Life in FOCUS Blog

 

For episode 3: https://www.focusministries1.org/blog/seasons-of-evil-spiritual-forces-episode-3

En Espanol Temporadas de las Fuerzas Espirituales del Mal Episodio 4

At the end of the last episode, Helene called her ‘single’ friend.

She began the conversation with, “If I tell you something, you have to promise not to tell anyone, okay?”

“Okay. What’s going on?”

“Nolan and I are separated. I don’t understand why we are having these same problems. We talk. We do what needs to be done to keep our marriage going. We have these two precious babies and I know Nolan is hurting because he hasn’t seen them. I don’t know what to do.”

Her ‘single’ friend listened to her and waited until she finished. Then she told Helene to just hear her out and not to interrupt her. Helene listened.

“If I were you, I would just get a divorce. They do have what’s called a ‘No Fault’ divorce these days. It could be finished in no time and you can be on your way to a better life without him. I know a couple who got divorced in one day. Want me to give you the name of their attorney?”

Unfortunately, Helene’s silence was not an indicator to her ‘single’ friend that she should stop talking, so she continued. “Helene, you don’t need a man to make you whole. Girl, please. I know I don’t. No man is worth that much drama and if I were you, I wouldn’t take his treatment even if he were my husband. Why argue all the time? You don’t get anywhere. Bad treatment of a wife, does not a good husband make. I don’t believe that God wants you to have this much stress just to keep your marriage intact. If I were you, I’d be glad he’s out of my life. There are plenty of kids raised by single mothers, and they turn out fine. Look at me. I’m a well-adjusted single female. Being single is not a bad thing or an enigma, you know. As a matter of fact, being single is satisfying. Drop your zero, girl. Stop wasting time with that loser. Cut your losses now before it’s too late.”

Helene gave that conversation a little thought. But for some reason, it just didn’t sit right with her, so she called her slightly older married friend.

“Connie, do you have a minute? Is Anthony home? I really need to talk.” Anthony, Connie’s husband was away on business, so that afforded them plenty of time to talk. Connie listened to Helene describe exactly what she and Anthony had gone through years ago. Wow, I guess the challenges we go through are for a reason, to help others, Connie thought, then she prayed silently before speaking. Lord, please let me say the right thing.

“Connie…you there?”

“I’m here. Listen honey, right now you are upset and emotionally fragile. Nobody can think rationally when upset. You probably feel as though your marriage is over. It doesn’t have to be, and you don’t have to continue to hurt or to be sad. You have to be strong for yourself and for those babies. First things first…” Connie and Helene stayed on the phone for two hours. When they were finished, Helene felt better, and she had an idea of what to do next.

Nolan stayed with his co-worker Markus Tate, Jr., who had a two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhome and didn’t ask any questions when Nolan asked to stay with him for a while. Nolan’s job required him to be in the field 60% of the time, and Markus worked in a different department and had different hours. They would hardly see each other. That plan would work out fine. On the rare occasions that they did run into each other, Nolan was quiet and to himself. Markus thought that if Nolan wanted to talk, he would so he didn’t push.

Weeks went by and Nolan did nothing except go to work and go back to Markus’s house. He was feeling unbelievably bad but was not going to let anyone know what was going on. In his room at night, he would cry for hours with his pillow covering his head. He missed his wife and children.

His boss noticed a change in him and suggested the Employee Assistance Program through their health insurance. At first Nolan was reluctant to go, but then he thought, what the heck, it’s confidential; I’ll try it. Nolan ended up with a no-nonsense female counselor.

Jana Ohnstadt was the name on the many certificates lining the wall behind her desk. When Nolan did his pre-visit internet research, he saw a picture of her, which put him in the mind of Judge Judy. Dr. Ohnstadt specialized in family counseling and prided herself on the type of environment she provided for her clients. She was a great listener, never sitting behind her desk, when in session. She sat in the same type of chair her clients sat in and she always looked them directly in the eye when speaking to them.

Just as she finished cleansing her office, a knock sounded on the door. “Come in please.”

Nolan entered the office, albeit a bit apprehensive. Dr. Ohnstadt stood and extended her hand to him. “Nolan, right?”

“Yes.”

“Please, have a seat.” She smiled.

“Thank you.” It was Nolan’s turn to smile. “Am I that obvious, Dr.? Does it appear that I am apprehensive about being here?”

“Yes.” She pushed her glasses up on her nose.

Nolan visibly relaxed. “You’ve looked over the pre-consult forms I filled out on the internet?”

“Yes, I have them on my desk, but I’d like to hear from you specifically, the primary purpose for your visit today.”

“Marital issues.”

“I think I can help with that. I’ve been married for 35 years to the same man. I’ve successfully counseled married couples for 15 years, so you see, I have some experience.” She smiled again.

Nervous, Nolan crossed one leg over the other and began speaking. “I don’t know where to begin.”

She waited.

“You asked why I’m here. I’m here because my wife and I have been separated for weeks now and I don’t know what to do about it. I miss her and our kids. We had a huge argument and I left, but during the argument, it seemed as if ‘something’ was putting negative thoughts in my mind. Like, something was telling me what to say. And the words, they would just tumble out of my mouth. I feel as though I was not even in control of my own mind.”

“Hmm. Interesting.”

“What do you think that could have been?”

“Once we’ve talked more, we’ll discuss what it could be. It sounds really disturbing though.”

“I know we both said things we didn’t mean, but we couldn’t seem to reign in our words. I mean, I could have chosen to say nothing at all, but I di…couldn’t.  I said some pretty hurtful things to my wife knowing they were hurtful and untrue.”

“Sounds like the Tsunami effect. A tsunami swells under the right conditions and then draws back from land and the shallow water, then with a vengeance it comes back to land at a swell sometimes reaching heights of eight feet or more. In your case, it was the progression of the argument. The foul words, the shouting, then whoosh, the crescendo of the ugliness became so horrible that it overtook the two of you. You’ve seen the pictures of the ravaged homes and land?”

Nolan was listening intently. “Yes.”

“That’s what happened. After the tsunami is done wreaking havoc, some rebuild, some can’t; the damage is too severe. If you choose to rebuild, it takes time and a lot of effort. Just as it takes time for people to rebuild their homes and lives. What you have to figure out is if you want to rebuild.”

“You’ve certainly painted a vivid picture doctor. Looks like I have work to do.”

 

The first two sessions were used to get Nolan’s assessment of his marriage. After several more sessions, Nolan started feeling comfortable enough to let down some of his defenses. At the fifth session, he even shed a tear.

“Listen Nolan; I have this habit of getting right to the point. Frankly, you might want to get moving if you want to salvage your marriage. Seems that neither you nor your wife know how to effectively communicate or resolve conflict. There is a power struggle going on between the two of you. Is the power struggle worth it?”

