Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Confession...

There is a LOT going on in my life that has me feeling overwhelmed right now. A whole lot. For many months now, I've had something fun to look forward to--a getaway with some friends that is happening this weekend. 

However, I realized about a month ago that it just wasn't going to work out for me to go. Tears, more tears, and a heaping dose of disappointment surrounded my decision to back out.

I know deep down that it was the right decision, but it's been hard not to let the disappointment swallow me.

I had some time while I was in Arkansas a few weeks ago to actually be still and hear myself think. I had way too much time to let the roots of that disappointment sink deep. Really deep. Trust me, no good came of that. 

I turned things over in my mind day in and day out and you know what? I decided somewhere along the way that the blame for me not getting to go on this trip was entirely my husband's fault. I decided that he knew how important this trip was to me and that he purposely scheduled a business trip for the same weekend. I decided that he didn't care about my heart or my emotional state or my need for some self-care. Basically, I was listening to the lies that the enemy/devil was whispering to my heart and I agreed with every single one of them.

Ugh. Such ugliness.

On the way to Santa Fe where the kids and I were planning to meet John (after a lengthy time apart) I felt myself growing more and more resentful. I took all those agreements I'd made about him not giving a rat's rear about me and let my heart grow stony cold. At that point, I started making vows.

Things like...

He doesn't care about me so I will not make myself vulnerable to him ever again.

I will never admit my needs.

I am on my own. I will find a way to survive (emotionally) without him. 

By the time we got there, I was furious. The kids were ecstatic to see their dad. There was no shortage of affection on their part, but I was very cool and very aloof. And "very" might be understating it about 2000%. 

Bless his heart. He had no idea what was brewing.

Honestly, there was a lot going on under the surface. Isn't there always? I was coming off of a hard week with my dad and the entirety of his illness. I'd driven 2000+ miles with three kids by myself, and I was thoroughly exhausted on many different levels. I'm not making excuses but I am suggesting that my defenses were down and I wasn't very spiritually alert when I started agreeing with things I knew weren't true.

John and I eventually found some time to talk and I confessed all the disappointment I was pinning on him. All the agreements I'd made. And the subsequent vows. 

Here's the thing: I think we have a pretty good marriage. We communicate well. We respond to each other, we forgive and move on. Neither of us like it when we get off-track so we try to get back on track quickly. It has taken some time after admitting all of this though for him to come around. That's fair. It was a lot to dump on him. 

The challenge for me this week is not to pick that blame back up. To not feel sorry for myself for not getting to go on this trip. To acknowledge that I'm still sad and disappointed yet not wallow in self-pity. To trust that God is in control of all things and to not hold a grudge towards Him when he doesn't give me what I want. I admit I've already failed at all of the above more than once.

I want my heart to stay soft instead of hard though. I want my friends to have an amazing time of rest and refreshment and FUN this weekend. I want to be alert so that when the enemy comes prowling around whispering lies and looking for agreements (and sooner or later he will) I will recognize what's going on and stay off of that path.

'Cause I've walked it and it isn't pretty. 


(Note: I came across the terms "agreements" and "vow" while reading some of John Eldredge's books years ago, and I must give proper credit to him. For those of you that think spiritual warfare is "kooky" just know that I did too for many, many years. I'm now convinced it is very real and there are few things the enemy loves more than for us to be ignorant of it.)

37 comments:

Kathy said...

I'm praying for you, Mer. Thanks for sharing the struggle--I imagine a lot of people can relate to how disappointing disappointment can be. (I know I can.) Blessings, Friend.

Amber said...

Oh, Mer. It is no secret how much I appreciate true authenticity and true realness in this blogworld of ours, so thank you so much for sharing this piece of your story. Because it really does make a difference for people like me.

I'm praying, Mer. Because I know it's real. Really real.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Wow, Mer. I love hearing your heart on this.

My hubby and I have been married 7 years, and we are still getting to that place where our communication is good, where we (mostly me) don't hold things in and let things brew and fester. It's so easy to do sometimes, and so easy to believe the lies that are whispered in our ear. Spiritual warfare - yes, definitely real.

Praying for you. I know that talking things out doesn't change the disappointment, but I will pray that you will be able to trust that He's still in control.

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

(((Hugs))) and praying for you. I so easily do this as well ... go off in my mind and decide how wronged I am, finish out the fight that we are/will be having and plug in what I think will be be his answers (I am usually so off base) ... all just lies. Praying that you feel refreshed even without the getaway.

Emily said...

Thanks for being so transparent on this. It's easy to share the fun stuff, but I appreciate seeing your heart. Praying for peace to wash over you today, friend!

Mary @ Simple Things said...

Oh I know that path well. I'm an expert at creating scenarios where I've been wronged and ingored. I make all those same vows about how I'll just do it all on my own and never depend on anyone else again. I can become a martyr in any situation. I really, really dislike that woman but I keep going back there.

Will pray for all of us because spiritual warfare is very real.

*carrie* said...

Dear Mer,

I echo what the others said, esp Stephanie at Olive Tree.

