Monday, April 16, 2007

Joe and Margaret - Chapter 2 November

Chapter 2 November

Wednesday, November 1, 2000

Margaret sighed as she remembered Pastor Larry’s sermon on Hosea. Forgiveness was all well and good, but she was tired of being the prime example of a life reclaimed for Christ. Yes, she had a past, but somehow she wondered if there could be a few examples of people reclaimed from greed, or anger, or hardness of heart or any one of the other things mentioned in the lists of sin. Her past was in the past and she had enough gumption to know that she would not go back. Yet at times she was tempted to see what would happen if she again became a fallen woman? Would the people at church still welcome her? But, no, she could not do that to Joe.

Though as she thought about it - Joe would be seen as more of a saint if she fell back into the life. There were already rumors that he had been such a saint, first in welcoming her as she was getting out of the life and through marriage. Some of those were changing as he recovered from his accident, now she was getting praise. But more often than not it was couched in “after how he helped her it’s the least she could do” which was more irritating. Joe acted out of love and had never asked for repayment. Why the church members couldn’t see that was beyond her comprehension. She had thought they were better than those in the life she had left. But in many ways they just disguised their payment and repayment expectations better.

Joe woke up from a nap and wondered, not for the first time, if he needed to talk to Margaret about his therapy. It had changed from the physical and he had mentioned that the type of therapy had changed to her it just never seemed the right time to mention that it wasn't physical any longer. It wasn't really a lie or dishonest, he just hadn't mentioned everything. And would Margaret talk to Pastor Larry about the change. Pastor Larry always preached against those Freudian analysts followers of a Jew who had killed the savior, but still in their misbegotten way chosen by God. But the therapist said she wasn't a follower of Freud and then Pastor Larry would have some words about going to advice from a woman. Men should be the head of the household. And someone who wasn't head of his own household couldn't be a church elder. Joe knew that he had been called as a Christian from his earliest memories, but he worried about his church recognition of that call. Margaret's love had given him an opportunity to live out that call in church service and he loved her for giving him that opportunity to serve God more fully.

What would David have done in this situation? Joe thought that David seemed to have it all together. He had a really masculine friendship, as Pastor Larry said, with Jonathan and didn't seem troubled by the urges that Joe had. And then he was so much cleverer. This story of stealing a spear and a water jug. Joe suspected he would have just watched rather than stealing something. Saul and David were described as handsome men and somehow that drove all thought of anything else from Joe's mind. But those were thoughts that weren't right for one of God's anointed to have, they were distractions of the devil and he couldn't let Margaret know how often they occurred. He was supposed to be the head of the household after all and she needed protection of a good man after all she had suffered.

Joe was sure God would not reject him. After all he had done to prove his faith and show it to the church God would not reject him for just some thoughts that weren't right. After all David had had multiple wives and still been loved by God, even though his thoughts were worse sins he had never acted on them. And the one time he'd gone into that bar the accident after he'd fled been certainly punishment enough to satisfy God and the church.

Thursday, November 2, 2000

Joe felt like a stranger as he came home from therapy. He was being told that it was o.k. to have the feeling that he had finally told the therapist, but knew that it was wrong to feel relieved that those feelings might be o.k. And if he ever talked about those feelings he might have to leave the church. Pastor Larry just would not understand and he couldn't do that to Margaret. She got such strength from Pastor Larry and had helped him become a leader in the congregation. He was up for becoming an elder and the accident hadn't delayed that much. Not so much as if they'd known what bar he'd been running from. Joe thanked God daily that he'd run instead of responding. At least all his sins were thought - even if that was as bad as action, it just didn't seem as terrible. And how could he serve the church - he knew he was called to serve the church - if they wouldn't let him be a member in good standing.

Friday, November 3, 2000

Joe woke up thinking that the therapist must be a witch or was it warlock? He and Margaret had read and discussed the passage for the day and then Joe had fallen asleep. His dreams were those the therapist had mentioned might happen (or she said he might remember) after their discussion - but he had never thought they'd come so quickly. And what would Margaret think if she knew his thoughts. She'd been abused and neglected by so many men he just couldn't betray her by telling her what he was thinking. No he would be honest and not lie about those dreams, but telling her about them was something else entirely.