 

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For Episode 2 https://www.focusministries1.org/blog/seasons-of-evil-spiritual-forces-episode-2

En Espanol Temporadas de las Fuerzas Espirituales Malvadas Episodio 3

 

“Woman! Who are you yelling at? You hate me, huh! Wish you never met me, huh! And I do have a job…”

She jumped on that. “You call that a job? Since when has being at the bedside of terminally ill people during their last days even become a job? You’re a lowly hospice worker.” The way her nose crinkled when she said “lowly” made it sound like he shoveled horse manure for a living. “It’s so depressing!” Again, the devil intervened in Helene’s thoughts… He’s just pitiful. You don’t need him as your husband, you can do bad all by yourself.

“Because you are head nurse at two hospitals makes your job more important than mine? I don’t think so!” The devil was an equal opportunity devil, he slithered into Nolan’s thoughts, too. Who does she think worked three jobs for three years before you married her? Who saved their money to buy the house, and everything in it? “Who do you think put this $50,000,000 roof over our heads? I see you had no problem moving in here after we married.” You sure told her. Who cares if your kids hear? They’ll be fine. “I’m the one who puts the kids to bed every night! What are you doing while I’m putting them to bed? You’re busy texting your friends. What kind of mother tells their children they’ll be right in to tuck them in, and never makes it? You selfish…”

“You most definitely do not raise our kids alone.” That’s right. She’s a no- good mother and you know it. If you had wanted your mother to run your life, you’d have stayed at home. “You want to know the real reason I’m always watching television? Huh! It’s to get away from you! I don’t need you telling me how to do everything. I got along fine before I met you. Believe it or not, I supported myself, I fed myself, I paid my own bills. I even had a life before I married you!

With that, he stood up and got in her face; spittle flying from his lips. “And furthermore if you can’t appreciate your man, huh, then I know someone who will. I don’t have to put up with this!” Now she’ll think you’re cheating on her. She deserves to think it, even though it’s not true. Maybe she’ll straighten up if she believes that she’ll be replaced. “I’m outta here,” Nolan said as he stormed to the hall closet to get his coat. He snatched if off the hanger so hard that the hanger flew up into the air, then smacked down hard on the ceramic tile floor and then flew two rooms down the hall.

He’s leaving, just like a kid would do. That’s sad. Helene was on his heels, a bit calmer now that she realized his intent to leave. She lowered her voice, but the acidic tone was still crystal clear. “Just where do you think you are going?! Just as always, when things get a little heated, what is the first thing you do? Run. You always run away. That’s what children do, Nolan, so I guess you’re right in your element!”

Tell him that he’s not a real man. “A real man wouldn’t run away. A real man would know just what to do and what to say to make this situation turn around.”

Nolan turned to face her. He had his last say at the door with one hand on the doorknob. Lowering his voice almost to a whisper, he said, “Oh, so I’m not a real man? So, your mother told you not to marry me. That’s cool.” You don’t need her sarcasm. She’s simply an aggravation. “That’s cool because I have somewhere to go. I have someone who could school you on the type of man I am.” Woohoo, that’s a good one. “Someone who knows exactly what I like and the way I like it. She even knows how to treat me. She lets a man feel like he’s a man. She trusts that I can make intelligent decisions. And it’s obvious,” he paused for emphasis “it ain’t you. You frigid, insecure, little self-centered woman. So step off before I do something I will regret.” You told her! Ha Ha! With that, he opened the door, took off his wedding band, dropped it on the floor and slammed the door so hard he broke one of the six windowpanes to the garage door. His wedding band circled slowly, as if to accentuate the ugliness of what was happening, then rolled and landed right at Helene’s feet.

I know you’re not going to let him get away with that! She was so angry that her breathing came in fast, heavy pants. She could feel her blood pressure rise. A lone tear found its way from her eye and the skin above her lip had developed a sheen of sweat. Her breathing became quicker and harder. That’s when she jerked the door open, determined to get the last word in. “And don’t you ever come back, you sorry excuse for a man!”

Before she was even able to close the door, she heard the car’s tires screeching. Quietly closing the door, she slumped down to the floor, and allowed the tears to flow generously. She was crying because she was tired, defeated, and hurt. She was tired of all of the arguments they’d had in the last two years of their six-year marriage. They couldn’t connect and work things out for some reason. 

Chapter  Two

At the top of the black wrought iron winding staircase, the four-year-old twins sat in their footed pajamas. Jennifer was dressed in pink. Her little shoulder seemed attached to her brothers. She sat sucking her thumb, eyes closed tightly, and if you listened closely, you could hear whimpering sounds coming from her. She rocked back and forth while holding tightly to Dree (short for Andrea), her pink teddy bear. Even a four-year-old could tell when mommy and daddy were mad at each other. Jaspar, dressed in blue, the elder by two minutes, put his finger to his lips and shushed his sister, and in his deep voice, the voice of an old man he said, “be alright, gone be alright.” He was already used to his parents arguing. Sadly, he was forced to take on the role of Jennifer’s protector.

 All cried out, Helene stood slowly rubbing away what felt like needles from her legs. Once the circulation returned, she walked down the long hall to the stairs leading up to their second level. Just as she cleared the first landing, she saw the twins sitting and staring at her. She thought they were asleep. When she reached the top, she sat and gathered them in her arms. She was anguished. She thought to herself, kids aren’t supposed to hear their parents argue all of the time.

“Come on babies,” she took each child by a hand and led them to her bedroom. They all got into the king-sized bed and held onto each other. Then she tried soothing them. “Gone be all right, babies,” she said in her most soothing voice. “Gone be alright.” What have I done to these poor children? After a while of rocking and cooing with dried tears on their faces, they all fell into an exhausted sleep.

For months, they had no contact with each other. Nolan figured that he would give them both time to cool down. Helene was mad at him for not calling and checking on the kids. She could handle him not speaking to her, but the kids, well that was just plain ‘ol mean.

Neither wanted their friends or family to know what had happened, so they hid their current situation as best they could.

Helene, needing to talk out her feelings, sought people she thought cared for her. People she knew wouldn’t spread gossip. Nolan, having no place else to go besides his family, sought refuge at a co-worker’s house.

 

The next day, Helene called a ‘single friend.’ She began the conversation with, “If I tell you something, you have to promise not to tell anyone, okay?”

 

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En Espanol  Temporadas de las Fuerzas Espirituales Malvadas – Continuado

At the end of the last episode  https://www.focusministries1.org/blog/seasons-of-evil-spiritual-forces

She heard two more shots and cringed. Then a body hit the ground, landing on its back. It appeared to happen in slow motion, right before her eyes. She recoiled as she saw blood oozing out of the forehead and mouth of the now deceased. Wait, she thought to herself. I’ve seen her before on television. Oh my gosh, that’s General Valerie Ortega!

