We affectionately call her Mrs. C.
In her sixties, with remarkable zeal, she carried a charismatic and gregarious personality. She was a Bible teacher, an author, a missionary, a powerhouse, and a woman of great faith. She exuded genuine friendship in a Godly persona and took me under her wings. She held many prayer meetings in her home and often prostrated herself on the floor on her face interceding for others. She became my lifesaver, my spiritual mother. Throughout the years, I often counted on her for spiritual advice and much-needed counseling.
On one dreary afternoon, the sky grew overcast along with my hope and faith. Suffering from battle fatigue, I sat in Mrs. C’s den. I told her I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
“I can’t take it anymore,” I confessed, wringing my hands.
Patiently, unassuming, and non-judgmental, Mrs. C handed me a tissue and gave me time to release the dread and pain in my heart.
“I’ve tried everything. Done all I know to do. Yet nothing seems good enough.”
“Has he stopped hitting you?”
I sighed, much relieved that he had. “Oh, yes.”
“Mary Ann, in his own way you know he loves you” she began, “but you have become ‘weary in well-doing.’ In your mind’s eye, you’ve conceded it’s not worth it.”
She honed in on my sentiments. I hung my head in shame.
“You know,” she insisted, “it is worth it all.”
At that moment, I wished I were stronger and smarter, and Mrs. C wasn’t so wise and read me so well. “But shouldn’t this be a two-way street?” I suggested.
“Are you and the kids better off without him?”
I figured she knew the answer before I did. “We . . . we have nowhere else to go.”
“Are you better off without him?” she repeated and handed me the tissue box.
“Money is tight. I can’t afford to do anything else.”
“Are you better off without him?”
No,” I whispered and wiped my nose.
I felt weak, and inadequate as a Christian wife, struggling to maintain a measure of peace and sanity in my household with four children and tending to a man struggling with his demons.
“Then, go home and be the best wife and mother you know how to be,” she said.
Sometimes, it’s easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk.
“But first,” she added, “I want to pray for you.”
That woman knew how to enter the Throne Room of God in her prayers. Electricity surged through my entire body when she touched me as she prayed. Before I left, she handed me her book, Wives, Unequally Yoked. I figured reading couldn’t hurt, plus the title intrigued me. I’d already devoured The Total Woman, by Marabel Morgan. The pages were worn and underlined with a yellow marker, much like my own Bible.
“PRAY HARDEST WHEN IT’S HARDEST TO PRAY”
I didn’t leave Mrs. C’s company the same way I arrived. Resolved in my heart not to become bitter, I determined to be better and left strengthened, with a made-up mind.
Mrs. C suggested that I study a passage in the Bible that read: “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”
I had to admit this wasn’t easy. I’d used my tongue as a weapon more times than I cared to count and didn’t know if I could keep my mouth shut. But with renewed determination, I worked on dropping the holier-than-thou attitude and praying for my husband more. This time, I prayed–not that my life might become easier–but that he might become whole: physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Note: Has anyone outside of your family meant the world to you? Made an impact? Enriched your life?
Throughout the years, many have come into my life, which I am eternally grateful for. Mrs. C recently celebrated her 87th birthday. Although not as active as once before, Mrs. C has touched and helped countless lives still going strong today. Because of her, many realized their true potential and reached their purpose.
Painting by Michael C. Dudash
© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved