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For the past twelve days FreeDog has been wonderful---okay, nearly perfect. A great friend, a strong and protective lover. He's been reaching out of his comfort zone to hear me and to see my side of things. He's been giving marvelous hugs and kisses and respecting my boundaries. Several little bumps that he glided over effortlessly. Very nice! I've not been feeling real well the past two weeks, I've had some kind of chest cold and have felt overly tired like I've been walking around wearing heavy lead pants, so he's been loving me even through my crappy mood. Twelve days is unheard of in our house...For the past three years since the 2009 Intensive, normal has been a few days loving me followed by a few days resenting me. So, twelve days was a very good record. The good thing is that I didn't let my guard down. Fifteen days ago I was certain that I wanted to end the marriage, and that's the day I called our pastor....I figured it's only fair to call the pastor to let him know what's going on before I call a lawyer. Ever since I spoke with our pastor FreeDog has been wonderful to me.

 

Last night I caught my husband self-gratifying.

 

I haven't caught him in the act since before 2009. This explains the bi-polar-ness anyhow, right?

 

It was a God thing that I caught him. I don't normally go through the house throwing open closed bathroom doors in the middle of the night. For some reason I woke up at midnight----I had gone to bed before he got home from work. He was supposed to get home around 11:30 and the quietness of the house at midnight disturbed me. When I got up I saw the glowing amber light under the door of the little bathroom. I would never have thrown the door open if I was thinking masturbation----I thought he was sick or dead. Curiously I didn't have any feeling whatsoever about finding him self-gratifying, although I would have been less surprised if I had found him in a coma. I asked him what he was doing, he responded, "Checking scores of the games." He had his phone nearby...I don't think he can get internet pictures on his little basic phone, if he can, the pictures would be teeny tiny. I'll have to check into that later today. I did a quick visual check to see if there were any pictures laying nearby, not seeing any I went back to our bed and turned my back to his side of the bed. I didn't have any of that sick feeling that I used to get. Zero feeling about it. Lots of thoughts about it though that kept me awake much of the night. When he came back to bed, to his credit....instead of the typical pre-2009 cold shoulder....he wrapped his arms around me and told me he was so sorry. I rationalized that it's good for him to pour into me especially after just having bonded again with himself. Besides I was too weary to fight against him. He referred to it as "a moment of weakness".

 

He left for work at 6 am this morning...we talked a little before he left and it wasn't the nicest conversation in the history of our marriage...He holds a time bomb in his hands. What he does with it is important. What God reveals he plans to heal. Either I'm free of the bum or else FD will rise above. FreeDog seems to continue to see it as a "moment of weakness" and I'm not such a fool to believe that. For me it's like all the thousands and thousands of times he made love to himself all rolled up into that one moment last night and it utterly surprises me that there's not any feeling about it. It's more like, okay that explains why the last three years have been h---. What matters is what he does with this "matter". Today he has a short day of work and this afternoon we're going to my nephew's wedding and we won't have to be alone together until tomorrow afternoon. You know how to pray.

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Of Porn and Pride, Part 1

By Mike Genung

If I were to name the one sin that has been the most destructive in my life, it would be pride. This is in spite of the fact that my struggle with sexual addiction led to adultery as both a single and married man, with traumatic effect (an enraged husband and destroyed family of five on one side, and a marriage that could have ended in divorce on the other).

If not for my pride, I might have gotten help sooner and avoided a lot of pain, both to myself and others. I refused to seek help because I didn’t want anyone seeing anything other than the image I’d carefully crafted and polished over the years. I wanted others to see “the good Christian” who said all the right words, knew the right verses, and did the right things. When that image fell, so did the big lie my pride was wrapped around. I’ll never forget when my wife told me that she’d had me up on a pedestal—until I committed adultery. Overnight I went from Mike the anointed one to Mike the adulterer.

Pride causes blindness. Samson was the Biblical version of Hercules; he once caught 300 foxes (I’d run out of gas trying to catch just one), killed one thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey, and, when he was trapped in a city of men who planned to kill him, ripped the fortress gate out of the ground and carried it off on his back. Samson was also the ruler of Israel for 20 years. With such a resume, Samson must have thought he was invincible, that the consequences of his sexual sin wouldn’t catch up to him. Eventually it did, with the tragic outcome that Samson lost his life.

Over the years I’ve heard many men say “I didn’t think I would get caught… I thought I could handle this on my own… it’s just looking at pictures of pretty women; I can walk away from this …” and then, “it” happens. Their wife somehow finds the one image they neglected to erase from their hard drive, or a girlfriend’s phone number is found on an errant slip of paper, or the porn stash is “accidentally” discovered (one wife told the story of how her teenage daughter stumbled onto her father’s stack of magazines in the attic). Once the dominoes fall, the damage can’t be undone.

In the past I hated the idea of asking for help. Admitting moral failure was too humiliating; it went against the grain of my “can do” mentality that had worked so well in the business world. But, “can do” fails miserably when it comes to overcoming sin. I repeatedly bloodied my nose on the brick wall of reality, until my pride–induced madness caused so much pain that I had to get help.

Pride is porn’s alter ego. Pride wants the perfect woman who worships it, always smiles, never complains and above all, never takes effort to love. Masturbation, porn’s twin sister, is all about me: “I will please myself quickly by using myself to get what I want without having to do the hard work of loving another.” The resulting sickness from this warped concoction of pride, porn, and self–sex is devastating. We become increasingly addicted to ourselves, which produces emotional retardation. We get angry when someone interrupts our fantasy world of “all about me” and react with a critical, judging heart. The ego over–inflates, and, because it’s never satisfied, we fall into depression and become more miserable. Since the answer for misery is more porn, the cycle perpetuates and intensifies until we become a hollow shell.