Looking in the direction of the voices she heard afforded her a good look at the killers. Italian accent wore a blue pea coat, shiny black shoes, and had a tattoo of a red cross on the side of his neck. Nasal man wore cuffed chinos, had a spider tattoo on the back of his left hand, the shooting hand, and wore thick rectangle-shaped glasses. She would never forget that voice. “Come on, I said, let’s go!” They both looked around one more time, each lifting the back of their jackets, and tucking their guns inside the waistbands.

She held her breath and became as still as a statue. Crouching by the car for another 15 minutes, afraid to, but feeling compelled to move, she inched forward ever so slowly, like a Sloth. Peeking around the fender of the midnight blue Chevy Blazer, she allowed herself a shallow breath. After waiting another ten minutes she allowed herself to move. Going around the back of a different car gave her a better vantage point. They were gone. Phew. She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and dialed 911.

SPRING

Chapter One

“I hate you! Just the sight of you makes me sick.” Satan whispered in Helene’s ear…Look at him, sitting in that recliner. His usual spot every day he comes home. It even has permanent indentation marks where his head fit perfectly. Did you see the grooves in the footrest? Fits him like a glove. He thinks that all he has to do is go to work and leave everything else to you. “Every time I look at you, my stomach knots up, and I want to throw up!” Helene screamed at her husband Nolan. “I wish I’d never met you!” Again, Satan whispered in her ear… That’s right keep going. He deserves everything you can verbally annihilate him with. You are the one who enhances his life. Where would he be without you? Try as she might, she couldn’t stop the flow of ugly words from spewing from her lips. Satan kept supplying fuel to her mental furnace, heating up injurious words and forcing them, with ease, from her lips.

“My mother told me not to marry you anyway! She said that I’d be marrying beneath me. Satan was enjoying this conversation, again he egged her on… Good. Good. That was a good one! Assault his sense of self-worth. “And another thing, you don’t support me financially, or otherwise. You always spend every cent in our account. We almost lost our house twice, but I stopped it from happening! Me!! If I had continued to let you handle our finances, I’m positive you would have destroyed us financially and we would have never recovered. We’d be living in a cardboard box.”

He’s never home. Ninety percent of the time, he’s at the office, or so he says. Satan continued whispering in Helene’s ear and she kept feeding off of it. She continued shouting at her husband… “You’re never home, and on the rare occasions that you are home, you’re tuned out. Does the television ever go off? I think that when you walk into the room, it automatically comes on because it knows you’ve arrived. When something goes wrong here, in this house,” with her hand she emphasized the expanse of the house, “I have to fix it. Not you!” She hooked her pointer finger and middle finger in the air, emphasizing her words, “I may as well be the man, since I fix everything here! The last time you call yourself fixing the drain for the kitchen sink, I had to call the plumber! I should have known when you chose the wrong wrench that you didn’t know what you were doing!”

Nolan stared at Helene. If looks could kill and left no marks, he’d have gotten away with the perfect murder.

Why doesn’t he spend any time with the kids? Do they even know him? Her voice began to escalate even higher. Standing in front the television, she continued with her tirade taking in everything the devil said and using it against her husband. “You don’t spend any time with our kids! I’m raising them alone. They have two parents at home and still only one is raising them! If you wanted to be single, you should have never asked me to marry you. In fact, I might as well be a single parent.” Satan couldn’t resist intruding again I her thoughts…That’s right. You tell him. Right after you got married, his conquering spirit ended. “You used to date me. Ha! When was the last time you planned an outing for us? Huh, Nolan?” Helene was so angry with her husband that she could spit steel-tipped darts at him. “I’m afraid to leave our kids with you. They’d probably starve to death!”

Who cleans up around here? “Look at this place! It’s a mess.” She walked over to the television, wiped her finger across its base and wrote the words clean me in the dust. “If I didn’t clean the dishes they would sit in the sink and smell up the entire house! You see the garbage just like me! Every time you go to put the remnants of your junk food in there, you can hardly put the top back on, but what do you do?

Do you change the bag? No! Even when I ask you for help, you find some excuse to hide behind! Don’t even let me get started talking about the laundry and how it sits in the washer and mildews because you are too lazy to lift a finger to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer!” You have a good point there. The washer and the dryer are right next to each other.

All he does is watch sports. “All you’re interested in is watching sports! If it’s not football, it’s some other thing having to do with a ball! And you just had to have the top of the line Quantum Series 5G with surround sound. Who is Insignia anyway? Every time you press the remote for the motorized stand, just so that you can adjust the viewing angle, the lights dim because it takes up so much power. I’ll bet it’s insured at a higher rate of return than your wife and kids!”

She didn’t care who heard what she said. Humph! Good. They would agree with what she said if they lived in ‘this’ house with ‘this’ man. Humph! She crossed her arms against her chest and stared at him in defiance. Satan laughed. You told him good!

Nolan sat in his chair fuming and impatiently waiting for Helene to finish, all the while listening as Satan formulated his thoughts for the venom that would spew from his lips. It was Satan’s turn to get into Nolan’s ear… She has no right to yell at you. That’s just plain disrespectful. You’re going to let her treat you like that? You make sure to make her feel very low when it’s your turn. He gave her a taste of her own medicine. He was in total attack mode, having absorbed everything in that she said like a sponge, and when he couldn’t take being disrespected any more, he spoke.

Stay tuned.

It’s unfortunate how the devil uses people’s minds against them. When he interferes with your thoughts and they flow from your lips you can do irreparable damage. Is this happening in your marriage?

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En Espanol Temporadas de las Fuerzas Espirituales Malvadas

PREFACE

“The state of matrimony is hard, no matter what way you look at it. No matter the angle, the level; or from whose perspective, marriage is hard, but it can be rewarding if you do the necessary work prior to committing your life/self to the opposite sex. God said marriage is between a man and a woman…no ifs, ands, or anything else.

People are mis-informed if they believe that they can magically blend two opposite personalities, two completely different backgrounds, two different life-styles, two individual spirits, or two incomes together, seamlessly, without glitches. As Pastor Shannon is fond of saying, “You can’t be insecure, selfish or weak, and sustain a marriage the way God originally intended.” In other words, you can’t be no punk!

I used to naively and fairytailishy (Yvonne’s dictionary) believe that love alone would be sufficient to make marriage work. (I know, you’re shaking your head/rolling your eyes/clucking your tongue.) I used to believe that if the two were believers in Christ, all they had to do when they had problems was to go to God’s word and everything would be honky dory. After all, who can go against God’s word in a relationship where you both believe in him? Again…boy was I naïve!!! Guess I didn’t consider that because of God’s omniscience, love and sovereignty, he granted us something we practice freely. He granted us something called free will. That nasty little phrase, free will, gets us into trouble every time.

I believe that God created and ordained marriage, so He’s the one who knows exactly what marriage needs to thrive and be fruitful. If the two of you do not submit to God’s word, even after it’s been pointed out to you, and you don’t have a firm foundation (some believe that you have to be best friends before you marry in order to have a firm foundation), your marriage will stagnate and possibly die.

