Thanks to our counselor and his counseling done right, we've entered a new phase.
For the first time in 3 ½ years, I no longer have to fight for myself. I no longer have to defend myself constantly, every single minute of every single day. I am no longer on trial. I have been found not guilty and can finally confidently claim what I have been insisting on all along...my innocence. The scales that were blinding Joel have started being removed and others who have been against me are now out of our lives.
But...after 3 ½ years of that, I. am. exhausted.
We came home and I was still on a high from being with our counselor and being listened to and respected and him sticking up for me (I think I told you that I asked if I could just stay and live with him and his family, at least for a little while...what a safe place for me when I haven't had a safe place in years). But, as happens every time you come back to reality after a big exciting experience...there is a coming back down time.
So, that's what happened. The first week was great. And then at the end of the first week, reality struck. It struck through something that happened that just spelled it out really clearly and in our faces that there are some major consequences for all that has happened over the course of the past 3 ½ years. Major, major consequences. Consequences that we didn't even really foresee.
Our lives have been forever altered. And we have lost most everything we had.
So now I mourn.
I mourn the family life we once had.
I mourn the friendship and the lightness and the ease Joel and I shared for the first decade of our marriage.
I mourn the relationship I once had with my husband...the person I could trust with my life and all of me.
I mourn that trust. It is gone.
I mourn the person he once was...the person he no longer is.
I mourn the example he was for my children...because his example for the past few years has damaged our children. Evidence of that has sprung forth in very real ways...children mimic what is put before them.
I mourn time lost with my children during all of these years of literally fighting for my life. Being in a constant battle is time-consuming...and life-consuming.
I mourn so many activities and events that we missed out on because of all of this.
I mourn our lives as missionaries in Brazil and our home in Brazil.
I mourn our friends there and the things we felt called to do there.
I mourn the loss of those babies at the orphanage and getting to spend time with them twice a week.
I mourn adoption in our own lives and adding on to our family.
I mourn our routine, our schedule, our everyday mundane life. I mourn the security of that mundaneness (when we weren't traveling and moving that is).
I mourn a trust I had in everyone...not just Joel. A trust that is no longer there since most of the people in my life have completely let me down the past few years...abandonment, slander, not believing me, not wanting to know about my life or get involved, etc.
I mourn many, many friendships...the loss of people who I thought were my friends anyway.
I mourn the loss of what I thought God's people, The Church, was. It is not what I thought it was. And it most certainly is not what God had in mind.
Our lives will never, ever be the same. So...we mourn that.
Joel mourns too. Since much of his blindness has been removed, and more and more is being removed as time marches on, he is coming to grips with the fact that it was his blindness that was the cause of all of this destruction. That's a devastating thing to see for the first time after all these years. But, it's a necessary thing to see. Praying it causes everlasting change...everlasting change. I pray that understanding keeps happening.
There are family members and friends who will never be a part of our lives again. Ever. And that's a good thing. But, it's still a loss and a shift to a 'new normal,' as they say, for us.
For the few of these family members and friends who contributed to this destruction who do make it back into our lives, it will never be the same...because it shouldn't. That would be unhealthy. Again...it's a loss. A loss that needs to happen, but nonetheless a loss.
Please do not think of this as a 'hopeless' post. This is not a hopeless post. This is a reality post.
You don't say to the mother who just lost a child..."Oh, God can restore that child to you here on earth. Don't be so hopeless. That child can come back...and it can be even better." No...you sit with that mother and you mourn with that mother and you share in her sorrows.
Maybe another child will be born...and there will be joy again. And the family will be stronger together because of what they went through...sure. But, they still lost a child. A child who is irreplaceable. A child who will always be mourned and missed. They had great hopes for that child...hopes that will never be realized.
People are too afraid of hopelessness sometimes. So they cross over into 'false hope' territory...because that makes them more comfortable. They say things that are not true...because it makes them feel better.
"He will gain your trust back." Hmmm...we don't know that, do we? "God will restore your marriage." Well...it's not all up to God, is it? See? False hope is just stupid. Let's just be real.
No hopelessness allowed here. But also...no false hope talk allowed here either. Because what is said in false hope is damaging...possibly even more damaging than hopelessness in the long run. And nobody really believes the stuff spewed in false hope anyway...so, it's just annoying. Neither is allowed here.
So...we mourn what once was. We grieve. We even wallow in it for a little while if we want to...because the process of our lives being destroyed was a process that took years. I fought against it every step of the way and I am beyond exhausted. It took years to get to this place of destruction...'getting over it' will take even more years and exhausting work. Therefore, we will not be rushed.
As we grieve, being careful not to rush out of that too soon, we eventually also start to rebuild. Slowly. We rebuild our marriage, we rebuild our family, we rebuild our lives. We start from scratch really...because so many things have changed through this...even core beliefs. And Joel has to basically develop many of his own core beliefs for the first time...He's always just people-pleased. What are his beliefs? What are the beliefs that he is willing to die for? What beliefs is he no longer willing to sacrifice for anyone in order to please them? This is new territory for him in many ways.
Will we even still each believe the same things when it is all said and done?
And that is what our lives will look like for the next few months and years. Unless something happens that makes it all blow up again, like this. Our marriage will be over if something blows up again. And we will move on from there in very different ways.
But, barring more blow-ups, we will continue down this path, working this all out together.
We settle into our mourning now. And then we will prepare to try to rebuild.
Thank you for your prayers during this time.
I'm basically all caught up here on the blog now. I will still blog as something comes up that I feel I need to write about. There are many topics still that I want to write about...things we've learned through all of this.
We will be meeting with our counselor every 3 weeks starting at the end of October. So maybe I will also update after those visits too.
Otherwise, we focus inward...mourning, resting (LOTS of rest needed), reconnecting as a family.
Thank you for your continued prayers and messages of encouragement.