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 fiancé, 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."

Equal under the mercy

 No matter what he does or has done, it’s not enough sin to keep him from the love and justice of God. I can let God work in me, and show the same grace and forgiveness. I love him for his heart, for his true self; no matter what he’s done, because just like I have, he’s run to God for refuge and God’s taken away his sins and pursuers – just as he’s done for me. There is no difference between us because of the nature of the particular things we were saved from –I have no spiritual or any other kind of superiority over him. In fact, his courage and tenacity in facing his sins outweighs mine by a long shot.

Comparison problems?

 It’s odd. Most women in my place struggle with the comparison issue. They blame themselves for not being beautiful or shapely or sexy enough, and so on. Maybe it would be different if I was actually his wife. Hold on a sec; let me catch my breath here. Okay, maybe in that case I’d feel that way too. But I did not even think about that until he mentioned it. And apparently it really does not make a difference. I don’t know if I really truly believe that, but I get the point. The allure and so on of that awful stuff is something different. Apparently it need not reflect on the woman. I am going to kind of need that explained a little better, but yes, I know what that means in general, I accept that. It does however make me very afraid of comparison afterward. I’m getting all lost in my words. Let me reconnoiter.

 The attractiveness of his woman is not the cause of his sin, or a reason for it. But here’s the thing:
His sin is almost certainly going to lead him to comparison (whether consciously or not) of his own woman with the other women he looks at.

A. (i.e., dissatisfaction with his own) may not lead to B., but B. is going to cause A.
That is what I am afraid of. Well, one of the things I’m afraid of in this relationship.

He has a very, very, clear notion of what sex is and what it means and what it looks like, and that whole paradigm is completely and utterly wrong and evil and founded in lies. That’s a case of mistaken identity that might take a whole lifetime to iron out.

Somebody said it’s like they have to rewire their brains. Imagine that.

It gives me even more appreciation for the what he's going through.


"Pornography takes the beauty out of being woman."

  – Scabs

This is the beautiful Scabs of Her story is stunning in a lovely way, and it left me stunned in unlovely way at the awfulness she had to deal with. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It's going to take some trust

Search me O god and know my heart. Test me, know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  Give strength to your small one. Bless me with peace.

Oh I love him so much. So terribly. Once when we were in Z, we were going out somewhere, and his sister said “When are you coming back?” he jokingly answered, “Never”.  And just while we were smiling at that and walking out, it just flashed through my mind with a very shivery thrill just how amazing that would be. I went through the whole story, in just a few seconds.  Just to not stop driving, to keep on, into the sunset as it were. You know how it is in fiction. They stop and wake up some pastor to marry them, and live at some cheap little hotel. And of course you don’t even have to think about it to realize what a stupid and suicidal way that is to start out a relationship. But why does it still give me that same feeling? Probably because love is rather stupid; very stupid, everyone knows that. It doesn’t make the craziness lessen at all though.

And so many times I could have made any sort of awful mistake and was only held back by God’s hand. It is nice, being in love, who couldn’t enjoy it? I love it, and I’m planning to enjoy every bit of it. But, the thing is, it’s very hard to make tremendous life-changing decisions in this state. I hardly know what’s up and what’s down. You know? 

I feel like everything would be better if he was here, and I could talk to him about it. But would it really? Of course I need to talk to him about it and discuss lots of things, but having him right here will not help me think more clearly. 

I know there are things to work through. I know we are not out of the woods yet. But if we’re on the right path and the right things are being done in the right direction, then I should not feel unsettled and apprehensive about it. It should be a lot easier for me to have peace about it all. But I do feel apprehensive. I feel like something is not right somewhere. Definitely not peaceful.

I need to make sure that it’s not just my own fear and wavering that’s confusing me. I know that I really have no cause to fear any sort of awfulness I might end up in. God is my refuge and strength. Even if the one I love is outrageously unfaithful and sinful and dishonest, the lord of hosts is with me – the God of Jacob is my refuge. I don’t need to fear what this world can do to me. He can clear everything completely up – no mess – or he can wrap up every inch in messiness, and my security will be the same in both cases. No more of a reason to fear, and no less.

