Believe it! Dysfunctional families are not new. A thorough search of the Bible from Geneses through Revelation will prove this. It also might turn into an excellent term paper. Families can come through "dysfunctional" times and not be dysfunctional. This happens when the members belong to The Lord Jesus Christ; He carries them through. Sometimes, it's quite a lot that they are permitted by Him to endure. But God knows best....
She had been searching for the true God for years. In this search, she came to have head knowledge of Him. She had sung in adult choirs--when she went to church--since she was 10. Because she loved singing, she seemed to bubble over with happiness. She and others took it for joy. She was quite popular with the adults especially.
By age 21 she was a paid member of the choir that assisted at chapel time in the Bethesda Naval Medical Hospital where presidents and vice presidents go when they need to be hospitalized, and the Navy of all ranks--even midshipman
They met and instantly bonded in spirit. He exuded an aurora she now knows was Jesus. No wonder he was different from others she had dated. On his better days, she borrowed the family car and went and picked him up for dinner with her family or they would go to a restaurant, a movie, and then to a Hot Shoppe for a soda. On his not-so-good days, she rode a bus to the hospital and visited with him in the ward or wheeled him down to the cafeteria. As they ate, they mostly fed on each others words. When his parents flew to Maryland to visit him as they did when they could, she met them and was accepted. Her bubbliness was good for him and them.
It had shocked this midshipmen when, in his senior year, he was struck instantly by crippling arthritis so he couldn't even walk off the airplane on which he flew home for Christmas vacation. He returned as scheduled to Maryland, but to a hospital instead of Annapolis. He had hope and faith that he would one day make it back to the academy. He would be doing so well; and then it would be almost as if he was falling back into disabilitation. Faith in Christ is what kept him going. And his faith in Christ was being used by God to reach her.
They'd discuss how their life would be when he went back, finished at the academy, and they were married. He got better again and one last time she brought him home for dinner. She didn't know it was going to be the last time. And, he didn't when she came to pick him up.
As they rode back to the hospital, he was unresponsive to her chatter. She mistook his silence as tiredness from going out too soon. They had prayer as was his custom. His prayer was so different. And he would follow it up with a tender kiss. Instead he opened his door, got out, turned to her and said he was not going to see her any more; closed the door and walked away without looking back.
Shocked and overwhelmed she just sat there frozen--not even able to cry. Finally she returned home. She couldn't understand. "Maybe he's depressed. I'll call him tomorrow, and everything will be all right." But it wasn't. He refused her phone calls. When she tried to go visit him, she was forbidden to come into his ward.
Her being rejected hurt and made her easy prey for a young seaman who had also noticed her when he stopped by the chapel. In a whirlwind courtship, with her heart and mind in the fog of rejection, she never noticed all the warning signals. She had never met any of his family. He always had some reason why. Though in her early 20s, she was na´ve in many ways.
Within three months they were married. Then they went on the honeymoon to his home town. There the bubbliness was punctured, and she went through in one year what many never go through in their whole life.
Four or five months, while he was away from their apartment, she answered a knock on the door only to meet two teen age girls with ringed hands saying they were engaged to him. Somehow, without batting an eyelash, she asked how they could consider that was true when she was married to him, and held out her left hand with the wedding ring. She was stronger by then and was determined that her marriage was going to last. She would overcome this and not be rejected. When he went A.W.O.L. and got in trouble with the law, she finally knew there was no reason to keep her from going back to home turf and family.
Months later, one of her sisters who was still living at home told her what their Dad had once revealed to her while he was under the influence of alcohol. Having been crippled by polio, he had taken the young man out to sit on the front steps. It turned out that he had shared his warped view of life and told the midshipman that, if he loved her as much as he said, he would not want to saddle the one who bubbled like champagne with a cripple. For most of the rest of her Dad's life she blamed as the underlying cause of what transpired later..
The sister worked as a bookkeeper in a bank and later telephoned her to ask what was the full name of the young midshipman. She said they had an account in his name and his address the academy. By then the hurt from being rejected had vanished because she knew now she hadn't been rejected. But she had another hurt; being damaged goods. She knew she couldn't go looking him up even though the academy was only a short distance away.
Instead she hid from her hurt with wine, steeled her heart so it couldn't be broken again, and went on a several-year journey of living the high life and rejecting and breaking hearts. Eight years from the year of the midshipman relationship and her ill-fated marriage, in a state of brokenness and despair, she met the One she had been looking for all the time--The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Later when He had her undergoing a course entitled Integrity Therapy she learned that she had to forgive her dad; which she did. She had had to own up to God and herself that there were times when she hadn't bothered to seek His Will. She had gone only by her feelings. Looking back, she realizes she did that only about one year before he died. In those 12 months, through her and her Mom her Dad was saved four months before he died.
Recently, while she was talking this over with her other sister, she realized that it may not have been her Dad who had caused the breakup with the midshipman. In all likelihood, it was her heavenly Father. He knew what she had not known until after she got saved. In His Plan, He couldn't have the midshipman being unequally yoked with her, an unbeliever far, far away from God.
### Roberta J. Kittrell -- 11/19/2004 -- edited 12/06/2004 -- for January FaithWriters Magazine
Oh yes, so often, what we see as a mishappen is our Heavenly Father's divine intervention... for our good!! It took me several years and a whole, whole lot of heartache to fully comprehend that. Great piece. It grabbed my attention from the first word to the last.