Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 62

Dedication day had arrived--December 2nd. Things went well, and the blessing Josh spoke over Levi brought us all to tears.  It was different than any of us had imagined only a month ago. 

If fears creep in and I react, it's still bad. Josh felt I just looked for something to be wrong.  Why didn't he just leave me at the place where things DID seem all wrong.  When he gets mad that I don't believe him, why didn't he realize I didn't believe him?

I wanted him to find God on a whole new level, and I didn't want him making changes just for me. 

Changes were gradual, but I thanked God for everyone.  Pride was broken down little by little, day by day. When I got discouraged I would remind myself of those little things.  God cleansed him as Josh allowed God to come in to every area. 

On the same day that he had a breakthrough, though, Satan always turned the heat up on me.  I never got his full attention, and it still hurt.  He still talked about how hard it was not to call her, and this was after a month.  He talked about the good times he had with her, and he never talked about our good times. He spoke with admiration and apreciation for who she was.  We didn't go out and have fun as much as I would have hoped, but I just had to take each day. I sometimes wanted to run away. BUT thanking God for what he was doing kept me going.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 61

Encouraging the children that Daddy wouldn't go anywhere was a daily thing. Yes, they asked every day. My heart would break.  Many times I would stay silent, keeping my feelings to myself.  Josh would get so upset, but I could NOT fight in front of the children. I didn't want them to have fear that daddy would leave again.  Wanting Josh to go the extra mile seemed like it should be realistic, but it was not going to be...for now!

Pleasing my husband seemed like a never ending story.  There wasn't anything special about me; I was supposed to the only one. I wasn't.  Josh's desires were still so perverted, so I could NOT even begin to talk about them.  Wondering if things would ever go to right or if in situations like this you just learn a new normal.  At this point, Josh just wanted to pretend it never happened.  People talking to him about it made him mad. Hugs from friends only irritated.  Apologies seemed empty. 

I prayed that when Josh found his own heart he would care about mine.  Josh spent a lot of time copying what others said, talking about how he didn't have his whole heart.  Logic would drive me crazy. If he gave me his whole heart for the past 8 years, like he said...then how could he NOW say he didn't have his whole heart?  AND if you divide you heart and intentions among things and does it work?  Over the years Josh had done so much, if God wasn't always the center there is no way you can handle it all. 

Lord, help my unbelief, my unbelief that that Josh is not for real.  I feel discouraged and upset because of all the lives affected by this.  Everything is words, and I have to believe my prayers are continuing to work. 

Selling the business became top priority.  Moving was becoming more of a reality, and we couldn't wait to make the next step in our journey together.  Doing it together brought us together. 

Josh and I bought the Wii for our Christmas present; it was a great idea. It helped us laugh together and play together and not focus on negative things. 

Writing a song for Levi's dedication also became one of our main focuses.  Looking for things to do that wouldn't be a constant reminder of the past really helped move us along.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 60

Making a decision on what to do for the future started to cause a bit of stress. We had to do something. We needed healing. Should we sell the landscaping business? When we move, should we sell everything? Do we have money to move? Can Josh get work? Agreeing on where to move wasn't really a stress.  God was moving us to Colorado, and we were never more in agreement or at peace. 

My feelings for Josh were still so distant, and we had to do something. For the kid's sake and his own soul, I was so happy. But my heart still hurt so deeply. Josh was often uncaring. He took off early on Fridays to take the other woman to lunch, when he came home....he never gave it a second thought. 

I had my heart ripped out, and the work was landing on me. Pursuing Josh, to keep the relationship alive.  Josh was still talking about how his feelings for me were not the same, and he needed God to help him feel for me?  Wow, well, that was tough.  It didn't bother him that my feelings towards him were not the same. 

If he feels good about himself, then he won't be tempted to cheat again?  Am I unrealistic to want my husband to want me and need me because I am the best, not because of who he was stuck with or that he had no other choice.  I am the right choice, not one he is even extremely happy about. The lies of Satan were still coming.  When I said it was only one week...I guess I was wrong.  Josh did not adore me, and there was a huge part of me that really wanted him to realize that he should at least try for the amount of time he was away?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 59

Protecting my own heart started to become an issue. I reconnected with an old friend, and he was very generous in his compliments to me. It felt so good, but I knew it wasn't right. Nothing bad had happened, but the attention scared me. Josh, of course, said he didn't worry.  Wow, when was I going to have a husband who cared about protecting me?  I had to keep protecting myself, for now. Josh certainly wasn't worried.  He said he never thinks I would have a problem.  Well, I believe ANYone can have a problem, if in the wrong place and the wrong time.....or the right place at the right time?  If you do not guard your heart, you are NOT immune.  If you think you are, you are lying to yourself. 

I really wanted to have my fit. I didn't want to do this, in the flesh.  BUT Satan attacking me in my weakness was exactly what he wanted. 

No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still.  Lord, I come to You right now on behalf of my relationship with Josh.  Cause discouragement to be gone, cause Josh to realize that in You he can find all he needs .Help him to hear Your voice, allow him to continue on the road to healin.  Lead him to the place where he is asking for help from others, besides me.  I come against the attack of Satan, right now, in bringing discouragement.  The fight has to continue.  Lord, help him.  Surrougn him with men to help him keep his guard up.  Anytime I bring up something we disagree on, may Josh realize the extent of my hurt. Pour grace on my words, may we both be humble in God's sight. 

I wanted to make sure we didn't allow temporal happiness to take precedence over the possibilty of eternal damnation.  This was a work that needed to be complete, not clouded by instant gratification. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 58

Money was a problem; so much of Josh's lifestyle had racked up a lot of bills. Subscriptions had to be canceled, and I was faced with seeing more an more of the things he had done.  He wasn't completely repentant of the things he had done. He was sorry for hurting me. (sometimes)  BUT he was happy about and glad he got to experience this for himself.  He had no deep regret; I prayed for "someday!" Silently taking it all in and writing in my journal was the only way to cope with the sorrow my heart felt.  Brokeness, Lord, I pray for brokeness at the thought of hurting You! 

Josh called me, out of the blue, to ask me to pray with him.  I am so glad he was reaching out. It was a glimpse of how weak he was, and his complete lack of self-control.  It was hard to fight someone else's spiritual battles, but I was so glad that he was actually trying to fight and not alone! 

Lord, give Josh a hunger and a burden to spend time with You and in Your Word. Lord, You will lead him through this when he seeks Your face. Convict his heart to allow others to set some boundreies where THEY feel it's necessary.  Allow others to help align his compass. 

Wanting boundries, oh, yes, I did! Wanting him to stop looking on Craig's list.  I wasn't going to beg to protect him, but I do wish he wanted it.  He wanted protection, but he wanted it his way.  He didn't want other people's wisdom.  I had to acknowledge things were gradually getting better, at least liveable.

I had to give it all I had, never give up, never let up.  Deliverance comes through abodeience and the fight is never won through halfheartedness.  I must fight...UNTIL!! 

The Lord still worked on my pride, too!  Would I embrace the Lord's visitation in humility as much as in power?  Feasting on God's Word was the only way I continued in my journey. 

Questions of ministry and the steps he needed to take to reclaim his position caused my heart to ache.  It was only 2 weeks; why did he think it would be that easy?  Why was it even a question?  In fact, didn't he say he hated ministry?  Didn't he say he was "made" to be a pastor?  Oh, yes, I still replayed the lies in my head; I knew the truth. I wondered during these times if he even remebered his own words?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 57

November 25th, the Lord's Day....I felt so refreshed.  God was working in my life, even if I didn't feel it or see it.  I have experienced the miracle of ANSWERED PRAYER!!!  Thank you, Lord!! 

Josh sang a song in church that he had written many years prior.  He had asked special permission.  To explain what happened during that song would be an understatement.  The Holy Spirit was doing a work, for sure. Josh apologized to the congregation for living a lie; it was a step in the journey, that I will never forget.  Things still needed to be broken, but we were definitely moving forward.  God was definitely breaking Josh in to pieces. 

