This is going to be a hard post for me to write. And I know God is telling me to do it because I really almost don’t want to. So here we go!
If you’re anything like me, you have voices in your head. Voices of grandparents, parents (that’s a big one for me), friends, lovers, co-workers, bosses, etc. I still hear my father’s voice from time to time. I CONSTANTLY hear my mother’s voice. Partially because my voice is so much like hers and because we just seem to think alike, a lot! She’s a big influence on my life though. And if I’m ever doing something that I’m embarrassed or ashamed to tell my mom, odds are I shouldn’t be doing that. It deters me about 60% of the time. (Sorry, Mom…. I’m not perfect. 😦 ) There are two others becoming more prevalent in my life. The devil. Scarier still, God. What?! Hearing the voice of God is scary? Yes. Yes it is. When you hear His voice, it means He needs you to do something, and the stuff that He needs you to do is almost ALWAYS something you’ve been balking against. So I’m feeling compelled more and more to share my story of hearing God’s voice. My fingers are stalling and my brain is telling me not to do this as I’m typing, too. Devil, you will not win this battle, I’m going to get this done no matter what you do.
Many of you know the struggles I have faced recently. Many of you don’t. Talking about these struggles is hard for me. Who reads my blog? Who won’t read this? Who will I need to delete from Facebook after writing this? (I’m hoping no one, I hope that people read my story for what it is without judgement or condemnation. I have a few select, not very nice words for ya if you want to be judgmental though.) (Dang! I thought the devil got me anyway! I hit a button and my post disappeared! This thing saves drafts though! Go God!) It was pointed out to me recently that I have eluded to these struggles without really mentioning them. So here it goes.
My husband is in prison. Like all of us, he has made mistakes, and they have real consequences. The events leading up to him going to prison were SO NOT in our plan. That’s so often the case, though, isn’t it? Obviously, his choices in life lead me to have to make choices of my own. The whole process of him being sentenced to prison took about a year. When it all started, I was very angry. I have repressed a lot of that anger. I have also recently allowed it to come to the surface, fill me up, and then I was able to let it go. I had to acknowledge it to get rid of it. Anyway, when this set of struggles started (these aren’t the first struggles of my life and I’m awfully sure they won’t be the last), I was very confused, angry, confused.. oh yeah, I mentioned that already. I found myself on my knees crying, screaming, shaking my fists at God to give me my perfect little life back. I finally had everything I wanted. Good job, marriage, house, we were trying to conceive (TTC). What could I have possibly done to deserve this. Why did God hate me so much? Hadn’t I suffered more than anyone should have to in their life?
For months I was angry and bitter. I faked it for my husband. I had already decided to stay with him whatever happened because I don’t believe in divorce. We had also decided that we were going to continue TTC, because we didn’t want this bad thing to rule our lives. I know that we decided all these things, but I’m not sure even now how committed I was to them. I always had a backup plan in mind. Shortly after all this started… I say shortly, about 8 months after it all started, I decided that I needed something, but I wasn’t sure what. I was driving to work, or to the store, or somewhere. I was at the stoplight when I realized that there was a church on the corner. Literally three blocks from my house. A few more weeks passed and I decided we were going. (Awesome decision.) Immediately we were embraced by the people there. We were drawn into their family, just like we had been going all our lives. The things we discussed in church always hit home for me. I felt myself opening up. I realize now, that even then God was talking to me. I just wasn’t listening. I had stopped listening for Him/to Him.
I say I stopped listening “for Him.” I thought I’d been listening all my life. I was constantly waiting for a calling. Surely he’d tell me what I was going to do in college, what great, wonderful, awesome things I was going to do. I was going to be a famous lawyer or something, surely…. Right? Well maybe not. I had given up on getting a calling. I thought he didn’t have anything important for me to do. After becoming a member at Focal Pointe Fellowship, I started growing and learning. I still need a lot, and I mean A LOT of work, but I grow a little more every day, I feel. One day, I was driving to or from somewhere. A voice was in my head, sneering at me. It was my voice… but not my voice because I’d never talk to myself like that. It said “You know, Stephenie? Your life will be so much easier if you leave Andrew. You don’t need him. He just brings you down. All the time. He’s worthless.” Oh it was awful, and I’m shaking as I write this. I shake every time I tell this story. I immediately realized that was the voice of the Devil. He had already been working on me. Wearing me down. Some days he still works really hard at it. I told him to get out. Next thing I knew, I felt so warm and calm. And a quiet filled me. Words formed in my head. Words, but no sound. They said “Stephenie, you have to stay with your husband. He needs you. I need you to stay put. I have work for you there. It won’t be easy, but it will be ok. Trust me.”
Sometimes it’s hard to trust. And it’s really hard to do the work that you have been given. Some days I REALLY struggle with it. Sometimes it is REALLY scary. Yes, my life would be easier without my current situation. I just have to look back at the good that has come from it. That’s also been a struggle. Finding something good among the rubble that was my life. Because, honestly, how could any good come from your husband going to prison!? I found my church. I have Aubree (thank you, thank you, God), I still have my job, and now I’ve started my master’s program. Which is a whole ‘nother story entirely. Remind me and I’ll tell you how I made God laugh on that account when I have time. Anyway, the moral of the story. Yes. I have heard the voice of God. Yes I am afraid to admit it in today’s society.
No, I am not crazy.
No, this is not a plea for attention.
While you’re judging my husband (hopefully you’re not), remember, you’re a sinner too. No man’s sins are any greater than another man’s sins, and take the plank out of your own eye.
My husband is a good man, a wonderful husband, and a loving father. I could have done a lot worse.