Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scraping off the paint

There is a poem I read as a teenager that I've always loved. Its called Paintbrush, author unknown, and I read it in a Chicken Soup for The Teenage Soul book:

I keep my paintbrush with me,
Wherever I may go,
In case I need to cover up,
So the real me doesn't show.
I'm so afraid to show me to you,
Afraid of what you'll do,
That you might laugh or say mean things,
I'm afraid I might lose you.
I'd like to remove all of my paint coats,
To show you the real, true me,
But I want you to try and understand,
I need you to accept what you see.
Now my coats are all stripped off,
I feel naked, bare and cold,
And if you still love me with all that you see,
You're my friend pure as gold.
I need to keep my paintbrush with me,
And hold it in my hand.
I want to keep it handy,
In case somebody doesn't understand.
So please protect me, my dear friend
And thanks for loving me true.
But I need to keep my paintbrush with me,
Until I love me too.

I loved this poem. It was my mantra. It reinforced the idea that it was ok to act like someone I wasn't to protect myself. And I guess that was ok for then.

But I think I've finally gotten to the point where I love me, too. So now I am trying to strip off all my paint coats and show everyone the real, true me. Because I've seen the damage that comes when you marry someone while you've got your paintbrush handy. . . and it ain't pretty. I never want to make that mistake again.

Part of the problem, though, is I don't really know who I am. I'm still trying to figure that out. And maybe I won't ever figure that out completely. Right now, I know that I am a child of God, a single mother to 4 beautiful girls, a daughter, a sister, a friend. . . I try to do my best in everything I do. I'm not perfect. I'm opinionated, bossy, and intollerant of stupid people. I love children and cats and dogs (as long as they belong to someone else), good times, good friends and good food. I love life, fiber arts, and I want to learn how to dance. I'm sure I'll change and learn more about me along the way, but that's who I am now and I love me. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

What the Bible has to say about divorce

Well, first of all the Bible says that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but allows for divorce for "just cause" which specifically includes adultery (Matthew 5:32) and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15) and God's mercy allows for the innocent party (the party that did NOT commit adultery or abandon their spouse) to remarry; however, they are not permitted to remarry their spouse (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). God takes relationships seriously. They are not revolving doors. Marriage is intended to be permanent and so is divorce.

I admit, I have said aloud a couple times that I am going to divorce Joey no matter what at this point, but we could always get back together and get remarried later if he were to get saved and repent of his adultery and abandoment, along with many, many other "ifs". I said this, never expecting that any of my "requirements" for a restored relationship will ever be met and to date they have not, but I will not be saying that any longer. Now that I know remarriage is against the Bible, it is no longer discussable even in theoretical terms. I am not in any way having 2nd thoughts regarding going through with this divorce; however, I wonder if he is keeping me in the back of his mind as a "backup plan" in case his life does not go as he hopes it will. I am NOT a backup plan.

God compares infidelity in marriage to idolatry (infidelity in your relationship with God) and describes marriage as 2 fleshes becoming 1, which means divorce is when 1 flesh is ripped in 2. No wonder it causes so much pain.

I know I am spending a lot of time blogging about divorce lately, but I suppose that is only natural. I blog what I know and what I'm learning about and right now, I am getting a crash course in divorce. Its not something I ever wanted to learn about or was ever curious about before, but I hope my going through this and learning more about divorce will help someone else. And that is why I blog it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Me and my "D"


Its a bad word. A bad thought. And a necessary evil in a time when people, for whatever reason, think they are entitled to have and do whatever they want whenever they want, regardless of how it affects others.

Want a new watch, but don't have the money for it? Charge it on a credit card. Who cares about your credit. . . After all, the economy's shot anyways. What's the point in having good credit in a country that has bad credit? Think that girl in the bar is hot, but you're married? Go after her anyways. Who cares if your marriage ends in divorce. . . After all 50% of the population's doing it.

Sin is a tempting, slippery slope that drags you down and while you fall, everyone connected to you is either drug down with you or muddied in the process of fighting to break free from you so as not to be drug down with you. But those who are bound and determined to do and have what they want when they want without any regard to how their actions and the repercussions of their actions affect others probably don't care if you get a little muddy in the process.

How do we get in this position? Well, its very simple and very complex, all at the same time.

First of all, good people do bad things. There is a 50% rate of divorce among Americans these days and there is a 50% rate of divorce among Americans who consider themselves to be Christians as well. Sin is tempting. It happens. Especially if you don't guard yourself and your marriage against it.

Secondly, people don't take as long to get to know the the person they are marrying these days. "Way back when" people would date a bunch of different people to figure out what they wanted in a mate, then date one person exclusively for years then get engaged and stay engaged for years and then get married. They also stayed celibate in the process. So they had lots of time to examine their potential partner for inconsistencies, incompatibilities, and fatal flaws with none of the sex induced emotions clouding their judgement. And its no surprise if someone can wait years to have sex with you that they can later abstain from having sex with anyone BUT you.

Third, we have the unequally yoked issue. Yes, I know, I just said that Christians are just as likely as non-Christians to get divorced. I'm not sure about the statistics of cheating, but I would like to think that if you believe it to be against your religion [Exodus 20:14 (the 7th of the 10 commandments) "You shall not commit adultery."], you're probably less likely to do it than someone who does not think its against their religion. Also, I would like to think that 2 people who have the same beliefs are going to be more compatible than 2 people that have completely different beliefs. I could be completely wrong, but that's what I'd like to think.

And fourth, we all need to grow up and if we are grown up, we need to make sure we marry a grown up. We can't always have what we want when we want it. Some of our parents didn't teach us that and as a result, we don't discipline ourselves or delay our own gratification. We just give in to temptation because we want it and if we don't get it, we'll have to throw a fit and we don't look cool going floppy fish in our 20s, so we might as well just have what we want. Because we can. I know, if you've never been told "no" in your life, its hard to tell yourself "no", but remember 1 Corinthians 10:23 -- "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Do what is good for you, what is beneficial and constructive FOR YOU. And in this case, it will be beneficial for everyone around you. No one benefits from adultery, broken homes, or broken marriages. Just ask the guy who cheated on me and will be paying child support for his 4 kids for the next 18+ years. I think he'd agree at this point that it wasn't beneficial to him. And if he doesn't now, give him a few years to grow up and I'm sure he'll agree then.

Divorce is ever on my mind these days. I don't want to be divorced. I don't "believe in" divorce. But I'm going to be divorced and right now, I feel like I have a big D on my chest, like I'm trying a D shirt on for size and I hate it. I feel like my every thought is clouded by divorce colored glasses. And I hate it. I know its what's right in my current situation. I know you can't fix a marriage by yourself. I know that adultery is an acceptable reason according to my Bible for divorce as is abandonment. I know God has a plan for my life and me going through this is part of His plan. I will walk through this valley if He wants me to and I will come out of this valley one day. And I know He will be with me every step of the way. And I am so thankful for that.

I know I'm usually much more positive than this, but man I just had to get that D off my chest for a minute and express my thoughts and feelings on divorce. Here's to hoping someone out there is helped by this.