Love, the thing we crave the most, becomes that which we are least capable of giving—or receiving. Pride is the polar opposite of love. First Corinthians 13:4-6 describes love this way:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

But pride turns First Corinthians love on its head:

Pride is impatient; it always wants its way, now. It is unkind, especially to those closest to it. Pride brags, and is arrogant. Pride always seeks what it wants, and, due to its hair–trigger action, is easily provoked. Pride takes into account many wrongs suffered, both real and imagined, unless it is to Pride’s benefit to invoke false humility. Pride rejoices with the truths it likes and rebels against those that confront it. Pride bears little, believes in itself, hopes in the approval of others, and endures for adulation.

Pride corrupts every part of life: work, play and ministry.

Several years ago, a reporter from the local newspaper came out and interviewed me for an article he was writing on porn addiction in the church. Later, he sent a photographer to my office to take my picture. I was brimming with excitement as I anticipated seeing my image in the paper with a hard–hitting article that was sure to attract attention.

A few weeks later the article came out—without my picture. Several other persons had been interviewed for the article, and the newspaper went with a graphic of a woman. I was angry at first, especially about not seeing my picture in the paper. And then, it hit me that something was seriously wrong with my response. Why was I so upset? A topic that is normally hush–hush was brought to light, and I had been privileged to be a part of it. I realized later that I’d wanted the glory, to be seen by others; my flesh went off because it didn’t get its way.

I’ve heard men rattle off their list of ministry accomplishments as if they had earned a place of honor high in the clouds, and then rip into their wives for getting in their face about their “little porn problem.” I wonder if Christian pride on rampage grieves the heart of God when He sees His children treating others this way.

Pride has a negative impact on every relationship; especially our relationship with the Lord.

…God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble

James 4:6

God is opposed to the proud. No matter what our accomplishments are in ministry, family, or business, God is against those who are walking in pride. James 4:6 doesn’t say we’re cast out, but perhaps the Lord takes on the role of a father who needs to discipline his child for willful sin. This ought to strike fear in the heart of every believer, because God’s chastening can involve leaving us to our own devices. Perhaps this is why Samson fell so hard, and why countless others have too, including myself. We can’t have pride and grace; if pride is our choice… shudder. The outcome can’t be good when we’re setting ourselves up for a divine spanking by the Creator of the universe.

Fortunately, there is redemption. Every man, woman and child will struggle with pride, but the good news is that the blood of the cross covers every sin.

Part 2 of this article will focus on the antidote to pride.

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Of Porn and Pride , Part 2

By Mike Genung

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who have carried out His ordinances; seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.

Zephaniah 2:3

For the sexually broken, humility is critical to their recovery. It is the humble, as we saw in Part 1, who receive grace from the Lord, a grace with which freedom from lust is impossible. While pride walls us off from the help of God and others, humility acts as a conduit of His love, strength, and mercy.

The search for humility is not only for that which pleases God, but for God Himself, as the only way we can live a life with pride and arrogance kept in check is with God’s help. Humility doesn’t come easy, for pride is a foe that is far more subtle, seductive, and deeply entrenched than lust.

Seeking humility involves making consistent, willful choices. We won’t “feel” our way into it; it will not come by a sudden rush of emotion out of the blue. Reading about humility in Scripture or hearing it taught from the pulpit is good, but information alone isn’t enough.

Consider these verses which show that the path to humility is one of action:

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

James 4:10

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time…

First Peter 5:5–6

“Humble yourselves”… “Put on”… “Clothe yourselves”… humility must be chosen, worn, and lived in, all of which require an act of the will. While humbling ourselves is difficult, it’s much better than the alternative, which is to wait for God to step in and do it for us with discipline.

Want healing and forgiveness (i.e. freedom from sexual sin)? Note the order for God’s process in the following verse:

And (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

“Humble, pray, seek and turn.” Isn’t it interesting that humility comes first, immediately followed by prayer and seeking God? Why doesn’t turning from wickedness come first? My experience has been that when my primary focus is on trying to stop sinning (be good by my own efforts), I can’t. However, when I’ve confessed my utter inability to overcome sin apart from God’s help (humility), and have intensely focused on seeking Him, He’s given me the grace to break free, often by revealing a lie I’d bought into or sin that needed to be dealt with. There’s never been a quick fix that I can remember, but as I get older I believe that this is because the Lord wants us to consistently press into Him with the same intensity we pursued our wife before marriage, or success in the business world.

So what does humility look like? How do we know if we’re “wearing it?” I’ve been around long enough to know that humility cannot be measured by whether a person looks or sounds humble (we Christians are great at doing that phony Sunday smile thing, aren’t we?) Rather, humility is measured by chosen attitudes of the heart which manifest in acts of selfless, unconditional love.

The following attitudes of the heart are the cornerstones that set the foundation of humility:

Contentedness.

In the context of choking off lust, this means saying “I will be content with the wife God has given me.” We refuse to compare our wives with other women, or allow our greedy flesh to roll in the muddy lie that “the grass is greener on the other side.” It’s not, it won’t satisfy, and jumping over will swing a wrecking ball into the lives of those we love. By learning to be content with the gift of the spouse God has given us, we are not only choosing humility but nipping lust in the bud.

One way to give contentedness wings in your soul is to praise and thank God for your wife, every day. Ask Him to help you want the woman He’s given you. Pray for your wife often, and ask God to bless her with His love and presence. If your relationship has dried up, start doing the things you used to do when you courted her; pursue your wife all over again and make her a priority, second only to the Lord.

Contentedness is a choice that must be made in every part of life—family, finances, ministry, and career. It’s “Lord, thank You for what You’ve given me today” instead of “I want, I need, I crave, I must have.” If circumstances are difficult, contentedness chooses to accept and see them through God’s eyes rather than rebel in anger, or retreat in depression, despair, fantasy, or some other broken escape mechanism. While this is no easy task, it’s what Paul meant when he wrote:

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:12-13

The humility of contentedness trusts that God is in every circumstance, will work it out for good (Romans 8:28), and will provide our needs (Philippians 4:19). It replaces emptiness and self–seeking with peace and a heart of gratefulness for the persons and situations our sovereign Lord has given us.