If you’re considering marriage, which is supposed to be ‘until death do you part’, my suggestion is that you get clarity on exactly what marriage is. Do everything you can—study it, learn about it, and make sure that you and your intended mate are on the same page. You must do some serious soul searching by taking a serious look inside to see what you’re working with. Fess up to who you really are…it’s called transparency. After all, if you’re not honest with yourself, you can’t be honest with anyone else.

If you’re in doubt or denial about who you are, or if that little voice inside of you (spirit/intuition, first mind, etc.) isn’t making you harmonized or making you do cartwheels about yourself, STOP. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.00; this is not Monopoly. You have to love yourself before you can love someone else. To love yourself means to accept yourself as you are and to come to terms with those aspects of yourself that you cannot change. It means to have self-respect, a positive self-image, and unconditional self-acceptance. It means having a healthy regard for yourself knowing that you are a worthy human being. You do so by investing in and working on your personal growth and development.

It is imperative that you find out who you are. What makes you tick? How do others see you? Is your way the only way to do things? Please get clarity! Let me assure you that admitting to your own shortcomings and inadequacies, like the need to control the other person, is something that needs to be eradicated BEFORE, Proceeding, Prior to, marriage.

Don’t assume you know what the other person is thinking or is going to do. Assuming gets us in trouble…every time. Believe me, I know. The other person’s thoughts and actions come from their own realities and is, at times, projected onto you.

Take stock in what your beliefs are in order to find out who and whose you are. Take every pre-marital test there is. Determine if you are ready to repeatedly forgive without building resentment on the inside. Compromise. Trust and respect each other. Oh yeah, did I mention that you can’t always take offense, or be offensive? You cannot expect your spouse to supply your every need, make you happy, or supernaturally know how to communicate in your language. Be ready to accept the fact that the other person has a mind too, and will (ninety-five percent of the time) do things totally opposite from the way you do them.

These days, when two people decide that they’re going to spend their lives together, I don’t think they really know what they are getting themselves into. There is hope though, as you will find through reading about the trials and triumphs of Nolan and Helene.

Nolan and Helene Jeremiah

One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.

Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you considered Helene and Nolan Jeremiah? They are a struggling married couple, but because of their trials, they will prosper. Not only will their marriage flourish, they’ll serve Me.”

Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but they have good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around them and their home and children. You have made them prosper in everything they do. Look how rich they are! But reach out and take away everything they have, and they will surely curse you to your face and become one more divorce statistic!”

“All right, you may test them,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything they possess, but don’t harm them physically.” 

When Satan left the Lord’s presence, he immediately set about his task to wreak havoc in the lives of Helene and Nolan. He relished in using one of his most treasured modes of operation: he used doubt and lies to confuse their minds. In other words, he lied to them at every turn possible to get them to war against themselves and each other.

Sometime in the past…

Shots rang out, causing her to immediately duck behind a car in the parking garage, as a distressing negative sensation of impending danger assaulted her. Yet, instinctively, she moved closer to the voices she heard while thinking to herself, I hope I’m not going to regret this.

One voice was deep and had an Italian accent. Looking around, he said to his partner in crime, “There’re no witnesses, let’s go.” The other voice was between a soprano and a tenor with a nasally sound. “We need to make sure she’s dead.” He shot his target again, this time at close range. Bang! Bang!

She heard two more shots and cringed. Then a body hit the ground, landing on its back.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story

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En Espanol Te dejo por mi

Has there ever been a time in your life where you’ve felt that you’ve lost who you are? Lost everything you’ve built. I mean, the dreams you once had are gone. The person who would stand up for herself exists no more. The mani-pedi self-care days have disappeared. The long bubble baths where Calgon or Goddess Nectar Milk Bath no longer take you away to peace and calm. Books you used to curl up with in your favorite chair and read, no longer bought you joy or hope or peace. Where has it all gone? What have you traded it for?

Absidy Is That You?

I had a conversation with an old friend, Abcde; pronounced Absidy. We met at Panera to catch up as we hadn’t seen each other in five years. I happened to look up from my phone and saw someone approaching the table, but looked down because the woman I saw couldn’t have been Abcde. This woman looked worn out, exhausted. There were dark circles under her eyes. The left one twitched as she sat down at the table. Her once lovely styled hair was pulled back into a severe bun. She was wearing a pink running suit with black gym shoes. “Hey girl,” she said, revealing a chipped front tooth. I looked up again hearing her voice. “Absidy, is that you,” I said rising to hug her. “Mm hmm.” Not wanting to seem mean or wanting to show how taken aback I was at her appearance, I smiled. “It’s good to see you.” As we hugged, she held on a little longer than I’d expected, as if she needed life.

Abcde went on to tell me that she met—I’ll call him Douglas—a man who had sucked the very soul from her life. Then she began to cry. You see, Abcde used to be glamorous. In fact, she’d owned Serenity Spa. She was the one who had given me the hook up on self-care. I handed her a Kleenex which was no help, because the tears rolled down her face like a running faucet. We must have set at the table thirty minutes before she could talk. I waited.

I Trusted Him…

As she talked, she began rocking; back and forth…back and forth. “I know,” she said. “I look a mess. You’re not used to seeing me like this. Frankly, I’m embarrassed and I was not going to come, but…” Her thoughts trailed off and her eye twitched again. I felt so bad for her as she revealed what she’d been through. After obtaining her Doctorate in Business Management she opened her own business. In her third year, she met Douglas who was an up and coming. He was always up and coming into something. He had these grand ideas that when he mentioned them, made perfect sense. He even succeeded at some of them. He used to sing her love ballads and write her poems. At times he’d have an abundance of money other times he’d ask her to “loan” him a ‘few’ dollars. He’d always talk about how good God was to him and that he knew things were going to work out for him. He just had to be patient.

They used to go on vacations to exotic places. They had begun to build a life together, but never managed to get married. “I trusted him,” she said. “That was my mistake.” He had a key to her house and car and would often come over late evenings wanting to prepare dinner and have a few drinks. It would get late and he’d parlay himself into spending many nights. At first, he was comforted just lying beside her and going to sleep. His belongings began to show up in her closet and drawers. He’d even begun to get a few pieces of mail at her house.

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

One night she said that she’d refused him coming over because she’d began to miss her alone time and the things she used to do for and by herself. He showed up anyway. Said he was concerned that something was wrong. Before she knew it, her head slammed against the corner of her marble center island in the kitchen and she ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a cracked tooth. She had no idea how that came to be. The police noticed that there was blood inside of her eyes and that there were bruises around her neck. She stayed in the hospital for three weeks, unconscious. When she came to, the police told her that they’d gone to her house to investigate and found a young man living there. He said that she had given him permission to house sit while she was in the hospital because she had been in an auto accident. Now being able to talk, Abcde revealed the entire story to the detectives. They gave her a police escort back to her house and told her to change her locks, file for an order of protection, and maybe get a dog. She took their advice.