Saturday, November 4, 2000

You know, Joe thought, if David got out of battling his own people, perhaps I can do the same. I don't have to lie, I just have to show up. I just won't volunteer any information about what I'm thinking. After all the physical therapist first sent me to the other person for depression and I can certainly mention that was the diagnosis. This other stuff we're talking about doesn't really have anything to do with that depression and besides it's too painful to think of how that demon is attacking me. I'll just let prayer deal with my thoughts and those demons will go away. And then even with the depression treatment I can legitimately say that the physical therapy people said that I needed to go even if I didn't think I was depressed since so many people after accidents battle depression. So that gets me off the hook with Pastor Larry. Though really I shouldn't compare Pastor Larry and the church to the Philistines, they are my own people and they do have my best interests at heart.

Sunday, November 5 2000

The congregation was excited and Pastor Larry was preaching up a storm. He was bouncing back and forth on the platform, going from the pulpit then down the steps to the congregation and back up again as he worked his sermon on II Peter Chapter 2, verse 1 "For there will be false prophets among you."

"And we see those false prophets all around us in those who claim to be Christian but have not the least idea of the struggles against modern day culture that one has to do to be Christian. I'm not talking about those heathen pagans who do not know of Christ or those Jews, who for all their failings and persecutions of Christians, are still chosen by God. I'm talking about those lib - er- al churches that allow women to speak and even claim to ordain them when everyone can read clearly and simply Paul's words that women should remain silent in church and ask their husbands later. I'm talking about those radical feminists who do not remember that the man is the head of the household and keep their own names after they go through a pretense of marriage where they do not even promise to obey as Paul again stated that women should do. For the man is the head of the household just as Christ is head of the church and to deny man his proper place is to deny Christ as well.

"And we all remember what comes of those who deny Christ. At the last day Christ will come and say "I do not know you" to those who have said that they follow Christ but do not do as Christ commands. And we know that we are those who have heard Jesus Christ since Holy Spirit has come upon us and is with us know. Holy Spirit rests upon this place and fills us with truth and light. And that truth sustains us so that we can go against the godless evolutionists and the heathen radical feminists and the pagan homosexuals and all those who would deny Lordship to Jesus Christ, to all who would deny the workings of Holy Spirit within the people of this place, to all who call God by another name than Father, to all who would destroy the faith on which this country was built. All those false prophets will end up in hell. Those who have been a part of this congregation and left and those who have heard the Word but not listened."

As Pastor Larry continued Joe felt comforted by the familiar strains and added an "Amen" where needed and a Hallelujah when Pastor Larry was particularly inspired. Joe felt even more the depth of his salvation and calling and knew that he could not be one of those condemned. Joe thought, "I'll just have to work more strongly on those temptations, for I cannot be one with those who fall into evil and foolish lusts as in I Timothy 6:9. With Margaret's help I will not become a lover of myself or money as in II Timothy 3:2. And of course I will escape the temptation to become a sodomite as in I Timothy 1:10 for that would lead me into so many other sins. Margaret is such a great help in that with her patience for my weaknesses. She is truly a blessed woman submissive and full of grace.

Monday, November 6, 2000

Joe woke up in despair. After those wonderful words from Pastor Larry how could I go back and have those dreams again. A man against a man in that way was just horrible and yet the dreams were so vivid and so enticing. Why can't I feel that way about Margaret. She is so wonderful and so fragile a woman's woman now that she has found Jesus and I betray her in thought but Thank God I didn't betray her in actions. Thank God I fled from that sin, even with the accident it was not enough to cover my debts had I fallen in that way. I would that I were Jonathan fallen in battle or able to have someone help me die as did Saul

Tuesday, November 7, 2000

The phrase about Jonathan's love being more than that of a man for a woman resonated all day with Joe. The feelings he had for men that were so much stronger than what he felt for Margaret just seemed to swim through his head after he read those few words of sorrow. But Pastor Larry always said that those words referred to friendship and at other times kept condemning the takeover of America by radical feminists and homosexuals. And since he was a born again Christian, Joe knew that he couldn't be homosexual for those were the people who were once like that but were like that no more. Wasn't Margaret's change like that,. She had been a prostitute and then as a Christian was no longer a prostitute but a pure, innocent woman who deserved protection and care. "And I, Joe said under his breath, "will give her care and protection for her whole life long." Joe had promised to honor and cherish and he intended to keep that vow.

