Depression, pain and sorrow can be a writers close allies. When a writer gets down, he will inevitably look for his keyboard or notebook. Writing is his heart, you see, and the keyboard and pencil are his methods of getting there.
As many of you know, and we are in the many hundreds at this point, which is pretty good for a guy who loves the Truth, most people do not actually want to know the Truth, preferring instead fantasies that reinforce their prejudices.
I do receive lots of letters from subscribers that more or less back me up on that. In fact, the most common theme among all those letters is this: “My husband/wife/family does not believe as I believe”. The most basic common denominator is that a saved Natsarim, a follower of Yahusha in the Way, lives with one or more lost souls.
Its hard, and will only get harder as the division, the separating of the Righteous from the unrighteous, grows more intense.
What prompted this writing is an example from my own life today. My 14 yr old son stood in the kitchen with the refrigerator wide open, telling me that he hates me. He was almost calm about it. He told me that he see’s much of me in himself, which is true, and that he didn’t want to be like me at all. He denigrated my God, and told me that his mother told him not to act like “you dad, because he is a horrible person.”
She, too, has no interest in my God. She declines every invitation to worship with me and my church. She continues to read her phone when I pray with my other two boys, and the book by Michael Snyder I bought for her – she lost it.
I hoped that reading the book might open her eyes to the great danger she is in.
I feel like a man trapped in a vise, with both sides crushing me. One one side is my desire to protect my children as much as possible, especially the two who do not hate me. As their dad, I feel a tremendous responsibility to guard them, to discipline them and to train them to be decent, obedient sons of Yahuah. On the other side is my determination to stick with them regardless of the hurt, because terrible things are coming alive in the world. I cannot abandon them.
I want good things for my oldest son, but he is in a bad place. Today I got yet another text msg from his school warning me of yet another “absence”, although I watched him walk out the door for school which is at most a 10 minute walk from home. He apparently was late, again. So when he walked in the front door with another one of his friends from school, a stranger to me, and asked me to let him have Internet access to play his X Box, I told him that when he can get to school on time and pass some classes, I will let him play.
So he hates me.
He hates me because I locked up his motorcycle. I locked it up because he blatantly disobeyed every instruction he was ever given regarding that motorcycle. Because when the police get a call regarding any motorcycle, they come to my house first. I was told that by the last policeman at my door, a good policewoman that I consider a friend. She has issues with her own daughter.
I am hated because when they want money, I say “mow the back yard”, a yard about 40 x 20 feet with two trees in it. They never mow, wanting money for nothing, not willing to do anything for it. The hater has three food bowls upstairs in the family area up there that have been in the same place for over a week now, all of them with molding, uneaten food in them.
When I open his door every night to tell him good night and that I love him, I ask him to bring them down and clean them. Every night. When I go to his door to wake him up for school every morning, I ask him to bring those same three bowls downstairs and clean them. Every morning.
His mother, who told him that I am a “horrible person” (I asked her an hour ago – she was speechless and tried to circumnavigate the direct question.) has collected about 15 vaping devices from his room, which he uses to smoke high-potency marijuana. That is a major problem, high-potency marijuana. Someone is selling it to him and to other kids in this beautiful, souless ghetto of a subdivision we live in.
I feel somewhat sorry for myself, certainly. No one knows the gut-twisting angst I endure trying to raise my sons, whom I love enough to suffer for, to be humiliated for, and to die for. And humiliation is a way of life for me here.
My former spouse divorced me in April 2019 and asked me to come home in Feb.’20, telling me that she “made a mistake” and wanted me to come home. I knew it would be a soul crushing experience, but my sons need me and they were already behaving very badly. The “made a mistake” was simply that she needed me in the house to manage the boys, not that she did the wrong thing.
We got counseling for 40 minutes about three months after I came home. When the counselor asked me a question, I let everything that I had bottled up inside of me boil out of my heart in a torrent. I wanted everything on the table, hiding nothing.
She walked out, got in the car and drove home, leaving me to walk six miles in 100 degree heat and direct sun home. She does not want to go back.
I know that I am belittled to my kids by her. She chops the props out from under me constantly. When I scold a child for bad behavior, she typically comes at me like an accusing prosecutor. I am never backed up by her.
Yet I am loathe to leave my children, even though I believe she denigrates me to them at every opportunity, like raising children is some kind of popularity contest that she absolutely must win.
Leaving my children frightens me badly. A few months ago I took a backpack into the woods to camp. A first for me. A small adventure. It was one single evening, a mile walk from our home. Around 11 pm that night I heard an emergency vehicle siren, and the next morning when I got home I learned that my former spouse, an alcoholic who quit drinking right before she met me 15 years ago, had gotten drunk and passed out in the hall.
My oldest boys were gone somewhere, spending the night. Only my six-year old was home with her, and he had to stand in the street screaming for help at midnight until a neighbor came out to see what was going on. It was my former spouse in that ambulance that I heard earlier, and my little boy was severely traumatized.
Weeks later I caught a cold or had some other inconsequential respiratory issue, and he was scared that I might have to go to the hospital, too. Heart breaking.
I do not want to leave my kids. I do not want them to endure the sure sorrows that will come with my leaving. Sometimes I think that I just need to leave and let the rebellious and the unfaithful reap the harvest they cultivate, but I just cannot. Not yet. Not now. I would rather endure to the end and at least stand in the breach, so to speak, suffering the wounds of humiliation, disrespect and mockery in order to remain unmoved, faithful to my good Father and faithful to my children.
The Word teaches us that if the unbeliever chooses to depart, to let them go, that we are called to peace. It reminds us that we cannot know if we will save our unbelieving spouse. And so it is. I do not know, and I yearn for peace. But peace for me that puts my children in jeopardy is no peace at all. Leaving would only create a vacuum to be filled by the enemy so I must stand.
Count the cost of your faith. Endure to the end, trusting that Yahuah will hold you up, because to do less is to give up everything you believe in in exchange for nothing. Love without ceasing, doing good to those who persecute you. We are not called to win, but rather to die to self.