Find your voice

More about the therapeutic experience of this weekend—(thought about after reading many of Rachel Held Evans thoughts on marriage, please go to her blog and check her out. She has thoroughly researched topics and has valuable insights and opinions.)

Frank is extremely task oriented. I had apparently suppressed the anxiety of feeling like a burden to him and that a kid would add to that even more. I’m an opinionated extrovert. At times this doesn’t resonate with people, especially the fundamental evangelical crowd. I sometimes feel this group wants me to sit in a docile fashion, quiet but ready to heed to my husband’s beckoning. These folks might have been abashed if they overheard our conversations while camping. They didn’t overhear, but since I’m sending it into the blogosphere they might be shocked now.

I told Frank that we had to communicate. He said he could take a vow of silence. I asked him if he was a monk. Nope. Right answer. Then I said since he chose to not be one and rather chose to be married it meant he chose the path of communication. Yes, I said something that overt to my “leader”. Frank doesn’t speak often and lets me do what I want 90% of the time. That means when he does speak I listen more keenly. I am not someone to be controlled by my husband. Fundamentalist Christians can call me a feminist. The world will say I’m not independent enough. We work out our marriage how it works for us, not by the criticisms of others unless it is truly constructive (thanks female best friend). I am his companion. I think this is why we’ve taken to the co-leadership organization of our marriage rather than the patriarchal format seen and stressed in most evangelical circles.

Frank and I have excellent communication and I’ve frequently asked him if he feels I’m a nagging wife. He assures me I’m not. I’ve been told that I don’t respect Frank’s authority. First, does “head of household” mean he gets to lord over me? I sure hope not. Frank has also told me I respect him. Yet he also tells me when he feels I’m slighting him. Forgive me if I’m hesitant to listen to individuals with different marriage experiences. I’d rather listen to strong, independent wives who’ve been committed to loving and respecting their husbands for years, who emphasized communication and let the roller coaster of life teach them about companionship and submission. (Submission being mutual not a hierarchical tier of leadership though.) Communication has never been one of our big failures. Yes we have areas we need to work on in it, but we are pretty open with each other.

Frank doesn’t speak often. I comment on this a lot. When he does speak and open up about his feelings though, we are strong in this area. He was honest that he’s pretty much done with the sorrow over the miscarriage. I was honest that I have, for the most part, accepted it too, but there are things that spark remembrance and heartache. He and I have been honest about the impact this has had on our sexual endeavors and bedroom ambiance. We also share with each other when we are tempted to lust. I don’t know many other couples who openly state such things. I think being this open means that we have nothing to hide. We are jealous for our marriage, we put it as a priority, second only to Christ. Note though that I didn’t say we were jealous of but jealous for. Yes, prepositions and definitions are important (perhaps more on that rant later). We completely trust each other. We ask when the other individual is feeling tempted by sin. We don’t sweep it under the rug or talk about it with our friends. We might get advice from friends and vent, but we always share what we’ve told a friend with each other. There isn’t something we tell another that we haven’t already said or are going to discuss at home.

I understand that my marriage isn’t perfect. This miscarriage has shown us areas to focus on. This struggle is just another way God is using marriage to make us holy. I’m glad that Frank agrees it should be done as a partnership (thanks female best friend for speaking about partnership at our wedding), not a resentful tier where he’s the only one who is able to express opinions. If that were so, we might have silence (he wouldn’t ever speak), but our hearts and minds would be a maze of frustration and hidden vices.

In fact, he said the most endearing thing the other day, probably one of the most precious statements in our marriage to date (he wanted traditional wedding vows). (He isn’t one to frequently express lovey-dovey romantic feelings.) He said, “You get me to speak. You are the only one I talk to. You are my best friend.” If we didn’t argue this weekend, me initiating it as I usually do because I need to talk things out rather than bury and forget them, we might not have received the healing that has embalmed our grieving, angry hearts. My extroverted opinions, it seems, help to draw out the thoughts of my taciturn spouse rather than cause him to want to live on the roof with impending hailstorms.

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Symbiotic, not just Parasitic

Tick…tick…tick…

We measure time by precious moments. The left spiral of the clock’s hands captures memories. We often express time as something spent. Time is not currency though. It is something given, just a breath, while we exist on this plane. I didn’t waste my time this weekend, I didn’t spend it either. I reflected on the transformation—who I am becoming and how each experience is shaping me into Christ-like character, or how I need to submit to Christ’s authority still.

If I’m honest, I’ve been ravaged by doubt, confusion, and anger lately. Current events are pruning the deadened character that’s taken root. I might not have realized it before. It took the shedding of uterine lining and the hope of expectation to assess the shedding of discontentment that needs to take place.

I’ve always looked for what’s next rather than what is. I’m not promised tomorrow so why should I grow anxious waiting for it? Discontentment has been feeding as I seek to abandon New Jersey and barrenness. I haven’t asked why God has placed me here and for what purpose I’m to serve. Instead, I’ve been fighting, begging to be plucked and placed elsewhere or receive another lot. I’ve wanted different hosting ground—somehow believing that a different place, career, or circumstance would set mundane ablaze.

