How did it all go south? What the heck happened? If we were this amazing team before and we never had any problems, how on earth did this all happen? How did we end up here?
If you only knew how many times I ask those questions...daily still. It's all such a shock to the system. What on earth?
In looking back over our lives together pre-marriage catastrophe (these past 3 years), we can see some of the things that led to our demise that were present all along. I mean, hindsight is always 20/20, right? But, everybody has their little things. And they were no big deal...
Until they were.
There are some things that are present in your lives but they don't rule you and your actions...
Until they do.
When things 'heat up' in your life, oftentimes what boils over is something that is terribly unhealthy and detrimental.
For us, this is what happened in a nutshell. We still don't have all the answers. We still don't have some of the 'why' answers to what happened. Someday, through working through all of this and investigating our hearts throughout this process (through teachings we're listening to and counsel), we might understand the whys of it all. For instance, why is it that a certain set of beliefs were the ones that boiled over in a certain scenario...and why were those beliefs there in the first place? Things like that.
But...let's get into more specifics now. What happened to us?
Our last year in Brazil was amazingly hard and traumatic. A miscarriage, housing instability for 7 months, a big blow that came up that had to do with timing/scheduling conflicts, a failed adoption, etc. etc. It was incredibly difficult and at the end of that year (Spring 2012), I was literally just completely exhausted. I knew I needed to retreat...as in an army battalion retreating from battle. It had been a battle...the worst of my life. The truth is that the change in us had started even before our hard last year in Brazil...let me back up.
Let me give you just a little picture of our lives, dating from January 2010 - the beginning of November 2010...just 10 short months...a very real picture of our lives in general since 2001. The lifestyle we led (of complete instability) had been fine with me for the first 9 years of our marriage. I was along for the ride and I just went with it. It was always challenging (for all of us...as it would be for anyone), but it wasn't a huge deal. But...right around our 9th anniversary some things had happened that let me know that this kind of lifestyle had to be on its way out for us. Some stability was needed. At the time, we had just come back for our first furlough and didn't have a place to live. It took us a long time to find somewhere...and then that fell through. Then finally we were able to get into a loaned house of our own to 'camp out' and have as home base (because of course we also traveled a ton in the few months we were here) during our furlough. Just FYI...most missionaries come back to a big city or at least a town where there are things like apartments or rent houses available. That is not our case. Our home base while in the states is my hometown...a town with a population of 300 people, one caution light, one little general store, and one little eating establishment...just to give you a picture of our reality. There are no apartments here. No rent houses. You either own here, or you don't live here. But, here is where we needed to be...otherwise it kind of defeats the main purposes of furlough...which are to recharge with family and friends and have a time of being in familiar surroundings (a debriefing, destressing time)...and to touch base with your supporters and update them on the work that you are doing overseas. So anyway...I knew after that experience that it was time for stability. And I even sat Joel down and had a big heart-to-heart..."I cannot get on a plane back to Brazil until we have a place of our own here to come back to."
So for the next few months, along with literally traveling the country by car, we also actively pursued finding a place of our own as a home base here in the states. The goal was to also have a home base of our own in Brazil very soon too...therefore limiting our travel and 'instability' to just traveling between those two homes. This was not only to preserve our sanity :), but would also be very, very important for when we did adopt...providing as much stability and security to those children who needed it most in order to heal from whatever instability and insecurity they had experienced before they got to us. It all made perfect sense for our family. And so, at the end of May before we were scheduled to leave in July, a piece of property came open and we bought it. There was no house...but at least a step had been taken. And so, we got back on that plane to Brazil.
We got back to our rental home in Brazil, unpacked our house a bit (because when we leave for furlough, we have to pack up our house and stuff everything into a room or two so that others can live in the house while we are gone...financial and security reasons...they can pay rent for us and watch over the house), unpacked our suitcases, repacked our suitcases, repacked our house for yet others to stay there...and within less than a week, were on our way to southern Brazil (a 13 hour drive) for me to go to language school (that's right...I had just picked up the language as well as I could for the first 3 years we were there; now it was time for me to go to school). We stayed there for 3 months and then headed back to our rental home in Anapolis to unpack again. Which brings us to November 2010.
At that point, WHEEWWW. ...And then we had a few months there again before things started getting really hard (Spring 2011).
But, as you can see from that one little splice of our lives above from January 2010 - November 2010...which represents what our lives have been like constantly since we got married...it's been tough...always shifting and transitioning and moving. Nothing still or stable or lasting.
More to come on this subject next time...I don't want to make these posts too long. So we'll pick up here next time (in a few days) in 'What Happened To Us, 2.'
What I will be documenting here on this blog as we go along will include the rest of the story about what happened and how we got here to this spot in our marriage, what we've learned so far and I'll post what we continue to learn, how it has changed us...our beliefs that have changed (because there are lots of things for me that have changed in a drastic way) from all of this and our family dynamics and such, what we see happening in our future, etc, etc. When you go through something like this, there is lots to learn. I just want to document it all. And if you want to read it and possibly even learn from our experiences too, then great. If you want to read it just to know what's really going on with us...that is good enough reason too. :) In fact, that is also a big motivation for me, as I've stated here before...so you can 'hear it straight from the horse's mouth.' I'll be the horse. ;) You’ll also hear from the boy horse (Joel) :) probably next blog post.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Until next time, with more of the story...