Douglas wasn’t there when she got there, but had called her two days later complaining that he had been served with a restraining order. She told him to never call her again and hung up on him, then blocked his number. Later that day, she found that he’d wiped out her bank accounts, taken over her business by forging her name on documents, and wrecked her car. She had nothing left. She had to rebuild her life and that was what she was in the midst of beginning when she received my call.

It took years for my friend to heal, but she began to invest time in herself again and eventually she did heal. She even authored a book entitled, I’m Leaving You For Me.

Question

Was there anything differently Abcde could have done ?

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In Espanol   ¿Dios nos advierte? 

I believe God warns us of things to come. A sign through a friend; a harbinger in prophecy; seemingly random occurrences; a check in your spirit, etc. As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that He does. There have been many decisions made, when in hindsight, we develop 20/20 vision. What if we were to submit ourselves before God and then seek Him when it comes to making decisions? How differently would our lives be?

Should I date Tom? Should I apply for this job? Should I train for the triathlon? Should I purchase a new home? Should I have children? These questions are quantifiable. They seem simple enough. But when we don’t bathe our decisions in prayer, are we ready to receive the consequences of our actions; the action we took without going to God first. The answers really are in God’s word. Yes, there are gray areas in the Bible, that’s why God gave us wisdom in His word, a discerning spirit, and wise counsel.

This truth makes me feel great every time I think about it; the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of me because I’m a child of God! I’m no longer governed by my pre-Christ self. (Romans 8: 10-12) Woo wee! Doesn’t that make you feel great, awesome, alive?! This means that when God warns us and we listen, we won’t have to keep making the same disastrous decisions. Some may think, surely God doesn’t want us to go to Him with everything. Wrong! In fact, He tells us to in Philippians 4:6-7, Proverbs 16:3, Jeremiah 33:3, 1 Chronicles 16:11.

Before you began your romantic relationship, did you ask God?  And if you did, did you wait for His answer? We sometimes jump blindly into relationships without considering the consequences. We might think, “He’s so cute. I can see him on my arm.” “He said he’s a Christian and we all know how Christians are.” “He comes from a great family, so I know he’ll treat me good.” “She sure is smart.” “She knows how to dress.” “She laughs at my jokes.” We give reasons like, his smile, nice car, has a good job, status, etc. We surmise that, of course God wants us to date. Isn’t He a relational God? Why wouldn’t God want me happy and in a relationship? Does God even care if I date so and so?

Of course God cares. That’s why He warns us. Remember, He knows the beginning from the end. This is important. Think back, were there warning signs before your emotions became involved and you gave your heart away to the wrong person? Was there something about him/her that didn’t sit right with you? Did you blow off the fact that he abused his last girlfriend or wife but thought it wouldn’t happen to you? Was there chatter that she cheated on her last boyfriend and you just knew she wouldn’t do that to you? Did he give you expensive gifts every time you met with him, making you feel like he really cared about you, but truth be told you felt overwhelmed? Did she come on so strong and fast that you never had a chance to catch your breath before you found yourself in a relationship with her? Did she tell you who you could and couldn’t hang out with early on in your relationship under the guise of wanting to spend more time with you to get to know you better? Were you pushed into making a decision you didn’t want to because you didn’t want to rock the boat? Did he/she assume that you’d do everything with him/her and not want you to have any other friends? Those are all warning signs. Beware of who you allow to take up space in your mind.

How do the following statements make you feel?

You look like a big Pepto Bismol wearing that sweater.

Your earrings clatter like the sound of a dog’s chain when he’s walking.

Are you wearing that dress. No, go change.

Your grandma’s 95th birthday party is no big deal. I made dinner reservations. Let’s go.

Hey, I found a dress that would look great on you, give me your credit card and we’ll go buy it.

Nobody likes you or cares about you but me.

I really like how you styled your hair.

Are you having a bad day, I’m here for you.

I have faith in you.

How do you feel about Sushi, tonight

I feel safe with you, here’s what I’m struggling with.

I notice that you’re great with numbers, could you help me with my Trig. class?

I’m on my way over, can I bring you anything?

I understand how you feel and I’m here to listen.

Pay Close Attention When Dating:

Disclaimer, of course pobody’s nerfect (a play on words…nobody is perfect), we all have flaws, that’s why we have to pray earnestly before entering or moving forward in a relationship.

 

Does this person have a consistent bad temper in all situations and explains it away that they’re just passionate about things and this is how they express themselves? If so, don’t wait around for him/her to blow up on you.

Would you want to bring this person around your discerning best friend or aunt? If not, run.

When with this person do you feel like you are compromising your morals and values? Red flag.

When out to dinner, does this person drink alcohol excessively, insisting to drive you home? Something’s wrong there.

Is he/she spiritual and genuinely saved, or straddling the fence? You are unequally yoked.

Does he/she have a way of focusing on every weakness you have and pointing them out to you, belittling you? Not a good match.

Do you smoke now to calm your nerves since you’ve been in this relationship?

Did he break up with you? Walk away permanently.

Have you caught this person in lies?

Is your relationship too good to be true?

Do you feel forced to sexually tie your soul to this person.

 

God Only Wants What’s Best for You

When we settle in our dating relationships, we miss out on God’s best for us. When we don’t listen to God’s warnings, we set ourselves up for heartbreak and soul ties that should never have been. “God’s idea of partnership is a person who leads you closer to Him, a person who is not deceived by another steering clear of His name.” Will you pay attention to God’s warnings?

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Click here to read in Spanish –                                                                                                ¿El rechazo de la vida o la protección de Dios?

Life’s Rejection or God’s Protection? What a phrase…right? What does it mean and how can I avoid the rejection part of it, could be what you’re thinking right now. The King James Version Dictionary defines rejection as: To throw away as anything useless or vile; to cast off; to forsake; to refuse to receive; to slight; to despise. As I read the definition, I thought, wow, as I shook my head from side to side. Have you ever been rejected? Have you ever rejected someone? From experience I can tell you that rejection is not always a bad thing.

In the field of mental health care, rejection most frequently refers to the feelings of shame, sadness, or grief people feel when they are not accepted by others. Let’s break that sentence down—shall we. Shame is a painful sensation of having done something which injures reputation. Sadness is being habitually melancholy; gloomy; not gay or cheerful. Grief is the cause of sorrow.

 

Rejection and scripture

Now, let’s view rejection according to scripture.

Shame: 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Are you ashamed of something you did or said? Confess it to God, repent, and move forward.

Sadness: The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18. Did you read that? The Lord is near when you are sad/crushed in spirit. I know this to be a fact.

Grief: Jesus Wept – John 11:35. Jesus wept because he was grieving.

We have all experienced shame, sadness, and grief, and for some they’ve culminated in perpetual and endless mental and emotional rejection.

 

Say whaaattt?

According to Psychology Today, Rejection…

Piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. MRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain.