Living in the light of our brokenness

for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh…Philippians 3:3

Where the proud say, “I don’t need anyone; I can do this on my own”, a man of humility knows he can’t make it on his own. Humble men have faced the searing pain of their inner depravity (Romans 3:10), know they’re weak, and seek out the help of God and others. (Note that they’ve faced “the searing pain within.” Having head knowledge of “I’m a sinner” isn’t the same as seeing, feeling and knowing how selfish, distorted and proud one is.) They have a teachable spirit and can take constructive criticism. A humble man strives to see his mistakes as teachers to bring him closer to the Lord, not risks to his pride. In the process of facing his brokenness, he realizes his desperate need for God’s grace, and is able to accept the gift of His forgiveness. All striving to earn God’s favor is cast aside and he comes forth as a pauper, eager to receive all that the Lord would give him.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalms 34:18

When pride surfaces, those who know they’re broken deal with it as soon as possible. Recently, I felt a prompting from the Lord to email a prayer to a friend of mine. After sending the email I was excited to see how my friend might respond, but then, it hit me—I wanted appreciation for what I’d done. My pride had reared its ugly head again. Convicted over my sin, I went to the Lord, confessed it, and asked Him to reshape my motives so I would seek His glory instead of mine. Being humble doesn’t mean we never struggle with pride, but that we admit it when we do. The key is to cut the snake’s head off as soon as it surfaces so it doesn’t fasten its hold on us.

I believe it’s harder to get the concept of brokenness through to those who have experienced success in business, or even ministry. Such men are often caught up in their accomplishments, and, even though they may say they’re dependent on the Lord, are still operating from the corrupt strength of their flesh. Perhaps this is why James wrote “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you” (James 5:1); the “successful” have a harder time seeing their urgent need for God. Such a man often flounders in the battle against sexual sin because he hasn’t allowed the Lord to kick out the cracked crutches of dependency on his flesh and replace them with the power of God’s strength.

We are apt to say that because a man has natural ability, therefore he will make a good Christian. It is not a question of our equipment but of our poverty, not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us…The comradeship of God is made up of men who know their poverty.

Oswald Chambers

On the opposite side of brokenness, humility doesn’t beat itself up for its weaknesses. This is false humility—pride in reverse. “Look at me, my sins are bigger and badder than yours…” The focus is on self. Humility relies on grace and lets Christ’s shed blood do the work of forgiveness. It doesn’t hang itself on the cross so others will pity it as a “holy martyr.”

To live in brokenness is to live in freedom. What a joy it is to shed the old, worn out snakeskin of a false reputation (pride); that of the “good Christian who never sins, struggles, gets depressed, or fails miserably.” We’re free to be transparent with our weaknesses, and in this freedom we find God’s grace, acceptance, mercy and love. The unintended blessing of transparency is that it encourages other believers to be honest with their weaknesses; the Lord shines through the cracks.

Others come first.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…

Philippians 2:3-5

For much of my life I’ve carried a heavy burden: that of self. This pride–load narrows my focus to my wants, my problems and my needs, excluding others from the picture. Sadly, there have been too many instances where my kids excitedly shared something with me and I half–heartedly listened, too wrapped up in myself to enjoy the moment.

To put others first is to love them. This could mean something as simple as putting the reading material down and listening with intent, or as involved as taking your wife out on a date… to the restaurant where she wants to go, and seeing the movie she wants to see (gulp… even if she wants to see a chick flick.)

Easy enough. I can do the above, but then comes the hard part—seeing others as more important than myself. My flesh balks in defiance; I’m used to focusing on me. We’re no longer talking about being nice, but a total revamping of the heart. Such an overhaul means I need to think of others and their needs more, and less of me and my problems. They get filet mignon, I get a Big Mac.

Someone cuts me off in traffic? If I want Christ–like humility, I’m forced to remember their value in God’s eyes, and let them move on without getting bent. I might even pray for them. Having a conflict with my wife or a close friend? I must force myself to listen first, extend grace, speak kindly (watch the tone!), and give them the benefit of the doubt. Expressing my opinion takes a backseat to hearing the other person. If we need to agree to disagree then I must do it without pouting, manipulating or complaining.

None of this means I turn into a marshmallow. I still speak the truth; it’s just that the medication is coated with grace, making it easier to receive.

“Look out for the interests of others…” Here again I’m challenged to go from “all about me” to “all about another”. The first place to start is at home, with those closest to me. What are my wife and kids going through? Do they need my encouragement, guidance, love, or a listening ear today? Do I need to help out around the house without asking? How can I pray for them?

My world expands from there. As I exit the me–shell and spend time with others, their needs rise to the surface. Remembering that I’m broken and not wanting to say or do anything (stupid) in my flesh, I ask for God’s wisdom and leading as to how I might help.

Recently I wrote a letter of appreciation to a man who’d been a positive influence on my life professionally and personally many years ago. Afterwards, he called and thanked me, saying it was the best letter he’d ever read, and that it made him and his wife cry. Writing that letter didn’t cost me much more than a few minutes and some caring words. God did the rest.

If we allow the Lord to lead us into humility in focusing on others and looking out for their needs, we’ll discover far more blessings and peace than we ever did when self was on the throne. We’re filled up when we pour out.

Obedience

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:8, 14

When I look at the level of Christ’s obedience, one thing comes to mind: absolute, unconditional surrender to the will of God.

For some this may be the most terrifying part of seeking humility, because it means stepping away from the control panel of their life and surrendering it to God. It’s saying “Lord, no matter what, have Your way. I will no longer be the master of my life; I put all of my dreams, desires, and future into Your hands, whether it means good times or suffering, sickness or health. Whatever You want, I will do.” As we say this, we know we could be looking over a sharp cliff with an unseen bottom. Will God want our checkbook? Will we have to give something up? Could this mean a career change? Or witnessing to strangers?

Absolute surrender challenges our perception of God’s character and stretches our faith as never before. Will we still believe God is good, even if we obey and circumstances get worse?

