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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Out of Control: Chapter 6

For the explanation of my current series, go to the first installment: http://bit.ly/2nnCvFx

Out of Control
A Christian Parent’s Victorious Struggle with Child Abuse
A Memoir by Kathy Collard Miller

Chapter 6


As I finished dusting the living room furniture, I turned to Larry and said, "Honey, have you noticed the bills that have stacked up since we got home from visiting your parents? When do you think you'll be able to send them off?" I tried not to sound as uptight as I felt inside. 

"Oh, I guess I can do them before I go to work. But I want to finish this article first."

For a moment, I studied Larry relaxing in the blue corduroy lounge chair and reading the magazine that seemed to represent the barrier between us. 

I pleaded, "Honey, it wouldn't take more than fifteen minutes to write out those checks. Could you take care of it now, please?"

Glancing up at me, he tartly replied, "Kathy, don't worry about it. I'll do it later."

Don't worry about it? Doesn't he know how much I hate to see bills accumulate? But I caught myself. I'm not going to nag him. I must trust the Lord. It's not my responsibility anymore. I have turned financial matters over to Larry. Now he will have to deal with the consequences if the bills aren't paid. 

But then the thought of late charges, when we barely had enough money to cover the bills, began to gnaw at my determination to trust God. I remembered how I used to agonize over paying the bills on time and how I begged Larry to take over the job. When he had finally said he would, I was glad and so relieved. But now I wondered if I had done the right thing. 

Father, I don't want to nag him but you aren't motivating him. Tweet that! Don't you think as Christians we should pay our bills on time? Please tell him to take care of them! 

As that Monday afternoon passed, I realized it would soon be time for Larry to leave for work and he still hadn't made any move toward the desk. I tried to keep busy putting the kids down for their naps and cleaning up the lunch dishes, but my mind obsessed about of overdue bills. 

After Larry left for work and I knew he hadn't touched the checkbook, I fled to the family room. I'm going to scream, God. I can't handle it. If I write out those bills myself, I'll be doing them for the rest of our marriage. I'm not going to do it. He'll just have to pay the consequences. 

I frantically eyed the room. What can I do to take my mind off of this? I rushed over to the television and jerked it on. I flipped the selector around several times and finally found a soap opera I hadn't watched for several months. 

I tried to reassure myself, "Now, I'm not going to get hooked again. I'll only watch it today. I've got to do something to get my mind off those and pay bills."

Within the first fifteen minutes, I became reacquainted with the plot. Then a commercial came on advertising a new cake mix. I nestled among the pillows on the couch, enjoying the image of the richly frosted devil's food cake. "That sure makes my mouth water," I mumbled to myself. I tried to think of any sweets around the house that might satisfy my craving. I smiled as I remembered the large package of candy I had bought. Rustling through the cupboard, I found it and returned to my chair just in time to find out Sue was on trial for murder of her husband even though Kevin really had shot him. By the end of the program, I had finished half the bag of candy. Scouting the kitchen, I finally decided to hide it in the potato bin. I knew Larry wouldn't look there.

The next two weeks were consumed with more and more TV watching and candy eating. The candy filled me up and eventually I only snacked at dinnertime. I was engrossed with the soap opera characters. At times they seemed more real and important than my own family.

By Friday, my patience level had crumbled. I took the children for our usual early evening walk. When Darcy wouldn't stay out of the street, I grabbed her shoulders and shook her violently, embarrassed by my behavior. I yanked her into one arm, pushed Mark in the stroller with the other, and practically ran home. 

Suddenly, I realized how tired I was. My muscles felt as if they were attached to one hundred pound weights. I gazed at the family room. Coloring books, crayons, and bits of crackers littered the room. I wondered how long it had been since I had dusted the furniture. I couldn't remember. 

"Now, Kathy, you are really tired, just hang on. In just a few hours both kids will be asleep and you'll be able to go to bed too." The thought of the cozy, warm bed made me feel even more exhausted. 

Finally, after putting them to bed, I slipped between the sheets of my own bed. This feels so good. I'm so tired. I hope I'm not getting sick. Father, why does it seem like I never get anything done around here? My house is always a mess, I know I'm not a very good mother, and I'm too weary to be a good wife. Am I really worth it? How can you love me? 

My tired body and heavy heart sucked me into a pit of hopelessness. It seemed as if I would never learn whatever lesson God was trying to teach me. The days merely passed by uneventfully except for the anger wrapping it's strangling cord around by existence. Maybe I just need a good night's sleep. Help me tomorrow, Father. But before the thought was finished I had drifted into a restless sleep.

Chapter 7: http://bit.ly/2pmgovV

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