Temporarily lowers our IQ. Being asked to recall a recent rejection experience and relive the experience was enough to cause people to score significantly lower on subsequent IQ tests, tests of short-term memory, and tests of decision making.

 

A knife in your heart; a punch in the gut

What does rejection feel like? A festering wound; a punch in the gut; a knife in your heart; isolation. Have you ever been quit, as in “I quit you.”  I know I’m dating myself, but back when I was a teen, we used to say that to people we broke up with. What about getting your first pink slip? That’s when the company you’ve given your heart and soul to, fires you. Have you ever been shunned by your ‘church friends’? The people you’ve prayed with and for are now passing you by in the halls on their way to the sanctuary as if you’re not even there. And being ignored or given the silent treatment to from one of your parents can be devastating. I have good news.

 

God’s protection? How could that be?

Rejection can be God’s protection. Are you scratching your head right now, trying to figure out what I mean by that? Okay, let’s say that your boyfriend ‘quit’ you. Your first reaction could be, what did I do? It could be, everybody will laugh at me. Or it could be, if he walks away, let him. There is a reason and if he doesn’t want to be with me, it’s his loss. Now I’m open to the ‘one’ who will not walk away from me. I can’t move forward while looking backward. God is telling me that was not for me. Let’s say you got a pink slip. You could immediately go into panic mode. Oh no, what am I going to do! How will I find another job? Perhaps, just maybe, God allowed that to happen to shake you up a little and move you forward from complacency to the abundant path He has for you. Was your job draining the life out of you? Were you overworked and underpaid? Maybe now you can begin to actualize your dream instead of helping someone else make theirs come true. Did your best friend unfriend you or block your calls? That happened to me. I still don’t know why, to this day, but after seeking God, I had to let it go. Being rejected by someone you’ve shared your deepest and darkest secrets with is wounding…boy does it hurt. You might even vow to never trust anyone again. Could that ‘bestie’ have been secretly jealous of you, only wishing you harm behind your back? Could they have not been as good a friend to you as you were to them? You might have been ‘all in’ and willing to, as they say, ride or die; think Thelma and Louise. But they really weren’t. Would you have preferred to continue on with someone who didn’t hold you in high esteem and have your best interest at heart or would you have rather of been rejected or discarded by them? Think about it.

Although rejection may not always be protection, protection will be the final outcome if we trust God. Romans 8:28: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Moving forward, when I feel rejected, I vow to seek God, soul search, and then move forward. I choose to take life’s rejection as God’s protection. Will you?

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I Was Once a Pastor’s Wife Part 3 of 4 

 Una vez fui la esposa de un pastor Parte 4 de 4

What do you think of this story so far? How would you address the issues this young lady has shared?

Here’s where we left off:

 “I” married him. I emphasized the “I” because sixteen months later the drama began. I began to see that “I” was in this marriage alone. “I” was willing to do anything necessary to keep our marriage afloat and happy. After all, I was a First Lady, a Pastor’s wife. He was depending on me. I became the live-in super-maid who gave away a lot of fringe benefits, participated in ministry work, and was a caretaker for my Mom and my grand kids depended on me. I worked two part-time sometimes three, jobs and we volunteered every weekend. One day, running around the grocery store between jobs, I almost passed out. I was exhausted. I called to tell him what happened and…nothing. No, stay there I’m on my way. No, what can I do to help…nothing. His non-reaction weighed me down. Didn’t he care? When I came home from work, I had an attitude.

Emotionally and Physically Exhausted

He had worked from home that day and was trouble-shooting someone else’s computer issue. I loudly dropped the groceries on the marble kitchen counter and left them there…perishable items and all and stomped into the living room to sit at my desk. I waited for him to get off the call he was on. When his call was finished, he asked me what was for dinner and if I had picked up his dry-cleaning. I had to ask him to look at me. Rubbing his eyes, he leaned back in his chair. He knew from the tone of my voice that I was upset but he couldn’t look me in the eye.

Still, I waited. Finally, he looked at me and said, “what?” I told him that I was exhausted and needed his help. That I couldn’t run this marriage and house all by myself. Sensing his anger, I retreated. (Why I stuffed my feelings and retreated—I don’t know) Something inside me warned me that I was treading on thin ice. But I was exhausted, and it seemed, the only one in this marriage. Silence. Then he exploded. What do you want!? I’ve worked hard all day and I’m tired, too. What do you want from me!?

Crazy-making

The words exploded from my mouth. I worked both jobs today! I spent last night washing, starching, and ironing your shirts. I organized them by color and separated the work from play shirts so you could just grab and go. When I walked by your closet this morning everything was jammed in together. It looked like a tornado ripped through your closet. He got up and walked to his closet. What are you talking about? Why is something so small such a big deal? So what, you ironed a few shirts. I bit my tongue, thinking maybe I am making a big deal out of it. Then I said to him. I did it because you can never find anything and you’re always in a hurry. He walked back to his desk telling me that I should just take his shirts to the cleaners and stop complaining.

I continued. I’m exhausted! I almost passed out in the grocery store. I do everything around here and I mean everything. I need help. His reply…

Devaluation

You only work part-time! You don’t have a full-time job! I don’t know what I want to do, but I know it’s not any of those things! My ex-wife did everything around the house and she worked. I never had to wash a dish, iron anything, or clean anything. She always had 5-star dinners prepared, breakfast ready every morning, and fixed the kids their lunches. On the weekends she would have all of our activities planned, I just went along. I didn’t have to do anything. She saved for months for our family vacations, booked our flights, hotel, and activities for our family and our extended family. She took care of everything and my needs.

Ambivalence

When he finished, I sat there like a bump on a log biting the inside of my lips to keep my mouth closed. If I had replied it would have been two words and they weren’t nicey-nice words. I went to bed super early that night, perishable items melting down the counter-top, and slept as close to the edge that I could without falling out of the bed.

What happened to my prince charming? The pastor that I had married who had promised to treat his wife as himself, in front of God, our family, and friends? That meant something to me, that he promised that to God. I thought I’d finally found a man who I’d live the rest of my married life with, in harmony. We were going to give the devil a black eye. Who was this man who complimented me fiercely to his ministry and friends, used to tell me how beautiful I was on my worst days, who used to have such a calm loving voice and jovial laugh? Who was this man who counseled couples with scripture, but lived like a heathen? I was sleeping with the enemy. Everything went downhill from there despite our attempts at reconciliation.

We argued, silenced, and grew further apart the next couple of days. In my naïve mind all couples argued. There was always going to be some type of conflict because I wasn’t him and he wasn’t me. I had such a skewed idea of what marriage was all about…especially marriage to a pastor.

The Change

One day he broke the silence by telling me that he didn’t understand what was wrong with him. (Stop the train Errrttt). Say whaaaaatttt?