Disappointment, exhaustion, and confession of ugly sin are not easy to deal with! I, too, hope you will be renewed and refreshed this week and beyond.

Deidre said...

Yes, spiritual warfare is very real and the enemy knows when we are most vulnerable. You have been going through so much lately and ofcourse, you will be attacked at that very moment.

Thanks for sharing your struggles for we are ALL there many times in our lives. What helps is to know where it comes from so we can combat the lies with TRUTH. I'm lifting you up this week and praying you walk in that TRUTH.

whimzie said...

Sigh. So I need to let K and my MIL off the hook, too? ;)

Thanks, friend. I needed this. You know I did.

Becky said...

Thanks for your openess and honesty Mer. I'll be praying for your heart. The enemy does like to feed us lies when we are most vulnerable.

I believed those same lies about my husband and made the same vows. I was so cold and just felt dead inside. Unfortunately, those feelings lasted for months and the lies/agreements grew. I knew these things weren't true but I just couldn't shake them. During this time we found a church home and I would leave church feeling completely dead inside. In a small group we read Waking the Dead and well it changed my spiritual life. I'll never doubt spiritual warfare again!

OhioFamOf4 said...

So wonderful of you to share this struggle with us. I have it myself sometimes. How did you get to the point where you weren't mad anymore? What led you to let it go?

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Agreeing with things we know are not true. Such a challenge. Because it seems like why in the world would we when we know it's not true--and yet we/I do!

Thanks for sharing your heart.

I've struggled with resentment lately too. Been praying like crazy about it for the past month and am starting to feel some ease, but it's slow.

The truth is, wallowing is sometimes fun. Not fun like running in freedom fun, but fun like I'm going to be miserable and enjoy it fun. Not sure that made sense.

Missing you, friend!

Joanne

Tiffani said...

I share in your disappointment about the upcoming gathering.

I share in blaming the husband or for me anything/anyone else around..

I share in the fact the spiritual warfare is a very real thing...

I share in the fact that husband's get stuff pinned on them all too frequently...

I share that being real is being genuine..and I believe you are both. So glad we're friends.

Lindsay said...

Mer, Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us. Your post is very pertinent to a discussion we had in our Bible Study last pm re: the realities of spiritual warfare.

Praying for refreshment and peace that only the Lord can truly give.

Nina Diane said...

I think we all do this at times...I know I do. Poor hubby sometimes has no clue as to the frustrations or scenarios I have dreamed up. hugs and prayers to you...

Kendra said...

Satan loves to whisper in our ears, especially when we are most vulnerable. The thing is we need to realize it before we let him have a foot hold in our lives. Despite what you may feel, you and John are an example on how to be as a Christian couple, even through bad times, rough patches, and disagreements. I'm praying for peace for you!

Lemonade Girl said...

I'll echo the others and thank you for being so transparent and vulnerable. I have been down that path, too.

I so believe in Spiritual Warfare. When hubby lost his job, the enemy came into our lives and really tried to use that circumstance to destroy us. I don't think I've prayed so fervently in my life. Satan is tricky. He attacks us when we are vulnerable; when we are
Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired
Notice they spell HALT. It is a reminder to me to stop and pray during those times.

Praying for you sweet blog friend! Hang in there!

Elizabeth said...

I battle things like this all the time. It's so easy to believe the lies Satan spills on us. Thank you for sharing this struggle, because I know I and lots of others need to hear it.

Lauren Kelly said...

WOW, girl, sounds like you have been working through and learning ALOT! It's all a part of growth, just remember that!!!! The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy! Put him back under your feet where he belongs!

Melissa Stover said...

i'm glad i'm not the only one who does that. i know exactly what you mean about building it all in your mind and then dumping it on your husband. i do that. i hate it when i do that.

you sweet thing. i hope you get the rest and peace you need right now.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Spiritual warfare kooky? Really? But the Bible is so clear about Satan prowling around seeking those to devour! (I Peter 5)

I'm sorry about that trip, Mer. Maybe you can have some local fun with your kids to redeem the weekend.

Cathy said...

Thank you, Mer, for your transparency.

YES! Spiritual warfare IS real! My thoughts are ESPECIALLY in relationship to our marriages. I think he focuses on this a lot, because he knows that commited marriages are an example to the world of Christ's relationship to His bride, the Church. We all have those times, but you're moving forward and that's what counts.

Thanks for being an encouragement to others in the midst of your disappointments and trials.

Carpoolqueen said...

I could have written your paragraph about resentment. Many times over. I struggle with it more than anything else in my marriage. Thanks for your honesty. It's comforting to me to know that I'm not the only one that fights this battle.

And I promise you: It will not be the last time the friends get together. For this friend so dearly wants to see you and laugh with you and encourage and be encouraged by you. You will be very, very missed, for you are very, very loved.

Gretchen said...

Sigh...I've been so conflicted about mentioning anything publicly about the weekend b/c I didn't wnat to seem like I was twisting in a knife wound.