Occasionally a man will come to me whose marriage is on the edge of divorce. His wife is devastated from the effects of his porn addiction or adultery, and he wants to know how he can change her or remedy the situation. My reply is always that his marriage and his wife are in the hands of the Lord, and his only option is to surrender, trust, and follow God’s leading. This forces him to choose between fear and faith; he has to trust someone he can’t see to change a situation he can’t fix, with no guarantee of the outcome he wants. Stripped of control, all he’s left with is pure, raw faith—in the Creator of the Universe.

Obedience begins with the small things. A while back my family and I did a little project where we wrote letters of encouragement to each other. I wrote a letter to my wife, and she to me, and my two oldest children wrote letters to each other. A month earlier, I had bought a card for my wife but had never used it. After I typed out my letter to my wife on the computer, I kept getting what seemed to be a nudge from the Lord to hand–write the text on the card. “This is stupid,” I kept thinking. “The text will never cram into the writing space of the card… Why can’t I give her the typed letter as is?” However, the impression kept needling at me until I finally gave in and decided to give it a try.

The text fit with room to spare.

When I presented the card to my wife, she was surprised that I’d “gone to extra lengths” by getting her a card instead of giving her a letter typed on printer paper. Because I stepped out in a tiny area of obedience that I believe was from the Lord, it made a positive difference in my relationship with my wife.

Scripture is filled with stories of how obedience is required for blessing. Naaman the Syrian wouldn’t have been healed if he hadn’t washed seven times in the muddy Jordan River (2nd Kings 5). The Lord gave David explicit instructions for victory in several different battles. After a night of unsuccessful fishing, Jesus told Peter, who would have been tired and discouraged, to lower his nets; Peter reluctantly obeyed—and brought in so many fish the nets started to come apart (Luke 5). After Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and was blinded, the Lord said “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). In Damascus, God sent Ananias to pray for Paul so that he would regain his sight. And, Jesus’ death at the cross resulted in the salvation of millions, if not billions.

Obedience doesn’t remove the possibility of suffering. After rejecting the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph spent two years in prison. John the Baptist spent the last months of his life in prison before getting his head cut off. Jesus was obedient to the Father and went to the cross. Peter was crucified in his old age. John the apostle was exiled to the Island of Patmos in his later years. Suffering is part of this life, and there may be times when obedience to the Lord means pain, loss, or hardship.

If obedience is so hard, you ask, why should I let God have complete control of my life?

If the answer is to try to “be a good Christian,” forget it. What satisfaction is there in that if you’re going to get your head cut off?

No, there must be something more. Paul provides the answer in Philippians 3:8:

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…

We obey the Lord so that we might know Him intimately. I’ve tasted God’s presence, and know there’s nothing more wonderful on earth. I love it when He speaks to me through His word, His quiet voice, His people, or circumstances. I want more of Him even if it means suffering is in His plan. How could I write such a thing? I’m learning there are benefits to trials and tribulation; the furnace of suffering has a purifying effect that burns off the dross of selfishness, pride, and fear. Seeing the Lord at work in my life increases my faith, which makes me want to obey Him more. The process may be gut wrenching at times (there are days when I pray for the strength and grace just to endure), but the end result is worth it.

This brings us back full circle to the beginning of this article: to seek humility is to seek the Lord, and growing in humility draws us near to Him.

When I consider the four cornerstones of humility and what it will take to make them a way of life, I know there’s no way I can do it apart from God. I’ve failed enough to know the battle between my will and my flesh is too strong for me to overcome on my own.

“God gives grace to the humble.” The journey begins with a simple step, an honest prayer from the heart that can look like this: “Lord, I confess that I struggle with pride. I seek and ask for humility—please help me to choose it in every area of my life. Please help me to be content with everything You give me today, good or bad, and to value and love others more than myself. Please make me a man of love, no matter what it takes. I surrender my life into Your hands; please expose and remove anything that doesn’t please You, and help me to obey You. I seek You and I want to know You; please reveal Yourself and the truth to me. I want to be filled with Your life, love, and peace so that I might honor You and be used for Your purposes.”

None of us will be the perfect model of humility like Jesus, but in time and with His help, He can change you. Don’t let your mistakes discourage you; this is a rough road where all stumble along the way. Keep pressing in and moving forward, and one day you’ll discover you’re not the person you were. There will be less fear, and more faith; more love, and less selfishness; less lust, and more contentment and peace.

©Mike Genung 2012

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"A moment of weakness" makes this sound like such a minor blip on the screen...

 

I'm sorry Crystal.

 

I've got an overnight 26th birthday celebration going on, so am lifting you and Freedog up to the throne of Grace, on the go!

 

I agree this is a mark on the Plus side:

 

When he came back to bed, to his credit....instead of the typical pre-2009 cold shoulder....he wrapped his arms around me and told me he was so sorry.

 

The Lord bless you greatly, My Friend.

 

PS

 

Suggestion:

 

Conference call tonight... Discussing this "incident" would definitey help a few others!

 

Also, may I send your post #576 to Joel and Kathy's email? Or would you?

 

Love,

 

MaryJane

 

:wub:

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I'm sorry, sweetie. :cry:

 

Moment of weakness my horse's backside - I might believe that if he'd been consistently loving you for the past 3 years, but considering what life has been like for you I'm having trouble buying it. It does explain a lot, though.

 

{{{Hugs}}}

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Thanks Looney & MJ & especially thanks to Susan on the conference call, even though I know you dont read on the forum...may you all be richly blessed & comforted for all the love you pour out.

 

Starting to get my head around all this now. Susan was able to ask him all the questions I couldnt ask and that helped & she reassured me that it's ok to stay in the game. I must have sounded awful on the call. I didn't get a chance to add that FD compounded the problem yesterday by being a jerk. My oldest nephew got married yesterday---it could have been so much fun. All my family was there and ... It only felt terrible. The nicest part was that I got to dance with my handsome kid nephew ... He's such a good looker! Praying blessings on their family.

 

Anyhow, I'm thinking about what it means to be FD's accountability partner.