After this service, however, Satan turned the heat up.  We fought for like 2 hours; Josh said a lot of hurtful things.  He mentioned wishing he had never even come home; how everything was my fault.  Maybe I am just too hard to please?  The cliche of the "grass is greener on the other side,"  well, Josh said that was right on! 

As I gained control of my feelings, without the overwhelming ups and downs, Josh felt things were going great. If I lost control, well, it was all my fault.  If I could keep my attitude in check, then we would get through this just fine.  My life felt like such a lie; Josh felt our recovery was based on my not feeling.  We had so far to go. 

The next day, however, was a pleasant surprise. I saw a glimmer of hope; Josh didn't completely pull away.  As I pushed him away, he actually moved closer.  It was refreshing. I was scared to death! Was this real?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 56

A day of thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for bringing my miracle home.  The birth of my dream took time; the road to recovery has lots of bumps.  BUT I have my husband home, may I never forget that this is my dream.  Babies are never independent, first off.  Thank you, Lord, for Your continual strength that allows me to make this journey without falling apart.  I wish Josh could see how weak I feel.  My heart, Lord, You are my lover. My loneliness is only decreased in You.  I feel so disconnected from Josh.  My day will come, Lord.  This is only a season and You see it complete.  Lord, continue to be my husband; my guide; may You conitnue to erase my fears. Allow me to be the lover that Josh needs; may he see Your love throuhg me.  May he learn to lean on You by watching me lean on You.  Thank you, Lord, for what You have done with brining life back into my dead marriage.  The years that Satan has stolen; God, You are restoring.  You are the God of restoration!! 

Psalm 130: Wait on the Lord!
Psalm 130: 8  And He sall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. 

Some days felt so good, like we made progress.  Josh felt he was doing better, but, of course, I worried he was just hiding his feelings. He had done this so many times, since he knew the "process" as well as I did.  His computer and second phone were still with him, everyday.  I just knew that some things would have to be given up in order for progress to REALLY happen. 

Josh told me I was priority, all along.  Yes, he believed that lie.  I sometimes felt like quitting; he told me I needed to work on being more sexy, more available.  Wow!  I mean, really?  Some days I felt we took MORE steps backwards.  I was continually being informed of things I needed to change, in order to make sure this never happened again.  Was I the one at fault here? 

Reminding myself that I needed to leave an example for the kids kept me going.  I can show them how to love like Christ loves, but I did pray that someday they would see a wonderful, ideal, loving marriage, too! None of this was ever what I expected. 

Being submissive and helpful and supportive were all things I could do, but I didn't have any desire to worry about Josh making his own mistakes.  He needed to make his decision and lead; I would follow.  The desire to be his "Holy Spirit" was gone.  I almost felt like I didn't care.  I felt horrible feeling this way about the love of my life, the man I cared so much about.  I cared about his soul, but I didn't care to work about making him happy.  He never noticed when I did try.  I worried about getting pregnant again; did I want more children with this man?  Did I want the risk of being left alone with more children? 

God continually worked on my heart, answering all of my questions.  The size of my family was NOT for me to decide. And my marriage was in God's hands, this wasn't new.  My feelings for Josh were a continual battle, but they were temporary.  Allowing God to keep me soft was so painful.  Worrying about being left alone was only the devil causing fear.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 55

Keeping my attitude right was a constant battle for me.  I had to make sure that things Josh did, which had nothing to do with him leaving did not make me mad.  My lawn still wasn't mowed, this was after two months. His junk was all over; the mattress pad he bought for them was left on the table as a constant reminder for almost 2 weeks.  He had a pile of things to go to the garage, things from while he was gone.

I was so glad my mom had come for a visit; Josh thought because he was home that he was officially meeting my needs again. He really had no idea? The snapping at me for every little thing was so overwhelming at times. Working on being available and no being as cold as I felt was something God worked on with me, DAILY!  God helped me, and reminded me that someone like Josh...broken could not help anyone. 

Josh wanted me to know how badly he felt for the other woman, since her husband was just not there for her. She had to empty her own trash; her husband was always busy, working.  She was neglected emotionally.  It never crossed his mind how he treated me.  It just shows how sick a person can get, in
justifying their behavior. 

God wanted us together; I knew it. Satan still used Josh to speak death, constantly.  When he had a bad day he would still tell me how he wished he had just met her before me.  And, yes, friends, this was after a week of being home.  I wondered if this would ever feel right again. 
The kids were doing a bit better now, not as much crying. We kept a good attitude in front of them; Josh was pretty good at pretending.  I am not sure they saw the same changes I did; Josh never asked how my day was or what we did.  All of those texts I got when he was gone were completely non-existent now; I was more disconnected than before.  

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 54

It's been a few days; the Lord has really been dealing with me. It's hard to write this part of the story, almost harder than the previous. Maybe because some of this seems unbearable to think of telling someone to "deal with!"  How do you counsel someone to stay in a marriage that seems that it's going no where?  The Lord has lead me to finish telling the story; it needs to be written. AND you need to know some of how bad it got, so that you can REALLY see how GOD can take something seemingly dead and raise it back to life. 

Wanting Josh to be accountable was something I so badly wanted, but it wasn't going to happen because of my own doing. He lied to everyone anyway, so why would I put him in a position to lie?  The pride that had so engulfed Josh was still very evident, in fact, he almost took pride in how strong of a Christian he had "helped" me to become?  We were all so strong, and he helped us get there?  The pride was sickening. 

Josh never took in to account my feelings on our sexual relationship, in fact, he could only think about himself, in this aspect.  AND because I had purposed to be his wife in any area, I gave it to God.  His mind was so distorted, but I knew I had to be there for him.  He had no problem with lusting after me, and it felt so wrong.  He had no desire to make me happy, no desire to win my heart back.  My heart was so wounded; my feelings for him were NOT the same. Many days he left for work without even a kiss; he just left.  BUT I promised God I would be in this FOREVER.   I felt hopeless, however, and I needed God more than ever.

Josh's idea of reconciliation was really just doing it his own way; he said he knew what it would take. He agreed to no contact with the other woman, but it didn't matter that somehow phone calls, e-mails, or an occasional stop at her work to drop a bottle of wine creeped in.  I felt we were going no-where.  I got on the phone to all of the family; we just needed to pray, like he wasn't home, yet!  It was really that bad. 

He continually battled feelings for her, and sometimes thought it would be a good idea to share them with me. Talking about how cute their kids would have been seemed to get brought up frequently, but I think I was just numb to it.  I felt bitterness creeping in, and I was drained and exhausted. I felt I was carrying a huge load, and I was so tired.  The bitterness was taking it's toll, because I felt I couldn't cope with him constantly.  If it felt bad before it felt worse now. 

Prayer was the only thing that was going to change this thing; both of these people were so sick. They said they didn't want to keep it going, but they did.  These bonds had to be broken!!  Josh needed to start making a daily choice. 

November 20th, Josh asked me on a date.  My mom was coming for a visit, and we thought it would be good to go out.  One of Josh's clients had given him a gift certificate for us to use, and he had saved it. (yes, saved it for us)  We made an agreement to NOT talk about the mess while were out.  It was pleasant enough.  Baby steps....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 53

The way up is down; to lay hold you must let go; to be filled you must become empty.  I did not know all of the answers, but I did know that God had gotten me through so much already. He could see me through this, too! 

I wanted a husband who desired me in a pure way, but it was going to be a long road. I felt so used, but I was his wife. I would be that in any way he needed. 

Josh called the other woman's husband and apologized for his behavior; he called her father and apologized, as well.  He had set up some boundries, but it was still heart-wrenching that he wanted to be with her over me.  He struggled those first couple weeks with NO CONTACT, but by this time I had staked my claim. 

I went to her house, and I talked with her. I told her he was sick and to leave him alone. Of course, she promised.  BUT she was sick, too! So, it didn't help all of that much.  They continued to have contact, but after she got it through her head how stupid it was, she contacted me to let me know that he had called her again.  That was it.....last time! I let him know that I knew, and he never did it again.  Step ONE, down......sorta. 