The thing is, maybe it will be done away with. But it’s not very likely. I can be pretty certain that by this next year he’ll have been unfaithful, and I will have had to forgive him. And probably he will have lied – about anything, something little, not connected with his problem, and I’ll have to forgive him. Another year, several more – all that falling out of in-love-ness and being Intentional. And in those years of marriage, how many times will he have to tell me that he fell again, again, again… If we have kids; there’s another worry to add to it. I can know this, for sure.

Yes. I am really going to have to clean up my act, as it were. I am not that sweet forgiving person. I am the one who would make snide remarks and put him down and make him feel like a disgusting bit of garbage. I’m the one who would end up killing herself out of sheer desperation. I’m vengeful and hurtful. I am not kind and forgiving and slow to anger. But – and this is weird – if I realize all that nastiness is an enemy, and hate it and ask God for asylum, then he will not only protect me from all that awful stuff, but he’ll make me able to be a conductor of his forgiving and goodness and wisdom. He’ll clean me up and shine all that through me.

And I need him to keep picking me up and dusting me off. A lot actually. Because I’m a lazy kind of girl who doesn’t even do a tenth of what she ought, much less what she knows she can.


I haven’t really got a conclusion here, have I? But it’s like Grandpa’s attitude about that bedroom set we have to find a place for. It’s fine right now, when we need to move it, we’ll decide where it’ll go.  Really, I just need to ask a few questions this weekend, and once I know the answers, then I can plan another little step, and so on. I like to know my plans way in advance, so maybe this is a little, little, lesson in trust. 

A Prayer - January 22

Every now and then, just when I think everything is swimming along just fine, I turn right slap into a solid wall. And then wander around in circles, too stunned to know what I’m doing or see where I’m going.

  I don’t know if I can do this. I can hardly comprehend it properly. You made him and so many others of your children with this weakness and sin to deal with. Why do you give your children – such new baby ones too – such raw evil to face and battle? Why are so many innocent people hurt and why do so many people have their lives wrecked by this kind of thing? It’s horrible and blighting. This is the kind of thing that eats up every green and living thing and leaves a poisoned wasteland. Why do you turn lovely gardens into garbage dumps?

It’s so crippling, at a really basic level. It’s heartbreaking to everyone connected with it.

What I really want to know is whether I ought to continue in the way I’m going with my relationship. Is it right? Am I in a position where it’s right for me to be Christ’s instrument – to show his forgiveness and intolerance of sin and his love and purity? Or is that not my calling, not my duty? And if I should keep on, how do I do this? What can and can’t I bring up? How can I show Christ’s love and grace without countenancing or overlooking evil? How can I do that without unfitting myself for your service? Can I help someone through the fire with being singed myself? I might end up self-righteous or depressed or in any number of other sinful states myself.

And I guess, on a heavenly level – I can do all things. Which means that (on an earthly level too), yes, I could do this. But I do need to talk it through and work it all out.

This is something that will affect my life forever. I’ll always, always be haunted by awareness of this sin. What do I do with it? I can’t accept it. I can’t condemn my kinfolk who are caught up in it. Maybe it’s been brought to me so that I can be part of whoever of your people is fighting it from the higher ground. That is, not in the trenches, fighting to keep heads above it, but off to the side, reaching out hands to the sinking and shooting arrows into the enemy camp.

But is it supposed to be part of my life? Am I supposed to raise my little safe happy kingdom family in that battlefield? Really, everyone is going about in a battlefield, so I suppose that would be a yes.

The thing is; everything in my marriage is going to be tainted by it; from preliminary cuddles to real sweet and good sex. Every one of those pleased up-and-down glances, every embrace and caress and kiss. Those things are incredibly important to me. I don’t want any of that to smell second-hand. 
Maybe this is a subject for later, but it really brings home to one some of the things you said about Israel – your relationship with your Only.

