Monday, May 30, 2011

My husband's struggle...

So.
I have two different directions I need to go, in writing about being married. And I am having a hard time deciding which way to go first.

Both of these areas revolved around the same thing, and both were completely heart breaking for me to walk through. One would require me to learn to be surrendered to something completely out of my control with one of the biggest dreams of my life, and the other would require me to learn to forgive and forgive and forgive and try to learn to trust and forgive once more, the man that I had committed my life to.


I think, that I will choose the second to write about first.

I want to be really careful as I write this, to be sensitive to my husband. And yet I know, I have his approval to share these life lessons, because the way we both feel about weaknesses, are that we would rather share and have God use our hard times to help others, than to keep them to ourselves.

I remember a few years ago sitting down for dinner with some friends that were about to be married. They both had the prewedding glow, excited for the dreams and plans for their future. And they asked us, if there was any advice we could share, what would it be.
Nick was quick to respond to the husband. "If you struggle in the area of lust, pornography, sexual addiction of that sort, try to get it figured out now, because marriage won't fix those struggles." And it is so true.

When I met Nick I admired him very much. He was a true gentleman, had plans for his life, was confident, and he and I shared many of the same life goals. He really was a gift from the Lord.
Several months into our relationship, Nick broke down and told me about his struggle in the areas listed above. He felt terrible about them, and didn't even know what he was doing when he got started in them, and all of a sudden he felt in the midst of a struggle that he didn't know how to solve.

I was pretty naïve to those things, and was quick to forgive. The following years of our courtship, would involve every so often Nick breaking down and confessing he had struggled once again, and then once again stepping up and starting over again to try to do the right thing.

As we got closer to marriage, I figured that those struggles would be taken care of once we got married. That I could meet those needs in him, and he would no longer fall into those traps.
We did get married, and I don't remember exactly the first time he fell in this area, but I do remember being confused and devastated when he told me.
I knew that sex was an area of struggle for us. It was and sometimes still is a hard area to communicate our needs and desires in this. I had started reading a few recommended books to help me be better in this area. But it still wasn't easy.

Knowing that he still struggled, I would blame myself for not meeting his needs well, and I would want to figure out how to provide for him. But then he would still struggle, and I would be hurt.
The hardest parts about these struggles is that often I would get a feeling that maybe he had stumbled in this area, and then I would ask him, and he would tell me that he had not. But then an hour, or a day, or a week later, he would be ridden of guilt from lying and come back and tell me the truth, that he had struggled and that he had lied to me about it.

It was this huge cycle of not trusting him from his lying, and feelings of insecurity started to creep in more and more.

This went on for several years.

I had a few friends that God richly blessed me with that I felt safe with to talk about these things, and they would encourage and pray with me. Please know, that Nick knew I would talk to these ladies about these things. Sometimes us as women can come together and start bashing our husbands down and tearing them a part with our words - and that was NOT at all what was going on during that time. I felt helpless, because I could not control my husband's choices. And I didn't know what I could do to make myself be a better wife for him. I read books and prayed and read my Bible and did everything I could do to be the wife I was suppose to be. But still, I could not fix him. He still struggled. And it hurt so bad.


During this time we were struggling with figuring out why I wasn't getting pregnant, which I will go into in another blog, but I just wanted to say a side note, that I think that was one of the blessings in disguise with my infertility, was that it did not let me settle to not work at things and figure things out - God used that to give me a desire to try with my husband, to spend time working in this area of our marriage, and I am grateful for that.

Almost 4 years into our marriage - we were in the middle of helping plant a church and just starting the adoption process, and it was very exciting times. However, Nick was still battling with this, which made me nervous about being parents, if Nick couldn't figure this area out, would he be able to help his children someday in this area?

During the middle of the summer of 2004, my friend Leah found a book that God used to change Nick's life in this area. I was sitting by the pool at our current apartment with my friend, talking about these struggles, and she told me she had a book, and to see if Nick would consider it. It is called "Every Man's Battle."

I gave Nick the book that night, and he was not to pleased about it at the time. I asked if he could consider reading it, that Leah had bought it with us in mind. He didn't really commit to it, and that was that.

I don't remember exactly when he started to read it, but when he got half way through the book his eyes started being opened to what needed to happen to help him change. I don't know what it was, or the exact details between him and the Lord, but I just know I began to see a huge change in my husband.

I ended up reading a few books from the same series including one called Every Heart Restored. God began to restore us in this area of hurt and pain and healing areas of brokenness, and helping my husband surrender what I would call the biggest battle of his life.
I can't explain it. It was just a work that the Lord did in Nick's life. What I can say, is that even though it has been a long time since Nick has struggled in this area, we do recognize that it is something that he could stumble in again anytime, and we do try to stay on guard in this area.

As a wife, and now as a mom to a 6 year old son, I do my best to make sure the movies or shows that are viewed in our home would not cause any stumbling - and even magazine articles. I get Real Simple Magazine, and I go through it first thing, and rip out any ads that are inappropriate. I want to keep our home a protected place. But also, as Josiah gets older, we want to equip him as he goes out of the home to prepare him to handle the things this world will throw at him. We have had talks about how we don't look at naked pictures. We want to teach him to not defraud women.

We live in a very twisted world.

There was one time when I went into Gap Body with my kids - which in the past never had pictures that were inappropriate. But last fall when I was there, Josiah immediately turns his head, and then with his head bowed I followed to where he had been looking, and there I saw a picture of a gal with her belly button showing not fully dressed. I immediately apologized to Josiah, and he told Ava not to look at it, and I laid down what I had been considering purchasing and we left the store.

Another time though, I went into the attached store to Gap Body, and caught Josiah trying to peek into Gap Body. That brought up a new discussion. That also brought up the realization that I need to be extra wise in where I take him in the future.

We are definitely not done in the training and preparing Josiah to be equipped to face the world in this area. But through Nick's struggles it is something extra near to our heart in raising our children.

It says in the Bible to FLEE sexual immorality. It's not something to leave room for any open doors.

There has definitely been healing this area, but there are also scars that still hurt from time to time.

I know that Nick and I would definitely want to put out the message to figure this out in your marriage - especially to the guys. There can be healing and forgiveness through Christ. He wants us to be able to surrender our hearts in this. And set us free.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

To Disneyworld we go... Our HONEYMOON!

So, I have really been thinking and praying about how to write this out. Because, I want to be very sensitive to my marriage with Nick. But I think we both agree there is a lot we learned in this, and the reality of things not going as planned hit once again, so I will do my best. This actually will lead into a lot of areas in our marriage that we had to work through and sort out, but for now, we will just cover the honeymoon week.
We dreamed and talked about where we would want to go. We decided on Disneyworld, because we wanted to have fun. I remember looking through the different hotel resort options and Nick showed me the few he was thinking for us. There was one that was very cute = Dixie Landings(it's been remodeled and named something else now). I loved the French look to the buildings and the atmosphere seemed a little less kid like than some of the other resorts, which since we were on our honeymoon, although we did want it to be fun, we were also going for a little romantic.
So Nick took care of all the details. I think that is my favorite thoughts in this, is that he let me dream up ideas with him, and he took that and ran with it to create a very special time for us.
So, is the backdrop of planning. Honestly, I had spent a lot of time planning and dreaming up our wedding, and thinking about how much fun it would be able to have a vacation together and to start a home together and start a family together. But I didn't spend much time at all preparing for the three letter word essential to marriage. See, I didn't even type it out because that was how I felt about it. Extremely shy, not wanting to think about anything of that nature before we were married, because of wanting to keep my focus on purity of heart.

We were given some suggestions to read on the subject by our pastor, which Nick did, but I chose to not until after we would get married.

I can't really judge if this was the right decision or not, but I am going to share the outcome.

We got to our hotel by the airport and said good bye to our dads. Then we checked in and all of a sudden I was faced with the reality of what we were suppose to do next? And I got super nervous. I don't want to go into too many details of this, but a basic summary is that after staying up until 3am of me trying to not get nervous, we did not have sex, and we got a very short amount of sleep before we had to catch our plane that morning. It was a very bumpy start.