I still had to listen to the garbage...about wishing he had met her 10 years ago, then he wouldn't be dealing with any of this mess.  Now do you see why I called this HELL WEEK?  I knew, to a degree, what I was getting myself into when I said he could come home in ANY condition. 

If I had said NO when he asked to come home.....he would have walked away, for good!  Everything I had said would have been a lie, now I had to walk it out!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 52

Preliminary testing for the police academy was in Santa Maria, so we drove together, as a family!  Did Josh remember what it was like to have ALL of us?  Having a big family can cause lots of unwanted stresses, but that's life. I loved it; he used to.....did he still?

Romans 4:21  And being fully persuaded that what he had promised; He was able to perform. I said it...OVER AND OVER.  I said it when I found out he went to her house, AGAIN. I said it when he went by her work to drop off a bottle of wine.  I said it when he called her.  I said it when he e-mailed her. I said it when I asked him NOT read her response.....oh, God, what had I done!!  Was it YOU that asked me to do this? 

2 Corinthians 10:5 "EVERY thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ!"  I had to work on this constently.  All of the questions: Was they good cooks? Were they REALLY better women? Were they really that good in bed? Were they skinny? Were they good moms? 

Josh came home because it was right, not because of me.  He continually commented on ways I could be like her, and he would rather be having fun with her. He wanted to plan her birthday.  He wished he could go out.  He talked about how we couldn't get pregnant again, since it was an accident with Levi?  I hated hearing him talk like the world!  Those were lies.  He agreed that he hurt me, but I don't think he saw how badly or how deeply.  Having him back made me not want to fight! Yes, I fought for 3 months but having him home made it feel worse!  What was I going to do?

Josh wanted us to move on, to talk about when he would get his ministry back, how to move forward and grow closer?  He wanted to talk about it now, but he didn't want to do anything about it.  He kept his second cell phone; he took his computer to work with him, still, and he still spent time on the phone with "friends!" 

As he moved more of his things back to the house it seemed more permanent, but I was still so hurt.  He didn't want me to meet his landlords, because he had said we were getting a divorce. It made no sense to them, since Josh was so wonderful....I must not be worth it?  He told them he was going to give it another try.  Wow...what a journey.  It was SO far from being over!!!

Lord, I need You!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 51

Josh called; we talked for 40 minutes. He was coming home!!!!  It didn't feel right, but it was a step. I knew that my prayers were answered, but this was just the beginning.  I was going to have to get even more desperate.  The real fight was just beginning.  Satan wants my family, and I cannnot let him have it.

My trust in the Lord and Him helping me keep my lips zipped-my judgements-I can take these to God.  I needed to allow God to continue healing and leading me to where He wants.

Josh told the kids he was coming home; they could not have been happier.  I called my mom and Josh's parents.  It seemed to unreal; this was what we waited for. Our lives had been on hold, and this WAS it.  I told my mom that I believed he would come home, but that I only believed him because he had told the kids.  If it had just been me I knew he would have changed his mind. He had hurt me enough, but he told them.  He would be home.  BUT his heart was FAR from home. 

He requested some time to say good-bye to the other woman.  WHAT do I do, God?  How do I handle this? Can I trust you with how close I am to getting what I asked for?  Yes, I still had doubts!  I gave it to God. 

Josh came home in the flesh, but he was struggling with wanting his life in the world.  This was going to be one HUGE battle.  Jael spent most of the day crying; she is so wounded. 

This next week was what I would call, "Hell Week!"  I had been talking with my mom for HOURS upon HOURS every night, and no more!  How could I sit and cry for hours with my husband around again?  I had no one to talk to, and all of the emotion.  I also knew that if anyone knew what the week was going to hold......would they think I was crazy?

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 50

November 15, 2007

"If you believe in the power of prayer...PRAY....I don't know what is happening to me...but PRAY!" 

I received that text from Josh! He said, "tell everyone we know!" BUT don't call me....I made sure everyone I knew was praying. I dropped to my knees and prayed like I had never prayed before. I had no words; I know that I only spoke in tongues. I knew God was doing something, but I had nothing to say!  BUT I had to pray...DO IT, LORD!!

Apparently, the other woman had seen me in Albertsons, saw me with the children and said she couldn't do it anymore. She broke it off with him.  He was not going to take no for an answer, so he immediatly tryed to win her back. He was not ready to give up. 

In between her receiving an e-mail from him begging her and promising marriage and moving away, and her response to this e-mail......GOD got a hold of his heart.  Josh was at work, and he started crying uncontrollably.  He knew he had a choice. He could submit to this or forever turn his back.  He had a choice. 

My Husband Rocks~Friday

We have been under attack this week; I don't know if it's because we are coming to the end of our story or what?  BUT I do know this, God is stirring something up in Josh.  He is moving in ways we cannot see.  I absolutely love how the Holy Spirit moves in Josh's heart, like never before.  He stands confused at times, and he can only ask God to either reveal Himself or give him a peace.  It's refreshing. 

This weekend Josh fixed the breaks on his car, and he spent time trying to work up the figures on starting a business. I am excited, for him, as he continues doing what he needs for his project.  I, also, love that I have a mechanic for a husband.  He is thinking through so many aspects; thinking ahead is something I adore. 

Josh took Jael on a Daddy-daughter date on Monday. I love seeing my daughter grow up with the security she has in being a princess, loved by her daddy.  Her daddy gives her a picture of THE FATHER, and I can't be more grateful. Having worried about what the future would hold for her, I am thrilled to see that things are better than ever. 

Since there wasn't one thing that Josh did this week that stood out above the rest, I had to put it all.  Thanks for being amazing, Josh.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 49

Was I anymore shocked? No!!! I am not sure what Josh was so scared of my finding out, but it didn't seem that bad to me??? (in comparison)  For him, however, it was....and I found out!  His worst fear?  The only thing for me was.....God is MORE than able.  Josh is going to receive help, ask forgiveness, humble himself, and repent.  I just knew it.  He was SO mad that I found out his secret.  NO MORE SECRETS NOW!! Was God opening up the door?  Would he walk through, and would he slam it shut.

November 14, 2007, I was on my way to church. I was driving by Albertsons, and I saw her car.  I turned back around; I wanted to see her.  I knew what she looked like, but I wanted her to see me. I wanted her to see all 4 kids, and I wanted her to see how pretty and put together and happy!  Unloading all of us took some time, but I did it.

We walked into the store, and I realized she was checking out. I stepped back towards the door, and I saw someone I knew. I really had hoped to avoid that, but it wasn't going to happen. I wanted to watch her, and I wanted to see her walk out.  As it happened, I had wasted me time.  This lady I had seen was so loud and talkative, so I spent the next 15 minutes chatting with her. She walked out of the store, and I missed her leaving.  Oh, well!  Off to church......

Ice Cream at Cold Stone after church was a sweet surprise. 15 of us headed over to enjoy an after-church snack.  A young lady asked me how things looked with Josh coming home, and I said, "Horrible on the outside, but the outward circumstances are NOT going to predict WHEN he comes home!"  I specifically told her that I believed it was just going to HAPPEN, and it would surprise us all.   Talking like that ALWAYS encouraged me...DEEP down!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 48

The background investigator had conducted his last interview with Josh, and so, Josh called me. He talked and talked. He wanted me to know all about the red flags they had for him.  he said they weren't concerned about his living situation.  He gave me more forms to fill out.  It was so hard for me, but I was asked to talk about who he was. I didn't know what to write.  I could not say he had integrity.  Do I believe he wants to...yes!  Do I believe he can...yes!  Does a man make mistakes and sin....yes? BUT integrity means you have to be willing to own up to those mistakes and FIX them.  He is, at the moment, not willing to fix anything.  What do I do?

