I got a story to tell you:
Once upon a time when I was, oh, lets say about 8 years ago. I was determined to get my life straight and was determined that if R, L and few others were right, then God was for me, and I was hell bent (or heaven bent) on taking everyone with me.
Now, luckily for me, they came, Jim and Jesse. But as for me being a fanatical reader and with lots of time to read up on all this new ‘Christian’ stuff and determined to know EVERYthing about this God and this religion; I wanted everyone else to have this same ambition.
J, being raised catholic, knew of his God and the fundamentals of works righteousness and confession and the such but I was determined, on a mission actually, to change that in him, to prove his faith wrong, to show him, its GRACE, not works that saves him.
With BSF under my belt and 2 rooms full of books, reformed and not and every minute reading, cuz after the wedding, I went to the funny farm, and then had lots of time to recoup and study. I was determined to make the boys do as I do, (cuz, what the heck, I was doing it right, right?)
After I came out of my fog I started in on him to go to bible study, he was happy and content to ‘just’ go to church, he was going more than I was, I was still determining that alcohol was too much in my life and it had to go.
He loved the church, he loved rich and the people and the service. Jesse loved the service and the kids and we all grew to be able to sit quietly and absorb what we were hearing. Jim went to Sunday school and listened to my ranting over the stuff I have read. I bought him a bible and was determined he should use it as much as I did.
BSF became an option for him only after someone ELSE suggested it to him. But, hey, great, works for me.
Jesse was still in the younger kids’ class, but he was in school, so he didn’t start going until he was in upper elementary. Jesse loved the kids and study and always got his homework done. For Jim, he had to have it done because he needed to know all the answers and if he didn’t know them it was a personal failure. Guys are hardwired like that. It’s the competition thing. Of course he could always look at mine if he didn’t get his done. (When I would let him)
Let me tell you a few things about my hubby.
He sleeps whenever his butt hits a chair, anywhere, anytime.
He works his butt off at work, taking care of problems and babysitting people all day long, never really making a finished product per say. Mental work, not much mechanical (he used to be a mechanic, but became a supervisor about the same time we met 14 years ago) I feel that would be hard on some men, not feeling good because there wasn’t a product that was done by the end of the day, something they had made with their own toil. But my hubby gets problems fixed and things keep moving at Boeing.
He takes care of his family, he is concerned for his extended family, and he lets his wife take care of the house.
He has a few (required) chores to do, outside yard stuff and car maintenance.
Now J has no mechanical skill whatsoever, but is determined to get things fixed around here and will spend hours on one project until it’s done.
He gets up at 3 am to do a load of laundry before work to help me or empty the dishwasher.
He does his BSF, he actually goes day by day, like you’re supposed to do. Sitting at the kitchen table, before dinner.
He was the brain child behind our Sunday school class. I harped on him all week to help me with the planning, but by Saturday he would roll in and help me and we would get it done. I HATE doing things last minute, I harp on him, yelled at him, but I will say more about that later. (he refused to do Sunday school with me again)
He will help anyone anytime anywhere with anything. He has a kind heart, he looks for the good in people, I don’t.
He gives of his money and time. We fought over the 10% tithe thing for a long time, but in time he got up the ‘required’ amount. (And guess what we are not poor and starving because of it)
He worries about his children; he wants them to be good, smart Christian kids. He put both of his kids thru private Christian schools, and will pay for college for both if they want)
He has put up with me for 14 years; most of those years have hard, hard, hard for him, with him not knowing how to help me with alcohol, depression, phobias, mood swings, spending sprees, my anger toward him, holding grudges, and him just never be able to please me. He gets nagging and crappy attitude from me the majority of the time. He feels he can never do anything right by me. I AM SO Discontent.
He knows enough of Gods love to tell people at work about it, people know he is a Christian and he acts like it, they come to him for help and to ask for prayers, they respect him. (That’s really all a man wants is respect, from his peers and his wife and kids.)
My heart swells when he tells me of some little thing he has said or done for someone and I just realize ‘it has hit home with him’ THANK YOU GOD.
He cares about the people he knows at work who are sick or hurt or whacked out family members.
He loves animals and doesn’t care who knows about it.
He loves his God, he loves his pastor, he loves his brethren and he shows it. He loves me and all he wants to do is please me.
Now as for me;
When this whole learning about Christianity started out, it was my way or the highway. The homework was to be done when I wanted, how I wanted and the bibles studies also. Also with the chores and house keeping. Over the years the housekeeping thing has mellowed but I have put long hard hours into making my life and theirs a living hell, with the selfish way I act about the stuff I do. (Maybe it’s because it’s the only thing I have ‘control’ over) funny, huh?
By my nagging at him, it tells him, he is not doing it right, there is a right way to do it and its done my way the only way.
I have a suspicious mind and often do not think the best of people, now I’m getting better, but….
I do my bible study my way and should not try not to tell them to do it my way. It doesn’t work.
We have days and times set up for study, like Sunday afternoons are set aside for that. Thursday nights, too. Does it always get done, no. do I get upset, yep.
My hubby sleeps thru church. I’m determined to let him know under no uncertain terms, he is to wake up and pay attention. I should let him sleep, shouldn’t I? Its very disrupting to me, I have a hard enough time concentrating without looking at his head bobbing all morning. J
I fluctuate between just wanting to quit the cleaning all together or just taking all upon myself and not ask them to do anything.
I know there is a happy medium and we are getting there.
All this does not happen over night, years have gone by, and schedules have changed to accommodate each other, mostly me.
We used to do chores, clean the whole house on Saturday mornings with all of us helping. Well after a few years of fighting with that, a counselor helped me to figure out a daily schedule of house chores, do something small, a different room each day. Boy, that’s has worked wonders.
J has a set of chores he does every morning, hasn’t changed in about 6 years, but he has to do them. Mostly animal chores. His responsibility for joy and privilege of having the pets.
I used to not be able to even function enough to do chores, there were many months when Jim did all the chores and went to work and came home to take care of Jesse. I still am probably not fully functional, that’s why I don’t work. I can’t handle the added pressure of work to what I do now. Seems funny most people can work and clean and study and do whatever else they do. But I ride a thin line every day of oh lets say sanity.
My hubby knows I can’t function well and so he lets me stay home. I keep asking God if He wants me to work, but other ideas keep popping in my head, home bible study, dog assisted therapy, being home to help people when needed, volunteer for church and school, car pool, shipping bibles. I hope all of this is God inspired.
Anyway my hubby lets me do this. I really don’t deserve him or his love. I wonder if in 10-20 years we will run like a well oiled machine, some days we do. Most days we don’t. No, I take that back, we might be working on 50-50.
We also tried to read daily devotions together, I thought well if he wont read the bible, we can together. Boom, 5 minutes into it, he was asleep. I got the bible on CD, best thing I could have done, he listens to them in the car! He has got Romans out in the truck now!!!
The basis of this story is I can run, work, and handle my daily life my way. My spiritual life is my spiritual life, my growth, my time, His grace.
Jims daily life is his own, his spiritual life, his own by His grace.
I so want Jim to be more knowledgeable in the bible, but I can see; though slowly, he applies what he has learned to his life. He is better than I am in that way. So who is better? Neither or both of us? God knows.
I need to tell Jim the good things he does or doesn’t do, I need to encourage him in all he does, and I need to encourage him be a spiritual leader, not yell at him for not being a good one. (We struggled with the spiritual leader for years, still do)
I need to love my hubby for the goof ball he is, because God loves him for the goofball he is. He is a good hubby and good father and good friend.
My hubby only needs a few basic things to be happy. I was given to him by God to provide that for him. It really is the least I could do.
Now, the end of the story happened a few days ago when my hubby was telling me of a friend to talked to him about a hubby who is struggling with his life, faith, study, wife, work and a change in lifestyle (marriage).
I immediately said oh no that should not be happening, he should do so-and-so and she should definitely not do such-and-such. Then I stopped and we just looked at each other. Sheepishly I said ‘I will talk to her if I can’.
I am right there with you girl. I love you; don’t make mistakes like I have. Time and patience. Love and kindness. Overlook, overlook, overlook.
Be of good cheer, be encouraged, be joyful, be content.
I love you, hope you enjoyed my story.
I also have a story I wrote Jesse about a lady named grace, if you want to read it sometime.