It didn't matter that after marrying Margaret and beginning marital relationships that Joe finally recognized that his desires for men were not only about friendship. He had taken those vows and it didn't matter what happened he intended to keep them. The therapist had suggested that he talk with his wife about those feelings, but as he told Margaret he wasn't ready for that talk. He didn't know when he would be ready, but it wasn't yet. And besides, Margaret, as a born again woman was pure, innocent, a fragile flower. She needed his protection from the sins of the world. She had been so hurt when he met her and she was not to have any more grief.

Wednesday, November 8, 2000

David's love for Jonathan just couldn't have been about sex, Joe thought, as he headed towards therapy. And even if it was David married and was the head of a household. David was crowned king over Israel so he must not have done any of the things that keep running through my head. Pastor Larry is a man of God so he has to be right about homosexuals and unless I act I just can't be a homosexual. It is just a snare of the devil sent to tempt me. And this therapist may be one of those snares. I need to be careful. She can cut off my disability payments and then what would Margaret say. Margaret does want me to go to therapy about our marital stuff not happening, but I just can't put this burden on her. This burden is one the Lord sent to me and I just need to be patient until He removes it.

Thursday, November 9, 2000

That therapist! Joe thought, as he chopped the salad carrots, she keeps asking what I think about my dreams and I've told her that I think just what Pastor Larry says. But then Pastor Larry would b e upset that I'm seeing a woman for mental therapy. And I know that if I keep on being faithful those temptations will go away. Why should I think anything different from what my church says and why doesn't she just accept my answers and do something else so I can get over this problem. If I'm patient enough God will deliver my enemies into my hand just as he delivered David's enemies into his. And my thoughts may be like those so-called friends like Abner who went back on David

Joe saw that he had chopped the carrots so fine they might have well been ground up and realized he was angry so he turned to prayer. O God, may my anger be only your righteous anger and not that anger which destroys from the inside. Grant that I may know the difference between my own desires and what you desire for me. Grant that I may not be angry at those who intend no harm but that the rage I feel may be for your purposes and against your enemies. O God if that therapist is really trying to help me let me know that and work with her, but if she is a demon in disguise may I meet that with fortitude and strength and be helped to know the right response. Should I flee, O God, should I go even though I'd have to admit seeing a therapist or should I stay and let her work her spells on me. My dreams, O God, are so much more vivid. Is that a sign I'm dealing with the problem or am I giving into temptation? O God I do not know where to go. Pastor Larry is such an inspiration but would I be disappointing him? Would I be dismissed if I let him know what was going on in my thoughts? I don't know, O God, I don't know!

Friday, November 10, 2000

Joe sometimes wished he could lash out as David seemed to. Getting Ishobeth killed and then being able to blame others and kill them off too. If only his demons were so easily killed. But Pastor Larry would say that David acted as God willed because God did not correct David in this instance as He certainly had over the issue of Bathsheba. Joe couldn't imagine getting worked up over a woman as David did Bathsheba. It all seemed so simple as he read the Bible and not so simple in daily life.

Saturday, November 11, 2000

Margaret has a house of her own, so her children like Ruth can always return to their mother's house. And I have that inheritance, Aunt Gwyneth was so good to both of us. That money paid for my health insurance so that I can keep going for treatment and Margaret feels secure with a house of her own. We really should start having children. It is the duty of married couples to have children. It is a blessing that I've always wanted. The church wants the deacons to be husbands with one wife and children who are obedient. It's time to do what I've always wanted. I know Margaret wants children just as badly, so we just need to start having marital congress once again. I'm going to do it and show that therapist she's wrong about my feelings. I must love Margaret. We want so many of the same things. I've cared for her through some of her darkest days and she is carrying me through this time of anguish. I don't need to talk about those other feelings of mine - they're only snares of the devil.

