Well, friends, our family has had quite a journey. Scott and I are coming up on 20 years of marriage this September 11, and I can say in all honesty, that we have definitely had an adventure these past 20 years!! We have weathered so many trials and adversities, most of which stem from Scott’s serious mental health challenges. In the past decade or so, it’s been like a chain reaction of a series of unfortunate events, ranging from severe mental health crises, multiple moves, chronic financial challenges (including an eviction and a couple repossessions), separations (plural), and for Scott, falling into the cracks of a deeply flawed mental health system that has included bouts of homelessness and more than a few arrests. I’ve not talked about that here yet, but yeah, such has been our lives!!
Which makes it all the more amazing that, by the grace of God, we have somehow managed to survive!! Here we are today, an intact, healthy family! Scott’s mental health is the best it has been in years. We managed to raise a daughter who is now a teen and thriving in her world, untouched by all the chaos of her earlier years. Our marriage is good. Even in dark times, we experienced multiple treasures! Scott’s life was preserved when he was out there, when I didn’t even know where he was! (That is quite a story in and of itself. Another day, another post…or two!!) While he was gone, I managed to go back to school as a solo parent and obtain a Master’s Degree. We have found favor with loved ones, church, and friends who have stood by us, and continue to believe in us. If you did not know our story and saw us out somewhere, you wouldn’t know anything of our chaotic past…not even the smell of smoke is on us!
We are even planning a vow renewal this coming September, to celebrate making it through!!
So, in many ways, I finally feel like I can breathe a little again. And yet, we’re not quite out of the woods yet. We still have several loose ends to tie up, bits of the past that still haunt us, and a bit of a mess that still needs to be cleaned up from all those raging storms. But still! What yet faces us is nothing compared to what we’ve come out of!
Now what, do you ask??
I have no idea! We’re kind of in this weird in between space, of not being where we were, but not quite certain of where we’re going. For example, Scott is definitely better, but not well enough to go back to work. This is a man who has spent the better part of a decade in and out of various states of ill mental health, on and off powerful meds. In a way, he’s like Rip Van Winkle, waking up out of a slumber…the world has changed a lot in these 10-plus years, and he has not quite caught up yet. For various reasons he still does not work or drive. His job right now is to achieve and maintain good mental health, which takes tons of time after an ordeal like his.
So that leaves me…I am the only driver in the home, and technically still a care-giver. I do a great deal of overseeing the various affairs of our household. Sometimes I’m not so great at it, but it is a full time job in and of itself. I do try to bring in as much income as possible with my teaching and freelancing jobs, but in order for Scott to continue to qualify for certain benefits he receives, including tens of thousands of dollars of annual medical care, I can only earn so much…which in a way is a blessing in disguise, because having part time hours has enabled me to be what my family needs.
I’m not saying all of this just to put our business out there, or to complain, but for folks to understand that all of this has been a gift to us in these past 3 years of transitioning Scott back home and back into good mental health, and to know the true miracle we really are!!
However, it’s time to re-evaluate our situation, because we cannot sustain our current way of living for the long term.
So, we are in that weird, awkward, uncomfortable position called “waiting on God”. It’s very easy for people on the outside to look into someone’s situation and say “oh, you can just do this, or you can just do that.” But it’s not that easy. Especially when you are dealing with mental illness. A person can look well on the outside, and seem to be functioning well, but putting them in conventional, or “normal” situations for the general population is not always the best thing. So often times, you just have to think outside the box.
In spite of all the uncertainties, I am not discouraged. I am actually very optimistic. We are wide open, and believing that the Lord has a plan for us. There are several things we DO have…a good support system of folks who are looking out for us and praying along with us, and walking this journey with us. We have many gifts between the three of us. Proverbs says “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men”. It was our gifts in music that led Scott and I to one another in the first place…he and I playing in the orchestra of a full time, worldwide music ministry. Those gifts that took us around the world before, surely they can again one day, right?
We have a killer testimony, y’all!! Somebody somewhere can certainly benefit from the lessons we’ve learned, and be encouraged. We’ve passed on those musical/artistic gifts to our daughter, and God is using her mightily already to bring so much joy and blessing to others. A glimpse of things to come, perhaps?
God did not bring us through all those trials to just leave us hanging, can I get an amen?!
It yet remains to be seen what will become of us. So, we wait.
Waiting on the Lord is not an easy thing to do. Especially in our culture. Doing nothing actually takes a great deal more active faith than doing “something”. God doesn’t want us to operate in our own strength…He wants us to rely on HIM. Also, waiting goes hand in hand with trusting. You can’t wait on the Lord without trusting Him.
So, we wait. In the meantime, we just simply enjoy each day as it comes. We have plenty to fill our days...practicing drums (Scott), theater productions, dance camps, and choir trips (Jasmyne) teaching lessons, freelancing, care-giving (me), enjoying…and sometimes annoying…one another. We stay busy, and faithful to what God has put into our hand for today. And we’re together!! That to me is the biggest blessing of all!!
The adventure continues…!