As I sat by the campfire, observing the crackling wood and the ember’s glow, I wondered what I’ve yet to sacrifice, surrender. The altar of burnt offering was used to sacrifice an animal, a pleasing aroma unto God, so sin was forgiven. I reflected on the envy and wrath that’s been sucking out my joyful countenance. I pondered how the discontentment stench is repugnant to my Savior’s nostrils. I thought of how I’ve spit upon the sacrifice Christ did for me and taking for granted the plans he has yet to weave. I’ve stopped trusting the beauty of his craftsmanship and being grateful for today. He died so I am free. He releases me from anxiety. With Christ I have a purpose other than just copulation and birthing. I need to embrace that and live the fullest life he’s afforded me to have.

This weekend as I itched the pest embedding teeth in my thigh (my husband isn’t a pest), I thought of how thirsty I am for renewal (well when I was screaming about getting the bugger out). I yearn to be used for God’s purposes, not just selfish ambition. God is good regardless of what I expect or get from life. His definition of family and adequacy is different than my own and the world’s. We need a relationship/fellowship based on mutual communication with him to understand his purposes, not just want a “vending machine” God. So it is into his hands I commit my will and pray I’ll keep surrendering while seeking a relationship with the triune deity whatever lies ahead or not.

In Dependence

Hello folks. My camping trip was great even in spite of the ticks. Frank and I argued and fleshed out things we have suppressed since the miscarriage but I’ll give more on the trip later. Since we went away for July 4th, here is the post Frank partially helped me to write (he came up with the title). Thank you sweetheart. I appreciate your assistance. Your advice was my muse. As such, here are some ramblings on a national holiday:

The blast of shattering bone birthed a nation free from British control. Soldiers, of ancient days past, shed velvet fertilizer on this new, independent land. Smoke rose from the fields as the musket’s fire began to cease. Here was a land of the “free” man.

In truth, we released ourselves from European control just to become slaves to other vices. There is a beast far more powerful than any government power and he’s been trying to usurp control for ages. He uses entitlement to fuel war and violence. In the end, we are left with the stains of pride, greed, and a superiority complex.

I’ve heard it said that war is a necessary evil. We fight a spiritual battle and as long as we wage against principalities I guess it must be. However, I’ll pray for world peace; knowing that unless there is communication for peace and a strive to put others above yourself, that just isn’t going to happen. Even King David had to run from Saul.

It is when we stray from God and communicating with him that we attempt to devise our own plans. Yet we unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) give into selfish ambition when we center ourselves in the minefield of our own thoughts rather than Scripture. When we think we can go it alone, we wind up trapped to the bondage of our pleasures. It is not wrong to enjoy things in moderation. We are a people of excess though and we always shackle ourselves to prisons of abundance. We have to have more—oil, property, or “rights”. May we start to seek more of him and less of what we think we “need”. We need him.

It’s time we open our eyes, come out of slumber (choosing politics and parties over pursing him and his kingdom), and slip out of hiding from our hermit holes. It’s time for community, it’s time for fellowship, it’s time to become dependent. It is in becoming dependent in Him and on Him (God, Christ, Holy Spirit—the three in one; Triune deity) that we are set free, not in the lack of the British regime.

Backwoods Southern Lawyer

Primitive. Remote.

A nylon stretched shelter to call home this weekend. Trees and trails as a backyard scape. This is a retreat to leave reminders behind and seek his mercy away from the noise. We’ll be covered in wood’s ashes, mourning yet covered with a pleasing aroma so sorrow can even be a sweet fragrance to The Lord. He makes beauty from ashes and that’s what camping for this hickey couple is, an opportunity to flee from distractions and seek the beauty of God. Decaying trees fertilize the soil.

A shrunken uterus and decayed hemorrhage fertilizes the witness to his mercy in spite of grief and sorrow. I’m coming back to the heart of worship. I’ll learn that all things, even that which pains me to speak of, are used for his good and glory. I’m escaping to burning bushes that I might meet with him and regain perspective.

Mobile technology will be tossed for two days that I might tune out the noise and hear what he is speaking. This trip is me processing a grief that has numbed me. I hope to make sense of what I haven’t been able to express and see his promises even when they don’t align with my interpretation of vows.

Be fruitful and multiply…perhaps for me it’s not in the fruit of my loins but an emboldened voice for the gospel. I’ll multiply the hearers by speaking of his faithfulness even when his presence and path don’t follow my expectations.

I’ll be MIA for two days because I need to convene with our God without the distraction of electronic devices. Thank you for understanding. May you also seek holiness and turn down the noise to hear the still small voice that comforts us if we are willing to listen.

I’m giving the victory to our intercessor. I will not wallow in pity, but seek and find that The Lord his good and his mercy endures forever. I pray the same for you in all your struggles and grief.