Sunday, November 12, 2000

Joe realized he had come to a decision. I can buy something other than the standard white underwear I've always worn. It might bother Margaret because I've talked with her about buying sensible stuff to wear, but then she'd be just like Michal when David danced before the ark and just a shrew. And perhaps buying some other types of underwear would help me in my marital duties. I do want children and Margaret will make a great mother, she knows all the things not to do and just dotes on the kids at church. I want kids no matter what and as a good man need to raise a family. I'm almost always reacting when I see the ads for low-cut and high rise and bikini underwear for men - buying that should surely help us get back on track in our marital duties towards each other. And then, maybe, all those other feelings would go away.

Monday, November 13, 2000

Joe read the passage about David building his palace before building the temple in II Samuel 8 and it percolated all day. The therapist had told him about working on his family relationships and cutting back on what he was doing at church. Maybe this is God's sign that the therapist is on the right track. I've thought her a witch at times, it's uncanny how she seems to dig out my feelings that I don't want to talk about, but this passage. It is right along with what she's telling me. David build his house. Maybe I need to work on my house and household. I still can't do the climbing to work on the roof and mowing is beyond me but I can talk to Margaret about the family and how we build one together. I'll do it. We'll build a family and a future

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Those Bible passages just keep hitting home. I need to build a home, work with Margaret to have a good family and then my enemies will be conquered. God will bless me as he blessed David - even if I can't be the man that David was - God will bless me and call me to His service. O God, you are the great father of all mankind, help me become a father in your image. You are the husband of the church help me care for my wife as you care for the church. You are the redeemer and savior of all who are troubled, relieve me of these questions and doubts that go against Pastor Larry's teachings. Help me be your servant and rid me of all other masters that I may be tempted to follow so that you and your cause may be all that masters my life and all that fills my soul. Grant Margaret patience with my failings for she is a good wife and should not be subjected to all that causes me to come near to sin. Let her be free of those evil thoughts so that she may escape all of her past and be a good mother to our children. I ask this in the name of Jesus the one who is all-powerful and came to save me from the depths of my sin. Grant that I may be His faithful witness. Amen.

That therapist really hit home when she mentioned the Bible today. I didn't even realize she knew it and she said that I'd been talking about showing love to others but there was a verse about loving neighbor as self and I needed to talk about how I was loving myself along with my neighbor. I've never thought about how I love myself when I read that verse. It's always been a challenge to love my neighbor, I don't know if I know how to do something that's not selfish and that's just for me. O God, help me in this therapy. Let me know whether the therapist is the devil quoting verses against me as he did when he tempted You in the forty days in the wilderness. Give me the words to say, as You have promised, when I am put to trial. Let me be wholly Yours and follow Your commands through all my days. Amen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2000

I did it! Joe thought as he took a cab home. I actually went in and bought some colored underwear and it wasn't boxers or Y-front briefs. I put them in with the rest of my shopping and no one even looked twice not even the woman at the cash register. And I can tell my therapist that I've done something just for me. And, of course, Margaret since this may help us get our marital relations back on track. Paul says we should only give them up for a period of time and it is time that I gave Margaret her due. But I have something I bought just for myself. And I can tell my therapist that next Tuesday

Thursday, November 16, 2000

How can I wear my new underwear, Joe questioned? I've always told Margaret that we should buy stuff that's sensible. And she still does the laundry and we still sleep together and I change in front of her and we share dresser space and what do I say. I was so lucky she wasn't home when I unpacked yesterday and I've got them hidden in my desk and I do want to wear them but Margaret needs to be protected and helped in understanding what's suitable and how can I talk about this with her. This is getting too complicated. Margaret says that I'm so in touch with God, but I feel so confused about where God is when I think about doing stuff for myself and paying attention to my feelings. I can remember being happy as a child when I went to church, but it seems as if I'm just going through the motions these days. I know God has called me and chosen me but O God where are you! I seem to spend my days crying out in pain and my nights are sleepless while I toss in agony. I find comfort in Margaret's arms but only for a moment. I listen to Pastor Larry and he sounds so inspired and I feel so lifeless and all the therapist gives me is more questions and I just want to go back to the plain solid values and questions that have rock-solid answers and all I get is more turmoil and emotions I don't want to feel, emotions I may have had but never had to think about.

