I am used to being the bold, independent, self sufficient single momma who never had to answer to a man. That has changed for me, in a good and positive way. My Love has always been in our lives through jail and prison and now rehab, my kids and I, but he has never been fully "present". Of course him being incarcerated had a lot to do with that, and that probably seems strange to a lot of people. He has been the passive parent standing to the side because his choices prevented him from being an active participant in his children's lives.
When I found out he would be gone for yet another 2 years I broke down and cried, but now looking back on it I am glad his probation officer didn't let him come home, instead putting him in a rehab facility a few counties away from us. This was so he would not try to leave and come home, something he did anyway once and then it hit him that he was preventing his own happiness. In the beginning he called me and said they are trying to shove religion down my throat..I don't want that I don't need a relationship with God like they want me to have. I told him in those early phone calls to just do whatever he had to do to come home.
I believed, I was a reborn Christian. I was raised Catholic but never practiced as an adult. Instead after going through our domestic violence incident and staying at the local mission for a brief time I was urged by a woman who was also staying at the mission to go to a church near the mission one Sunday. I went and I listened to the sermon, at the end of the sermon they asked if anyone wanted to turn their life over to God and to have a personal relationship with him. The way the Pastor spoke was as if he was speaking to me and raising my hand that day changed my heart from one that was hurting to one that would be filled with hope. I was later baptized and when my children came home two of them also became baptized and we faithfully went to church on Wednesday and Sundays for 5 years. At this time their father, my love was in his addiction deep and every time we went to church we prayed for his sobriety and his heart to be changed. He saw how going to church changed me, how happy I had become. He tried to be in our life but I held fast that he would not be in our lives as long as he was using and doing drugs for a long time and then I allowed him to come home after a stint in rehab where he said he changed. When he did live with us I stopped going to church and blamed having a new job and working overtime as the reasons I stopped going to church. My life spiraled and I lost places to live several times because I allowed my Love to make promises to me I knew he would not keep. He again went to jail and prison and I continued making bad choices. Moving a total of 5 times in the next 4 years.
I decided to shut him out, I deserved to be happy, I even went to church occasionally, but not as often as I wanted to. It was during this time that he showed up on my door to visit our kids, in the daytime.. he paid no attention to me. Which was odd because every other time he would say he was coming over to see the kids he would show up late after they went to bed, ashamed for them to see him sucked up and coming down from his meth high. His attention was on his daughters this time and he came and said "I know they( the police) will be looking for me Kris, I am so tired of this life...I don't want to live like this anymore. I love you and my daughters but I don't know how to stop. I want to stop but I don't know how to. I know I have lost you and them." I told him that he hadn't lost us but that we could not live like this, that he needed to get help and that it wasn't something he needed to do for us, but for himself. He needed to love himself so he could fully love us. The next morning after sleeping on my couch he was arrested. That was almost 3 years ago. 1 year of it was spent in jail and then in a rehab in Fresno, that I hated because it had not helped him before, and didn't this time either. He ended up leaving and getting a violation, more jail time, he had done well but was still kidding himself that he could make it out here. I am so glad he violated and that his probation officer put him in the program he is currently in. It is called Teen Challenge and it has saved him from himself and made him a different person entirely. He has been there for one year. Every day after he leaves will be a day of hard work and making the right choices, but now he has a renewed faith and that faith will help us both.
When I speak to him now and spend time with him he is a completely different person. He has grown into the man I always knew was there. He has helped me to parent our children in ways that he never has before and it has been hard to listen to him give me direction because I have been doing it all alone for so long. I got mad the first time he gave me some parenting advice. I was actually upset with him for having the nerve to try to be a parent. Then I realized, wow this is what I had been praying for all this time! A partner who was willing to shoulder the responsibility. How do I know he has changed? It is a gut feeling, just as I knew when he was high on crank or drunk or smoking weed I know now that he has the God factor working in his life. People who find themselves in certain situations...Get God. Everyone in prison says they are saved, of course they are only saved to the extent that it allows them to get out and mess up again. That's not to say that some are truly changed. I had heard this before from my Love when he was in Prison. No this time its different, he had a conversation with me recently and he told me, "Pray Kris!" I answered back, " I do, I do all the time." he then asked, "Do you really pray Kris, or do you just ask for God to get you out of a situation? I am talking about taking time daily to meditate on the Bible and prayer." I was floored. Yes many of my prayers consisted of "Lord just get me out of this situation and I will go to church." Of course the Lord had nothing to do with many of my situations, because they were purely out of my inability to be responsible.
It was during this conversation that he told me to go back to church and I promised him we would. I thought how we might visit another church in the area, but for some reason I decided to go back to the church I had first stepped foot in over 10 years ago.
Last weekend was our first weekend there, there were seven of us, me and my daughters and a nephew and my grandson and my daughters boyfriend. It was nice and we left with a good feeling. This last Sunday we were anxious to go as we were having a special speaker for Fathers Day. All week I had told my Love when I heard from him. This speaker Darwin Benjamin, was like my Love, a former addict. I knew what he had to say would resonate with me so I eagerly anticipated the day wishing my Love could be with us to hear his story. He and his wife's testimony spoke directly to me and my family and rang true in many parallels to my own life with my Love. After church which had run longer than usual my love called and I told him how powerful the speaker was and what his name was and he said, "Wait a minute was he a black guy?" I laughed "Yeah, why?" and my husband told me that he had just heard him this last week at a Teen Challenge Picnic in Turlock. I was amazed that my prayers were answered and that my Love was able to hear Mr. Benjamin's message. I then started to see other coincidences if you will....The church I go to is heavily affiliated with Teen Challenge as it is an Assemblies of God church. I prayed every time I went faithfully to have my husband restored and saved. Darwin Benjamin is also associated with Teen Challenge and my church. The simple fact that my husband has developed a relationship with Christ at this facility is in itself a blessing. Everything is coming full circle from the very first day I walked into that church till now. Even after my absence for a long time God continued to work behind the scenes for me daily even when I thought he had abandoned me. That is the God factor at work. I fully believe that everything we do in life is linked to an event that needs to happen for us to find our higher power. Whether you believe or not is not the question because I believe for you. I know what God has done in my life and will continue to do. All that I or my Love had to do was surrender.
I messaged Darwin Benjamin's Truth Ministries on Facebook. I told him about the fact that he spoke at the event my husband was at and the parallels in our stories this is the reply Truth Ministries
- Omg - amazing i sure will pray for you guys and always keep the faith especially if we dont get what we want and how we want - we just need to say like Mary oh well let thy will be done Lord cause the Father knows best - i trust you Lord! Read Isiah 44:22 - 2 Cor 5:19-20 It's all there add 1John 1:9
I am not here to tell you what you need to do with your spirituality. I am only here to tell you how my life has taken so many twists and turns and yet it has come full circle to where I first found comfort in believing as an adult. Too many coincidences to be just that. We are all works in progress and the truth is there is a lot of work to be done in both mine and my husbands lives but if me sharing this with you helps you through times of doubt and encourages hope in you then it has all been worth it.