Then, around 12pm while we are on the airplane to Orlando, I felt a little funny, and I went to the bathroom to check things out, and I discovered my period just started. Yup, exactly what I had planned.
As soon as we got off the plane and got to a shuttle to escort us to our Disneyland hotel, my cramps were in full swing, and I was miserable and all I wanted was a bed. We couldn't get checked in quick enough. Once we got to our room, I dealt with my period pains in regular fashion in the privacy of our bathroom, and finally got into very comfortable clothes. Nick was amazing through all of this, and ordered us pizza for the night and we just stayed in bed and watched Disney channel eating pizza.

By the next day I was feeling well enough to try out one of the theme parks with Nick. But I was on my period the WHOLE WEEK.

Nick was patient in the beginning with me, but I recall one night of frustration in the intimacy area, where he told me that if I wasn't willing to try to be with him that we would need to see a counselor, and I told him I would never ever tell anyone about this and that we could just live together without it.

Slowly throughout the week the Lord helped me overcome all the anxieties and fears about this area, and I will say that by the end of the week we were able to come together and it was exactly what it needed to be to help me through what I was sorting through. But that first week was definitely not the best start in that area of our marriage and so many times I have wanted to go back to Disneyworld to redo our honeymoon now. But it is what it is, and although it was a really hard week it was really fun too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Contemplating...

I am taking a moment to write about current thoughts on my mind. 

Paul and Rachel.  They are our adoptive embryo couple from California, that flew up tonight and tomorrow at 2:45pm, will have 2 baby embryos implanted inside of Rachel. 

Then she will be on bed rest for two days in her hotel room, and they will leave Thursday evening. 
It takes me back 2 + years ago, to when I was about to go in to have baby embryos implanted in me.  Mallory & Lena.  I saw pictures of the 5 day old fertilized eggs on a screen, as they carefully placed them through a tube inside of me.  It happened so fast, and 9 days later I found out through a blood test I was pregnant. 

I so badly want Paul and Rachel to have an amazing success story through this treatment.  I don't want them to be the couple that receives the call to let them know Rachel is not pregnant, and that she will have to try again.  I don't want to hear that two of the little baby embryos of the 8 remaining didn't make it.  I would be heart broken for them, and for the little lives that didn't survive. 

You know, I can go back and forth on the whole moral dilemma that wraps around invitro, and wonder did we handle things right?  Maybe we shouldn't have done it this way, or should have done it this way.  But when we started the process, we knew that if there were any remaining, that when we decided we were done growing our family, that we would give the rest up for adoption through Bethany's snowflake program.  That is something we have 100% peace on.  And knowing how hard this can be for a couple aching for a family, to trust God with the hopes of having a baby(ies) and waiting to see what will happen...

I just never realized to the fullest extent how much each of these little ones have a face have a name, until I met my little girls.  God let us have two, named Mallory and Lena.  I just wonder if the rest of them will make it when it comes time for their dethawing, and hoping and praying for the greatest success for each one. 
Praying for the lives that the surviving ones will lead - praying that they will grow up to be beautiful women and strong men of God - men and women that love Jesus - that want to serve Him with their lives.  I know I won't be a part of shaping them and training them hands on, but I will pray for them and I am excited to continue to live my life and see what He does... 

I just keep thinking of my "Mallory Lena" song that played every time I questioned the invitro process as we went through it over a 3 month period...
"I am not skilled to understand, what God has willed what God has planned, I only know at His right hand, stands One who is my Savior." 

I don't know how this will all turn out - I could drive myself crazy with the what ifs, or we should have, but what I do know is that I have a Savior, and He loves us, and He loves Paul and Rachel, and I am just praying that we through our embryos get to play a small part in His big plan of providing them with a family to love and to raise up teaching their children about Jesus through their words and actions and love. 

Praying for Paul and Rachel.  Please if you think about it, pray for them with me - these next 2 weeks are going to be a long wait for them...  but I know that the long wait in everything is what the Lord can use to keep surrendering trusting and seeking Him.  My prayer and heart's desire, is that by this time next year Rachel will be able to celebrate Mother's Day with a baby or two in her arms. 

So grateful for a Savior who sits at the right hand of our Father. 


 Paul and Rachel on Easter Sunday at their church