained to God that I woke up in the morning when I asked Him to take me during the night... and pretty much acted like a brat.

What God did that helped me through the years... He poured His love for my husband through me. He gave not only me but our kids the gift of "letting it all go". That's why Christopher has told me many times that growing up in this home taught him how to forgive quickly. Not that we didn't have to get in the car and leave for awhile to calm down.

I think I have my ponder back (trials will do that to you) and on Sunday I'll share about what I've learned about going through this with said SIL. It's different then lessons learned in living day to day with the bipolar symptoms my husband experiences.

They send me to my knees daily. I have to gain strength each morning so I cannot only face the challenges each day brings but do so in a way that does not bring dishonor to the One Who gives me that strength.

It's all in the attitude... if I saw my husband as my Problem... the one who was keeping me from a life of peace and prosperity... then I'd live in anger. If, instead, I realize this is where God has placed me to be His woman, in His time and in His place, ministering to one who is broken... then I can accept the gifts He gives each day to do that which He has called me to do.

The hardest part of dealing with his sister these past months is what it is doing to my husband. He functions best when life is calm and he is in control of his environment (which is why we use the small bedroom as a home office and "his" room). Since I have the laptop now, I'm rarely in the office.

You can imagine what it is doing to him getting phone calls 24/7 after months of having to take care of her problems on the phone and travelling to his hometown for that which must be taken care of in person... from becoming physically exhausted and not being able to get out of bed in the morning all the way to more flare ups of sudden rage and not thinking clearly.

So... why hasn't God just HEALED him so we could live a normal life? Why wasn't everything made right before the stress (probably) brought about my chronic illness? Why did we have to sell our "dream" home and end up in a position where we have a little over $100 each month for gas and groceries? Ummm... I don't know... except...

What He has allowed in my life is the very stuff what what I have to share with others. Life isn't perfect. This is not Heaven, yet. Bad things happen to good people.

Everything I've been through is what taught me about...

keeping a deep pantry (because unexpected circumstances can happen);

that God provides even if He doesn't change circumstances;

how He brings peace while leaving us in the storm;

that we have control over our attitudes and surroundings...

and that He still makes "boundary lines in pleasant places" in the midst of that which is far from perfect.

Now, I know you were waiting with baited breath for my zucchini post. It will follow later today. I need to let the battery on the laptop charge (thank you again to my friend who gave it to me as a gift... you are precious) and do some housework.

Morning storms watered my garden but the downstairs maids did not clean the kitchen or do laundry. Good help is hard to find these days.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brenda,
I read your blog daily and enjoy it immensely, but I have never been moved to comment til now.
I was so moved by your post this morning and the strength dignity and courage with which you handle your life.
I,too, am living on SSI and living day to day.I sometimes (though not always!) enjoy the challenge of stretching resources.
I think keeping your home life as calm as possible is a fantastic way to help your dh.
You are both in my thoughts and prayers and admired.
God bless,
Helen(grammea)
grammea22@verizon.net

Mrs.Rabe said...

Brenda,

What a beautiful post. I love the peace in the midst of the storm. I am so thankful for our great God, and so in need of his help daily!

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I hope you know, Brenda, that you are a ministry to us all, too. When I read about your SIL, I did not detect any meanness in you...frustration? Yes. Meanness, No. and you would have to be superhuman not to be frustrated with the situation life has dealt you. Thank you for your words about God and how He is with us even in the midst of our trials. These are words I am taking to heart today and using, so I truly appreciate them. Keep talking...please. C.

Marie said...

Brenda, I wish I could be there to give you a hug. No one knows what goes on in another person's life behind closed doors. Thank you for sharing your truth with us. I know from my and my DH's life, that calmness means a lot for us to be able to handle each day with his MS and my back pain. We love our children but them being here for a week was a strain on us and it took a while to recover. I can not imagine what having his sister in your house will do to you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. BTW, we are going to have to do something about our maids!
Love ya!
Marie

Packrat said...

More prayers for you and yours.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

My rounds on the blogosphere have brought me here at a very poignant time in my life, and yours I see. Letting go . . . healing . . . offering up . . . laying down . . . It is a way of life for me and has been from the time I was small. And yet -- HOW COME IT HURTS SO OFTEN? Yes, it hurts. But still I do it . . . and you do it . . . and others do it, while the difficult ones continue to do what they do. A puzzlement? Indeed! An insurmountable obstacle? Yes, alone; No by the grace of God. And so I surmount it once again and gaze at the precious landscape of love all around me.

Praise His name for the blessings of His guidance as we overcome and continue to stagger toward the finish line -- eyes fixed, focus firm, Lord before me.

Thank you for sharing this pain, as I have gained so much encouragement from your wise words of experience and faith.

I carry on . . . because He is Lord!

p.s.
Like you, the difficulties inside my cottage walls bless me and drive me to greater heights of God's divine love. The doors on my cottage serve to keep the overbearing externals at bay when their is NO solution . . . only prayer. No anger, no bitterness, no shackles . . . only God's grace. And it is good! Though the extended arm of family serves up pain, my God comforts me in the bosom of a tremendously loving family. Blessed indeed.

Much Love to you as you endure.

XO ~~ Debbie

scrappy quilter said...

What a wonderful post. You are such an encouragement to me and I know to others. God is using you in ways you will never ever realize. I'm so thankful you are allowing Him to. Hugs.

cheri said...

I have a difficult person in my family too.

I remember Mother Theresa's example of seeing Jesus in each one she ministered to.

But that is soooo hard!

Thank you for the beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

I had to comment again...you have written so well of the struggle and the solution. What I have been learning in recent years is that whatever GOD has allowed in my life will ultimately be for my good. ULTIMATELY!! I too have had to give up MY hopes and dreams (just the same type as most would have for a perfect home environment...after all the outside world presents a plenty of challenges and after all, when 2 Believers marry shouldn't that be how it is??) Well, it was not that way. I had purposed in my heart to live separately from my husband (due to the rages) after my youngest was done with high school. But a couple years prior to that, we began a more intense faith walk and for us learning more of the TORAH and what it teaches and learning how to live it out has made all the difference in the world. My husband only has the rarest flareups now and they are over quick, he is repentant quickly and that has helped me to forgive, for sure. Also, he has in the last decade finally begun talking more about his raising and we have hopefully worked through some of that. But all things have a pricetag...and we are now paying for that with things that occur with our children...they have issues too, likely from their raising and from their own battles with Ausperger's syndrome, etc. But this is not a perfect world...that is yet to come. The KINGDOM and what awaits us THERE gives me strength to carry on. Thanks for sharing...one good thing the internet has brought out way: though I would not wish this life on anyone else, I have met others who struggle similarly and know I am really NOT alone in this!! BLessings and big hugs to you!!
Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I, too, have a husband on disability with variable capabilities and behaviours. Yes, God's grace is sufficient and we can have a ministry both in our homes and outside of it. I appreciate your insights and thank God for special blogging friends like you. Your ideas are really helpful.

Thanks again and God bless you and your family.

Honey Bee

Queen Of Her Castle said...

Thank you for this post, Brenda. My husband is disabled, and I have some chronic health issues of my own.

Your post is the first time I've ever heard anyone who knows exactly what it's like to live in this type of situation.

I, too, after years of whining, complaining, and being mad at the Lord, came to the same realization that you did--that the Lord placed me with my husband to be a help to him in the oh-so-many ways he needs it.

I always enjoy my visits to your blog.

~Becky