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Thanks Looney & MJ & especially thanks to Susan on the conference call, even though I know you dont read on the forum...may you all be richly blessed & comforted for all the love you pour out.

 

Starting to get my head around all this now. Susan was able to ask him all the questions I couldn't ask and that helped & she reassured me that it's ok to stay in the game. I must have sounded awful on the call. I didn't get a chance to add that FD compounded the problem yesterday by being a jerk. My oldest nephew got married yesterday---it could have been so much fun. All my family was there and ... It only felt terrible. The nicest part was that I got to dance with my handsome kid nephew ... He's such a good looker! Praying blessings on their family.

 

Anyhow, I'm thinking about what it means to be FD's accountability partner.

He's been stealing from me. If he has another "moment of weakness" it would be only right that he should confess to me that he stole from me and spend the next day repaying me double for love he stole from me and gave to himself. What he did yesterday was make things 100 times worse by continuing to steal from me the rest of the day. While I've been working to figure out what has been happening to our relationship, he's been sitting on the truth knowing for months that he was the cause of the problem pouring love from himself back into himself. He was stealing love from God and from me. I may not be wording this quite right....I know what I'm trying to say. It makes sense that if someone steals something from someone that he should confess to the persons he stole from and pay them back. It's merely the ethical thing to do, not even considering Biblical concepts.

 

What came out on the conference call yesterday is that FD has been self-gratifying "weekly" since around July with no known catalyst that renewed his sex addiction. He told Susan that during the past 12 days when I was actually feeling good about things that he masturbated three times which is sorta more than once a week. Anyhow...maybe this incident will help us in the long run.

Edited by Crystal
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Whew! Crystal!

 

I happened to get on the ladies' call yesterday in time to hear you and Kathy talking. I'm glad you're getting this business with FD attended to. It must be God giving you the motivation! Otherwise, surely it would be too hard to keep on!

 

Bless this lady Lord!

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It must be God giving you the motivation! Otherwise, surely it would be too hard to keep on!

 

Thanks for this reminder, MJ.

 

I have no motivation, did you hear motivation in my voice? I'm more like a possum rolled over on her back...too afraid to run, too afraid to fight.

I'm still here, with a stupid-possum-grin on my face, tongue hanging, frozen in this "relationship", doing the same things I've done for past years.

If anything happens it's completely and totally God.

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I am my earthly father's daughter. He was a scientist among other things. He taught me to deal with life logically, not emotionally...I think a lot of daddies do that to their kids, boys and girls...feelings are bad: logic is good.

 

At least now I know what those cycles with FD were all about, the good days followed by bad days. It's logical now and especially more so having Joel clearly explain it in view of mother/son sickness. But It hurts to know that FD was lying and stealing from me and all the while behaving as if he were really trying. Going to Intensive twice and LOOKING like "getting it" was sooo difficult, "doing" the reading and the DVD's and the HKSC and the contest posts and looking like he's trying so hard and that he's doing all the right things, making it look like I'm not doing all the right things ...all the while knowing what he was doing in secret. It hurts bad. being truthful to myself, it's crushing. Did I ever tell this memory?....I was 19 when my gramma died...I wasn't sad. I skipped the funeral and borrowed some hash from my roommate's stuff. I didn't normally smoke, I told myself I was doing a logical experiment of observation...I rose above myself and took mental notes about how the joint made me feel and behave...like it wasn't really "me" smoking the joint. Long story short...it was only one joint, and I probably didn't even smoke the whole thing, but my body and my emotions made a connection and I broke down into an ugly pile of weeping, heaving sorrow for all of EVERYTHING in my own life and everybody around me. The world is an ugly disjointed junk pile and the whole thing filled my brain and I sobbed for black hours. I thought it wasn't "me" having those feelings and behaviors...I was an emotionless observer watching a pathetic little girl. I could not connect to the grief that I was feeling, the sorrow of the loss of my grandmother and everything else that I hadn't wept about over the previous years, because I couldn't connect with "me". I wonder if they call it a "joint" because it connects mind body and soul of the broken. When I came down off the high that was really a low, I swore off of pot forever and it's with logic that I strive for and most times achieve a perfectly positive outlook on life. Even as I'm telling this memory, I'm wondering why it's significant. I live in a disjointed human trinity with my mind body and soul not completely in agreement. Probably a common human condition. I feel disconnected...I can feel emotionally or logically but not at the same time. I'm at odds against myself. And so...I'm frozen in a relationship that hurts. And now that I have re-read this post over and over considering whether or not I should delete it all, I've reached a circle returning to thoughts about my earthly father. For fifty-three years he dumped things on me that caused me pain and then he'd get angry with me if I'd have feelings about it. Unlike FD, my dad could easily vent his red-faced burning anger on me. Even after he's dead, I still feel his anger and disapproval. But still I love my dad and long for his approval and love.......and so....this is FD's self-gratification....this is how I feel his contempt on me....FD doesn't yell at me...but even yesterday....when I felt FD's disapproval, whether it was my imagination or his real disapproval, it doesn't matter....what I'm saying is....his sg feels like disapproval. and then my logical brain says that's illogical, it's HIS OWN mother/son sickness and not mine.... I feel goofy now for sharing....Thanks for reading.

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You have my permission to stop feeling goofy now. I'm GLAD you wrote about all that. It makes total sense!

 

I'm sorry you had to separate yourself as you did growing up. Maybe it IS a common human condition. I don't know. I remember "analyzing" my feelings and life in general when I was growing up.

Kathy's prayer is being answered in your life with a vengeance! Stuff that was hidden in darkness is sure being revealed! Even to the way you're seeing how FD's sg feels like disapproval. I think when a guy self-gratifies, has an emotional or physical affair, or fantasizes about other women when having sex with his wife he is, to say the least, showing disapproval of her.

 

He's insulting her and rejecting and abusing her. It's disapproval for sure!

 

You, Crystal, do NOT deserve this! FD has to stop it! He has to SEE what kind of a guy he really is!