 Anyway, I was nervous enough about sex. There’s some consolation in the fact that one’s husband is new to this stuff too. Well there goes that. I guess one doesn't realize how important purity and sanctity is until it’s killed off. 

It’s so heartbreaking. That’s what I was crying about that night; the loss of his innocence. He’s such a sweet and good man, one of the best you made, and to find out one of the most precious gifts you’ve given him has been murdered…That’s a just cause to grieve indeed. But you can restore purity and goodness to even the most unwilling of your children.  With all my heart, that’s what I wish for him. Whatever it would cost on my part. Really.

And if that cost means having him taken away from me – okay, other women have gone through worse. I can deal with that if it looks that way. But if the cost is paid in working it out for the rest of my life, how awful will it be? How would I fare being sent into the thick warfare as a little baby myself, hardly even able to get her armour right?

How would life be? Going about like a good wife pleasing one’s husband, and suddenly think – has he seen this before? Is this something that has already been tried on him by another woman? And so much worse to imagine what would be going through his head; what thoughts and images. Could I really go on like that? Or could I keep stopping and asking for help? Somehow, I know that either way, this is going to take as much prayer as I can give. It will take all my work and effort and a thousand deaths. Can I die for him? I guess that’s really dying for you, and that I’d better be able to do. But you can do the most improbable things in your children’s lives. 

There are many other things to deal with –all the effects of the sin, even when it’s being kept at bay. Will he be able to take the real and good things in the right way? What trivializations are going to spring from that? What is he desensitized to? Some of what I have been reading scares me. It really scares me a lot. Like this: 
“But, when the new behaviors no longer provide the happiness they seek, it won’t be long until the allure of returning to old behaviors outweighs the benefits of the new behaviors.” 
 Or “Men seem to be wired in such a way that pornography hijacks the proper functioning of their brains and has a long-lasting effect on their thoughts and lives.”

What’s the effect on his value system and the way he thinks about women in general (and children, and men – I don’t know what these things can subtly taint), and about marriage and sex? And spiritually, I don’t know what it does, but it does not sound good. Like deep down, it’s an attempt to satisfy something everyone’s missing, something everyone’s spirit is longing for, but that only you can give. And I really do not want him to expect that marriage is going to help that. This is me, I can’t do that. I can’t. I cannot have that expected of me. I need you to do that. And yes, there’s a god-shaped hole in me too, just as mess-causing, and that needs to be filled up just as much.

Oh God; it just completely washes over me and overwhelms me even to think about this sometimes. I can’t do any of this. Who am I trying to fool? The answer to all these questions is no; a certain and unmovable no. He’s completely lost, my efforts are hopeless and all for the wrong reasons and everyone is drowning; already dead.

And yet you’re the one who does those impossible things. You snatch death-covenanted corpses from the dead marshes and make them into living folks and give them armor and make them win battles. You take the most selfish sin-drenched motives of the most blindly self-centered and you melt them down into good motives, and cover them in hopefulness.

Please. You said that you work everything together for good. Take all this horrid mess and work a miracle. You said that you’ll transform your people into your likeness. You said that you’ll defend us and keep us. You said that you’ll renew us and purify us and give us glory. Transform us; give us your glory and cleanness. Crush us up and melt us down and burn away everything that doesn’t please you. We have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide but you. Take us in and keep us safe from the dragons. Give him all that armor to cast the dragon out of the gates, or even better, to kill it. There is no way I am going to share with a loathsome dragon, any more than you would share my heart with anything else.  But a cast-out dragon is going to try to dig under, and even a dead dragon is going to let up a poisonous stench.  Give me grace and strength to be able to deal with that over again every day.