Friday, November 17, 2000

Joe thought about Pastor Larry's condemnation of Bathsheba on his way home from Bible Study. Margaret hadn't been in the same situation but her sexual activities were what her father had done before she was old enough to understand and a way of making a living without any skills or even a G. E. D. She was now a caregiver but only because someone had taken a chance and he had given her support enough to get the studying done for her high school equivalency. Men just weren't doing their duty by women when they allowed them to become so degraded. And it wasn't even as if passion played a part. I've certainly never felt that way about any woman and I'm able to control the passion the therapist thinks I have for men or hints that I may have towards men. Pastor Larry's Bible Study for Men is really helpful in our home studies, but I just don't think he's right on this one.

Then Joe realized what he'd thought about Pastor Larry and began to pray - O God forgive me, I'm rising up against the pastor you appointed for this church. I shouldn't be doubting his intentions and he's the one you've inspired to preach your word. I'm just not ready to go against his interpretation and I'm not worthy or the church would have already appointed me as a temporary deacon. This just shows why I don't yet have children and can become a deacon. The others have told me I'd be up for becoming one if I had kids and I want them so myself, I want kids so badly that I can hardly talk about it. And, O God, you know that I'm taking steps to have kids. I'm working on getting back to marital congress with Margaret. I've bought that underwear and am getting ready to start wearing it. I am going to be a good husband and father and follower of you. Please help me in my problems so that I can be what you mean me to be. Amen.

Saturday, November 18, 2000

"Margaret, would you mind not mentioning that I made the meatloaf for the picnic?"

"But what should I do if someone asks about it?"

"I'll tell you all about how I made it, but I don't think anyone needs to know how much cooking I'm doing and I'm sure they'd ask about it if they knew that I made the stuff for the church potluck. And besides it's supposed to be for the women to show off their cooking, not the men. We’re supposed to be thanked for the work we've done for the church and it just seems odd for me to cook for what I'm being thanked."

Joe kept going back around the issue of whether he was becoming a woman. I've bought that underwear and I wonder fi it means I'm a man wearing women's clothes - an abomination in the sight of the Lord as it says in Deuteronomy. I'm always after Margaret to wear dresses, not jeans and maybe I'm doing the very thing I'm condemning. Except that these are sold as men's wear and jeans - no matter how they're fitted - are for men's work. They were made for working cattle and just can't be suited for women. I don't want the church thinking I've become a woman and I don't want to become a woman, being a man is who I am and all I've wanted to be. I just don't know how to do it any more. I thought I knew all about it, but I can't work the way I used to and I have all these thoughts about wanting another man in my life as more than a brother or friend.

Sunday, November 19, 2000

"Joe! Did you hear that announcement? You were coming into the church when we were mentioned. It was right after you had counted the offering."

"What? Did something happen?"

"Pastor Larry just congratulated me on your meatloaf and you missed it. I had to nod as if I had made it and everyone looked at me. He congratulated you on bringing me out of the life and said what a good choice you had made and some joke about my being another Rahab and you making a wise choice and not getting fooled as did another prophet and not letting you get a swelled head so he was saying it while you were doing the Lord's work of counting the offering. I thought you were coming into church. You know I don't like his references to my past and then I just had to stand there and take credit for something I didn't do."

"I'm sorry. I know I've mentioned you don't like references to your past to Pastor Larry and I put you in a bad spot. But you didn't have to lie you just had to let Pastor continue making assumptions."

"Joe! That's too close to lying for me. I'm not going to embarrass Pastor Larry by telling him you made the meatloaf and not me, but I'm not going to take credit for your stuff again. I know I'm not wroth much; but I'm still not going to take credit for anything but what I can do and I just can't cook the way you can."

Monday, November 20, 2000

Joe woke up still reeling from Margaret's vehemence. Her comments had continued all through yesterday about how she was not going to take credit for cooking something she hadn't and how she was sick and tired of Pastor Larry using her as the fallen woman redeemed.