 

Crystal, may God be your Help today!

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He's insulting her and rejecting and abusing her. It's disapproval for sure!
Thank you. It gives me life to see you guys have posted here on my thread letting me know you understand. :blush: I need you.

 

. . .My heavenly Father is a Scientist too, as well as an Artist, a Mathematician, a Gardener, an Inventer, a Builder, a Poet, a Singer, a Lover of life and a Lover of me.

He calls me to participate in and enjoy the things he does. He never worries that I'll mess things up. He says enjoy...and to trust Him to take care of me. My Father in heaven is real and he adores me. He harmonizes my tuneless melodies and showcases my splashes of paint. . .

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Do you mean it, MJ? OK, I will…because I definitely feel up to it. An hour or so ago I completed writing an update and then deleted it and deleted it from the recycle bin because I felt self-conscious, like I was being over dramatic about the whole situation. I do want to talk this out. I really appreciate you coaxing me.

 

One step in the process of healing and recovery from abuse is to tell somebody. Talking on the forum and conference calls doesn’t take the place of telling someone local. Somehow maybe I haven’t considered myself an “actual” abuse victim because I don’t have physical wounds. And maybe I had such great expectations of FD that I kept thinking below my conscious level that HE was going to recover, become humble, take control and publically talk about abuse and in doing so confess to family and friends about his abuse of me and so I wouldn’t have to. For whatever reasons, I have not done what I should have done a long time ago. Telling the pastor and his wife a few weeks ago was a start, but the pastor is distant enough from my own family and circle of friends that I felt somewhat anonymous. This is so basic that it’s embarrassing…I have been continuing to try to hide facts from my own family and friends. FD has been able to continue abusing with the same lies that he’s used from the beginning. I didn’t see it. I see it now.

 

I prepared again to call a lawyer yesterday morning to discuss divorce stuff. In my prayer time before the office opened I felt immense comfort and the words I felt from God my Father were “trust me”. I don’t remember my thought process, something about feeling lonely and unsupported in calling a lawyer and I ended up texting our oldest son to see if we could get together to talk instead of calling my lawyer. Son and I made arrangements to have lunch together. When we met for lunch I jumped in and told him almost everything. He was shocked and surprised. I had actually thought he already knew all about it, he’s a mature, insightful guy with a good head on his shoulders. When he was younger living at home I used to dump a lot on him until I found out I was emotionally abusing him by relying on him that way. I was consumed by a feeling yesterday that I shouldn’t be telling him some of the things I said. I was as straight forward as I could manage. He asked all the expected questions, “What do you think God thinks of you considering divorce?” “You’ll be alone, did you think of that?” “Would you date afterwards?” “Are you sure you’d want to mess up everything like that?” “What about [youngest son]?” I stressed that I don’t want a divorce, it’s not my choice. I want restoration. As far as all the issues with his dad though, he understood it and could relate deeply with some of my issues with him. FD doesn't have much of a relationship with any of his three sons. It was good to set everything out in the open with somebody close who knows me. I gave him permission to share what I’d told him with his wife. Don’t keep secrets from your wife. Later he texted me and told me that they understood where I was coming from and to reassure me that it was all right that I shared, but that it was very surprising to them both.

 

For the rest of the day after talking to Son I felt absolutely awful, like I had betrayed some sacred bond, like I was a tattle-tail or a gossip or a complainer. It took a lot out of me to have shared.

This morning I opened eyes with new clarity and calmness. I’m not the betrayer. I am the betrayed. There’s still stuff ruling my behavior. I’m in bondage to a stubborn feeling that I must respect my husband and that respect means to cover up his secrets and pretend he’s good and respectful. Who knew that “revealing what’s in darkness” also meant MY darkness. You knew. As one intimately familiar with this ministry and well-studied in verses 21 to 33 of Ephesians five, I know what respect is and what it’s not.

 

I don’t want to hurt anyone. I want healing and don’t want the pain. This is necessary.

 

As far as how things are going with me and FD...things are going pretty normal as in the low end of our cycle...Just the two of us were home one evening and he was super absorbed in the game on tv. even before the game started he wasn't with me. I had a screaming demonic rage, he pretty much ignored me except for a little non-committed "I'm sorry" hardly even taking his eyes off the game. I locked him out of the master bedroom and he was late for work the next morning because I didn't wake him. He's about as not into this relationship as he can manage while living in the same house.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We're actually still going in the direction of OHM although these last few months have been full of stuff I could have lived without. If it were up to me, we would be taking the short quick path to OHM, but FD is choosing the excruciatingly painful and rough rocky terrain. maybe that makes us stronger in the long run, I don't know. I still have that nagging desire for an intimate consistent relationship with FD...wish I could shake it and be done, but it's still there. Harrumph. We're just a tiny bit closer than we were a few months ago and when it's good it's good. FD may need one or two more complete Intensive weekends to get the junk completely out of his system...That won't happen right away...January at the soonest.

 

We had a second session with our pastor and his wife. This was our first session with all four of us together. It went fairly well. However, as we were leaving, saying our good-byes, the pastor told me, "Be patient with [FreeDog], God's given you a good man" which was a sting in the back side. I didn't get a chance to respond, nor did FreeDog come to my defense.

 

I was okay with it until a couple nights ago at bedtime FD started treating me like something nasty on the bottom of his shoe. I was already emotionally exhausted from some family stuff going on. I just needed to be held and loved. I couldn't express my need and FD was confused and repulsed by my need and so he removed himself and slept in the extra bedroom that night. Oh well. I didn't sleep well with all that cortisol and frustration going through my head and when I woke up in the morning still in an emotional state I wrote an email to the pastor telling him that his words hurt me.... His response later in the day, (yesterday afternoon) was full of traditional christianese marital voodoo wisdom. Still being very emotional...(other stuff going on...my sweet mom's condition is deteriorating and it's tearing me and my sisters up.) and tired and cranky I unloaded on FD about the pastor's email and to his credit FD listened to me pretty well. FD told me he'd respond to the email. I hope the pastor is willing to listen and learn from us. It's my hope and prayer. This pastor and his wife have a heart for helping. Right now he is thinking he's helping us....instead I think we can help him and any future abused wives that they may counsel. Hopefully maybe anyhow and this could be a step in growth for FD too. Thanks for your prayer.