This is more about me than about him – yes, I know his fight is going to be a hard one. Make him fight it well. Give him the strength and protection he needs to fight that battle every moment. Make him always aware of the reasons he’s fighting and who and what he’s fighting for. He’s not sinned against me. Not against himself or anyone else. Only you matter. Keep him on the good paths and keep him from falling. Keep him safe. I love him. Bring him home. Set him free.

And if such an honor is going to be given me – make me into the person who can best show your love for your children and your hatred of sin to him. Make me so I can reflect your mercy and jealousy and your grace and understanding and forgiveness clearly and truly.

You make pastures into deserts – and you make badlands and fever-holes into meadows and pure gardens. Whoever can understand that will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord. 

In everything do what you will.

January struggles

So much for background. I’d been planning to move up to Z in the spring to do away with all the long distance stuff, but the way my job search turned out, it seemed God was telling me very clearly to stay in Y. SM came down to spend New Year’s with my family, and it was amazing.

 But after the holidays, with the coldness and the two-month blues of January and February, I really had an awful struggle with his issue. I read a lot about it. I’d been reading since the fall, and that was a very good place to start (I was not about to search online). It led me to Al Mohler’s articles on the subject – I can hardly express how helpful and amazing those were. If I ever meet him, I might have to embarrass him with a hug. It also led me to Daniel Weiss’s very good website, and all the links there led me to a bunch of great blogs. While the blogs were helpful, they did end up being a bit depressing too – maybe it was just too much at once, and I was already worrying.

So one weekend at home while I was snowed in, I stayed up until about three every night, reading, and pouring out prayers and thoughts onto what’s growing to be quite a series of word documents. That’s why I decided to make a blog. It really helped to just get everything out, and besides, I had some material to start with. And if anyone read it, I might find some kindred soul. So I deleted all the other ones I’ve started over the years and set up this one.

A journal entry from that Sunday

Sunday, evening we talked to my grandparents, and I said goodbye to him - I was going back home Monday morning.

Sunday, December 13th


 I’m so thankful. So so very thankful. I feel so much better about our relationship than I ever have before. It’s a lovely peace. And yes, there’s sadness and heartbreak and how I will live through the next few months I don’t know. But to know where I stand… It’s immeasurably sweet. And now at least I know. I don’t know how much harder and  more heartbreaking it will get, but I can pack my armour and granola bars so I can go out and do my best when that comes.

And I love him – I know for sure that I really do truly love him. Maybe he won’t get through this, and whatever time from now, we’ll be on our own separate paths, but for now I want to be right there walking with him hand in hand.

Thy mercy is in the heavens and thy faithfulness reaches to the clouds .


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A journal entry from that Saturday

It might help to copy down an excerpt from my journal. This is the evening of the day we spent making gingerbread houses. Or night, actually.

Saturday, December 12th

 This weekend.
Well, now I know what the “not-so-good” news was. I know the very worst about the man I love. The horrible corpse-soaked dregs. I stayed up most of last night between crying my insides out and praying hard, and fell asleep for a few hours only to have an awful dream that left my borderlines of reality scattered all over. I had to double-check to make sure it wasn’t real.

Then I had to tell grandparents in the morning. And I still have to tell mom.

It took time for it to really sink in – I had to hide and cry in the bathroom, and then most of the way back. We stopped and had calzones at a little Italian place, and exchanged pleasantries with grandparents.

I really am so much thankful for God giving me the right words. Unimaginably grateful.

And thankful to know this. I don’t know what I’d have thought last spring, if I knew what my situation would be in seven or eight months.

It’s strange, because it seems like now, in spite of the vile nastiness and damnable evil he’s got himself into, it feels like I can love him more real-ly. For actual. Fuller. I don’t know.

And I’m so scared he’ll take it for granted that I’m not just casting him aside. I don’t want to be heartless or un-christ-like, but if he doesn’t digest fully how completely vile this is, than it’s no good. No real repentance.  And I don’t want to get used to the idea; desensitized – I don’t want to seem to accept it at all, I spurn it.  
But most all of it – the heartbreak and sadness – is not for me. It’s for him. I didn’t cry all that night because I was so sorry about the mess I’m going through, it was because of this thing he has to fight through alone, this awful dragon, for all his pain and all he’s going through.