Joe knelt for morning prayers, "O God thank you that Margaret is gone so I don't have to pray audibly and discuss yesterday again. I just don't know how to respond. Pastor Larry, as he often reminds us, does have the responsibility and right to hold us up as examples but I don't know how or if I should tell him how Margaret feels about her past being held up and not her present. But Pastor Larry, I'm sure, thinks that he's holding up Margaret's present situation as a good and godly woman and doesn't realize how she feels about the past even though I've tried to hint. And then how do I talk to Margaret about why I don't want to be held up as a cook. It can't be the same as what she's going through I'm just being modest and she wants to hide from her past. But it is so difficult to explain to her and then Pastor Larry's explanations about some of these differences are not things I always understand either. And, O God, help me to bring out that underwear I bought and wear it, perhaps I can do so today, Margaret will be gone. But then how do I talk to Margaret about buying something that's not all that sensible when I have talked to her about buying everything sensible and avoiding any clothes that might be considered part of her past. O God I feel as if I am wax and jelly being melted in the furnace of the world's fires and temptations. May I be gold that is being refined and pottery that is being shaped into your image, so that I can answer Your call and be Your man.

Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Joe knew he shouldn't enjoy cooking so much it was women's work after all. Unless one was a chef in a restaurant, but home cooked meals were the woman's responsibility and he had started only because Margaret had to take over some of the man's work when he became unable. Surely she doesn't enjoy the yard work as much I enjoy cooking and that she has to mow and fix the gutters even if it is her house is my burden to bear and hers to do and I always wonder at Great-aunt Gwyneth saying she needed stability and I needed freedom and that's why she got the house and I got the money. Oh well, what am I going to do with green beans and meatloaf today. I think maybe I'll cook the green beans with almonds and water chestnuts and put a cream sauce over it while the meatloaf will have lots of garlic and Swiss cheese in the middle. I'll skip the oatmeal and use some bread crumbs for filler in the meatloaf , then for desert just have ice cream.

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

"Margaret," Joe said, "I don't think you're going to like this. Pastor Larry called while you were at work and he wants you to give a talk to the women at church. But it's supposed to be about your life as a prostitute. I didn't know how to say no to him, I just said I'd ask but wasn't sure you were ready to talk about it. I just didn't know what to say since I know his talking about it upsets you."

"Joe, let me change and relax and then I'll think about it. My first reaction is no way on God's green earth am I going to talk about my life to those women who haven't had to make my choices. But, I'll think about it."

"Margaret, Pastor Larry wants you to gave a talk before everyone. He said it would be a good lesson for the men who are tempted to go to whores."

"I'm not sure whether that's better or worse. I'm not going to give an answer now or I'd be using some of the language I've given up."

"Thank you Margaret, I know this is hard and this is one decision I can't protect you from."

Joe thought about mopping his brow as Margaret left the room but refrained. That had gone much better than he had expected after Pastor Larry's mention last week. The way she had fumed was enough to make him itchy anytime he mentioned church, let alone church and her past in the same sentence. Joe knew he couldn't protect her from all mentions but had somehow hoped that he could."

Thursday, November 23, 2000

Margaret realized it was Thanksgiving and she hadn’t talked to Joe’s family in quite awhile. She called Joe's sister.

"Hello, Susan? It’s Margaret. I just realized how long it’s been since I called. I’m sure Joe’s talking more than I am, but¼ he doesn’t always give me all the news."

"Hey, I'm glad you called. Joe hasn't spoken for awhile and we're all wondering about how he's recovering. Marshall is doing well and the twins are into everything. I never realized how much work twins were until I had Marshall, but then everything with him is a breeze after dealing with twins first. And are you and Joe doing anything about kids. I know both of you want some. All Joe could talk about growing up was becoming a father and you've been married long enough to settle down."

"Joe seems to be recovering but there are still some problems. He's still in physical therapy. I'm encouraging Joe to start a family but he's slowed down since the accident. He keeps saying he wants a family but doesn't do anything about it."

"Well, Margaret, you could just stop using birth control. That's what I did and it seemed to work out o.k. You're on the pill aren't you? Weren't you? And Joe never needs to know anything, it could just be a failure."

"Well, I'm off the pill and we stopped using condoms after I'd tested clean for six months and Joe knows I'm off the pill, but nothing is happening that would give me hope for children. Joe was great about giving me time to heal after we got together and were married, but now I'm needing to give him the same time."

"Whoa, girl, are you saying what I think you're saying? You better get after that boy to see a doctor if you're not having sex or you better go talk to his doctor. That's a problem right there that the physical therapist needs to know about. And you, I know I should avoid your past, but if you're interested and he's not. Well there's just something wrong."

"Susan, I've talked to Joe, but he's not ready to talk and so I'm just going to have to be patient."

