Today’s Encouragement is sparked by the rawness of life.
I am writing today out of 100% pure exhaustion so I am not sure how well this will all come together, but it is my deepest hope and most sincere prayer it will touch someone else out there today.
I live a life where I am going to be brutally honest and admit I have enabled my family to totally depend of me for their everything.
If you were to ask them they would completely disagree with me, but if you looked at our life through the window I think you would see what I see.
I am not sure psychologically why I have allowed this to happen, but I can tell you a few physical reasons I have allowed it to happen.
Since my husband’s PTSD diagnosis back in 2012, I have done everything I know how to do to make his life easier on him.
I felt bad for him because he was struggling with so much stuff that to add any extra on him was more then he could handle. I picked up doing his chores, both inside and outside. I do all the yard work and everything I physically can handle and know how to do. I rarely asked him for any help or advice because that would add more stress to him when he was already maxed out on that to begin with.
Now jump ahead to 2014, this was the year he lost his job of 15 years. Let’s add an ugly situation to an already bad situation, need I say more?
I continued to do everything I knew how to do because now we were in a bigger mess. We needed a job and quickly. My husband was struggling with fighting with his former employer over his termination because they violated his ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) Rights. He was fighting with the Department of Veteran’s Administration to get his disability appeals through the system as well as seeking advice in how to fight City Hall (per say) with our job situation. They recommended he go through the Labor Department and seek assistance from them, which he did, only for them to be of no assistance. They waited until we had exhausted every and all means of our monetary existence before they decided we had a valid and legitimate case to be looked into. By then it was too late. We needed an income and we needed it now.
While all of this was going on I was struggling with how to go get a job to help us when I homeschooled our daughter (and had from day one of preschool) as well as tending to her with her multiple medical issues. I just did not know how to do all I was doing in our home and work outside our home as well. This was and is a continuous struggle for me because this issue seems to never go away in our home.
I truly had to trust and rely on God for every step, direction, and guidance in how He was going to help us out of this ugly mess we found ourselves in. I clung to Him with white knuckles. There was nowhere else to go. You don’t tell people this ugliness of your life. It is mortifying, humiliating, and degrading. You kept this ugliness to yourself.
I am sure if you asked my husband he would say I didn’t do that great of a job with handling all of this mess. It was a fearful and scary time in our life. I spent a lot of time in tears behind closed doors and at night crying into my pillow. The stress our home endured was just totally insane, but in the end God blessed us with a job and he went back to work after nine very long months of no job.
God did protect us. We kept our home and our bills paid. Food was sketchy at best, but we still ate. Every little bit, no matter what it was counted when there was nothing coming into the house.
So back to work my husband went. We were ever so thankful to have a job again, but unfortunately this isn’t the end of our financial struggles, because the pay is nothing compared to what we were making at his previous job. We just keep making due and holding our breath from pay day to pay day.
I still do everything around our house, continued to homeschool my daughter through her high school years and added multiple doctor appointments a week to our already busy schedule due to her decline in health issues.
I carry a huge burden on my back to keep our home running efficiently because when you live as close to the edge as we do, one wrong step and life goes into crash mode again. I wish I could say I strive to keep our home a happy one while we continue to struggle, but happy it is not. We have been and continue to remain in existence and survival mode.
My husband shows little emotions any more. I went through many years of anger and rage with him. You learned to not say anything. Don’t rock the boat, so they say. Now, years later, the VA has worked out his medicine and he is stable for the most part with his anger. Thankfully the rage isn’t seen very often any more, but the damage is done. The damage he doesn’t see any longer. The forgotten hurtful words, the constant pushing away, all that is a distant memory to him, if it is even a memory, but the effects are permanently embedded and etched in my heart, my soul, and my existence.
It is hard to walk away from everything we have been through and not be scared, but one thing is for sure, you don’t talk about it. Do not show emotions because they are wrong. Well, as a result, I have become a very angry person. The tables have turned because of years of living like this.
I am tired, worn down and broken, but there is no time for any of those emotions, Stuff them and move on. Reach down, pull up your boot strings and move on with life. There is too much to do to keep this house running then to feel sorry for yourself. Finish homeschooling, tend to medical appointments (now with both of them), keep up with the chores both inside and outside and take care of them when they are both sick or injured. This is what I do.
This is the raw and ugly side of my life. I am writing this because I feel God wants me to share this ugly side of my story to touch someone else who might be struggling with their own difficult situation.
I am sharing this today to share with you the hope of a brighter tomorrow. Today may be hard, but tomorrow you might have a day where the sun will come out and you will breathe in the fresh air and God will show you there is hope again. He will show you there is hope in a new tomorrow.
My friend, the key to my long and ugly story is that no matter how dark life can get, God remains by your side constantly and continuously. He will never forsake you. When you think you can not take one more step, He is there holding you up, encouraging you to take one more step, good job, now one more, and one more. It is Him who gets us through these tough times in life. Him and Him only. We are never strong enough to wage these kinds of wars, but with God by our side, He always gives us the strength we need when we need it.
Trust me, I am living proof of this. Even today as I am writing this in my state of pure exhaustion (for a different reason I didn’t cover here today), I can not continue to do what I am doing in this state without His strength. One day this present situation will end and life will go back to normal, but until then I have to lean on God to get me through.
I just wish I could learn to do it more gracefully and happily. It hurts me to my core to be angry (when this isn’t normally my personality). It hurts me even more so when my husband calls me on my behavior in a not so nice and loving way when I stood by his side when most wives would have left and I didn’t when he was so ugly.
I guess this is where I would offer some encouragement to those of you out there in struggling marriages. It is never a good idea to knock your spouse down when they are already hurting. Anger is a sign of hurt. It is a superficial emotion which is most times masking the real emotions that lay beneath it.
If you love your spouse and you see them struggling, whether physically or emotionally, love them enough to reach out to them, hold them, act like you care about them, and listen to them. Do not get so busy in being hurt that you forget they need you. You might even be surprised that what you offer in the form of love might be just what they needed and had been lacking.
Just a few random thoughts to my humiliating story I told. God and I had made a deal many years ago that I could continue to live this hardship, if and only if, He could turn my wrong into a good. If my hardship could help to encourage just one person then I would know my struggle was not in vain.
“If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
Psalms 139:9-14 NKJV
My friend, hold your head up high and know you are a child of the King and no matter how hard life may seem right now, you have a home already waiting for you with Him. You just have to be strong enough to trudge through the dirty and mucky waters of life right now, but always remember, you are never alone!!! God is holding your hand right now!
Lastly remember this…
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
Psalms 139:14 NKJV
You are… enough!
Disclaimer… please do not think badly of my husband. In order to truthfully and honestly tell my story, there are times he may not come out in such a loving fashion. This is what makes writing from those tough and raw emotions so difficult. I have to decide if I am going to share my story when God leads me to, that it will not be pretty which is counterproductive to our social media platoform today where everyone only sees everyone in their most beautiful and perfect state. Their families are perfect, their marriages are perfect. They are beautiful, like runway beautiful at all times, but my friend, life isn’t all of this.
There are messy hair, stay in your pj’s kind of days. There are days where you may struggle to like your spouse that day or your beautiful kids are about to cause you your sanity if you hear one more time, “moooooooooom!”
This is the ugly and raw side of life. This is what I vowed to write about in an open and honest venue such as my blog.
So again, I beg you to please not think of my husband or my daughter in a negative light. We all have our faults. Mine are so many, you can’t possibly count them all.
I am sure you are the same way whether you dare to be open and honest about it or not.