But I realized something else. Another thing, a little sad. I spent a lot of the last couple of months pretending to be a woman, thinking about how to project that image and so on. But that’s not really what it is. Not some sophisticated image or people taking one seriously. It’s a sad little thing here – the way it happened to me. Maybe, hopefully it’s different and happy for everyone else. But I think I’ve passed over that divide, or at least started to cross. It’s a lonely place.

Anyway. I need to sleep. 1:08 am.


Part Four

I was exhausted. I did my best to go to bed as soon as possible without being rude, but I still ended up listening to the book my grandpa was reading aloud and having ice cream, and talking to them before I succeeded in getting off to bed. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that evening. Maybe I could do it in the morning. I went to make up my cot for the night.

I texted SM to say goodnight and to thank him for taking me to tour the gardens and for the dinner; and he said he was glad we could spend the time together.

Then my mom texted me, asking how my day was, and I told her all about it. I still had no idea whether I should tell her about this whole issue, but if I was, I wanted her to at least be prepared. And she was already expressing a bit of impatience with SM because we were not engaged. She kind of needed to at least know that. I would probably end up having to tell her. I just said that hopefully we could talk tomorrow and decided to pray about it. And then I went to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. And I prayed, and read a bunch of psalms, and bits of Paul’s epistles, and prayed more, and cried a lot. I began to think I’d end up not falling asleep at all, but just keeping vigil, and praying and thinking stuff over. But eventually I did fall asleep. I had an awful dream – that there was something else he had not told me about, and I found out in a very unsettling way. But when I woke up (far too early in the morning), I could comfort myself that I almost certainly knew the very worst about him, and I could really trust him completely. Not only could I trust him as much as I would anyone else, but maybe even more.

 But I had to tell my grandma before SM came to pick me up in the late morning. It was very hard, but eventually I got it out, and my grandma gave me hugs and comforting words and questions, and there were some more tears I couldn’t squelch back. And she told my grandpa for me, and he was super nice about it too. And they said they’d be happy to talk to him, if he wanted to do that. Oh yes, I told them, he did. Yes, I would tell them when would be a good time for our talk.

Actually, I did have a pretty nice morning, considering all the emotion and drama.  At least, between all of that stuff. I was able to separate the Drama and Sadness parts of the morning from the parts that made up an ordinary cozy winter morning at my grandparents.  I had some of my grandpa’s excellent coffee, and sat in my grandma’s rocking chair with a snuggly blanket. SM came to pick me up at ten thirty, and he brought me a beautiful bouquet.

“I just realized I haven’t got you flowers in a while,” he said.

Which was all it took to make it clear that it was a “just because” gift, maybe a little out of sympathy, but with good intentions - no ulterior motives. I was very touched.

My mom texted me again on the way to his family’s house, and I told her I might have some unsavoury news later on. Because if I was going to end up telling her, I wanted her to have some advance notice. But it probably wasn’t a good idea, all in all. I told her I was on my way to SM’s, and I couldn’t discuss stuff ‘til the evening.  

SM and I had a lovely day. We decorated his house for Christmas along with his sister and her fiancé, and we made gingerbread houses, and had hot chocolate.
My mom did ask me about the unsavoury news that night, and I told her it was that SM and I would probably just be courting for longer, so not to plan for a wedding in the spring. Which I knew she was. And she said, oh that’s irritating, but not really unsavoury. I did tell her that he was talking an issue through with the elders at his church, and that we were going to be meeting with my grandparents. I think that was also a bit too much information too, because after the discussion with my grandparents that Sunday, I decided it was better not to tell her.

That’s pretty much all. Before we went to talk to my grandparents, I told him that I always wanted to be on his side – whatever I could do to help with his dragon-fighting, I would. And I told him how much I admired him for his courage in facing the dragons, and for being open and honest with me.

And it’s so true, I was in awe of his bravery and straightforwardness then, and the more I research this issue, and the more I understand about the men and women that battle it, the more my respect and admiration grows. I am extremely blessed to have been told instead of finding out, and to have been told before we were engaged or even married. He’s one in a billion.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Part Three

 There was silence as we made our way out of the parking lot. I looked out at the lights of cars around us, trying desperately to focus on anything unemotional.

He cleared his throat. “Do you want to go back to the house, or would you rather just go right to your grandparents?” (I was living with my grandparents for the week, and just spending the days at his family’s house.)
  I considered this for a minute. No, even if it would be more kind, or seem less hurt, resentful, whatever; there was no way I was going to go back and smile at his family and spend the rest of the evening chatting with him sweetly. I told him we might as well go straight to my grandparents.
“Okay. We can still stop for dinner though, since we didn’t get a chance for some earlier.”
I nodded. More silence. It was a really long drive already and hardly ten minutes had passed.  I succeeded in wiping my eyes unnoticed.

He cleared his throat. “What are you feeling?”
That took me aback. What was I feeling? Could I even identify it myself, much less put it into words? I was feeling like I was burying part of who he was. It was sorrow for the loss of his purity and innocence, for him, on his behalf. I couldn’t say “I’m sorry for your loss”, but that was what was making me cry now.
I said, “Sadness. For you…” and I couldn’t keep my tears in anymore, but I went on inarticulately, “…So much for you to go through, so hard…” and something in that vein, until I realized I was not going to be able to express it, and shut up. I think I may have tried one or two more times during the rest of the trip, but I still couldn’t get it out right. 

I also told him that whatever happened, however things ended up, that I wanted him to never, ever regret telling me.

And I couldn’t stop crying either, once I’d begun. Not until we were almost back to Z, and were looking for a place to eat. We found a little Italian place and had calzones, and I asked about something to do with his work, and we watched something about it on youtube and he tried to explain it to me. I was feeling very pale and drained and I was hungry and cold. The calzone was hot and messy, and our conversation was safe and snug and good. I felt much better during the drive back to my grandparents.

A few minutes before pulling into their street, he asked if I wanted him to talk to my parents or grandparents about it.
“If you want me to talk to them, I will,” he said, “Or if you want to tell them, or whatever you decide.”
Oh, yeah. People would have to know about this. The thought was a little scary, but mostly a relief.
“It would be really nice if you could talk to my grandparents; they’re my mentors I guess.”
“I can come down next weekend if you want me to, and discuss it with your parents.”
“Okay. I’ll have to think about it.” I said, quailing at the thought. Should they know, or was I just trying to keep things from them? “I don’t know.” I said, “Thank you for that. That’s…” I searched for the words to express how much that sacrifice would mean to me, but he went on,
“Do you want to say something to your grandparents first, or would you rather I tell them?”

I pictured both situations: first, me gathering up strength and initiating an awkward, scary, quiet conversation with my grandma; then, the group of us sitting in the living room, him going through the same preliminary struggle first, and the look on their faces in that millisecond.  I would not be able to bear seeing him go through the last. “I’ll tell them,” I said, “Maybe tonight.”

When we got to their place, he came in with me and exchanged pleasantries with them. He listened to a short rant by my grandpa on one of his pet subjects. We decided on a time for him to pick me up in the morning, and said goodnight.  

Part Two

 We went inside. There was a stamper and a pad of green ink by the door for returning visitors to stamp their hands.
“Do you want to stamp your hand?” he said tentatively, “Even though we’re not coming back in, it’s kind of a memento…”
We stamped our hands with green ink. My hand was beginning to shake. The numbness was wearing off, and so many feelings and emotions were crowding in that I could hardly get a breath. We were walking through the lobby now, and I excused myself to the bathroom.

