As my journey continued, I realize now that I lied, and I created something that was not real. I projected to my children that we need to be and are the perfect Christian family. We were following Christ now, and we shouldn’t have any problems anymore. No, no, no we did not, we told ourselves, I told them. If any of my children had a problem or issue, we would just suck it up, tough it out and put on a happy face. Or better yet, I thought, do things or deal with problems my way, and everything will work out great. Trust me, I knew better, I thought. I was the one reading the Bible every day, I was the one getting to know God. Heck, I had all the answers, my answers. I manage to let God know how to “do things”.
I took our children and myself to church every Sunday, with or without their father. I knew the better way. I realize now that back then, I got on my high horse, and I didn’t know why. God knew why, but I was sitting up there, dictating and manoeuvring my little children’s feelings around to suit my needs and to ensure it all looked perfect to the outside world. I should also mention how I was behaving towards Rob. I was either giving him the silent treatment, or I was blaming him and making sure I told him what he was doing wrong or how it should be done. Whatever the situation was, I was quick to put my “two cents in”. I was a new person now, full of anger of a different kind, one that motivated me to have a heart as hard as stone and to not allow anyone to hurt me or walk all over me ever again. With this anger, rage grew stronger day by day, In this state I started to deal with the hurts and wrongs being done to me with violent acts of rage. I threw things, anything I could get my hands on, stuff went flying through the house or out the door. The screaming at the top of my lungs at Rob or the kids was disgraceful. Rob often walked out of the house when the fights or arguments got this out of control. In fact, walking out while there was any family issue or situation between us happened many many times. It was a set pattern, it seemed to me. This used to push me over the edge; I was so out of control I did not know what to do.
I cannot begin to imagine how afraid my children must have felt.
How, I wondered, had my behaviour had gotten worse since God appeared on the scene? What the heck was going on here??!!
It got to a point where I could pull myself together fairly quickly after an outburst. I would apologize to my kids for what I had just done or how I had behaved and the little ones would say, it’s ok, and we would carry on. And so this life of insanity for all of us continued for years and years.
And so years went by and we were surviving. It often felt like we were merely existing in thin air. Then Rob went through a very challenging time early in the year 2001. He lost his brother. With this death and loss something changed in Rob. In the month of October 2001, Rob quit drinking and drugs. Yes he quit!
At first I could not believe what was happening, Rob shared with me how he did not want to drink anymore, how he wanted to be a better father and husband. These were words I had longed to hear all my life. The love that I had longed to feel all my life, suddenly was happening. Was this a dream? The happiness I felt was unreal. Well thank God, I thought, Rob is finally changing his ways. I thought, my problems are all over with this development. And for a little while they really were over to some degree. Financial issues continued; I could not understand why we continued having these financial pressures when the money spent on drinking had come to an end. This frustrated me. But this was something else that didn’t make sense, and just how life was, I told myself.
During the next few months and over the next few years, Rob and I seemed to be establishing closeness and at times, even had fun together. He was more involved with the kids, and spent more fun time with them. He became Mr. Wonderful. He brought me gifts and seemed to be more present in the relationship. He played with the kids and was more available for us.
In my happiness, I delved in deeper with my relationship with God. I thanked Him endlessly for how my life had been improving. My trust in God grew and I came to believe God was taking care of us. I started to devote more of my life to Him, I woke up early every morning to spend time with God and pray. It was time I looked forward to, this my alone time. I spent time in prayer with God. Prayer to me now seemed so different from the past. My prayers were not rehearsed, or ones I had learned at church or from books. These prayers were from my heart. They were moments of talking to, and with, God. And to my amazement, I became more open and honest about my concerns and my lack of understanding in areas of my life that just didn’t seem to be working. As I continued to nurture this relationship, I felt God asking me to start analyzing areas of my life that needed attention.
This had nothing to do with others. I still felt as if my life was a mess because of everyone else. I felt like I had been through the ringer. This affliction had everything to do with me. I evaluated how I chose to speak to others on a daily basis. I tried to reduce the profanity that had previously escaped my lips without my control. I thought about and changed what I chose to watch on TV, and the genre of music I listened to. I started to replace the things in my life that blocked my way to Jesus with things that brought Him glory and enhanced my relationship with Him. Something inside me started to long for closeness with God, and doing what was right for Him.
As I was starting to get to know God more intimately, I was also getting to know this other side of Rob, and I started to really like it. However, we seemed to be stuck on the roller coaster. When times were good, they were really good. I was so “in love” with Rob, and so “in love” with the appearance of being a perfect family. After good times, our world would come crashing down, and I could not understand why this kept happening.
There always seemed to be an issue with paying bills. I asked about money that was being spent and the fighting would start anew. Rob would pull away and ignore me. The loneliness I felt even though Rob was right there in front of me, gave me such heartache. When that hurt and pain started, the “crazy lady” who was locked inside me would come out. I would push Rob away, and close up and isolate from him and the world. I acted out in frustration by throwing things, swearing, and endlessly threatening to end the marriage. Up and down, up and down, our family went. Year after year things remained in the same pattern. For some reason we all held on tightly through each catastrophe. I took the good with the bad, after all, I though, this is life. My life.
I reminded myself daily that I was lucky that Rob took me in, so I must be grateful for that fact and endure whatever came my way. These crazy times seemed like my punishment for my wrong doings in life. With that, I took each day as it came and decided to make the most of it. Life continued on and seemed to be manageable. It felt manageable. After all, I was keeping up with housework, caring for our children, working, and I was also the Chair of the Parents’ Council at the children’s school. All this kept me busy and away from dealing with the truth and reality of what was really going on in this crazy life. I accepted whatever attention Rob was willing to give to me, our marriage, and family……..