I pray nothing that I have done has hurt you, friend. Please, please forgive me if I have. And i'm looking forward to a visit with you whenever we can book one.

This is one amazing post, Mer.

Holly said...

"for better, for worse"...you are loved dearly by your friends and your family and esp. your John. So much good will flow from this--and exposing the light over the darkness is always a winning hand.

I'm glad to be your friend, Meredith! And thankful.for.you.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I know that vicious cycle.

And you're right -- it often hits when we are isolated and tired and prone to too much self-perspective.

Your authenticity is a beautiful reminder to fight the lies with truth. And even when we have "right" to be resentful, the poison of bitterness will do nothing but destroy our souls.

Jennifer said...

Mer, this post and my opening your blog came at no better time for me. I am going thru this now and as much as I try not to, it seems 'to just happen'. As you may recall, we are going thru some financial hardships right now. Hubs business is very slow, I can't secure a teaching job, and we have bills that need to be paid. I struggle constantly b/c some decisions that hubs made (I didn't want to do them, but I regress) are haunting us now. It's hard for me to not 'blame him' and in all honesty, at times I do. But I know that God is in control and he will not give us anything that we can't handle.

Hugs to you......

Megan O. said...

Thank you again for your honesty and vulnerability. I appreciate it and relate so much to what you are saying. It's good to hear it from someone else to be reminded that those lies from the pit are so real and that we have a choice to listen and agree or not. You've been dealing with a lot lately, I'll be praying for you.

lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

Oh,Mer. Thanks for sharing. I'm kinda in that place too except the one I'm blaming is God. I'm not speaking to Him right now. My feelings are hurt. What really sucks is that I KNOW it's lies from the pit but I still hold onto that grudge. I just can't get past the feeling that God wasn't very loving to let Hannah die when He was perfectly capable of healing her. And I'm not falling for that "glory" business. Doesn't make sense that God needs to let a 17 year old girl die just to make Himself look good. I know this borders on blasphemy. I'm sorry. I'm ok, really. Haven't lost my faith entirely. I'm just throwing a spiritual temper tantrum. Thanks for letting me vent. I have the feeling you may understand.

Betsy said...

So sorry about your missing this trip! :( I hope your weekend turns out to be wonderful anyway. And thank you so much for your honesty. We've all been there. Satan is on the prowl EVERYWHERE so we can all relate!

His Girl said...

Mer- there's so much to say right now that I can't think of where to start...

first... I'm praying for you. I do believe in warfare, and it doesn't surprise me that you're being attacked while you've been working so hard lately- that coward satan seems to love to prey on those who are tired.

second... I'm beyond sad that you're not coming. I am with Gretchen and ask for your forgiveness if I've contributed at all to the sad. I want so desperately for you to be there, and just KNOW that there'll be another opportunity

finally *for now*... I think that I've never heard anyone articulate in such perfect honesty that process that goes through my head in trying to find someone to blame when something just plain stinks. all too often, my husband gets that honor. your raw transparency really touched a cord in my heart and God is using it already to make some changes.

I love ya girl, and can't wait to see you irl :)

Deena said...

My sweet friend - I think you may have changed a life with this post. I know there are many hurting women out there - this is the kind of amazing post that will meet people where they are.

We've all been there at one point or another. I'm sorry you are having to go through it now.

Praying you will be blessed today!

Ginger@From The Cocoon said...

Thanks for being honest and real. We definitely all go through these days and I'm so glad that you were able to see it for what it was...lies from the enemy...and take those thoughts captive! Glad you guys are back on track!!!

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

Oh boy, have I done this to my poor husband. I agree with the many commenters who mentioned spiritual warfare and how Satan whispers in our ears. He wants nothing more than to cause conflict and strife and he works especially hard on families that are committed to the Lord and each other.
I usually dump it all out then feel terrible guilt for putting my husband through that and then we talk (and talk and talk:) and I feel better and then I realize where it all came from and then I go to God and have a long talk there too. Just my process when this happens!
Glad things are worked out!

Ali said...

Mer,

Thanks for putting into words what I too strugge with! There have been times in our marriage where I feel overwhelmed with life and am drained from being everyone's caretaker and I have listened to lies that my husband doesn't care and that it is up to me to take care myself and I shouldn't trust anyone and it causes me to put up walls and for communication to become tougher. I tend to project my frustrations and disappointments at my husband. It's not fair to Him and sometimes I feel justified even though I am not. Thanks for writing this post! Reading your words encouraged me to really look at who is telling me those lies and who I want to trust and believe even when things are tough. Love your open heart and thanks so much for sharing! Seriously think you should write a book for women about this issues! :)

I loved this post!

~ Ali

Shanda said...

Mer,
I just read John's post about your Dad passing. I left a comment there, but I wanted to leave a comment here too letting you know that my heart is with you & your family right now. I am praying for all of you.

May you be filled with peace and rest well tonight.

Brandy said...

I just wanted to say that I have had those same thoughts and feelings also. Guess God is right when He says there is no temptation that has taken you except that which is common to man (woman too). I am glad you took H is way of escape, and that you shared it here.