I had to stand in line, but it was inside the door. As it swung shut behind me, I gave an involuntary shudder as everything inside me relaxed, finally out of his sight. I could let at least some of my guard down. The shudder would pass as any cold-weather shiver, and outside I had a pleasant almost-smile. It only had to last until I reached privacy.
Finally I had nobody looking at me, the refuge of a closed door, and I could let everything surge free. I was prepared for hurt and anger and disappointment. I was not prepared for tears; especially these kind of tears, jerked up from way down, wrenching and painful.
 I hardly bothered to identify all the emotions. I know some of them in retrospect – betrayal; loss; grief; that eternal “Why?”

I laughed at myself a little sardonically for crying in the bathroom. It’s such a cliché. I pulled out several wads of toilet paper for my purse in lieu of tissues. There was that whole line of other women waiting for the bathroom, so I forced back what could have been an hour’s worth of tears, looked at my makeup in my compact, and emerged congratulating myself on the fact that my eyes were not even perceptibly red. I washed my hands, holding my pleasant look as firmly as possible, took a deep breath, and went out to rejoin my man.

 He was standing across a hall swarming with people, and our eyes found each other at the same moment. His eyes looked so alone and sad and lost, he might have been crying himself. I walked over to him, and I couldn’t bring myself to meet his eyes this close. I kept my pleasant face on like armour, and we walked out through all the busy parking lots and walkways. We didn’t talk, except for remarking on how cold it was, perhaps, or where his car was parked. Rather inane small talk. I think we deal with extreme negative emotions in a very similar way.

He came around to open the car door for me. He said,
“Don’t think there’s something wrong with you or that this is because of you – it’s my problem. You are beautiful and wonderful woman, it’s not because you’re lacking in anything.”
I nodded. “I don’t,” I said, holding in tears. I hadn’t even gotten that far in my thinking yet.  But it was true, I didn’t think that.

I got in, thankful for the darkness to hide my face, and wiped my eyes with a scrap of my hoarded toilet paper before he came around to his door and got in. We had a drive of an hour and a half ahead of us.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Part One

 I was happy. I had been through several long periods of doubt about my relationship – three months or more of long sleepless nights and unsettling vague premonitions. And now those months were over. I was home finally after spending those months out of state. I was at peace. I got to take a trip up to Z, closing the many miles between me and the one I love. It was magic. It was a beautiful garden dressed in its Christmas best, glimmering in light and sparkling with water, and I was walking through all this magic with my hand in the warm hand of my sweetheart. Could anyone be happier?

This was a few weeks after a Thanksgiving weekend visit, and during that visit I would not have been surprised by a proposal. I was on edge that whole weekend, but the proposal didn’t happen. Before this weekend, he had told me that he’d have a surprise for me. Was it just the visit to these gardens or was it something more? Also, he said he had something to tell me that was unpleasant. I have a very active imagination, and I went through a mass of unpleasant possibilities, from some that could hardly even be called unpleasant (like a proposal followed by a really long time frame for an engagement), to others that were somewhat melodramatically awful. But as we moved to a cozy bench surrounded by the Christmas lights of encircling trees, the only thing I could think about was the possibility of a proposal.

He looked uncomfortable. He shifted his backpack and squirmed, and I suppressed an encouraging smile.

“You know I told you I had something unpleasant to tell you?”

Oh, not a proposal then. That would have been first. Drat. I nodded. 

He looked away. And back at me.

“I... I struggle with pornography.”

Is there a second before shock hits? I don’t remember what I felt. Nothing. Numbness. The image of that second’s space of time was burning into my mind. White Christmas lights making shadows on the stone wall, blue eyes that I love. Another second and I could feel the shock. It was closely followed by a disconcerting feeling that’s hard to describe. If you’ve ever walked up the stairs in the dark, and reached the top one step sooner than you expected, that’s comparable to this feeling. It didn’t cut through the numbness; it just infused it with a sense of bewildering loss.

