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Archive for October, 2010

Though the Way Is Hard Yet Will I Praise Him

1992-93 was probably the hardest period of my life I ever had to face. It had all started with having to leave the only church I had ever known. It was where I had accepted Christ into my heart when I was a boy. It was where I had been baptized, married and my children dedicated. I was made out to be the scapegoat for a series of events that took place in the church. I was pushed into an area of leadership I didn’t want in being the head of a committee searching for a new pastor. I sought to do the right things that God wanted but for many it was not enough. A pastor was brought in by the district that I believe was the wrong man for the job and it wound up costing the church. Afterward brothers and sisters I had known for years started avoiding my wife and I. When the new pastor started teaching principles that were not scriptural, we decided to leave.

Unbeknownst to me my wife was also suffering from post-natal depression after the birth of our son. It was something that because of my busyness in dealing with the situation I was thrust into at the church I missed. Very soon she started showing signs of mental illness. Around the same time my employment contract I had with Bell Enterprises ended and due to the stress I was under from what went on at my church and what was happening with my with, my  health deteriorated drastically. I developed Rheumatoid when I was 24 years old and because of wear and tear and stress over the years my legs finally gave out and I could barely walk anymore.  I had to have bi-lateral knee surgery, which meant having both knees replaced within a couple of days of each other. I had to spend six weeks in the hospital all the while watching my wife deteriorate.

When I got out of the hospital I and many others tried to convince my wife to get help. She couldn’t see there was anything wrong with her. She began imagining people in our house and thinking that we were being spied upon. She also became suicidal and tried to drive our car into an aqueduct. We even had a couple who specialized in deliverance come in and pray with her. They said the root of her illness was the un-forgiveness she was carrying towards her father. She just couldn’t get past it. She continued to deteriorate to the point that she was bordering upon violence and started accusing the children and I of doing things against her. Her mother and I decided that we would have to get a court order to get her evaluated. It was the hardest decision of my life. The police came and took her to the hospital all the while she kept screaming at me asking “why?” I had a Christian Psychologist which I had been seeing and I called him. He cleared out some time and I spent the afternoon in his office crying. Nothing in my life that I had ever done had hurt like this. I knew it would probably cost my marriage but I loved my wife too much to leave her in her condition.  The doctor diagnosed her as having paranoia and because she refused treatment they could only keep her for several day. On the day she got out she filed for separation and custody of our children.

I moved in with my mom and step-dad where I slept on an air mattress in a small room. I was a broken man.  In January went in to the hospital again this time to have my right hip replaced and was in the hospital for another three weeks for recovery. When I came out I and tried to call my children my wife told me I wasn’t allowed to and she gave me the number of the police to call. When I called them they wouldn’t give me any information because as the officer said, they were not finished with their investigation. I panicked. What could be so serious that I wasn’t allowed to speak to my children? I later found out from a mutual friend of my wife’s and I that she had accused me of child molestation. Wow! At that point I began to understand how Job must have felt in loosing everything he loved and owned and now being falsely accused. I sat in the center of my room and wept. All I had left were my clothes and my bible. The the book of Job and the Psalms became my comfort day and night. One of those psalms that really spoke to me in my sorrow was Psalm 27..

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
         Whom shall I fear?
         The LORD is the strength of my life;
         Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
         To eat up my flesh,
         My enemies and foes,
         They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
         My heart shall not fear;
         Though war may rise against me,
         In this I will be confident.
4 One thing I have desired of the LORD,
         That will I seek:
         That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
         All the days of my life,
         To behold the beauty of the LORD,
         And to inquire in His temple.
5 For in the time of trouble
         He shall hide me in His pavilion;
         In the secret place of His tabernacle
         He shall hide me;
         He shall set me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
         Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
         I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
         Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
         My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
9 Do not hide Your face from me;
         Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
         You have been my help;
         Do not leave me nor forsake me,
         O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
         Then the LORD will take care of me.
11 Teach me Your way, O LORD,
         And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
         For false witnesses have risen against me,
         And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
         That I would see the goodness of the LORD
         In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the LORD;
         Be of good courage,
         And He shall strengthen your heart;
         Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Through my sorrow I worshipped and praised my God. He was the only hope I had left. Where else could I turn but to Him? He was the only answer. Verse 5 say; “ For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. That’s where I was he was covering me and had become my shelter and though I could not understand what was going on I knew I needed to trust Him.

One night some dear brothers and sisters from a small church invited me to a prayer meeting. They prayed for a breakthrough and that my contact with my children would be restored. God answered that prayer. In my wife bringing false charges against me the social services decided to investigate her and sent a couple of social workers to her house. They saw a woman that was deeply disturbed and teaching the children to hate me and others. My daughter happened to call aside one of the workers and told her how scared she was of her mom and that she wanted to live with me. They removed them from her and in a hearing in the court again my wife and her lawyer tried to bring false charges against me once again. All I could do was pray as the judge made his deliberations. At first it sounded as if he was going to give them into custody of social services and I pleaded with God not to let it be so. Finally he said he was giving temporary custody to my mom and stepdad where I was living. It was a miracle. He told my wife she needed to get help to regain custody. Because I put my trust in Him, God answered and I was cleared of all charges.

I wish I could say it ended there but my children and I were to endure many more years of hardship, sorrow and frustration. It is a very long story. Mental illness is cruel and unless a person comes to the place that they realize something wrong with them, there is not much that can be done for them. Eventually Elaine and I were divorced and I was given full custody of our children. She still refuses to admit she is not well. I pray for her everyday and very much miss the wife I knew. Through God’s grace and the help of so many I was able to raise my daughter and son. My daughter is now  almost 23 and has developed into a beautiful woman and is married to a great Christian man. My son is 20 and has a strong Christian character. I can’t tell you how proud I am of both of them. 

I am not a perfect man and along the way I have stumbled many times but always God’s grace has been there for me and seen me through. He has protected us and guided us through many storms and trials and always been faithful. My hope will be in Him until the day I die. A pastor who I look up to said when trails come you have two ways you can go either of two ways, you can either get bitter or better. I know that my trials have made me stronger and prepared me for other challenges. All praise and glory and honour belongs to Jesus.

What ever trials may befall, He is always faithful. Like the psalmist I say;

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
         That I would see the goodness of the LORD
         In the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD;
         Be of good courage,
         And He shall strengthen your heart;
         Wait, I say, on the LORD!