A few months after I began this blog, SJ asked for the web address so he could read it. I had already posted Our Story, and written a good half-dozen posts.
A little bit of history. I have been writing a LONG time. And I write LONG things. It’s often overwhelming to some people (my husband in particular). SJ reads them quickly (he says, “I was there, I know what happened…”). When the things I write involve him, he gets a little vexed. Well, perhaps that’s too strong a word. He is uncomfortable.
To write about my life, I will write about him: he’s an integral part of it. And he and I have walked this journey and story together for the past 24 years. He’s a main character in the story. But, I write from my point of view.
So when he sat down to digest what I’ve written to date–all in one (quick) sitting– I think it gave him severe heartburn. It overwhelmed him, my brutal honesty and my willingness to open up. And, well, it made him REALLY uncomfortable. I could see by his face he wasn’t happy.
This made me sad. I tried again to explain to SJ my desires to share a story and a journey that might help others. That, in the past during anonymous blogging, it DID help others. I truly felt that God has been leading me in this direction, to lose my fear and to use the gift he gave me for words to glorify him by using our story to help heal and strengthen marriages and address some uncomfortable truths and questions.
And, well, I reminded him about my passion to write, my need to spin stories. I need to write almost like I need to breath.
Struggling with a battle between my passion for writing, and my submission to my husband, I was able to dredge up a modicum of surrender. “Obviously, I can’t continue to do something that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable. I understand that.” I was praying while I said this that he wouldn’t tell me to stop blogging, and very near tears at the thought of it. “Maybe I can give you editorial power over what I post?” He listened to my thoughts and suggestions, but didn’t seem any happier.
I then took a DEEP breath, and suggested that we table our discussion, that perhaps he go back and re-read a bit more slowly, and when he was ready, he could get back to me on exactly what made him uncomfortable. I think it was a wise move to quell both of our passionate responses on the matter, to give it a little time and perspective.
Since that first discussion with my husband, I feel God has clearly placed even MORE signs along my path that I should be writing this blog: that he has equipped me to do a great work and this is it. I attended a conference and heard a very prominent evangelist/preacher this week, who told us that God guides you to your purpose to be used by him through your passion, experiences, and the highway of your personality. He drew an analogy of the crippled/bent woman in Luke 13… who after meeting Jesus, stood up, and shook up the crowd who witnessed this. He told us that sometimes we need to be willing to stand up, and risk shaking others up. Another speaker had us turn to our neighbor and tell them a dream we had to be used by God. I said mine was to use my passion and gift to write to help other women find God’s love in their marriages. The speaker then told us to share why we don’t do it. The answer is fear.
And I realized: I’m no longer afraid. And I need to let God use me in this to show him to others.
Well, I was shook up. I was praying to God– “How can I explain this calling I feel to my husband? Convince him? How can I do what I feel called to do and STILL honor my husband?”
SJ is a reasonable and fair man. He loves me and he wants me to have the desires of my heart. He is proud of me, and he tells me how smart and beautiful and what a great writer I am. He’s come to understand this passion I have. He doesn’t want me to be sad. He doesn’t want to despotically rule over me or squash my passion. His goal is to protect me/us. I know all this.
After this barrage of “messages” I was getting, I approached him again, re-explaining my purpose and the calling I feel.
He isn’t ready to have us be identified, IRL (in real life). He doesn’t want his vulnerabilities exposed (and what right do I have to do that on his behalf?) He doesn’t want pictures of us (“why do they need to know what we look like?”). He is a strong believer of leaving the past behind you and not dredging it up, to just “be happy” and move forward. And I accept that and will honor that. Even though I am ready to just be me, and I’ve lost the fear of being authentically me in this medium… even though I believe that learning from the past helps our future decisions… and maybe the future of others… I can’t project that on him or demand it of him.
And my story isn’t real without him.
I (once again) asked him to read and edit what I write so that he is comfortable. I asked him to reconsider my request to contribute his views periodically (he’s mentioned he doesn’t always agree with my take on a situation). He demurs saying he doesn’t feel he’s a good writer. I’ve promised to send him a few blogs where both husband and wife are contributing. I explained how much I would love this for us.
So I’m still here. I can still write, trying hard to submit as I tell my story. Trying hard to honor my husband AND the calling I feel. I (personally) am ready to just reveal it all, good, bad and ugly. I don’t care if you know me. I care that God knows me and loves me and redeems me. This is my story, and I must share it while glorifying God. It already has set me free, and I hope that it will do the same for others.
But I am not a “me,” I am part of an “us.”
Thanks for your continued prayers for us, and this endeavor I so dearly want to pursue!