Flatlands

July- the month I was going to spread the news that we were expecting our first kin.  On Father’s day I posted about the loss of our child in a paragraph long shout out to my dad, Frank’s dad, and my dear husband, Francis Joseph Eisbacher.  My good friend Angela was the only one who responded in empathy and sympathy.  I’m sure that the status got lost in threads of other Father day praises, but the sting of comment absence still rose.  Friends from the church wrote me letters as I had submitted a prayer request.  I definitely had the support of friends from church and the condolences from the few I had told that we lost the baby.  Did I really need the world to grieve with me? 

I guess I felt that there were all these folks celebrating this Hallmark propaganda while my husband and I secretly prayed the day would just end.  It was salt rubbing into my scarred and empty uterus.  I just wanted friends from college or high school to acknowledge that these “holidays” aren’t as wonderful as we make them out to be for everyone.  I wanted them to see the hollowness of materialism because I was now hollow. 

It was selfish.  I didn’t and don’t need the frowns and glossy eyes that said/say, “We’re sorry, but I’ve got my life too.”  I needed and need to run to God, my comforter.  It’s been hard though.  He is a God who blesses his people abundantly with his presence, if only we seek him.  I never expected to have to rely on his fullness in barrenness.  It’s been a process of trusting him even when my deepest desires aren’t met.  His timing doesn’t seem rational or logical to me.  I know his purposes and plans are for the best; I’ve had this reiterated to me time and time again from other church members (funny how they have the thing you long for though whenever they say this).  So though I walk through this valley I have to know he is with me.  He is my only hope.  Christ is my light and warmth when my heart feels dark, cold, and numb. 

I never liked the heat because I sweat.  I fear how I’ll stink or appear.  Perhaps the middle of summer is a reminder that I can let go of approval addiction.  I can be vulnerable and honest about this hike with my loving Father.  I can let others in and encourage.  I don’t have to traverse this parched land alone.  I can do it with community and when they aren’t around, I can seek and find God who has been with me through it all.  He hasn’t left or forsaken me.  I can let this baby kite fly (or at least try) into his sculpting palms.  In letting go of the string so he can reel me in I’ll be renewed with a joyful spirit within.  He’ll make me soar, to rest in his embrace, and lead me to even land, where I won’t stumble or flail.  He’ll use this to mature this fragile faith so that I’ll be steadfast in sharing his grace, his mercy. 

So though my belly remains flat (with a little extra flab because I sadly live a sedentary life and haven’t quite found the motivation to move again) while my hair poofs to a giant a-fro (yeah curly hair in humidity—not friends) and my ankles swell due to water retention in the heat, he’ll stretch my faith and grow that in spite of what I often think is an obstacle.  He’ll use Frank’s absence (he’ll be away a lot this summer for Army duties) and the loss of this treasure to draw me deeper to him.  I won’t look around and see the constant, agonizing pain of disappearance.  He’ll increase my boldness in sharing the love of our multidimensional God, our triune Savior. In doing so, he’ll ask me to look up, above my “problems”, recognizing his presence amidst sorrow to trust and believe that he’ll use this testimony to lead others to recognize truth as well and climb the mountaintop that is faith.

Preoccupied

Busyness. 

It kills goals, dreams, and devotions. 

I’m so sorry about not posting yesterday.  I know that you might be thankful for the reprieve.  Your inbox wasn’t flooded with a message you might feel obligated to read because we are friends, or even better my supportive husband who has to listen to me ramble in person too.  Thank you for your faithful readership even though I can be verbose. 

Why do I continuously apologize for who I am?  One of these days, with God slapping me upside the head, I’ll break this approval addiction.  My addiction just happens to go unnoticed by most of society, especially the church.  It’s still a sin, but an “acceptable” one.  If we are so busy focusing on the blatant, sexual sins we don’t have to notice our “lesser” sins.  God doesn’t stratify sin, but we humans sure do. 

The church seems so preoccupied and busy trying to eradicate homosexual marriage and abortion laws in society that it seems that other sins like gossip, hatred, bitterness, idleness, obsession with work, and worship of family go by the wayside. 

Render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s and what is God’s to God.  I’ve prayed about this frequently.  We have to meet the unbelieving world where it is.  We can’t force ideals onto them.  If they don’t see the compassion, honesty, and mercy of God reflected in his vessels, what motivation is there to transform a life and render it submissive to his authority?  For our fellow brethren, we need to understand that God is working out the process in all his children.  Sanctification is a lifelong path, not typically an overnight awakening.  We need to greet others with a holy kiss, a sweet embrace of Christ’s grace.  We need to sit long enough to hear another person’s story and understand rather than be understood. 

As such, I challenge all of us.  Let us stop the busyness that blinds us to our faults, the prattling that obsesses with our brother or sister’s wrongdoings, and bow before the throne to learn the pruning in our own life needing to take place first so we can adequately speak the truth in loving grace rather than crass judgement.