I never seem to do things in quite the right order.
3 days ago I posted what was probably a good summary statement of the past 2 years when I’ve been mostly absent from this space.
Yesterday I wrote something that came out of my day’s experiences. It told you nothing about my marriage or my life, which was obviously the main theme of this blog back when it began and for the 18 months of its regular existence.
I announced my return on facebook and lots of lovely readers welcomed me back.
And then I thought maybe I should post some sort of ‘where are they now’ post!
Like I say – the wrong order – but if you’re looking for order and certainty you’ve come to the wrong place 😉
My marriage is still holding together. In fact it’s doing way better than that. My marriage is great. I love my husband. He loves me. We do as much as we can together. I miss him when he’s away (although I do love having the bed to myself, let’s be real here); he is who I want to talk to first about pretty much everything and he makes me laugh more than anyone else I know. I feel loved. I feel liked. Those are very good things. We still make a mess of communication because that’s one of our weakest places, and we could not be more different from each other if we tried, but we try to be kind to each other and as the bible says, love covers over a multitude of sins. We’ve walked through some very big life stuff in the months I’ve been away, and we’ve walked through it together. We’ve kept talking through it (something we seemed to forget to do for about 7 years of our marriage) and we’re doing well.
The past. being honest I look back and shudder. I can’t quite believe what happened. It’s complicated – I can’t say that I regret it because if our lives hadn’t hit crisis point in the way that they did then we would have kept on walking towards the eventual disintegration of our marriage and possibly ourselves in the process. I still have the wounds from it all. Mostly they are scars, but occasionally a little wound re-opens. Much less frequently and the healing is going deeper. There’s some things I’ve had to cut out of my life to try to make sure it never happens again. I don’t listen to as much music anymore and I certainly don’t discuss music with other people, because that gives them immediate access to my heart. I have invested so much time in pursuing my female friendships and I am completely blessed with the most amazing women in my life. I don’t have male friends who I see or keep in touch with separately from my husband. I know that some people might think this is unnecessary but for me it’s the first line of protection. Not because of the men but because of myself. I don’t want to ever get so close to another man that the intimacy I have with him gets anywhere near to the emotional intimacy I have with my husband. I’m not taking that risk.
The other. I’ve been working at forgiveness. God has been changing my heart. I’m not sure if I’m there yet but I’m further along than I was. Again, it’s complicated. I think there are a few more things I need to do to get to where I want to be in terms of drawing a line and not feeling that things were left jagged and still have potential to hurt me. I thought I would be there by now but I’m not, but I don’t think that’s a problem. There has been quite a lot of knowing that God is telling me that what He does in anyone else’s life is not my concern and the thing that matters is what’s happening in my own heart and head. God has been super gentle with me and I know it’s a process and moving forward is what matters.
My faith. The reality of God’s love and presence is the story of this blog. Nothing has changed. God is relentlessly present. I’m still a wanderer on occasion, but never for long and only because I become a bit too self reliant at times, before I remember that that is a recipe for disaster.
Church. I’ve made it back to church. It took almost 2 years. It’s not easy and I still get very uncomfortable around issues of safeguarding, trust, leadership and hierarchical structures. But it’s the people of God in the place where I live so I am by definition a part of that. I have avoided all attempts to encourage me back into leadership there. Instead I’m putting my energies into engaging with those outside the institution of the church. I know that God came for me when I was outside and I want to share that God of the outsiders with anyone who feels they don’t have it all together.
Writing. I’ve written a PhD thesis in the time I’ve been away, which may account for the lack of blogging! I’ve tried blogging in other spaces, including without a pseudonym but I think maybe writing honestly from the heart is where I’m most myself, and given that there is a need to protect my loved ones by protecting my identity, I think this is the place where I can do that. I am not trying to build platform or create a following. I just want to keep sharing the story of God and hope in my life. You are welcome to friend me on fb where I am there as Caiobhe Hopes. It’s not a public writer page just an ordinary profile. I’m on twitter too as @Caiobhe. Again the tweets are protected but happy to add you. I’m trying to find a space which feels private enough for me to be open. I’m toying with the idea of making this blog password protected, so let me know how you feel about that.
Everything else – maybe I’m more ‘me’ than I ever was before. I have ideas and plans and gifts and I’m not apologising for them; I’m keen to get on and be whatever difference I can be in the world. I still overdo it and end up crashed out for a day or so before I pick myself up and launch myself into the next adventure. My life is based on the hope that I have in Christ. not in any person or any circumstance but in Christ. And I still believe that He makes beautiful things.
So that’s my update. Tell me how are you?