Monday, April 7, 2008

A World Gone Crazy

We were home. But it didn't feel like home anymore. So much had happened in the previous few years and the stress factor had pushed each of us into different directions and none of us seemed able to latch hold of anything to steady us. Instead of getting better when we moved back home, everything began to unravel all around us. Our little world was falling apart and the more each of us tried to hold things together, none of us was working together to accomplish it. The marriage was disintegrating, the children, just beginning to come into their pre-teen and teenage years were rebelling. They were angry about having had to move away the first time, and now instead of being happy to be home again, they were angry about having to leave the new friends they had made. For my part, I was just trying to survive it all and keep hold of everything the best I could to keep it from totally imploding.
Over the next few months life as we knew it would change in ways none of us could have imagined and it impacted us in disasterous ways. Gradually life began to take on this kind of unreal haze that each of us struggled through in his or her own way. It was so out of control that just finding ways to keep us together and calm was a huge task. The next few years were the most difficult years I have ever had to face in my entire life. I cannot speak for the others. But I know it was just as difficult for them as it was for me. Maybe more so since children have a more difficult time understanding the adult world. Let me say this, though. At this time, I didn't understand the world either. I didn't understand anything anymore except that I had to keep my family together. What I didn't know was that the more I struggled to keep us together, the more I was driving us all apart. You can't hold water in your hand and squeeze and still expect the water to stay in your hand. That doesn't work with love and families either.
Six years into my faith journey, my married took the final turn for the worst and we separated for the last time, with our dissolution being finalized almost a year later. I was devastated inside, but would never let myself admit it to anyone, even myself. There is a kind of lying that we don't usually think about. That is the lie we tell ourselves. And when we are lying to ourselves, we are also lying to God. Isn't it wonderful that He knows the real story though? Well, maybe, in the midst of the lie you would rather He didn't know the real story. But He knew what was in my heart all the time I was lying to myself and to everyone else about how I felt about my marriage and my divorce.
Our oldest child who was a young adult by this time was living outside our home with friends. She could not handle the stress of the family anymore. Our youngest was about to graduate high school. We had to give up our family home permanently and he couldn't handle living with me anywhere else, so he spent as much time as he could with his friends when he wasn't in school or working. I had lost my marriage, my children, my home, and everything important to me. But I fooled myself into thinking that I was finally happy being single and on my own for the first time in my life. I played the game but after a few months of it, I realized I was slipping...not only away from my family, but from God. I knew I had to do something to get back on that right path with the Lord and soon. So I got back into church and made a complete turn around. It had taken me a long time to realize that all my Christian life I had been fence-sitting. As one of my mentors told me not too long after she met me: "Cindy, when you came in here the first time I could tell you were living with one foot in Christ and one foot in the world. I wasn't sure at that time which direction you were going to go." Thank God, I realized I had to make the right decision and get both feet on the right side of the fence. It wasn't a hard struggle once I made up my mind. I realized that one of the reasons I had failed to live the life I really wanted to live as a Christian woman was because I was trying to do it without Christian friends. I was indeed living totally in the world, living the world's ways, with no Godly influences in my life outside of what I had in my Bible, Christian television and radio, records and tapes. So very early into the year 2000 I burned my worldly bridges so to speak and closed all the doors to the worldly life, as completely as I could and still live in the world. I knew I was not strong enough spiritually to pick myself up and live the way God wanted me to alone. And I knew I could not do it if I was hanging out with friends who were not in church also trying to live Godly lives. From January 2000 until 2005, I participated in no activities outside of those that included my friends from church. But, in those same years, I participated in activities I never had the courage to even try at any other time in my life. For one, I joined the church drama team and played a lot of crazy, funny characters in lots of skits in which we improvised our scripts based only on the idea of what the skit was about and what the goal of the message was. There was never a single rehearsal or performance that went exactly the same way. And there was never a single rehearsal that I didn't end up laughing until the tears rolled. Believe me, tears are healing in many ways, whether it be through sorrow or joy or laughter. The Bible says in Proverbs that laughter doeth good like a medicine. I think it was in 2003 that I also joined the choir. I am a little fuzzy on the year I made that leap of faith.
I have included a music video I found on YouTube. This is Ray Boltz singing "The Anchor Holds" and of all the Christian music I know, this one really puts into words the things I have tried to say in this post...the things I couldn't say...or didn't say well. The beginning instrumental piece of this music is called "The Storm" and from the beginning of my faith journey onward, I have been through one storm after another. Some have been very very severe, while others not so harsh. There will be more storms to talk about in the next post or two. Please, for now, sit back and enjoy this video and let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart.

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