Josh admitted to me that his relationship is a mistake and wrong, but he doesn't want to change it. How do you live life like that? You know your not okay.  He mentioned having a dream about me finding things "out!"  What ELSE was I going to find out?  I was a tad bit nervous, but I couldn't imagine being any more shocked?  BUT it was something that scared HIM?  It's probably the part of him that wants things to be right in his life, but he doesn't want to make the choice.  Right now he is unwilling to do the work necessary.  He says he is "Daring God!"  OOOO, was I ever scared for him! 

NewHope4Josh came into his life about 3 weeks prior to this, and it was really messing with him.  He asked me who it was that was texting him. Well, I had no idea, really! I told him so. He asked if I would figure it out.  I tried, and I failed the FIRST time.  I told him I didn't know. 

Of course, I was very curious to find out who was texting my husband Scripture.  I finally figured it out, but by this time he wasn't asking me WHO it was, since I said I didn't know.  I didn't tell Josh's parents WHO it was, to keep the identity secret.  No way to lie, if you don't know.  As time went on we all figured out who, except for Josh. 

Sometimes it REALLY bothered him, and at other times I think it was exactly what he  longed for......someone to NOT give up. 

I prayed against divorce. It was over 3 months, and it felt like things were scary close to turning.  I refused to allow Satan a door into my family. He would not attack the lefact of marriage that I wanted to pass down.  Lord, you hate divorce, and I hate divorce. You said, "anything" I ask in Your name believing.........

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 47

I received a medal of honor; I cried!  What an honor!  A gentleman in our church received it while in the military for his courage and valor. He explained that you must be in combat for at least 90 days to even receive it.  I had not even thought about the fact that I had been battling for at least 90 days.  God used so many things to encourage me in my fight.  I didn't want to fight, but I had to.  I could not have done it without the support of others.  Someday, though, I would receive recognition and appreciation form my husband, too! I just knew it. 

I sang a song at church that Sunday. A song that Josh had written prior to leaving.  I sat a cried the day I found the words. I wrote music to it, and then sang it.  Josh found out, and he asked if I would sing it form him.  Why would he even want to hear it? Why did he pay more attention to me now, then he did before?  I sang it for him, praying that the words HE wrote would penetrate all of the dark places. 

Josh said he cared about the kids and what they thought. It was such a lie! Later that day the truth came out he e-mailed me with this: "I cared too much what other people thought and now I don't care at all!"  Now THIS was the truth. He might wish he cared, because he should. BUT he really didn't. 

Ultimately it's about caring what God thinks.  If you care about what God thinkg you would not look like anything less in other people's eyes, and if you do then it's their problem. 

May Josh receive a new heart a heart that is concerned only about what God thinks. May he realize the self-ceterdness will do him no good. May his heart be turned back to his children. Thank you, Lord, for removing the heart of stong and replacing it with a heart of flesh. May he realize the shame and guilt and lack of peace will never go away unless he ambraces You and starts caring about what You think.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 46

Most evenings I spend with Josh's parents, and then I would drive home by myself.  I had no one to protect me but God. It was good and comforting, but it didn't change the fact that I longed for the arms that were around someone else.  It made me sad, angry, and sick.  AND even madder when I saw the hurting and suffering that my children felt. 

Josh had not spent any time with the kids the whole week; his schedule was just getting too busy.  So sad to watch.  He seemed to forget that he always said he wanted be at home; he didn't like to go out!  These friends that he went out with all of the time didn't realize he was living a lie. AND complaining about how horrible your life was, well, that was a lie, too! 

November 11, was the official day I resigned from the title of  "Lady Serena!"  I told the church that I needed to be available to Josh, not as a pastor's wife, but as his wife.  I wanted my standing for my miracle to match up my life and actions. I cryed....the whole church cryed.  

By this time, the other woman was spending weekends at Josh's place.  A few times I got the courage to text him, "Good morning!"  I knew she was there, but I wanted him to feel uncomfortable.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 45

November 8, 2007, I called Josh and apologized to him for the times where I was unresponsive and unavailable to him sexually.  I told him that I may not remember them as well as he does, but that's because they didn't affect me like they did him.  I never felt that I was unavailable, but if he felt that I was, then I was truely sorry.  He forgave me.  He said I was the most confusing woman he knew. He said I was was making it very diffficult on him with how to deal with him. 

Yes!!! I do think that's funny; it wasn't my intention.  I didn't actually want to speak to him at all.  It's very hard for me to admit I had anything to do with our marriage problems.  I did know for sure that I had to fill the voids in my life with God, not other things.  I prayed that Josh would have no peace with his decisions until he allowed God to fill the voids in his life. 

Satan was on the attack; I think he saw Josh wavering. The SAME day that this phone call happened I saw Josh kissing in the parking lot. My heart sank like you cannot imagine. All the children were with me, but thankfully their eyes were blinded to it. They never saw him. 

Our FIRST kiss was on our wedding day, how did he do this? I mean, obviously, I knew...but to SEE it! I could hardly catch my breath.  By this time Josh knew that he looked bad in my eyes, but he was still a little disturbed about the realities of his children thinking that he wasn't their hero. 

I didn't even cry when I saw him.  I was so scared!!!  Had I given up? 

Josh knew I saw him, and he had to know how it would make me feel.  As far as he was concerned, though, by evening it should all be forgotten. On with more police paperwork. My mind, however, could not get over the $75 in flowers he had bought from her. My rent wasn't paid. Was this his way of showing me that if I got flowers he was going to make sure he bought some too?  He had flowers delivered!  In 8 years of marriage he had never had flowers delivered to me? 

No matter how wonderful she made him feel how could he do this? What happened to his promise to me? It didn't matter if he made the biggest mistake of his life by marrying me; you don't get to change your mind? 

This is why I knew Josh had to get it right with God.  He decided that God didn't matter, so if God didn't matter how can a marriage vow you made to God matter?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 44

Lord, you give me strength and courage to continue in my calling. In 2 Kings, the Shunamite woman wanted a child so deeply, when he died she still declared, "It is well!"  Even in the death of her son, if she could do this then when faced with a dead marriage I can declare, "It is well!"  He was brought back to life again because of the attitude of her heart.  She spoke life into her dead situation. I wanted LIFE in my dead marriage.  

Josh continued to ask for my help in regards to filling out background information for the police job, and it never made sense to me how many things he asked me to do....but with no thanks!  He was so mean-spirited.  You would think he would try to be nice, since he was asking me to do so many things for him.  He only got worse. 

November 7, I could NOT sleep. I spent a lot of the night praying.  Mom overheard Josh blessing Abishai: "You are a man of God, always listen and obey God!"  Wow! God was not letting go of the parts of Josh that were still His.  Josh was horrible to me the day before, so I wonder if he was feeling guilty about it.  The meaner Josh got, the quieter I became.  God was working on me.  What did I contribute in the problems with this marriage?

Had I been too judgemental?
Did I overeat?
Did I have low self-worth?
Did I lack an intimate relationship with God?
Did I have a bad body image?
Did I have uncontrolled spending?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 43

Set Christ before you and motto!

Josh decided to tell me about how this was the "worst time in his life!"  Hey, wait!  The worst time of YOUR life??? You had a choice?  Why don't you change it, then.  He's the only one who can? And he is making his children go through hell, too! 

Sexually deprived, that was his biggest complaint. If everything was fine, well, that he should be having the best time of his life.  You know, it's all lies.  You can't keep up the efforts.  Josh was putting so much time into this  relationship; he would never be able to keep it up.  The last time he had bought me flowers had been years, and he was spending money on "the best!"  He was using a lot of energy on a lie, and he was going to get worn out. I just knew it.  He never wanted to be a part of her whole family; he didn't want her children. He just wanted fun, well, what woman in her right mind wanted THAT kind of man.  She would just have to find that out.....

Josh felt she had his best interests at heart, and he continued to let me know that she was amazing.  I never understood how he respected her? 

I had to focus on TODAY, battle through TODAY, pray through TODAY.  The past questions were really wearing me out. 

Reveal to me in Your Word who You are. Thank you for allowing me to come into Your presence. I am a work in progress, and You are always working on me, if I let You. Change my heart, O God, renew a right spirit in me. Cast me not away, Lord, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. I will praise You, Lord, for You are in control, and You have perfect timing. Lord, keep my mind steadfast on You.  Keep me from being double-minded.  Open the floodgates of heaven over Josh. 

Isaiah 42:16

New International Version

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Lord, please do not forsake my family. Lead us in ways we could not imagine. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 42

Another Sunday! Lord, help!  I am hurting and I need You more today.  Be my husbad; my love; my protector; my friend. 

Josh decided to show up at church, and he was as acold as ever.  He was so shallow and unconfident.  His broad shoulders had sunk.  Dad took him in the office, as a pastor, and talked with him--he didn't respond to anything. 

Lunch at our favorite restaurant had turned extremely awkward. I could not, would not sit with him for lunch.  So, I got a separate table. I definitely wanted the kids to eat with him, so it was fine.  Mom and Dad ate with me, and I just wondered how he must feel?  He appeared embarrased to tell the waitress that we were separate; I wondered if she knew?  I needed to keep my distance from him; I was hurting too much.  He quickly finished lunch, as he was going to her house after. 

A good friend at church had taken an interest in me, and was getting to be a concern.  He was extra nice, and he felt sorry for me.  I enjoyed the compliments, especially the one about looking better after having kids then before.  I would have loved to hear Josh say that and believe he really meant it.  Josh always wanted me skinnier; he was never satified with me.  He wasn't always openly rude, but I could tell.  Once he left, he couldn't have been more hateful about my weight.  He said, "I would have passed you on the street and never given you a second look!"  Ouch!!  How mean!! Remember, though, in order to justify your behavior you HAVE to throw blame on someone else.  Josh grew more and more hateful in his comments. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 41

I tried not to focus on "her," but since we heard from her dad it was hard not to have it send me whirling.  Did he tell her how often he really text me? Was he honest that he had NEVER discussed divorce with ME?  Did he tell her that he was never getting rid of me, ever?  Did she know that he had access to the kids almost anytime he wanted? 

Papa took all of the kids to go get donuts; it was Diego's birthday.  This was the first family function that Josh was not invited, to!  I knew he wasn't happy, but I didn't know if he was mad.  Did he realize how deep the hurt was for people?  We all dealt differently with it, but we ALL hurt. 

Those days made me think and pray him to realize what he was missing.  Did he want to come home but couldn't figure out how or was he still willfully rebellious and not wanting to change at all?  I automatically assumed willful, as he would just get so upset with one more person disapproving of his relationship. He honestly wanted us all to be happy for him. 

People still managed to find ways to let me know that they saw Josh behaving badly.  I never did mention my thoughts to them about WHY they were in the same places, figured God could handle that one.  Apparently Josh made a REAL fool out of himself on his birthday, in fact, people actually got on the phone to call friends to come check out the "pastor!"  He said he didn't care about the shame; it didn't bother him.  Rumors continued to flow.  People calling people to get information. Did Josh leave the church and start his own church?  Did Josh leave his wife because she was horrible?  She was mean, so probably was hard for him.....the lies that flowed from the lips of those who called themselves Christian.  I was broken down more than I could have ever imagined and yet, secure.  God was so good to me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 40

God did things that would I could have NEVER imagined.  Josh's Dad called me because he had received a phone call from the other woman's father?  Yes, her father!!  What grown woman's dad gets in her business, other than mine?  No, really, I was shocked.  Dad met with her father, and he explained that his daughter was raised better than this.  What?  Seriously!  Two people with the same spirits; Satan had made SURE they found each other. God was showing us that he was putting up more and more roadblocks.  God was trying to show Josh he cared, but Josh wasn't seeing it.  If anything, it only caused the rebellion to increase. 

For me, though, it was more confirmation that God was hearing my prayers, that he was NOT letting go!  Even if Josh thinks he is comfortable with his choices, or that his family isn't bugging him, as much!!  God was going to show him that he wasn't ever going to find peace with his decisions. 

Her Dad filled in some blanks for us, and we found that Josh's big scare was that his daughter had been drugged!  UGH!!! What were they doing??  He was so concerned; he took such great care in making sure she was well taken care of.....he just didn't care about the hurt he was causing to me?  I wanted to throw up!  Josh told her parents that he was getting a divorce.  They were not happy to find out that this was NOT the case, because now they felt he lied to them. 

I wondered if he ever told the other woman how often he talked to me? Did he tell her he wants me to be his friend?  Why would he tell her parents that his parents pastored a church? Did he not care that they didn't approve? Did he cringe inside, or did he believe his own lies? Did he want to be called out? Did he want to get caught?

Her Dad called Josh.  Part of me really hoped it would make a "dent" in Josh's head.  BUT, then again, I also knew that unless Josh had a heart change it really didn't matter.  Her dad wanted Dad to talk some sense into him....we had spend 3 months trying to do that; it wasn't going to work.  His was shocked to hear that his own daughter would treat me in the way that she had.  He apologized. 

I prepared my heart to have the circumstances "not" line up with what the Holy Spirit was doing behind the scenes.  Josh was destermined to get a lot of mud in his face.  I could only pray that Josh would realize his soul was being sought after by God--on our behalf. 

Thank you, Lord, for your reassurance that you do go after that one lost sheep. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 39

Satan wanted Josh deceived, so he felt GREAT! He got support from perfect strangers. People who had nothing invested in him. To say I didn't want him feeling miserable would be a lie; I had those days, and I hated it.   

I had mixed feelings on Josh getting this police job, but I never wanted him to blame me for not getting the job.  I, of course, wanted him to do something he loved.  He was just confused on what that was; I don't think he knew what he loved.  Struggling with how things would be when he came home seemed like something to keep my mind occupied; did I want him landscaping? Was it safe to have that much free time?  BUT was he a fit for a job that should be someone with integrity?  The investigator never did call me back. He was fine with my explanation that I would rather NOT be invovled unless absolutely necessary. I wanted them to make there decision aside from my comments.  I didn't know this man.  He didn't care about anything but himself.

It was almost three months; the kids and I felt like it was forever.  They did still hope that "tomorrow" would be "the day!"   BUT they also lived for their next dinner with Daddy. 

The kids needed some clothes and shoes, and I needed to get dog food. My $100 a week was not covering everything, so I called Josh.  He gave me the credit card he got; yes, the card that he used to pay for his liefestyle.  I bought the kids some winter pajamas, as the house WAS a bit chilly. BUT I wasn't about to admit it.  When I returned the card I remembered to thank him and appreciate his hard work on providing for his family.  Ohh, was that EVER hard. I just wanted to scream.  BUT I needed to appreciate the good qualities, and this WAS one of them.  I think it through him off guard.  He slipped as we said good-bye...."I'll see you later, when I get off!"  He looked at me and said, "I guess I'll talk to you later!"   His eyes told a different story for a moment!  He DID feel something. God WAS working; it might have only been for an instant.  God let me see it!

This situation was impossible to man, but it was impossible 12 weeks ago, too! So, it's still impossible.  NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!!  The more hopeless things felt the more I knew that God was right there. 

After that slip it caused my mind to whirl....does Josh think life is good for us?  Does he think we are okay without him?  Does he realize that a kiss over the phone for the kids might be enough to make him happy, but they are hurt?  Does he want to fix this? Is he too pridefuly to come back right now or is he still having more "fun" sinning and hurting his family? 

Those thoughts would overwhelm me and God would remind me that even the little things would bring "home" back to Josh's memory.  Any form he would fill out in the future would bring his family back to his mind.  If I remained calm in God, then he would only have good things to think about. I would NOT give him anything to justify his behavior.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 38

I continued to learn how to stay in God's presence once it had been "ushered" in, not just be satisfies that his presence showed up but really resting in WHO He is.  I saw Josh tonight; he was parking in front of "her" house!  It was Halloween.  It was hard; it was the first time I had seen him there. It's hard being faced with it, even when you know it happens.  He mentioned being broken-hearted over his decisions.  How did I not see it? It didn't seem that way to me? Was he getting closer or was it the "God-part" that was still alive?   He celebrated Halloween....I was so upset! Why? I have no cheat on your wife; you sleep with another man's big of a deal is celebrating Halloween?  I would try to put it all into perspective. 

