Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Steps in the Journey

I have been a Christian for just over 27 years. I was 11 when I said the prayer (yeah, you do the math! ). In my naive thoughts, my life was supposed to be easy. No struggles. No battling with sin. After all, I was a Christian. That meant that the path was all laid out for me, and would be easy to find, and easier to follow. Boy, was I mistaken.
As a teen, I struggled, as do most teens, with rebellion in some form or another. I also struggled with depression. I was in a very legalistic church, and struggled with obeying the many rules, and with the path my life would take. We didn't belong there...we were WAY different. My parents expected us to go to college...very few of my friends even graduated from high school.
College was good, but it was also hard. I was going to Bible College, and there were so many different people there...with different backgrounds, and different beliefs. I learned a lot. I grew a lot. I learned that there IS good Christian life without the abundance of legalism. I met my husband!
When we were dating, my struggles changed. My friends and my family didn't like my boyfriend. They didn't like him as my fiance, either. My parents liked him a LOT less as my husband, and it got worse as we had children, and our finances got tighter. I struggled with depression, and with burn-out from my time in Bible College, the stress of working full-time, and trying to make ends meet. We spent 4 long years not speaking to my parents. We dealt with job changes, moves, car accidents, a miscarriage, a run-in with DSS, and a church that just didn't quiet "get" us. Did I mention the depression? It was part of everything...just there in the background....kind of "mood music."
Then my husband had an affair. The kids and I moved in with my brother. My husband repented. I was overjoyed, and very apprehensive. This time, it was his family that wouldn't talk to us. My husband moved home. We decided that this would be a good time for him to try to go active duty in the Navy. He had been a reservist for a year, and we needed him to have a good, full-time job...one that would support us. Oh, and the depression was getting worse.
We moved to Texas after he finished A-school in Mississippi. I learned a lot about Navy life. I homeschooled 2 of our children, and had another beautiful little girl 1 week before his ship deployed. I was the Ombudsman, so I was BUSY...too busy to think about ME. Life in a homeschooling house, with 5 children, one of whom is less than 6 months old, is CRAZY. Add in dealing with the drama that is ship-life...that summer was FULL. Finances were always a problem...as were the cars. I was still dealing with the depression, and I hadn't yet learned how to trust my husband again.
When that beautiful little girl was 18 months old, and I was 5 months pregnant with the next, we moved to Montana. That was a LONG drive! Two adults (one pregnant), 5 children, 2 cars, driving from south Texas to Montana...a 33 hour drive, according to Mapquest. We stopped off with some friends in the northern part of TX....only 14 hours into our trip. We stopped in Cheyenne, WY, for a night. We were supposed to make it all the way to our destination in MT the next day. One of the cars died in a tiny little town in Wyoming. We spent the night there, and bought a van...a 1988 conversion van...a V-8, running on 6....burning gas like there was no tomorrow. Somehow we limped into town, having spent our last $2.64 on gas. We had no money for the motel, dinner, gas. We knew no one. Fortunately, one of the guys from the reserve center where hubby was going rescued us.
Life in Montana was hard. Hubby was at a tiny command...with 8 active duty, and about 100 reservists. Very little in the way of support for the family of the active duty. We found a great church, and got involved quickly. I was still homeschooling, and jumped right into the homeschool community. The kids were involved in AWANA. I was involved in the women's ministry. Hubby ran sound at church, and was involved in the men's ministry. We went to couples' retreats. I was depressed...more than ever.
I tried counseling. I still couldn't figure out how to trust hubby. I felt like there was something terribly wrong with our relationship, and neither one of us could figure out what it was. Hubby decided it was him, and told me that he was moving out. He filed for divorce. My depression hit an all-time low.
Our pastor referred me to a Biblical counselor. That counselor was a God-send...literally. God used him to turn around our marriage. I have learned to trust again. My walk with God is back on track. We were in counseling for just over a year. During that time, we learned to enjoy each other again...dates, having fun together. We also got new orders....we were moving back to the East Coast! Yippee! And fear....what would we do without our counselor? We graduated...
...and moved to Virginia. Hubby is still in Montana for another week, or so....but things are still on track. God has been SO good! He restored our marriage. He has provided for us in ways we never expected! Oh, and He took away the depression! For the first time in 20ish years, I am NOT depressed!
I am amazed at all of the things that God has brought me though in the 27 years I've walked with Him. Each new turn is another adventure...definitely never a boring minute!

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