"Well, gal, you're a better woman than I am. If Steve weren't with me at least a couple of times a week, and during pregnancy I want him a lot more often, I'd be complaining. You use that biblical language so tell Joe he owes you some marital relations and you haven't agreed to step aside for some time of prayer so he needs to get his act together with you or get to a doctor. Whoops there's one of the twins yelling. Gotta go. Give my love to Joe and tell him he needs to call more often. He's the only brother I have and I want to hear from him."

Friday, November 24, 2000

Joe prayed over the destruction of Absalom. That image of David weeping over the son who had rebelled kept on coming back. Am I the son in rebellion and God the one who weeps over my death? Are my feelings for men what God has given me up to because of some idolatry in my life? And what is that idolatry that causes me to feel this way? What is it in my life that is causing me to have these feelings? What rebellion am I in that God should allow this to happen to me? All I've wanted is to be God's servant and to have children and yet I have these feelings for men that I can't get rid of and that means I'm in rebellion, an idolater and can never have children. It's just so impossible that I would be like Absalom but I'm going to be cut off, just like he was and God is sorrowing over my rebellion even now.

Perhaps I should talk to Pastor Larry. He should be able to help me discover where the sin is in my life that I'm being given over to these destructive thoughts. I can't burden Margaret with this and no matter what the therapist says Margaret just is not strong enough to deal with this. Yes, Pastor Larry will have the answer. He'll be able to tell me where I'm failing.

Saturday, November 25, 2000

"Margaret," Joe said, "I'm going to talk with Pastor Larry about why I've not been having marital relations. It's time to do something more than therapy."

Joe continued watching the tears form in Margaret's eyes. "I know you've been patient, but it's time that I do more since the therapy isn't working. Pastor Larry can pray with me about the issue of marital relations and maybe do a better job. I want to support you and give you your due as a good wife and I know both of us want children. I've put it off too long and maybe Pastor Larry will help me so that we can work together on this problem of mine."

Margaret couldn't manage to choke out any words, but it was enough that Joe started thinking, "I have been hard on Margaret. I just didn't know how much she wanted this. I've been selfish in not doing anything about marital relations with her. Maybe that's the sin that is causing me to have these other feelings. I'll talk with Pastor Larry and see what he thinks."

Sunday, November 26, 2000

Margaret was just finished getting ready for church when she asked, "Joe? Do you think it would be good for you, would it help you become a deacon if I spoke in church?"

"I don't know. Pastor Larry would think I had control over my house and you know that's one of the Biblical requirements. You're such a good wife that I hate to ask you to do anything you don't want to do. I'm worried that it might cause you pain, that you might feel to weak. But, yes, I think it would help me become a deacon if you spoke about your past."

"Alright, Joe, I'll do it. I'm certainly strong enough. I just don't want to revisit a place I've come through and conquered. You do so much for me. It's the least I can do for your having rescued me out of that hell I was in. I thank Jesus every day for you and that you brought the Word to me."

Joe was going - Yes! This will really get Pastor Larry on the road to helping me and prove to him that I'm a good Christian and show him that I have control over my household and maybe, just maybe with Margaret's support I can conquer these temptations I've been having and prove to God that I intend to be His servant.

Monday, November 27, 2000

How could David have done it, Joe wondered? To give up his stepsons to be killed?! He was married to Michal and these were her sons even if they weren't his own children, even if they were sons of another man that Michal had been wed to while David was in exile. But to give up his wife's children?! David was supposed to be such a righteous man and yet to be able to do something like that even if he thought God wanted him to do that. Today's passage from II Samuel 21 does nothing to relieve my anxiety and perhaps that is where I'm supposed to be, but how long, O God, how long.

Tuesday, November 28, 2000

After reading II Samuel 22 Joe began to wonder how long it had been since had really sung a song of praise to God. Yes, I've sung in church and we have a lot of songs that Praise God but I just haven't sung one recently except in church. I was slowing before that accident and I don’t think I've sung one since. I've got a lot to be grateful for - my health, Margaret is such a patient and understanding wife and yet I can't praise God unless someone else starts it or I have to for church and then am I praising God or going through the motions. I just don't seem to feel anything anymore. Except for anxiety and pain, I get enough of that as I struggle with my faith. I know I'm called. I know God saves me. But now I am in the depths and feel as if someone is standing on my shoulders keeping from getting my head above the waters around me.

