Day 22: What happens when hope and despair co-exist

First of all can I say thank you so much to all of you for reading this series and encouraging me with your comments and visits to this page. I began this series thinking it would be mostly for my own benefit, little did I realise how many others would read it, and I still pray that God would use my story of brokeness, mess, redemption and hope to demonstrate to others that we are utterly loved always. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.

I am writing about past events and emotions at the moment, but it’s true that some of the emotions and struggles remain part of my current reality too. I was speaking with a friend yesterday about the co-existence in our lives of things which are seemingly opposed to one another. We are good and bad. We are strong and weak. We are decisive and confused (or confusing). We are hopeful and desolate. I could go on. One of the things I have learned in this period of marriage restoration is to accept the dichotomies. This has been really hard as I like to know that something is one thing or the other; but that approach leaves me in a tangle as life is never neatly divided in that way.

Today I want to tell you about a day, a few weeks after the poetry writing weekend, when I was struggling with the clash of uncertainty and hope. It was our wedding anniversary. Most of our wedding anniversaries (and we are approaching the end of our second decade of marriage so there have been a few) had gone entirely unmarked by my husband. Needless to say I was carrying huge amounts of hurt from all the uncelebrated occasions. My husband was doing all he could to work towards restoration of our marriage and so he had made plans for us to have a night away. He had arranged for the care of our children and booked a hotel.

I wrote in my journal ‘I’m scared’. I had completely mixed emotions and that was the cause of my fear. I was going away with my husband to ‘celebrate’ our marriage, and yet I didn’t really even want to be married. I wanted to go away and do the things he’d planned, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do them with him. I was frightened of my enjoyment of things being taken for a whole hearted 100% re-commitment to our relationship and an indication that all was now well.

On the morning we were due to go away I was writing in my journal when a verse from a friend arrived by text;

“ My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.” Psalm 72 v 6.

I texted my friend to thank her and she responded immediately with surprise as she had sent the text about 10 days beforehand. I didn’t need it ten days beforehand. I needed it at the moment it arrived.

I realised an important lesson that morning as I thought about the verse. Yes, relationally things were really difficult, but things were not ‘either or’. My heart and flesh could fail and God would still be good and giving me strength. I was being told that these contradictions would be part of my life.

With that in mind I remembered something another friend had sent to me a few days earlier. Someone else who’d lived through mess and understood the co-existence of uncertainty and commitment, pain and joy, hope and despair. He told me to do this…

“Count your blessings. Discover fun. Feed the body. Nurture the soul. Share your pain. Wonder at beauty. Explore your questions. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.”

Co-existence. Lights in the darkness.

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24 thoughts on “Day 22: What happens when hope and despair co-exist

  1. First off, to have friends that can offer such hope and wisdom in times of hurt, uncertainty, etc. What a blessing! Secondly, I think this dichotomy of feelings, realities, etc, is the nature of this world because of the sinful nature of humans. What an exquisite way to write about it, though. Thank you for your words this morning!

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  2. I am such an all or nothing person … and sometimes put pressure on my husband, family and friends. This is a great reminder that two opposite things can exist and I can still be okay.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

    31 dayer

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    1. Glenda thank you for visiting. Being an all or nothing person is great ( I am definitely one of those people) but really challenging for our families. I am learning to allow there to be many different things co-existing. I appreciate your encouragement.

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  3. Sometimes it is really hard when you get married have children, the quality time for each other are already lessen compared to those times it was just the two of you. Since marriage requires building up financially and people get physically tired though. If we see that there are no third parties, patience must always be a virtue here.

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  4. I’m so glad you’ve shared your hurts and pain with us all. I have learned so much from you, so so much. Thank you for being a girl with guts for surely its taken huge guts to get this all onto paper and in such a public manner. Bless you.

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    1. Oh Ali, I wish we could sit and have a coffee together, but as we can’t I appreciate you talking to me every day with your comments 🙂 I needed to remember tonight that this has been brave and courageous – your timing was great.

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  5. Yes! I am writing about joy and I keep going back and forth between recognizing all my blessings and hearing all of my complaining. There are times that I struggle with things but I still continue to have joy. I haven’t read your story so I’ll have to go back and read previous posts. Hang in there and I’m glad that you are feeling hope and knowing that God is faithful.

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  6. That is really cool about how God used that text and verse. Your story/testimony is very powerful. I am glad you were able to open up through blogging and I hope that you continue to find healing as you go further in this journey.

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  7. I’m so glad to journey with you on this journey. I’m sure it was so hard for you to agree to go away with your husband. That text from your friend came at the right time. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit surprises us! Thank you for continuing to share your story with us.

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  8. I’m in the middle of tons of ambivalence in my own marriage. We are working hard to address my husband’s addiction to porn and my own codependency – 10.5 years into our marriage. I am both in love with him and disgusted with him at the same time. I am finally being honest about my feelings. We are hurting. But I know that in the truth there is light. God is bringing light into the darkness – and as my reading in Ephesians last week said, “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” (5:13)

    With your blog you are bringing to light what could continue to hide in darkness. I have not read the whole thing, but I have read a lot. Thank you for speaking the truth. It is light.

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    1. Leah much love to you. That sounds really hard. Being honest is hard. Truth is immensely hard but does bring light into the situation. I would rather be in bright light that hurts my eyes, than hidden away, being dishonest with myself or others. You are so brave to own these feelings. The contradictions seem impossible to hold together but i understand. For myself at the moment it’s ‘I love you but I find you really, really difficult to relate to’. Not easy, but true and I have hope that from that place we can keep working at this together. I’m praying for you this morning, and i really hope you’ll keep in touch. x

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  9. “I was frightened of my enjoyment of things being taken for a whole hearted 100% re-commitment to our relationship and an indication that all was now well.”
    I know how that feels! The first steps back together are so hard. It is encouraging to read how you are facing every hurdle with both fear and trust.

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