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No Understanding to Lean On

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

By Elaine Babcock

It’s 2am and I am dreading my husband finally coming to bed. He will smell like a bad Russian brew house; he will lie and tell me he only had two drinks from which he will promptly pass out and snore like a freight train while I lie awake wondering where it all went wrong.

I had been raised in a religion that did not encourage the reading of scripture so I would lay there and just ask God what I had done to deserve this. What wrong had a I not righted, what slur had I spoken in anger or what thought had been less than pure to be punished like this? There was no way I could have leaned on my own understanding because I certainly didn’t get this, so there was nothing left to do, but Proverbs 3:5-6 ⁵Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

I had to mourn the marriage that I always imagined I had and face the reality of what I was living. I was trying to raise two sons who were old enough to understand what was happening, keep the bills paid and get my husband up every day for work so that we could keep a roof over our heads such as it were. Then one day after chasing around town to find him I realized that I could no longer do this to all of us. I took his keys and told him to come get his stuff once he sobered up enough and get out.

What had I done?! I wasn’t sure, but I knew I had given us all a fighting chance, but I didn’t know how or what this was going to look like. I was brokenhearted and disillusioned, empty inside and wanting someone to tell me it was going to be ok. I didn’t have any epiphany, there was no voice inside my head saying all would be well, but there was one pastor who welcomed me to his church with a hug and saying it was all going to be alright for (Psalm 147:3) 3 “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.” How did this man know? This was the first time I was coming to his church as I was looking for a new place to worship, he wraps his arms around me in a tight bear hug and says this? Had I stepped through the looking glass? If I had, I certainly wasn’t Alice…. more like the Mad Hatter.

I struggled through a very long year of learning how to be a single parent, helping to bind up the gaping wounds that had been inflicted on my children by my husband’s alcoholism and finding a soft place for me to land while suffering an excruciating pain. It was learning to do what Corrie Ten Boom the author of The Hiding Place has said, “Don’t bother to give God instructions, just report for duty,” and “You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.” During this time, I found that I really liked reading scripture and working out an understanding that made sense and helped me to live better and with less bitterness. Philippians 4:6-7 “ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, “ actually made sense and that like in verse 8 I should focus on things that were true, lovely and of good report instead of the train wreck that my life had become.

Eventually my husband and I found our way back to each other. He jokes that our life is a country song played backwards…. he got his job back, his truck back, his wife back, the kids back and the dog likes him again. As for me I like to think it’s a bit more like Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

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