He’d realized that he blew things out of proportion a lot in his mind and had decided that he’d practiced hyperbole. What? I’d never even heard of the word. Hyperbole? Then he said it again, “There’s something wrong with me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.” When he said it, he looked like a sick puppy dog. I thought he was for real. After that, we began to do things different.

He suggested we make it a point to pray together every morning, study together, and take care of our house and marriage together, as one. I was confused. I was confused because the person I’d spent the last 16 months with, the one whose last name I’d changed mine to, the one who turned his back to me instead of embracing me while we slept, had done a 180̊ turn. He began to help around the house, plan our vacations, take on more clients to add to our income, and was more affectionate. We continued on in ministry and I quit one of my 3 jobs.  

Whew, I was ecstatic that we were past that hurdle. One morning after cooking breakfast, he left for work and called me from his car. “You have 30 days to pack your belongings and get out.” My brow furrowed, my heart dropped into my stomach, and I actually said, “what, can’t we talk this through?” Click. He’d hung up. It was on a Sunday.

Blind-sided / Discarded / Thrown away

I reacted by moving out, that day. I was in a tailspin, a dark place. I blocked his phone number and email. I never wanted to hear from him again. That Monday he went straight to the courthouse and filed for divorce. A week later he hand-delivered the pro-se divorce papers to a family member that I was living with under the pretense of wanting me to have some of the things I’d left behind. I didn’t talk to anyone or eat anything substantially for three weeks. I was devastated, blindsided.

Two months later, having made minuscule progress toward healing, I answered my phone without looking at the caller i.d. I had unblocked him because I’d had to forgive him for my own sake and out of obedience to the Lord. He was crying and trying to talk at the same time while driving. “I don’t want to be turned over to reprobate. I’m sorry. I was wrong. I don’t want God to turn me over for what I did.” I was confused! Had he talked to someone or had God gotten to him?

Not only had I forgiven him, but I restored him. I remember him saying how easy I made it for him. We counseled with the same pastor I referred to earlier. Although I had forgiven him and restored him, I was still incensed that he’d filed for divorce and put me out. I listened as he lied to the pastor right in front of me and as the pastor said, well he did apologize in front of the church and you should have been there and apologized, too.

The Heart-break…again

Many more eye-opening and heart-breaking things happened to open my eyes, like him attending his ex-wife’s birthday party in a tuxedo and texting me a picture of him from the event (he didn’t even wear one for our nuptials), attending his daughter’s wedding vow renewal without me (there was no room for me, he said), him moving to another state expecting me to follow; his ex-wife helped him find his new place and gave him items to decorate. Piled on top of all of the other things that happened that I haven’t mentioned was when my car wouldn’t start one day after work. I turned the key in the ignition, and nothing happened. I sat there thinking. My first call was to the towing company, not my husband. Odd. Knowing it would take about 45 minutes for the tow truck to come, I used the first 30 minutes to evaluate why I hadn’t called my husband first. Why did I have to evaluate this? Believe it or not, I ended up convincing myself that I was a big girl and that this was such a small matter to bother him with. On the other hand, I would have been there for him. I knew he wasn’t coming, and he didn’t. He later said that I should have told him to come. Even after all of that, I thought, for better or for worse. I let him back into my life. Just like that. We went to court together to quash the divorce proceedings.

Three months later he filed for divorce again and one month after that the divorce became final.

Read more about narcissism here https://narcsite.com/about/

Now, for those of you who read all four posts, you may want to re-read them to gather all of the details. Are you in a narcissistic relationship? We have an upcoming event on narcissism in November. Stay tuned. www.focusministries1.org

 

 

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Read Part 2 of 4

Una vez fui la esposa de un pastor Parte 3 de 4

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Is there any hope for this young lady? https://www.focusministries1.org/blog/is-there-any-hope-for-me

At the end of part 2, I asked a few questions…

What do you think of this real-life story so far? How would you address the issues this young lady has shared?

Here’s where we left off:

The first test came when his daughter called him from the emergency room. We were at his house. I heard him say, “I’ll be right there.” Then he looked at me with questioning eyes. He was beside himself, but I had no idea know why. Explaining that his daughter was in the emergency room, I thought that was why he went into panic mode.  I mean, I could understand him worrying about his daughter, but I saw panic in his eyes. “Do you want to come with me?” Huh, I thought…why would he ask such a silly question?

His Reaction Gave Me Pause

His reaction gave me pause. His reaction. Not the gazillion thoughts hurling through my mind in the 30 seconds it took to answer him. My concern was him. I quickly dismissed my thoughts which were…Aren’t we a couple now? Aren’t we to share in each other’s lives? Isn’t it supposed to be about what concerns him concerns me and vice-versa? Don’t I have a key to his apartment and aren’t we now on the same phone plan? Then, I began to rationalize. Well, we are new in the relationship, maybe he’s not comfortable with my being around his kids. Maybe he’s afraid his daughter, whom I was sure he’d told about me, would reject me. His question didn’t make sense. I snapped out of it, not wanting to appear combative, and said yes, I’d like to go. I said it calmly. On the inside I was sad. I couldn’t pinpoint why, though.

On the way to the hospital I was quiet…and so was he. As we walked into the room his daughter occupied, I greeted her—a person I barely knew—with concern on my face and voice. My personality, I guess. Then I proceeded to sit down. As the entire room came into view, I saw something I wasn’t expecting to see. He spoke to the other person in the room, whom I didn’t even know was in there. At that moment I was the other woman…something I’d never experienced before. It was his estranged wife. I felt that warm wash feeling come over me. I immediately felt like I was intruding. She and I spoke. It was awkward, to say the least. He sat by me. He didn’t have the nerve to tell me that his wife was already there. That was the reason he’d asked me earlier if I wanted to go. Later he told me that he didn’t know how to tell me. Can you say huge red flags? The fact that I had misgivings from the beginning. The fact that I gave him the benefit of the doubt. The fact that I didn’t listen to my first mind when he was moving too fast in the beginning.

I Digress

I digress. After I texted him to begin our relationship anew, we had dinner. He nervously fidgeted with the napkin and silverware. He must have picked up his water glass a million times. I was nervous too, but for a different reason. “I have to tell you something,” he said. I waited. Then he proceeded to tell me that he and his wife had been separated for a year and that they were getting divorced. He was still married! Argh! Separated, estranged, still means married. I did not let emotion show on my face—stoic woman that I was—fortunately the server came to the table to take our orders. When she left to get our food, I said, “so, you guys are separated.” His fidgeting began again. My inner dialogue was afire, but it remained there, locked inside. I said, okay. Now what? He began to tell me how awful his entire marriage had been and why he stayed so long…for the kids. He flooded me with reasons he’d finally decided to move out, all for which I pitied him. Poor him, in a horribly emotionless and sexless marriage, to a monster of a woman who was the mother of his now grown children. I could have—I mean should have—said at that point, thanks for dinner, please take me home…and never call me again, but I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t. Breathe. Instead I thought of all his good qualities, how much he seemed to ‘get’ me, how once this season in his life was over, we could build our lives and ministry together. He was so surprised at how calm I was that he finally began to eat his cold food.