O God, I am in such despair. Everything should be getting better. I'm recovered from the accident and I make some steps forward but everything seems to fall back down. I bought that underwear and my therapist praised me for looking after myself and yet I cannot bring myself to wear it because I'm so afraid what Margaret will think. I want to talk to Pastor Larry but I know he'll say I must be doing evil to have those sorts of thoughts I keep having and how can I talk to him about those thoughts when I feel called to be a deacon in the church. Every time I think I'm moving forward I fall back. I think I'm getting rid of those thoughts but they keep coming back and my therapist says it's good, but Pastor Larry would say it's bad. How do I choose O God? How can I do the right thing? And what is the right thing? I read about David killing his step sons and not being condemned. How can my thoughts be worse than that and I want children so badly and I can't have them without a wife and yet my desires don't seem to be towards Margaret. I just thought they'd go away with prayer and a good wife, but Margaret is so good and I've done such good things by getting her out of the life, surely I've done enough that God will take away these idolatrous desires of mine. Surely I've done enough that God would point out where my sin of idolatry lies. But I cry out and there is no answer and the answers I get don't make sense. O God! Where are you!?!

Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Joe went to prayer saying, O God why can I not give You praise as did David in his last words, but my words seem as nothing and less than nothing. I cry for relief from my thoughts of men, but I have no relief and all I find is exhaustion. I pray that I am a good husband to Margaret, but I find more and more that I have less interest in her as a woman and do not give her what is due a woman from her husband. I so want to be a husband and raise children. Why won't You let me have an interest in my wife? I am tortured, abandoned as though nothing. I have sought to serve You from the time I was a child and asked for correction when I am wrong, but I cannot find my wrong that would cause me to have these feelings that have awakened. I cannot see why I would go to a bar with those sorts of people and then when I flee have an accident on the way home. I cannot understand why this should be happening when I study Your word and worship with Your people. My days, these days, are filled with cries to You and yet I find no answer. O God when will I hear your voice, when will I find some answers. Is it that I have taken counseling from someone who is part of the secular atheistic psychiatry, but they were the ones who would listen. Is it that I have not gone to Pastor Larry, but I have listened to his sermons and I know if I talked with him I would not be able to serve You in the ways that I have. What is it O God that keeps me from hearing Your voice.

Thursday, November 30, 2000

Joe prayed through tears, O God, I am Yours. I am Yours even though I am a homosexual. You have placed me among the thieves, the idolaters, the immoral, those committing sexual sins. Even though I've never had sex with a man and only with my wife, my thoughts are such that I can only be among those Paul condemned. And yet I should be more for Paul said that we were once as they and yet I have always been Yours and I am as they are. Help me to find a place among Your people as I am and change me if it be Your will. I have prayed so long for change but it is not happening and so it must not be Your will that I change just yet. But Oh! in this time help me to be among your people as repentant even though I am yet a sinner born and bred. And let Margaret be saved even if I am not. I know Pastor Larry says that a woman is saved by her husband, but just this once, since I am evil and she is good, let Margaret be saved even as I am not.

And O God forgive my lies. I have lied to you, I've lied to Margaret, I've avoided the truth about myself for so long. It wasn't just that I went to a bar and fled. I've been hiding my feelings for much longer. As I look back today I don't know when I began to deny that I had those feelings, No let me say that word clearly. I don't know when I began to deny my sexual feelings for men, my homosexual feelings, but I can't avoid them any longer. It doesn't matter that I've tried to be a man. That I've acted as everyone says a good man should act, I have lied when I said I had more that intermittent attractions to women and then only when they look a little like men. And I've lied to Margaret, I tell her she looks attractive in dresses and she should wear dresses like a good woman and then I've imagined her in jeans and only been attentive when she looks the least womanly that she can. O God, I've spent my life in lies and prided myself on the honesty which I lacked. Preserve me O God from the consequences of my sin and let me be counted among Your people once again that I may rejoice in the presence of Your people. But if not, let Margaret be preserved for she had no part in my lies and has always been herself and learned Your salvation more than I.

No comments: