In this season of my life, I have found myself in a unique marriage situation, so I thought I’d give you the backstory because in a sense, this blog owes its name in large part to some of the challenges I've faced in being married to my husband. This is by no means the full story, but a glimpse of what life is like in an marriage that is not quite finished...
Our story began in May 1998, in a dusty red barn on the grounds of a retreat center in the tiny unincorporated town of Dunlap, CA. The musical missions group I was with was having training camp, and our team was rehearsing in the barn. When the camp started, our team was in need of a drummer…and that is when I met my future husband, who joined our team as our new drummer from Tennessee.
Fast forward about a year, and we were engaged! By this time, we had ministered together across the US, across Canada, to Turkey, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Lebanon…and in the process, we became great friends and more. We were married in 1999.
I knew of his bipolar diagnosis early on in our friendship. He was upfront with letting me know that he had a history of dealing with it. He also shared with me that deep down, he believed there was something more going on with him. He always felt that the bipolar was merely a symptom of a deeper root. When we met, he was in the process of going to counseling to try to get to that root.
We got married, with the confidence…and perhaps naiveté…that he would indeed get to that root and get the deep inner healing that we both believed would release him into his full potential. Because you see, I knew deep in my heart that this man was a diamond in the rough. There was something about him that I felt was special. He was kind, intelligent, deeply spiritual, loved the Lord, creative, innovative…I believed that he was worth whatever process we needed to go through to bring forth that priceless diamond, and go on together to accomplish great things. And yet, something was holding him back…something that presented itself as bipolar disorder, but there was something deeper going on that we couldn’t put our finger on.
After a few years of marriage, counseling for him to help him sort out his inner wounds, and many ugly battles with this unknown force that seemed to be hindering his life and causing him torment, we had our daughter.
When she was 2 years old, something happened…
My husband began to have flashbacks. It seemed that having a child of his own began to trigger long buried, severe, traumas from his own childhood, rooted in his family of origin, leading to some disturbing (yet unproven) allegations. What he had uncovered was so horrific that, as a child, in order to survive, he dissociated from it and placed it into another part of his brain, where it lay dormant for years until he had his own child. When it all came out, it came out like a flood.
Suddenly, all of his issues began to make sense…we had found the “root”.
Life has not been the same since, and things actually got more complex.
This “discovery” set off quite a firestorm in his life and in his family of origin that has yet to be fully resolved, resulting in broken relationships all the way around. The severity of the resulting stress on my husband's mental health has essentially torn him away from his marriage, his child, his home, and even himself.
Unfortunately, our daughter and I have found ourselves in the middle of something ugly, caught in the crossfire of what has turned out to be quite an epic saga, casualties of a battle between my husband and his past. However, this is something that my husband is going to have to work out, something we cannot help him with. You often hear the expression of people "battling their inner demons". Well, my husband is, and has been for a few years now, on a sort of “journey through the wilderness”, battling those demons. That's his story, and I trust God is with him on his journey. I, along with SO many countless, wonderful people, pray continuously that his journey will lead him to victory, peace, wholeness, and eventually, home.
Even though right now my daughter and I have been on our own while my husband is “on his journey”, we are trusting the Lord to return him home to us. I firmly believe that he will be made completely whole. We pray for him continuously, and stand back in amazement as God continues to walk us down this extremely difficult road. It has been a deep, dark odyssey down a deep, dark pit of the blackest coal...but there is treasure, priceless treasure, being formed from the pressure. It has not been easy…at times it seems that these difficult years have been nothing more than a path through suffering. However, God has been beyond faithful, and has amazed me in the way He has met me and my child during this time. He has indeed given us treasures in the darkness.
This is partly why I call this blog "Mining for Diamonds"...it is a metaphor not only for my husband, but for life. Let’s face it…life can be a pit sometimes, and you have to really dig deep to find the treasure, but it's there if you're willing to get dirty, and willing to go through the pain and patience of being formed into something of great value. I believe that the pain of my marriage will one day produce a diamond. I hope I'll be able to share that joy with you one day, right here!
Until then, there is joy still to be had even in the midst of the trial, and I would like to use this blog to share with you some of the ways God has met me in the dark. If He can do it for me, He can do it for anyone.
For now, I will leave you with a wonderful passage in Psalms to meditate on...
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.
22 Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to you with a lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 I will shout for joy and sing your praises,
for you have ransomed me.
24 I will tell about your righteous deeds
all day long,
for everyone who tried to hurt me
has been shamed and humiliated.