Wednesday, February 24, 2016


There's this Smalltown Poets song called 'Trust' that I liked when I was about ten, and just remembered a few months ago. I still like it, and I keep unconsciously singing it.

It quotes an old gospel song that goes:

"Come, every soul by sin oppressed;
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word."

 - John Stockton

And every time I get all overwhelmed and smack into that brick wall, I remind myself, "It's going to take some trust".


 I can’t say how thankful I am for the women who have gone through awful trials and pain, and have written down their stories. Especially those who have blessed God through all of the hardship, and offer advice and a friendly hand up to those who are still pushing through. Ditto for those who’ve fought through addiction and temptation, and have shared their deepest struggles.

I’ve just been handed such a refreshing bit of understanding and encouragement from a woman just a few steps further along the road than I am. Currently engaged, but she knew about her guy’s addiction before dating him. And even so, I’m not going through as much awfulness as she is, because SM is already in recovery, and was when he told me about this. And I keep coming to the “why oh lord such love to me?” point.

She said not to get too mommy-ish over it, and try taking control, but to ask all my questions without fear. And to keep looking to God, and not to be co-dependent on SM. And to make sure I really truly feel at peace with the whole situation.

She put it in a much nicer way than I am, of course. And offered some very very comforting sympathy with my situation.

And somebody else, though not in reply to me, highlighted the importance of being unconditional. Either you can handle it and you need to commit fully, or you can’t, and you need to not even begin.  She said how important is to love him for the good in him; she also gave made an excellent differentiation between dreamy in-love-ness, and real sacrificial sweat-and-tears love.

Isn’t that just the best ever?

The same page

We are agreed when it comes to boundaries, and how important they are.  I think they are at pretty much the same level too; I might reach my boundaries a tiny bit before he reaches his, but that could be circumstantial. Yes, it probably is. So they are about the same.

I do think however that we have different views of mental and emotional boundaries. I probably worry more about keeping our thoughts on good safe topics, and he is mostly focusing on whether we are going too far physically. I’m not sure I can describe the difference there fluently enough, but it is a difference. One Sunday, when we were in church, my defenses must have been down, and I was having a hard time keeping my thoughts on the sermon. I told SM about it, and his response was – “Well – but we were in church, it’s not like anything could have happened.”  
Which is true, but that was not really my point. Purity isn’t just about not having sex or not kissing.

Anyway, I’ll have to discuss this aspect on our next visit. Somehow I don’t think he’s really put too much thought into how he is feeling emotionally at a given time! And I’m not expecting a guy to come up with all this emotional stuff to analyze; but it wouldn't hurt for him to know a little about how I feel. I promise not to overwhelm him. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Some physical issues

 My trip to Z and visit with SM last weekend was incredible. 

This time I stayed at his family’s house since my grandparents were out of town. He gave up his room and had to sleep on the couch. We watched old home movies – yes, he was an adorable toddler – and went to a musical with his grandparents and the rest of his family, and I spent a morning with his mom while he was at work. And we went hiking in the snow with his sister and her fiancĂ©, and a long walk with just his dog, and out to eat one beautiful evening.

Let me take a second just to say how awesome his mom is. She’s down-to-earth, kind, plainspoken, hardworking and creative, godly, thoughtful – and she’s raised some pretty amazing kids. She is also very similar to me in both interests and personality. She loves the ordinary things, is very perspicacious as well as eager to help, and so on.  I really enjoy hanging out with her. Besides, I get to hear all kinds of stories I wouldn’t hear from SM. J

So… SM and I were sitting on the sofa watching home movies – and cuddling. Sitting very close and holding hands. Which is lovely. But this time it got a bit intense.
 Did you even know hand-holding could get to that level of intense before the fact? I definitely did not. It got to the point that I was hanging on (figuratively) and praying hard. And God in his grace kicked me off that sofa to go get a drink from the kitchen. And SM followed me, and gave me a nice hug, and said, “I think we both found our boundaries there. We’re going to need to be extra careful.”

And we certainly did. We found out that after reaching that point, we’re always going to be acutely aware of one another physically. We watched a movie the night before I left, and we were more careful about cuddling – I think we were holding hands most of it, but not sitting close enough to be touching, and also not moving around - at all. Perfectly innocent hand holding... if it hadn't been for that first evening at least. This time, I could feel part of his forearm resting on my leg – through several layers of the throw I was snuggling with. And I felt it the whole time – just getting worse and worse. We both said goodnight and went to bed when the movie was finished, but even then, through several walls and a floor, it kept going on.

I got up early before he left for work to say goodbye, and we brought it up again.
“I’m sorry our weekend’s over and you have to leave,” he said, “But... it’s probably a good thing you are.”

Oh goodness, are we going to have to cut back on everything? We’ve always had little goodbye hugs, and held hands, but we’ll have to watch out for those too.

We decided to keep a sharp lookout, and both of us help one another, and to pray hard. None of our little halfhearted efforts are going to help a thing unless ‘the Lord keeps the city’.

If it gets any more intense, I might have to switch back to sleeping at my grandparents’, twenty minutes away. I don’t think there’s a real danger of actual sexual “going too far”, but it would help in keeping our thoughts shiny and pure.

I’m very glad that early in our relationship, he suggested waiting until one’s wedding day to kiss. It's neat, because I actually changed my view to to match, several years before I knew him. I used to think it was stupid, but I think a lot of couples need that rule. I decided on it when my sister was engaged – there was such an increase in PDA and such a decrease in actual friendship-making. And also, it was just awkward for her family. J

I don’t know how the couples who do choose to allow even just little pecks of kisses even make it. 

Back to the present

 I wrote most of the last posts on that snowy day weekend. So I'm all caught up but for some of the research I found - that might be useful to have on hand, and I'll put up some links or quotes.

I have this weekend at home, and then I'll be up in Z again. The reason I have been visiting so much, is that he has a recovery program he's going through every Saturday morning until the beginning of March. When hopefully his small group will begin meeting on a weekday, and he'll be free weekends.

Driving is just awful. I really dislike it, and I can't let on to anyone exactly how scary it is to me, because then they'd just worry, or tell me I shouldn't go on all these trips. After a day filled with driving, I'll close my eyes at night, and see myself sliding into all kinds of nasty wrecks. Sometimes I'm drifting into the wrong lane, sometimes my brakes give out or I turn into the wrong place, or take a corner too fast... Ugh.

But I only have two more visits planned until SM will be able to start visiting again.


Since I was thirteen, I had a list of qualities I would like in a husband – just so that I would recognize a good match when I saw one. I went through and rewrote it a lot over a decade’s time, and got rid of a bunch of silly negligibles, and phrased things better. But for the most part, the deal-breaker ones stayed the same. I’ll post the list sometime.

Now I met someone who matches up so well to the list, and I’m finding myself in a situation where I need to make a list of deal-breakers that would necessitate an end of the dating relationship. (if we were married, it would be different again from this.) So I wrote down what was really important to me.

And yes, this sounds really stringent and harsh. I’m not expecting him to be perfect. But the times when he is dishonest or un-respecting of me or disloyal should be exceptions – things that go against his true character. And he should be always working to starve out and crush those things.

 Christianity: This is a given. Sure, everyone struggles, but if he’s not spiritually healthy, then this is too close to one of those missionary relationships we hear so frequently damned. (And rightly so.) He must be the spiritual leader. I have to cast in my lot with him, and I must be sure that means us both fighting tooth and nail for God, on his side.

 Honesty: If he is not completely honest and open with me, there is no relationship. Anything apart from honesty is like going down under the foundation of a relationship and dynamiting it. I can work on forgiving sins and being patient and being gracious. I cannot spend my whole life doubting and second-guessing and navigating in uncertainty. I refuse to do that. We must have openness and sincerity.

 Trust: I can’t function if I cannot trust him. Sometimes it’s going to be really dreadful, scary, tightrope-over-the-grand-canyon trust. But he has to be as worthy of that kind of trust as anyone else is; he has to essentially truthful.

 Integrity: This could really be included under the Christianity heading. This is living out Christianity. There must be good sound principles at the very core of his being. To know what’s the right thing to do, and to do it. Or knowing the wrong thing, and working against it and hating it with his very bones and soul.

 Respect: He must respect me as a person – on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level (I could really elaborate on each of those three individually, but maybe later). He must respect me and my concerns and wishes. It does not mean he has to agree with them and act on my opinions, but if he loves me for who I am, he ought to care what I think about things, and how stuff will affect me.

 Loyalty: Loyalty to God first, loyalty to me next. Loyalty means showing love, devotion, dedication and commitment (in a healthy way, of course) to an Only (or, to the best in them). Standing with me; having his allegiance to me. And of course this is mutual loyalty. Even when he doesn’t appear loyal, I have to be loyal to the best in him. Also, loyalty to himself – the person he is trying to be, his ideal.

 Stability: This isn’t a deal-breaker, but instability is very very hard to work with. In with this, I’m grouping emotional break-downs, wishywashyness, and unpredictable outbursts of different behaviors.

I think that’s all. It’s a lot as it is, even if it doesn’t seem like a long list. Working on just those things is going to take some super-human dedication and hard work.  This means we must have prayer, lots and lots from both of us and anyone else possible.

Okay. That’s the foundation. If I can’t trust him, if he doesn’t respect my requests and self in general, if he’s really spiritually unstable, then I ask him for a year’s time out. Or maybe a six month time out, and then a check in, and then the next six months if there’s no decision after that time. I’ll give it some thought.

In trying times

Drat. This "In Trying Times" is copyright, and I know nothing about those rules.. I can't find it anywhere online and sadly probably nobody has ever heard of it. It's by Kenneth A. Puls.

Anyway, basically...  How foolish is it to despair when we know God's making all things good for his children? We flail around blindly in anxiety and worry, but if we could only see the way his hand is working everything out, what hope and joy we'd have. We need to ask for forgiveness for all the flailing and faithlessness, and ask for grace and joy and peace.
Because if we ask for good things, God will give them to us. As Psalm 43 says, "Send your light and truth to guide me / to your holy dwelling place."