Denise is back to share part 4 of her story. If you missed the explanation of this project go back and read Operation Restoration: Home Edition to catch up. If you missed the beginning of Denise’s story here are the other posts…
Patrick had become good friends with our pastor and another individual from church. He respected them and knew they would support him how they could. It was during this time that their friendship was growing and talks of planting a church began. What? My head was spinning. So much stuff was going on! So much BIG stuff! The mission still wasn’t out of the woods financially, we were still dealing with the effects of the threat, and now you want to add planting a church to your list? How on earth would he have time for all this? I voiced my concerns about having too many irons in the fire. He reminded me of his dream to plant a church. Our communication was lacking to say the least.
In the next few months, I saw less and less of Patrick. His day to day mission work was enough. Throw it helping plant a church and that was a recipe for a less engaged dad and husband. At the time, I was somewhat thankful for the outlet it gave him from other things. However, instead of just communicating to him how I felt about his over busy schedule, I held it in, got an attitude and unleashed my oozing bitterness when I had enough. Looking back, this outlet didn’t really allow him to deal with the fears and emotions he had of his life being threatened or the stress of his job, it just allowed his time and energy to be focused elsewhere. I am however, thankful for the friendships he made with those men and the love that they had for one another.
Because I was on the inside looking out, I honestly don’t know if Patrick’s job at the mission was slacking because of his other endeavors. I just know that his role at home was. We had been down this road before. He would get so involved in work that family would take a lower spot on the totem pole. I hadn’t felt that way in Arizona yet, but I was starting to. Those who knew us well knew our faults: his selfishness and my passiveness. Throw in bad communication and you’ve got one ugly concoction.
Months went by and the church got planted. The mission was still intact. Our home was still running. I felt like we were running everywhere. Be here, be there, do this, do that. We rarely had time for each other. When we had time, it was the four of us. I couldn’t remember the last time Patrick and I had been on a date. I had decided not to teach at the mission for another school year because of the time and effort it took away from my family not to mention 2 paychecks from the same place hadn’t worked out so nicely in the past. It was an incredibly hard choice to make, but I felt I needed to be able to focus more at home.
On an attempt to have some time for us and us alone, I agreed to go on an overnight hike in the mountains. He was happy because we were doing something he always wanted us to do together and I was happy because we were together. He was so supportive, helpful and encouraging on our hikes. This was the man I knew and loved. Maybe this was just what the doctor ordered! We celebrated our highest Arizona hiking peak with an incredible meal at one of our favorite mountain towns and headed home. I was praying this would help us get back on track.
It did help for a bit. He was engaged at home and working his tail off too. He gave me the gift of a visit home to Indiana. I was so shocked, overwhelmed and very thankful. My mom had been so sick with cancer and not being able to be there for her weighed on me. He knew that, and how much I desperately wanted to see her. So back to Indiana I went for a few weeks, while he held down the fort at home.
While I was gone he called me, texted me and facebooked me a bazillion times. So much so it kind of made me a little nuts. However, I was thankful for his new found appreciation for me. It felt really good to be loved and missed. When I flew home we spent the night in Phoenix, the four of us. Our reunion was so sweet. I had missed my family so much. We talked and caught up about the events of the last 16 days. Patrick had so much to share about the new happenings at church. He couldn’t wait for me to meet some new people.
Back to life, back to reality, and back in the swing of things we went. The next Saturday night I got to meet these new people and to be honest I kind of felt left out in these new friendships he had made. I’d only been gone sixteen days. It wouldn’t take long to catch up though since we started hanging out a lot. I felt these friendships were genuine and we were all growing in our faith together.
A few weeks went by and my gut kept saying watch that “one woman.” I tried to shrug it off but then I started seeing some red flags. She would sit by my husband every time we were together. I would catch her looking at him and I didn’t like how and they began texting each other friendly texts. Well, the texting got my attention and I confronted him. Then I confronted her. They both assured me they were friends sending innocent texts and they understood how it could be perceived and they were both sorry. It wouldn’t happen again.
Now I was really on guard. Those same red flags kept waving. Although the texting didn’t seem to be happening, or at least I thought, I hated feeling I had to jockey for position for my own husband. I kind of felt like I was going crazy. Was I feeling jealous for nothing? I had never been the jealous type. Was there something to be concerned about? Why on earth did I not mention this to our other friends in this circle? I have no idea…well yeah I do. I felt embarrassed and probably afraid of their thoughts or how they would think of me if I was the crazy one. I just know how I felt in those few short weeks. I was trying so hard to trust her; after all, everyone else thought she was so sweet. She was so generous with her time and efforts, how could I possibly question her character?