Six months later he was divorced and six months after that he asked me to marry him on my birthday. He’d already called my family thanking them for me and asked my Dad for my hand in marriage! I assumed that he was completely detached emotionally and financially or why else would he have even asked me to marry him. Again! Before saying yes, I… gave…pause. I couldn’t believe he was asking me to marry him. For some reason, I was blindsided. Something inside wouldn’t let me feel worthy of someone loving me and wanting to spend the rest of his life with me. I was quiet for so long that he finally said, “I’m serious.”

My mouth would not open. But then, I said yes. Finally, my prince charming and I could ride off into the sunset together and live happily ev…

As the months progressed, we got along very well. There was favor in our marriage planning. He had joined and was preaching at my church. I was accepted by his ministry family and his grown children. Even his now ex-wife and I respected each other. All was well. No bumps in the road.

Don’t Marry Him

Then one day at church I was walking down the hall on my way to the sanctuary when a young lady, while walking past me, said, “Don’t marry him.” I stopped, she stopped, we faced each other. She stared directly into my eyes and repeated herself. She didn’t laugh. She didn’t explain herself.

“I” married him. I emphasized the “I” because sixteen months later the drama began. I began to see that “I” was in this marriage alone.  I was willing to do anything necessary to keep our marriage afloat and happy. I became the live-in super-maid with a lot of fringe benefits, participated in ministry work, was a caretaker for my Mom. I worked two part-time sometimes three, jobs and we volunteered every weekend. One day, running around the grocery store on break I almost passed out. I was exhausted. I called to tell him what happened and…nothing. No, what can I do to help…nothing. His non-reaction weighed heavily on me. Didn’t he care? When I came home from work, I had an attitude. He was trouble-shooting someone else’s computer issue. I dropped the groceries on the kitchen counter and left them there. Sitting at my desk, I waited for him to get off the call he was on. When his call was finished, he asked me what was for dinner and had I picked up his dry-cleaning. I had to ask him to look at me. Rubbing his eyes, he leaned back in his chair.

I think we’re going to have to go to part 4.

What are you thinking of this woman at this point?

Do you know someone like her?

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  Please read here:  For Part 1

In Espanol: Una vez fui la esposa de un pastor Parte 2 de 3 – I Used to Be a Pastor’s Wife – Part 2 of 3

 

We began to spend more time together, exchanged phone numbers, he met my dad, and he took me to meet his sisters. Everything took off from there, as they say, in a whirlwind. When he offered to put me on his phone plan, I declined…at first. When, five months later, he offered me the key to his apartment, I was shocked. I put the brakes on because, why…because frankly that scared me. I told him that I needed to step back from ‘us’ for a while because I didn’t know what to do with all of this. He was not happy about it, but he accepted my decision.

Decisions…Decisions

Days after that, I sat silently, second-guessing myself. Had I done the right thing? Was I going to lose out on my Prince Charming? [Hindsight…intuition is monumental here. She felt a tug. A tug that gave her pause. Things were moving too fast.] Just like I always do when faced with a dilemma, I sought counsel from my married friend-girl and my Pastor—not his wife. She asked me the tough questions like; Did you do a multi-state criminal background check on him? How does he treat his Mama? (If she is still alive, make sure you observe this for yourself) Have you stalked the Facebook pages of any of his exes to see what they’re saying? How many baby Mama dramas does he have? How long has he been on his J.O.B.? (Not working for a temp agency or between jobs) What does he think about watching porn? Has he ever cheated on anyone he’s been in a relationship with? (Explain what you mean by cheating) What I would do when he didn’t meet my expectations. How many of his children and grandchildren is he currently supporting? We discussed the pros and cons of being married verses remaining single. She thought things were moving way too fast.

Pastor’s Response

In the brief phone call I shared with my pastor, the only question he asked was, “Is he saved?” What does that even mean? I didn’t ask Pastor that at the time, but it could mean, has he confessed Christ with his mouth only and not his actions or does he go to church, or does he believe every word in the Bible is from God.  Does he believe as I do, in the Trinity? He never asked me how I knew for sure that he was saved or what my spirit was revealing to me. He never asked to meet him or what I appreciate most about him; or what commitment meant to me? In hindsight I wondered why my Pastor whom I had known for many years, hadn’t taken the time to counsel me when I first brought this to him. I would find out later.

Notice, I didn’t say I sought God. I sought my friend-girl and my Pastor. Another question occurred to me, too, why hadn’t I spoken with my Pastor’s wife instead of him? They’d been married over 40 years. As I sit here sharing this today, I shake my head and sigh. Had I listened early on to what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me, I would have saved myself 3.5 years of tremendous heartache…but I didn’t.

Decision Made

Instead, I texted him and we began the relationship anew. I was digging myself deeper into a hole and into the nightmare that was to come. We became exclusive one week after my re-opening the door with the text message I’d sent and sealed our ‘now budding’ relationship with our first kiss and my accepting the key to his apartment. I rationalized with myself by focusing on what everyone, and I do mean everyone, said about him. “He’s so humble.” “He’s so nice.” “He’s so giving and caring.” “He has great knowledge of the word and lives by it.” “He’s a great Dad.” “He has his own business.” Blah, blah, blah.

He was eager to pick up where we’d left off. We began to spend a lot of time together. I found myself sharing a lot about my horrid past. I’d been in abusive relationships. I was molested as a child. I was wounded. I wanted him to know what he was getting, being in a relationship with someone like me. [I found out later that he found that weak and detesting. My revelations had set me up for the perfect storm. He’d use those things against me.] I’d call him mornings and wish him a blessed day on my way to work. He’d call in-between clients to see what our dinner plans were. We began attending my brick and mortar church, and, I became an integral part of his established virtual ministry. I’d began to prepare for and to take over the Bible study when he wasn’t able to. That felt good. He trusted me with people he’d known for years. He’d always tell me how great I did and how he loved the fact that I got people to interact during the class. A few months later, my Pastor had accepted him as one of his ministerial staff and he’d began to preach and teach at my church. We bonded over those two things, which later became a problem. I was in 7th heaven. He appeared to be also. We’d developed “our” system, and it worked for us.

The first test came when his daughter called him from the emergency room. We were at his house. I heard him say, “I’ll be right there.” Then he looked at me with questioning eyes. He was beside himself, but I had no idea know why. Explaining that his daughter was in the emergency room, I thought that was why he went into panic mode.  I mean, I could understand him worrying about his daughter, but I saw panic in his eyes. “Do you want to come with me?” Huh, I thought…why would he ask such a silly question?

Stay tuned…

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Is there any hope for this young lady? https://www.focusministries1.org/blog/is-there-any-hope-for-me

What do you think of this story so far? It’s a true story shared with permission.

How would you address the issues this young lady has shared so far?

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