There were quite a few silences. I couldn’t trust myself to say anything – I had to be able to think first. I was praying for the right words. I was taking in bits and pieces of what he was saying. About how much he hated it, and how he was working through it with some mentors. How it’s hard to understand how hard that temptation is for guys, about how he was doing his best to get rid of it. I remember blindly reaching out, putting my hand on his arm, saying something like “It’s okay” as if he were a little kid welling up with distress. And he said,

“No, it’s not okay.”

And I said, “I know, it’s not...” and I kept struggling to find words.

At this point we’d gotten up, and were walking back to the entrance. He was saying something else about me deciding what do about this relationship, and mostly looking and sounding completely forlorn and miserable. It didn’t matter what he was saying; I couldn't process it.

I was on the verge of an important discovery. It wasn’t just because I was sorry for him, and it wasn’t because I’d already given so much to him; I loved him. I prayed a second about it, just a quick and desperate “please!”
And I put my hand in his and said, “Whatever happens, I love you.”

We had already said I love you to one another, but this was completely different. Only as I said it did I realize how true it actually was. I had no idea what I was going to do – never see him again, call off the relationship… But whichever ways we ended up going, I was still going to love him. The words I’d been given to say actually surprised me by not being just another vague comforting phrase. 

More Intro

 Okay, I guess I should start off by telling my story – my “D-day”. I started writing it all out last weekend, but I’m not quite finished, so I’m going to put it up piece by piece. Because you know, it would be nice to consistent about posting. I have a load of stuff to post, so it won’t be too hard. Tomorrow I’m going up to visit SM for the weekend, so I’m not posting then. I know my situation is so much better than some of the other ‘sisters’ whose stories I’ve come across in my struggles. I’m trying to keep that in mind, because otherwise I’ll slip down into the slough of despond, and that’s not faith, is it? One thing I should post is a great modern hymn called “In Troubled Times”, or something. It’s lovely. Anyway, now for my little tale.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Intro to me

  I am a twenty-something girl with a wonderful family and I have the most wonderful sweetheart ever. We’ve known each other for three years or so, and wrote to one another on and off (I’ll tell about that later maybe), and started actually dating/courting (I’ll have to ramble on about that too!) about a year ago. We’ve got some issues to work through – pretty scary ones too – and I’ve been so thankful for his bravery and diligence in facing them. There’s no-one I admire more.

I might end up being a little paranoid about people I know reading this. Because they're going to recognize me right away.

I wish to insert a gem of a quote here.

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you." - Joseph Heller

Very sage advice, I think.

So I’m Iris. My sweetheart (I just hate the term boyfriend – I think it’s my upbringing) is S.M. I live in Y., in the state of X, but I was born in Z, in the state of V, which is where SM is from (three hundred long miles away) . Very informative, no? Informativeness is the best. As is making up words.
What else? Everything will be explained as I go on. I do talk about some of my fictional families a lot, but it really doesn’t matter, because even if I took a paragraph to explain, how useful would that be to know?

Okay, that’s all. Please forgive my excessive use and misuse of commas, semicolons; and dashes - it's something I can't escape.


I’ve always wanted to start a blog. This is just going to be temporary though, I'm only going to write here as long as I need to vent. I need a place to think things through. I’ve journaled for the past decade, and it always helps so much to be able to get my thoughts out on paper and scrutinize them. Somehow I can’t do that properly when they are all squirming around in my head.
I’ve never started a blog before because I’ve never written really volubly on any one subject, and I just recently found myself with a mess of stuff that needed to be written. It’s going to be mostly relationship issues I’m working through. Sometimes I might post about books I’m reading, about childcare, or something to do with my devotions. And I guarantee that it’s all going to be really messy and out of order. I’m not going to even bother writing everything out in a logical way. This is really just an extension of my journal, and my journal is a web of confusion to anyone but me.

So if anyone actually stumbles across this blog (I’m not going to bother making it private) and wants to read, then good luck.