Perhaps one of the most difficult things for us as the wives, is to get our hopes up. We know from scripture that hope is critical, even commanded.
“Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.”
– Moroni 10:20
“…this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.”
– 1 Corinthians 9:10
The very name of this blog is inspired by the notion that hope takes patience. Sometimes it has to be enough to even have hope in hope itself. But the Corinthians scripture above makes it clear that we need to be doing something as we are hoping. We need to be plowing. Now, I personally have never plowed anything. I've never hooked myself up like an oxen and pulled a piece of farming equipment.
However; I have felt that way emotionally many, many times. I am pulling my handcart. My emotional shoes are worn to nothing, my emotional hands are bleeding. But like the pioneers, in a way, hope and perseverance came as a result of the fact that what other choice was there? Keep moving forward; with Faith in every footstep.
I think the key is finding a balanced, reality based viewpoint. For most of our sweet husbands, this has been a long time in the making. For my husband, he has lived for 30 years with his addiction. Another view is that he only lived 4 years after his baptism before beginning his addiction. Four clean years. That's all that he had as a young man. The rest of his life has been lived in the shadow of sin, guilt, secrecy, self-hatred, fear, denial and the misery of living a double life. In actuality, he does not know how to live any other way. This is essentially all he’s known. And he acknowledges that sometimes he doesn't want to let it go because as much as he hates it, it’s all he’s ever known. He doesn't know how to function without this part of himself.
I cannot expect that his patterns will change quickly or that his wounds will heal quickly. We are in the depths of a long, hard journey. But there will be moments of hope to cling to. Moments of peace beyond understanding that we rely upon. Recently I’ve thought of my life as like being on a mission. I am far from home, but the Lord has asked me to go and do his work. I see that I am doing a work that no one else could. I have within myself the gifts and talents that my husband needs in order to climb out of this hole. I have been given an assignment and I need to trust that it was given to me and not to someone else for a reason. And as I have said before, it is as much for my growth and progress as it is for my husband’s.
I am one who plans. I don’t like surprises. So I am trying to find the balance between living a life of hope, but not unrealistic expectations. If I admit that the road will be long and hard, for me, that is how I find the strength to gird up my loins and keep moving. That is my choice. One step at a time. One step closer to home. And when I get there, my hope is for my Lord to say “Well done. Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne.”