A hungry hear inside a man with an unbowed head (mind) and an unbroken (unsubmitted) will is recipe for misery. 

He HAD to be miserable.  My Dad would remind me that no matter how much Josh did in the world he KNEW what was right. My Dad said Josh was definitely miserable.  I remember the day I shared with my Dad what was going on; it took me a long time. I didn't want to face my childhood hurts, and I knew when I told my dad it would be brought up.  Josh was acting EXACTLY like my dad.  I had to wait until I could handle my own emotions.  When I was ready it was the best timing. It was God's timing. Emotionally I was better able to share my story, and I talked for over an hour. My Dad was comforting, and he was ready and willing to be where I needed him.  I didn't want him to come, but I really feel that he helped me understand that Josh was NOT happy, no matter how many lies he might tell. 

On the rare occasion that he didn't talk to the children he would get really upset and accuse me of keeping them from him.  I am not sure he realized the amount of work that I had to do to keep their hopes alive and I was the one who prayed over their attitudes towards him, when they were mad.  It was a handful of time that he didn't get to talk with them, and that day he SAW them.  I refused to engage him in a fight over it.  The more I backed down from him, the more irritated he got.

He was not happy about not knowing every detail of our lives. Going out with four children didn't seem to keep me at home all of the time, like he assumed.  I could have fun and have friends without him.  I got flowers from someone and he didn't know who gave them to me. He was visibly upset. 

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 37

The day for Josh's police interview had arrived.  I know it's exciting for him. I wonder if he has the support he wants?  Maybe he felt he had everything he needed?  I prayed he did well? 

Sometimes I wanted to say the kids could not go to dinner with him, but I couldn't bear to see them hurt.  If he had time, I wanted them to go!   Josh was so self-centered; how did someone who cared so much get so selfish.  I did have to e-mail him and tell him he was NOT allowed to drink and then drive the children. If he was out with them, he could NOT drink.  AND if he did, then I could pick them up.  I didn't make demands on him for my sake, but I could not be responsible for his feelings being above the lives and safety of the children. I would be "happy" to drive them to wherever he wanted to eat. 

Dad talked to Josh every so often; he never changed. He always tried to convince Josh to come home.  I understood him wanting to do what he did--it's him.  I do wish it worked!

Josh always thought taking the kids to dinner once a week would help them not be sad. I really wondered if they would ever be happy?  Jael realized that Halloween was coming up soon, and she asked if he would be celebrating.  Of course, he lied to her. BUT how could I tell her that? 

She prayed for him, and so did Abishai. Abishai added to his normal prayer of "holding Daddy's hand tight" prayer.........a "bring Daddy home and shut the door tight!"  I loved listening to their prayers!  Such faith and boldness! 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 36

My first Sunday alone with the four children was emotional but God got me through.  I was no longer "Lady Serena," and I felt so lonely.  Dealing with friends was never easy. Everyone saw me as so strong, but my heart ached.  Josh said only Christians judged, but it seemed to me that non-Christians did, too! In fact, they had little respect for him.  How could I keep people from hating him?  I didn't want this! 

Josh's lifestyle was affecting everything around me. He called to warn me about a "scare" he had, making sure I was safe.  Did he really want me out there alone?  He wanted to make sure I knew I could call him if I needed help?  Why did he assume I went out anyway?  Did he really think I was lowering my standards to his?  Did he want me to be like him? Maybe he just wanted justification?  I didn't tell him where I was when he called or how often? I think it bothered him that I wasn't pregnant anymore.....and looking good! 

I didn't preach at him anymore, so maybe he thought my opinions were changing?  He liked dancing and drinking and staying out late.  Did I think all of those things were wrong? No, but his choices made them wrong! 

I was looking "hot!"  AND my husband was missing out! I was not going to put myself out there, but Josh has to know that he had left me out there to be approached.  He was one UNHAPPY guy when he found out I was approached!!

The church decided to have a staff meeting, and I was included. Jael was so excited, because she thought Josh might go.  It never made sense when the kids would think those things, but I reminded myself that I must be doing a good job protecting them from how bad things were with Josh.  They called him for their blessing and asked when they could eat dinner with him again.  She started crying and Josh got mad at her. He told her top stop crying, that he wasn't coming home. She tried, and then she told him she understood that he couldn't talk for long.  She acted so grown up, not wanting him to be upset with her about her crying.  I cried.  As soon as she hung up the phone she started bawling.  I held her for a long time.  She said, "I guess all I can do is pray!"  "I guess so!" 

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 35

Josh had not given up on applying for the police position in our town, so the police were checking his background.  I was so torn on what to say. I wanted God's best for josh, and I do not want to be in the way. Maybe I wouldn't have to say anything.  I really prayed that if they called I would be able to hear God speak to me about what to say. 

Levi was over a week old now, and Josh didn't ask about him at all.  He did want to know how I make dump cake though?  He wanted to tell "someone" how to make it, since he wanted some.  Was  that like...I can have all my favorite thing, and I don't need you to do it for me?  Very hard that he enjoyed hurting my feelings whenever he pleased? He gave no thought at all to how I felt. 

Ezekiel's 2nd birthday was spent as a family. Josh wanted to go to Big Bubba's, and he wanted ALL OF US to go.  I barely looked at him, but may I say......I was looking GOOD!  Yes, Levi was only 9 days old, but I looked VERY nice.  Josh's mom was more and more frustrated. She wanted it to be done.  Didn't we all? Everyone's emotions ranged from passivity to anger.  Josh ordered a Margarita for dinner.  That was hard for me, as I knew he was going out later.  He seemed to feel no pain?

When I wanted him to feel lonely or hurt I realized I wanted him to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not the holiday or loneliness to change him.  The farther he gets from God--the more cold he seems to get towards all of us.  It's been over two months since he has played music.

My prayer was for me:

Cleanse me, Lord, from my doubt and unbelief.  You have promised me in Your Word that anything I ask, according to Your will You would do it.  I ask You, Lord, to heal the wounds that have been caused by this tragedy.  I ask You, Lord, to send Your Holy Spirit to minister to my heart.  Please give the children an extra measure of Your love. Please cover Levi with a blanket of love, knowing the he starts his life with You as His Father; I find comfort in that.  Lord, You will bring Josh home in Your timing.  Your Holy Spirit will bring brokenness and repentance.  Josh will come to his senses and ask for Your help--taking back control from the devil.  Be with us tonight, Lord, comforting and teaching me how to stand in You, alone. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 34

The next day Jael woke up crying; she had a bad dream. Daddy always prayed with her and helped her stop crying.  Her dream was about Josh; he was playing with her and they were having fun together, and he dropped her off at home. He never came back! She said she has it all the time.  Josh wasn't a Daddy anymore; he was her father. BIG DIFFERENCE! 

This was not a good start to my emotional day, but I had to keep it together.  Levi was getting circumcised.  Josh never mentioned it; he never called. He never said a word.  Did he forget?  He wasn't around for Ezekiel's either, but he at least prayed over him and blessed him.  Nothing this time.....was it a gradual decline I had not seen coming?  Had everything else come before family?  His business and making money was more important? Dad blessed him, and he prayed over him.  It was sweet, but it was just not the same.  Levi was so calm, and I know God's peace was upon him. 

At his circumcision he started to cry and the doctor said, "I'm sorry!"  He immediately stopped crying. I said, "That's all he wanted!"  The doctor said, "Yes, we could all learn to say I'm sorry more often!"  I almost burst out into tears; why did everything hurt? I only wanted, "I'm sorry!"

Another Intermission

As I have read over so many of these posts I have noticed so many little things that I left out. Oh, some things just break my heart.  Others....well, I know they are worth mentioning. 

I can't imagine where I would have been without the love and support of so many of my friends and family.  Although we didn't always see eye to eye on things, I knew that they would support ME. 

Some people were angry, some just hurt, some furious, some quiet. The range of emotions from everyone described my daily range of feelings. 

Grandma and Janice (Josh's aunt) would give me some cash after church on Sunday to go out to eat. They did that a few times, just to help out. 

Sarah, you took the whole first weekend to sit and listen to me cry. I remember telling you, "YOU TOLD ME HE WAS STUPID!"  You replied, "Yeah, but not THIS stupid!"  Sarah, you, hurt so badly, and I tried to shield you from some things, really, I did!   BUT it wasn't always easy.  I know you are reading this, and I love you......thank you for your support with loving the kids.  You often took their mind off of the present circumstances.  Thanks for helping me think of names for Levi....and getting the ball rolling on WHY that was a good name to pick.  BUT most of all, I know underneath all of the hurt and anger was a prayer warrior, who I have NO doubt helped bring her brother home. were a rock!
Gana...thanks for protecting me in your prayers and suggestions.

Daja, you bore your brother's shame.  What more could I ask for?  I know you prayed and cryed out, and the forgiveness just flowed from you.  Many times you encouraged me not to take the blame for everything. Thank you!

Mom (in love), you listened to me cry SO many times.....I am sure we lost count.  I knew I could share things with you that I couldn't tell my mom.  He was your son, so I knew you would ALWAYS love him.  Thanks for listening and crying out on behalf of our family.

Dad (in love), thanks for taking care of your little girl. AND crying with me!!  I will always think of you when I see 2:10 to Yuma.  I always knew you had my back; I just needed to say the word. I know you prayed; thank you!

Mom (Newhope4Josh), you accepted Josh even when he was not easy to accept. He broke promises to you, that I know were hard. I know you had to live through some painful memories of your own, watching Josh act the way he did.  Thank you for supporting me, even when I knew that sometimes it was JUST FOR ME!!  In the end, you only grew stronger....and I watched the fight for my marriage take HOLD in you!!

Dad, I can't explain how hard it was to share with you what I was going through, as it brought up pain from the past.  BUT you helped keep so many things in perspective, and you reminded me that a MAN OF GOD (such as Josh) would NOT EVER feel at peace unless he gave into God.  Thank you!

Cara, thank you for your friendship. I feel we became friends through this time. Love ya.....thanks for keeping up with my story and always checking to see if I am doing well! 

Okay, so.....that was the basic immediate family.  BUT for all of you who have played a part in our story. THANK YOU.  When I write, I never mean to make light of how much it meant to me.  So many of you did SO much.   I could take a LONG time here and write out EACH person.....because I do know who you are.

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 33

Proverbs 23:17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.  Reveal to Josh a renewed fear and reverance of the Lord.  Reveal to him his errors, and take him out of darkness.  When he chooses to serve You with his whole heart and walks and worlds out his love for You--may he receive the desires of his heart. Help him to realize that promises from You have conditions and that unless he is willing to meet them--You are just and unable to meet his requests.

Every day that Josh spent at the house was more and more difficult for the children. Of course, he left during the day to go to lunch.  AND then he came back?  I am amazed that I stayed so calm.  The kids missed him so much, each day he left they would watch him leave and then run to our bedroom window and watch until they couldn't see his car anymore. 

Some days he barely spoke to him; he just sat on the couch.  We pretty much just stared at each other.  He was so hateful and wicked. He was so offended by how others treated him, yet he didn't care about how he treated people. 

When he was gone for the afternoon I decided to start praying death to his relationship.  I spoke life into her marriage, and her children. Her children needed their father as much as mine needed theirs.  Satan could not work in her life, and I prayed a release of the Holy Spirit into her life.  May the seeds of Christ be watered, and her eyes opened. 

I had to ask Grandma to come over to the house and check out a big bruise I had from my surgery. I was a bit concerned that I had done too much. Just because Josh was at the house for a few hours a day did not mean he did everything.  I didn't know how to have him around, helping me?  I was getting up numerous times in the middle of the night; I needed help.  BUT I was still so uneasy to ask for it, especially from Josh.  I was bleeding a lot, too! I then had a bloody nose!  Was I just exhausted?  I never did go get checked out, but I seemed to be okay. 

Josh spent a lot of time on the phone that week, which was so uncomfortable. He really had NO feelings about how he made me feel. He was cold, and I had to seek God's face.  I wanted God's timing on this whole thing, but I did wish His timing WAS my timing. 

The conversations we had were not what I expected, but I just asked God to tell me what to do. Most of the time that meant I listened. Josh shared with me how fun the night life was, and that friends in the world are so nice. They buy you drinks, then you buy them drinks. It's just so "fun!"  It's not even expensive, he says! Hmmm! 

Josh's last day was tough on the kids. They knew the next time he would come over would be for Ezekiel's 2nd birthday party.  He wanted to know if Ezekiel needed anything. He wanted to know if he was interested in anything or had seen anything he wanted--so sad.  He seemed to content, and it made me so sad to see him this he was happy.  Was he happy? 

The day he left Levi rolled over for the first time.  I cried.....he would miss so many things.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 32

I went home from the hospital in less than two days. Josh's family had the children, and I was so anxious to see them.  The church was having their monthly family movie night.  We decided to stop there first, to watch the movie.  When I arrived Josh happened to be there.  He informed me that he wasn't staying for the whole thing; he had plans.  I couldn't do it. I was screaming inside, so I walked out.  I was an emotional wreck, to say the least. I felt like I was at square one on the outside.  Barely keeping it together seemed to be how I felt with all of those pregnancy hormones added to my already frazzled feelings.

Friends called me to let me know that they saw Josh.  They wanted to know if I knew what was going on, and if I knew that people saw "them" together!  It got very difficult the more time that passed. Josh made things so public. I was so afraid of the kids finding out.

Josh coming to the house to help was so wrong?  He had written my mom an e-mail right after Levi was born, stating that we all needed to accept that he would never return home as my husband.  He said he needed to receive from God what he asked for years ago.  He had no feelings for me anymore, because he checked. He "tested" to see if he had any feelings while I was at the hospital.  Oh, yeah, the hospital that I gave birth to HIS son in, the one I puked my guts out in.  Yeah, that's a great place to see if you have feelings for someone.  It was so childish to read his thoughts.

I wore Josh's wedding ring around my neck, because one day he came by the house and gave it to me. He wanted me to know he wasn't coming home, so I could have it.  I wanted so badly to take it off. He knew I wore it.  Did he deserve to know I still cared? Yes, if I was going to remain soft!  Those few weeks after birth are always tough emotionally, so I just had to remain calm on the outside. Ask God to guard my words.

Lord, please help me to feel the pain and keep the right attitude. If I hurt, I know that bitterness is not taking root. I am not getting too cold. You are my Comforter. Keep resentment and bitterness far from me--for it's so easy to slip into the flesh and feel that this is going to be "forever!"  I stand on Your promises.  You are working on my behalf, even when I don't feel it or see it!

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 31

October 18, 2007, what a day!  I had to take Jael to get an x-ray of her finger. Tio and Titi had a small accident with my baby girl. Her finger had gotten smashed in the car door.  We all went for an adjustment, and then Tio got us an appointment to x-ray her finger. Titi felt so badly, and I figure it could happen to anyone.  I was thrilled to have so much family always willing to help and watch the kids, whenever. 

I cried! I couldn't go in with her.  She was only 5, and I knew she wouldn't remember. BUT I was hurting, so badly, inside.  I sent her on her way.  Being pregnant, I had to sit in the lobby with the boys.

Dinner was amazing that night. I wanted to celebrate. We went to Chili's, because I knew that this would probably be the last time before the baby came that we could all go out! I had to leave all of the kids at the table so I could use the restroom. I was so nervous leaving them all alone. BUT contractions were making me VERY uncomfortable.  Tio's adjustment was really working.

I went to church, and paced in the back almost the whole service.  Josh kept texting to see if I was o.k.  Of course, I was mildly irritated.  Forgive me, but it was a bit difficult to be thinking about the future without my husband.  He informed me of his whereabouts. Are you serious???? You REALLY thought I needed to know WHERE you were?  You REALLY thought that I should KNOW you were at a romantic spot...a spot that for the past 7 years I have ASKED to be taken?  Are you serious?  Okay, STAY CALM!! I can do this!! I REFUSE to allow Satan any victory in the birth of our baby.

A lot of prayer went into this baby's life, and I was going to find joy in every minute of it.  After church was over my contractions were pretty close together, so Josh came to the church.  He said he felt obligated to make sure I was okay. Uh, you think?  We stayed at Josh's parents house, because I was not going to be alone with him at the moment. Mom and Dad could take me the hospital; I couldn't deal with it any other way.

I kept holding off going to the hospital, waiting for people to arrive. My mom was on her way. Daja was on her way.  People were going to be around me, and I couldn't have been more thrilled.  We stopped at Tio's house on the way to the hospital to get another adjustment.  Josh was so irritated that I was taking my time.  He didn't want anything to happen to me.  Yes, that WOULD have made life a bit complicated for him, if something happened to him.  I got to the hospital in the early morning, maybe 2 am?   Dr. Monroy wasn't exactly thrilled that I had canceled both scheduled c-sections.

I, on the other hand, couldn't have been more thrilled about having my best pregnancy ever!!!  Levi was born at 5:16 am.  He was a joy!  Josh was in the room, and to say it was awkward would be putting it lightly.  I don't even know how to describe how hard that was for me. So, I won't even attempt it.

My mom stayed with me almost the entire time.  Josh was irritated about that, since he had rented a movie and bought candy for us to watch a movie together?  What? A movie together?  Had we EVER done that after the birth of our children?  Uh, no! Actually, we were so exhausted from it that we usually slept.  He was so mad!!!  He offered my mom a cookie, and she refused. That made him mad, too! Wow, we just could NOT get it right with him?  I guess we owed him something?  I threw up almost immediately after giving birth, and that continued for almost 14 hours. I was exhausted and feeling horrible. I could not wait to go home.

I knew my emotional roller coaster was not done yet.....Josh had decided to take the week off work--to help me! What? Yeah, that's what I said!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 30

Remember that double-minded thing I was telling you about?  Well, Josh informed me that he never fought! What? You NEVER fought?  Thought you said you tried and tried to stop yourself and God never helped? Which was it? You did or you didn't?  See the lies?  Can you believe a double-minded man? 

The world offers nothing but a spot in hell. At the least....with serving God....he offers a reward for the faithful. Satan definitely has a way with discouragement and making his lies seem like truth.  He mentioned never being happy. He was never happy in our marriage or family. I cannot imagine how the children would have felt hearing him say that! But, of course, Satan uses our mouths, and he was definitely using Josh's.  BUT, by this time, it may have stung, but I was more quickly remembering that they were ALL lies.  Plus, he was beginning to feel like he had not hurt me "that badly!"  He said that since I am so strong I can take the truth. 

The baby's birth was coming soon.....Josh wanted a birth plan. I guess, apparently, my plans had changed over the last three births.  Honestly, I was surprised. I am sure it was his way of "caring!"  I mean, he WAS trying to impress the "other woman."  She felt sorry for me, so he needed to show he cared. He really was taking an interest. Sadly, more than he had most any other pregnancy.  I tried not to focus on that, but the calls 3-4 times a day to "check" on me were excessive for him.  He never showed an interest.  I guess he was scared I might not tell him?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 29

God promised Josh a "way of escape,"  but he had no intention of taking it. In fact, he whined all the more about how God never helped him.  Josh felt God owed him a magic fix. If he was going to be a pastor for 7 years, then God owed him an easy answer?  Didn't know what else to say...other than....nope, doesn't work that way.

He complained about having to get married so young. He never had a chance to "sow his oats!"  Hmmm, who was youngest?  Oh, yeah, that was ME!  I gave him EVERYTHING.  I went to the movies for the first time without my mother, AFTER we were married.  I got married out of home-school!  Anyway, keeping it in check! Watching my sarcasm.  See, I told you; I was NOT perfect. 

I tried not to think of the details of Josh's infidelity. I tried not to get judgmental.  It just never seemed that he even TRIED for my sake?  He didn't want help badly enough and he still doesn't.  He never shared his struggles with anyone, even when they asked.  Fine, he didn't care about himself. Why didn't he care enough about the kids and me?

To lie to yourself and believe these women really cared was foolish.  In the face of horrible circumstances, such as this, God STILL has Josh's best interests.  Now, that's love!  With his attitude as it was I knew I had made a decision he could come home, but he was still so angry and unrepentant.  He was bitter!

Josh was a little boy who really wanted love and support, but he was using sex and alcohol to cover it up.  He may have thought he was getting what he wanted.  Satan made sure he remembered ever little hurt from childhood.  Most children would die to receive the love and care that Josh received.  BUT he didn't see it that way.  Josh was always trying to convince me that his "woman" was the best thing that ever happened to him. She was the only one who cared, and that she wanted him to pursue his dreams. None of us ever let him do what he wanted.  He told me I should be happy for him. (can you say, sick?)

Satan had taken him captive, but the Lord says he is loosing the captives. Josh went willingly, but PRODIGALS DO COME HOME!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration-Part 28

Josh called to check up on us, but I was emotionally spent. It seemed that when I would put a lot out and get busy I would be utterly exhausted. If I didn't have time to get in the Word it would make things even worse.  I wanted to give Josh a piece of my mind. So, please, do not think that it never crossed my mind. Oh, it did! I was always keeping myself in check. 

I was beginning to feel the stress of finances. My rent had not been paid in two months, but Josh was definitely able to fund his "outings!" Oh, and HIS rent.  I mean.....he did have to have a place to sleep.  Oh, did I mention that he bought furniture for his room and a BRAND NEW MATTRESS.  You see, this was hurtful! I had never had a real mattress. We never had the money for that, so we never got one.  We always had  hand-me-downs.  UGH! The money that was spent during this time was sinful on it's own.  Josh would often bring up my spending having been a problem over the years.  Do I like to shop? Yes!  BUT it was so hard to listen to him talking all about my problems and see him spending money like nobody's business.  I just kept quiet. I cried my tears. 

I refused to be average.  I have felt that I was always strong, but there is such a difference in standing strong and fighting a battle.  My strength was continually drained.      The realization of a "daily walk" had never been more evident in my life.  The foundation of so many things I believe seemed so irrelevant.  If you have convictions you better make sure they are convictions God has called you to, or else!

Josh and I have always said God would plan our family size; we would give it ALL to Him.  When I would think of my children during this time it was hard not to go back to this thought.  I felt such pain and responsibility for bringing four children into the world, that were not experiencing God's best for their lives.  This was NOT God's best.  What parts did I play in not providing.  I have to even more, live daily for God or I will not be giving them God's best in this situation either.  What a burden to bear! I cast all of my cares upon You.  I cannot do this alone.  Speak to me, Lord, in what you would have me to do.

October 15, 2007, I struggled with these feelings:

I knew he was coming home, because I stand for marriage.  BUT do I want him to come home? I wanted help but as time moves on I won't be 9 months pregnant.  I knew God and I could handle it.  I knew that I would be okay. I worried about becoming bitter, so often. I would ask the Lord to break me.  I didn't want to become so independent that I didn't care. I worried that I could stand for my vow, stand for never getting married. BUT could I forgive Josh fully and love him again?  Can I accept why he is, if he NEVER changes? What he did to me?

For Josh:

When will you be so sick of yourself that you will wrestle with your destiny, until you have been touched by God? When? Is this you?  May you have a heart of Jacob to wrestle with God.  Don't give up your destiny! I realize you have had a hunger and thirst.  Use what fight you have left to get what you want, do not give up!  Give Josh and eternal change of heart.  Change his heart, O God!  Change his path to one of holiness.  Touch him with Your he will go Your way. 

I cried out time after time for Josh's heart.  He needed a new one and each day he grew colder and colder.  Each day he removed himself more from God's love.