I am a baby when it comes to change. You’d think it would get better as I get older and go through more and more changes.
It’s like someone snatched my blanky away and when they give it back it has been washed. Still the same blanky, but definitely NOT the same.
Over the last year and a half I switched gears on my writing career, got laid off, and got a job that I thought was my dream job, only to be depressingly disappointed. Isn’t it so much harder when you come soooo close to the dream but still get denied? I find myself standing outside the window. Everything I see is part of the dream that God has placed in my heart, but the window is locked and I am not allowed to be part of it. I skirt the fringe, and occasionally I get to come inside for a visit, but the visits are short and I’m always sent back out into the cold.
The experience has been painfully humbling. Which may have been the whole point.
Because my “dream” job required that I take a 60% pay cut, my then-boyfriend and I rushed the time table on our engagement and wedding. The door was open to full-time ministry; certainly it was worth the sacrifice of a beautiful wedding with a pretty, fluffy dress. Except, the open door didn’t lead to where I thought it would lead and even if it did, I should have trusted God to provide for me, not a man.
But I was in love and I didn’t realize how difficult new marriages are. Especially when you didn’t take the proper time for courtship. We were together 10 months and we knew we were going to marry each other at first sight. I thought that would cover us. Wrong. So so wrong.
Now after thirteen months of marriage we seem to be getting the hang of it, but I’ll be honest when I say that it has been hard. HARD! My living in the destruction of my shattered dreams hasn’t helped. Neither did the surprise pregnancy and devastating miscarriage we experienced just 4 and 7 months, respectively, into our marriage.
When summer rolled around we made the crucial decision to focus on us and step away from all of our volunteer ministry. I had just begun teaching and preaching a year earlier, and although I wasn’t getting paid to do it, it was the one aspect of my life where I was sort of living the dream.
I loved doing it, but I love my husband more.
So we both hung up our robes (so to speak. We don’t really wear robes when we teach/preach), and we started pouring life into our marriage.
Almost immediately we started the process of moving. Our lease was up and we decided we wanted to move someplace that belonged to both of us, at least in spirit. We weren’t ready to buy a house yet, so we got rid of most of our stuff and crammed what was left into a temporary two bedroom apartment.
More changes. Great.
I lived in the same house for four years, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere continuously. I like our apartment. It’s newer and in better shape than our house and has the same upgrades I’d get if I owned a house. The apartment amenities are fantastic, it is relatively quiet, and the living room floods with natural light every morning.
But it isn’t home. Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend I’m still in my old bedroom, only to open them and find myself feeling as though the walls are closing in.
In the midst of all of this, I’m working on making another major life change, trying to get my kids situated and back to school, and I’ve been writing a 40-day devotional for my day job with only two weeks between being given the assignment and my deadline. That alone has painted a target on my back for spiritual warfare.
And through it all my husband has been there. We still have our issues, but I see him trying. He loves me even when he doesn’t want to. It’s been like walking on egg shells, trying to be everything I’m supposed to be and still somehow always managing to say something that makes it all come crashing down again. I’ll admit, I’m exhausted.
My response has been to retreat. I get quiet in the chaos, desperate for a recharge. I don’t have the energy to reach out to family or friends, yet I am so grateful when they reach out to me. Even so, I know that when I come out of this I will have lost several friends.
I’ve already lost relationship with some of my sisters. To an extent. They keep up appearances, but I know there’s grumbling. I’ve become the enemy for taking this time that I desperately needed. It still hurts that they treat my miscarriage like something that never happened. It makes them uncomfortable.
So that’s my life lately.
I still have a dream in my heart. I still think God can make amazing things happen just as the story seems to be ending. There’s a non-fiction book idea that has been marinating in my brain this entire time. I haven’t let go of it, but I haven’t had the energy to take it on. But I will. I made that promise to myself.
This morning before my husband left for work he told me “I love you because you are relentless.” I had been up since 4 am working. I wanted to cry and tell him that I’d rather be resilient, but I chose to not fall apart. I kissed him, pulled away with a smile and told him that I love him because he understands me.
I guess, when all is said and done, that is all we can ask for – we all need someone in our lives who understand us. Most of the people in mine don’t. But Mike does. Whatever else happens, at least we have that. And perhaps that is the true definition of “living the dream.”