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"Be patient with [FreeDog], God's given you a good man"

Doesn't really matter WHY this was a hurtful thing for the pastor to say, but as a quick explanation, I did a LOT of the talking during our session which is a major thing for a die-hard introvert like me. I expressed a lot of my past and present complaints about FD. As an introvert, I'm vulnerable to feeling criticised. I felt criticised and scolded for sharing the things I shared.

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I felt criticised and scolded for sharing the things I shared.

 

You WERE criticised and scolded -- sweetly. That may be the hardest wound to bear -- a "sweet" one.

 

Maybe Freedog should put his email out here before sending it. Or at least have you OK it. Think so?

 

Thanks for posting. I was getting concerned again! ^_^

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Here's the note I received from our pastor after my emotional email to him:

 

[Crystal], thank you for the note. I'm very sorry my parting words hurt. I was trying and will still try to be very encouraging to you both, while holding [FreeDog] accountable. I'm glad to see you cc'd [FreeDog] on this as well. I think there's lots of work to continue to be done, and as [FreeDog] seems to own up the fact that he's cruel and inconsiderate, my hope is that he will continue to grow and become more the husband God designed him to be. But I'll keep doing my best to hold him accountable, and you do the same.

At the same time, I will continue to insist that despite how it feels, which I realize is pretty awful quite frequently, [FreeDog] is a gift to you from God, as all husbands are a gift to their wives and all wives a gift to their husbands. It may not seem that way, but we know God intended these things for good and that He intended marriage to build the both of you up. So I won't be high 5-ing anyone until there is real high-5ing to be done; and I'll count on you [Crystal] to be the litmus test for that, ok?

In the meantime, [FreeDog], love your wife the way Christ loved the Church and laid his life down for her; that's the deal he set out. and [Crystal], respect your husband, for that's the deal He laid down for you. I'll pray for good days between now and Sunday.

Blessings on you both,

J---

 

I thought it was cute that he noted I cc'd FreeDog. FreeDog and I are working on this together. I'm not against FreeDog, but I'm against his abuse. I think he's not used to that. I hope we blow his mind!! :) In a good constructive way of course. :) He hasn't read "the books" yet, and I think FD's response is a nice introduction. I'm sure you can feel by the tone of his note to me that this pastor has a good heart. Next is FreeDog's reply.

 

Thanks for the responding [Crystal]'s e-mail J---, we do appreciate your efforts and concern.

Yes, there is lots of work to yet be done, and we have come quite a ways as [Crystal] mentioned. She also expressed that patience on her part is not working, she has been exceedingly patient for 26 years, more than she needs to have been. As a formerly passive man I need to be held to the fire or I slack off, it is my responsibility but I manipulate her into making it her responsibility. She is an introvert and it is difficult for her to share her feelings, she has recently come to realize that her feelings are important and real . I am happy to see the healing as seen when she is able to express her feelings with someone she sees as a leader in the Church and not just her husband.

One of the things you mentioned sounded more like traditional platitudes than Biblical. That is when you said "[FreeDog] is a gift to you from God, as all husbands are a gift to their wives and all wives are a gift to their husbands." It does sound good, but the hidden message is a concept that has done a lot of damage to Christian marriages over the years and that is that "[FreeDog] (or husband) is a gift, therefore treat him nice and don't put high expectations on him and he will do the same for you." This just isn't Biblical.

God gave [Crystal] to me as a Helpmeet not as a helper. Helpmeet defined as ; Help the Hebrew word Ezar (ie god's help) and Meet, one who goes before. Jewish tradition teaches that as my helpmeet [Crystal] is one way God will speak to me when I am not being Godly/Christlike. It does not work the other way around, i am not [Crystal]'s helpmeet,instead I am her husband and as such I represent Christ to her and in our home. I wash her with the Word that i live not the word that I preach at her and then she responds in kind. I go first as Christ went first. First in love, respect, honor, submission...and then she responds to the same degree. She gives back the same amount I give out. God set this up, I believe, because he knew Adam would totally rebel when confronted with his sin and that Eve would confess and repent when confronted; God in His mercy gave Adam a wife as a way back to Him.

Another thing that stung was the traditional admonition for [Crystal] to respect her husband as the "deal He set down for you". In Eph. 5:33 the word translated respect is the Greek word phobio. We are taught by Paul and Jesus to phobio no man, only the Father. Jesus did not want the disciples to phobio Him, so why would Jesus want [Crystal] to phobio me? If one wants to make sense of this it would be better translated as "husband love your wife as much as you love yourself so your wife does not have to live in fear of you." Even in submission the husband goes first, Paul says to submit one to another, the husband acting as Christ goes first, not the wife go first she reponds. So in the next verse the word submit does not occur in the Greek, but was added in. So when the Church tells wives to submit to their husbands it needs to be added to submit only as much as the husband submits to you. The husband initiates, the wife responds/ Christ initiates, the Church responds.

My / our problem is that in my immaturity I have difficulty standing up to her emotional needs consistently. It is not impossible, just one that a man learning to become out-focused has difficulty with, and it hurts [Crystal] terribly. She is a totally awesome woman J---, extremely creative and intelligent. We will get through this, and we both thank-you for allowing yourself to be placed in the middle for accountability reasons.

Thanks for your time, you can now do whatever it was you were doing. Cheers,

 

As far as I can remember, this is the first time FD has actually owned up to any of this with anybody outside of our J&K circle. I do remember he wrote and gave a letter to our old pastor of more than 3 years ago, but I can't remember the content and the result was as if we had thrown the letter into the campfire... Other than that, this is a first...

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  • 5 weeks later...

Time for an update.

 

Things have been going pretty well over the past two months---nothing earth shatteringly great, but nothing bad either. FD has been turning around pretty quickly when I bring things to his attention and we've been getting along much better. Time to crank it up a notch or two. The last few days have not been so good and with my female collapsible memory it feels like the bad stuff has been going on the whole time and I feel a need to get a hold of myself. I tried to get on the conference call using the new numbers, but I just got dead air, maybe I called in too early, because I was wiped out and went to bed pretty early. FD came to bed later and didn't even snuggle just a little when he got into bed. That makes me uneasy...but the very fact that that is uncommon is a good thing, because normally most nights we do snuggle. Absence of snuggling has become an abnormality instead of the norm.

 

So, I need to begin using the calendar that Kathy has always told me to keep. When it was a weekly crash, I had no need or desire to keep track, I can remember 7 days and know that 4 were bad and 3 were good or whatever, but now that it's "progressed" to monthly I do feel like I need to keep a calender for my own sanity...because one or two days does feel like forever sometimes.

 

To start with, on the contest thread FD listed two nights in a row that he "initiated ML" but it felt more like a teenager sneaking a grab...like the old days...stuff I used to feel like I "had to" respond to because I had said "I do", that's what I thought. No respect, more like how a man thinks he can treat a hooker because he thinks she's not really human. Then get his feelings hurt because the hooker doesn't get turned on by his clumsy gropes. He knows how to "initiate ML"... he didn't use anything that he knows. He didn't think and then he thinks that "Oh, I wasn't thinking," is an excusable excuse that I can graciously pardon. It doesn't feel right and then to me it's impossible to forget and respond warmly to cuddling.

 

Then yesterday, I guess it was my payback for "rejecting him" but he spent the day being with me but not being with me and it was like trying to talk to somebody on the phone that the line keeps breaking up...you try to explain something and all you get is silence and when you demand a response he says something that to me sounds totally unrelated. It's like he thinks he's carrying my emotional burden but I'm carrying a truck load on my shoulders while ALL he carries my water bottle sipping on it along the way as if he's entitled to drink.

 

He "initiated LM" yesterday afternoon after he took a run, he was all sweaty and came in to invite me to ML which to me sounded like the tone he would use to say..."now would be a good time to hang that picture if you want to." Was I supposed to respond warmly to that? After being ignored and not listened to for several hours? He knows how to make it look like he's really trying, but he's not. Like a lot of the guys here. Men, you don't look good at all when you try to make it look like you're really trying but you aren't. Where'd you learn that, in pre-school?

 

I have a lot of stuff in my brain right now and I like to be able to talk it out. One of the biggies going on is that we're planning on moving my mom into our extra bedroom. She's total care and for now has been living in an Assisted Living center with 24 hour sitters, VERY expensive. We can afford for me to stop working, I'm per diem anyhow and will be able to keep my job by only working occasionally. I do some volunteer stuff too that I'll have to cut out, and that's just the way it has to be, my mom is a priority. She's the shell of my mom, not the real deal though...but it will be my pleasure to take care of her in my home for as long as I need to. We have sitters who will be willing to come in for me & FD's weekly/bi-weekly date. One of my sisters lives across the road from me, and she says she'll come over on Sunday mornings every week so that we can go to church. We can also afford to have caregivers come in for topnotch personal care three or so days a week. I'm not stressed or worried about it, but there is lots to plan and talk about. FD has a whole bunch of difficulty listening without reacting...I need a sounding board, not somebody that I have to teach how to listen without reacting. What starts out as me unloading my feelings on him turns into me barking at him for "not listening right". Yeah, and when that happens, he transforms into the victim of my "high expectations". I had trouble giving it up and quit trying to talk to him yesterday. If I could just turn myself off!! :) I finally was able to quit trying and separate myself from him in the early evening at which time after about 30 minutes he came to invite me to read while he watches football...in other words "shut up" while he watches football. His self-centered, self-serving heart feels like those times when his brain is in SG mode---definitely against relationship with another human being.

 

Today is another day off...I'm more rested and I think I can be a better husband for him today than I was yesterday. This is why I need to keep a calender, because it feels like his need for me to take care of him has been going on forever, but I really know that he knows better. He takes care of me much better much of the time...

 

I do have one question. Does this ministry teach that women change from the inside out and men change their hearts by changing their actions and words? Or...where did that teaching come from? Because it seems like Jesus and the Proverbs teaches that men (and women) both change in their hearts and then out of their hearts come words and service, Mt 12:34 "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." and Pr 16:23 "The heart of the wise instructs his mouth, And adds learning to his lips." I'm asking, because it feels like there is nothing in FD's heart that has changed. Like always, he knows the words to say and the things to do, but doing them doesn't seem to make anything stick where it counts, in his heart. It feels like his heart is void of anything that cares about me.

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Whew! A lot going on for sure.

 

He didn't think and then he thinks that "Oh, I wasn't thinking," is an excusable excuse that I can graciously pardon. It doesn't feel right and then to me it's impossible to forget and respond warmly to cuddling.

 

I understand that.

 

It's like he thinks he's carrying my emotional burden but I'm carrying a truck load on my shoulders while ALL he carries my water bottle sipping on it along the way as if he's entitled to drink.

 

I believe I understand that.

 

If your husband reads your post he should surely be able to understand better too.

 

The calendar idea helps me, I think. Notations in red are not good. Blue is fine.

 

I think I can be a better husband for him today than I was yesterday.

 

I know it's not funny but that's funny. Sad, of course.

 

Wow, I admire you for being willing to take your mother in like that! I used to wish I could have done something tangible for my mother when she got older. She died too quick. She was going strong until 3 days before she died. Two days short of 72.

 

Is FD on board with the plan too?

 

This heart/mind thing gets confusing alright. I think it keeps going back to the scripture that says the husband's Source is Christ. The husband has to go continually to the "throne of Grace" for his sustenance. But it does take his WANT-TO to get there. Or sometimes, desperation.

 

I'm glad you wrote, Crystal. I've been wondering how things were with you two!

 

God bless you! :wub:

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