Monday, June 13, 2011

A Grim Fariy Tale-- Homeless Part 3

If the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were the Brothers Grimm, I could begin tonight's post with the words:

I opened the mailbox. An envelope fluttered out. I opened the envelope. A check fell out. The check was for $12,000.00! I kissed my Handsome Prince, and we all lived happily ever after.

Life, at least mine, is not a fairy tale. The social silence that followed us grew so profound that it was as if I had been dropped right onto the set of some Get Smart movie and into the famed cone of silence. People began to look right through us. Some folks had not spoken to me in over a year even tho' we labored side by side as part of the same 'church family'. News began to leak out via the one person still brave enough to talk to me. Our family was about to abandon ship.

The ringing of the phone jarred me from my consideration of what to pack or store, what to chuck, and what to give away. We were moving from 2400 ft sq 2-story into 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. I had no idea if/when I'd see anything besides our clothes and a few toys for months or years. If it weren't for the pain, I'd have been numb all over.

The voice that penetrated my frenzied decision making was one of those that had been silent for a year. She was the church secretary and also my neighbor. My radar told me it was coming. Her version of God-given wisdom was percolating in her head. I almost expected to hear, "I believe I have 'a word' for you." She made the usual mouth noise of social pleasantries working up the courage to lower the boom. It was almost a relief when she finally fired. Her frustration with us and our plight filled the air like broken shards of glass flying toward me. I had no place to run and hide.

"What," she asked, "do you think God wants you to do? Do you think he wants you to keep homeschooling and be homeless? Or, would he rather you get a job, keep your house, and keep a roof over your heads?"

courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Even tonight as I type, the shrapnel of her judgment is working its way through my soul 9 years later. At that moment, my mind rewound the previous 12 months of her silence. I thought of all the job searches I had done of which she was unaware. I thought of the day I had a job prospect and asked her. “If I get the job, could you watch my boys for the hour or so after school till I could get home?” I guess she had forgotten her reluctance to stand in that gap. Christians make me so weary sometimes. But, I've already told you that, haven't I?

My soul absorbed her blows. I'm sure my voice was ragged as I replied. "I cannot explain why God has not relieved me of what I feel is his call on my life. As much as I'd like him to give me a new vision, I still believe it is my job to homeschool my boys. In the year since we've spoken, I have had a clear sense that God has called me to be still. In spite of that conviction about what he wants me to do, I have instead done all I know how to do to reverse our course. From my perspective, he has kept his word and frustrated every effort I have made to stop what is happening to us.”

“I am sorry I cannot fast forward the camera of my life. If I could, maybe you and I would both understand why he has compelled me to give up any effort to change what has happened to us. I don't understand why he has foiled every effort I've made. Maybe I'd also understand why he has not given me peace about another educational option. Had I gotten a job, I would obviously made other arrangements for their education. I have not, and so I keep doing what I'm doing till there is something else to do. If I could show you the end results of my homeschooling journey, maybe you could step back and do what I'm having to do. I'm having to trust in a God who doesn't seem to need or want my help to fix my situation.” Needless to say, the call ended pretty quickly.

The cone of silence worked its way inside the walls of my own home. Our 14 year marriage started out hopefully enough. I had no idea, and would not for several more years, that a silent enemy was quietly eating away at our core. All I knew in those days was that we were going weeks without saying more than, “pass the salt”. I tiptoed around the house watching the man I promised to love, honor, and cherish become a shell of the man I married. I watched his anger grow. He was angry at the world and himself. He was angry at God. He was angry at his own anger, I think. If I dared darken the door of our home office, I knew I risked the full brunt of his fury. I had seen the enemy...and he was my husband. We were strangers on auto pilot, and we no longer even passed in the night.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
In the midst of that hell, I did what mothers do. I kept juggling plates and balls and knives trying to keep our abnormal and crumbling life as normal as possible for 2 boys that deserved none of what was happening. So, I began to frame the future by assuring them that the pending move to Grandma's house was an adventure. I could not say that we had 2 choices: 1) live under a bridge in our car or 2) live with grandma. So, I began to tell them how good God was and that, despite our desperate times, we were blessed because we had a place to go. God had a plan. It was a good plan because he was a loving God. In those days, I believed my God loved me just as much as he loves you. Maybe one day, I'll believe that again.

Oh my....the water is getting deeper. If you come back again, I will know you are not faint of heart. It is so much easier to write about my jousting with technology and home renovations than it is to keep my mask off and tell you the bare knuckled truth.

What are you hiding behind your fraidy cat mask?  Your fraidy cat might have a different name or set of circumstances...but....I'll bet he's listening. Bring him back tomorrow, OK?


  1. I miss the bible verses that you were ending each installment with. I believe God loves you as much as he loves any of us. As a matter of fact, I know he does because his love comes right through you and spreads out to others.

  2. Goodness! I was concentrating so hard on how to encapsulate the years, manage privacy issues, etc., that I didn't even realize I had stopped, Tammy! Thanks for the head's up! It's why I need an admin asst! :-)

  3. Oh my! I am just now reading the 2nd part of your comment. You are sweet to say that about me because most of the time, you know what my fraidy cat is saying...yea..."loser"...."no one likes you"...."how could you be such a dweeb"....LOL...want me to go on, or do you get the point?

  4. (((Carol Anne))) Three verses that have brought me great comfort in the years since trusting Him as my Savior.

    Though he slay me, yet I will trust in Him.

    As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good...

    Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

    I see them all played out in your life and I know that even in your moments of hurt, pain and doubt, He reigns in your heart.

  5. What a heartwrenching, gripping story, Carol Anne! Of course, having met you only once, I had no idea you'd gone through all of this. My heart goes out to you.

    I'm anticipating the next installment, and yet I know that one of the outcomes is that you're still a sweet, kind person. Blessings on you, my new friend!

  6. @ Susan: I am humbled that you see those verses realized in my life as I write what must seem like a version of a real life Leomony Snicket novel! It takes having walked thru deep water to forbear with another as they walk thru it. I am glad you are my friend!

    @ Lynetta...I agree...conference should have been a month vs a week so we could have gotten to know each other better! I look forward to getting to know you better over the years. I am touched by your kindness in reading my blog and in offering such a compliment! I am living vicariously thru your C25K and hoping to join you before it is over!

  7. I can relate to so much of this :) I'm also wondering why this post didnt' show up on my FB newsfeed so I could hit the share button? FB has been running REALLY slow for me for the last few days~Maybe I just missed this somehow? Will share it as soon as I can!

  8. Vicki, I rolled it over to your wall just now. Did that help? Let me know if the ones subsequent to that post didn't roll over to your newsfeed right. Now that you and Susan aren't having trouble posting a comment to the blog, Liz is having the same trouble posting that you guys had. I think blogger caught the Facebook gremlins!