So we left and headed back ‘home’. I again learned the meaning of “you can’t go home again”.
After being married 5 years we began to doubt we would be able to have children (there were real medical reasons for this) so we adopted a beautiful, blond, blue-eyed 5 year old problem child. 🙂 We adored him and loved him but after years of problems, he became an alcoholic, generally homeless and passed away in his 40s, but that is an entirely different story. Then almost 3 years later, God blessed us with a beautiful baby boy. But back to the church stuff. 🙂
My dad was ALJC (Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ), so my husband applied for ALJC license and got them so now he was both an ALJC and a UPC (United Pentecostal Church) general licensed minister. We did some evangelizing and I did a puppet ministry.
My husband really enjoyed outreach a lot more than pulpit ministry; I felt then and now that he was pushed into the ministry by an overly enthusiastic mother who wanted ALL her boys to be preachers. Anyway, the UPC evidently got wind of this guy with license in both organizations and after ignoring this town for 20 years, suddenly felt ‘led’ to start a UPC church there AND told my husband he would have to attend the UPC church or give up his license. He decided to give up BOTH licenses and joined the USAF –no kidding! Really the license thing was just one catalyst, we also had financial problems and since the town was small, we were occasionally running into our son’s birth family so put it all together and another move seemed like a good thing to do.
He ended up in special forces on a base out west and I searched for a church. The ALJC was closest but something seemed off. (I soon learned that a couple years prior, the pastor had taken his teenage son to the woods and pretty much beaten him senseless.) I never saw this kid so he must have been put in foster care or something, along with an older sister I never saw. The only child they had then was an adorable little 2 year old boy that I pray didn’t suffer the same fate.
So moving on, I went to the UPC church across town. They had a daycare sponsored by the state. The state also bought them some beautiful indoor playground equipment that took up most of the fellowship hall. The ‘church’ kids (with the exception of the pastor’s kids) were NEVER to play on this equipment, even though we had several social church events in the fellowship hall with the kids all looking longingly at the play stuff.
Lots of weird stuff in this church; the pastor even had a problem with watches other than plain banded Timex ones, LOL.
Two good things happened in this town, one is we were were again blessed with a beautiful baby, a girl (after this, my medical condition made it impossible to have any more children), and I met a friend at this church who would become a lifelong friend.
At this time, my husband was on duty 24/7 for 3 days and then home for 6 so we joined our good friends and both moved 2 hours away from his base to a big town with a bigger, more normal church. We really never got too involved at this church, I don’t think we were there long enough, so I don’t know a whole lot about this church.
Something happened then that would totally change our lives forever. In a freak accident, 42 sheets of plywood fell on my husband’s head and fractured his spine in 5 places. Being the tuff guy he was, he shrugged the whole thing off and went on a scheduled tour to Iceland with a load of morphine for pain. He soon OD’d on the morphine and was medevac’d to DC where he spent the next year and a half in a military hospital in a full body cast with metal rods in his spine.
I stayed there most of the time in a TLQ with 3 small children waiting to see what would happen next. His appendix burst while in the cast and he ‘died’ twice. I didn’t know until it was over and came to visit, finding him in a pitch black room thinking he was dead and that there was just nothing (we laugh now but it was not funny then).
Our baby turned 2 there. Daddy would spend the next few years in and out of hospitals and most of the time in body casts and wheelchairs. We spent a lot of time in different places, mainly having to do with his treatment, rather than churches and at one point relied on $40 a week from the Red Cross for food.
I repainted the house we rented in lieu of rent. He was in the hospital and I was just doing the best I could –I went to church but wasn’t focused and the churches we went to were a lot more interested in what we could do for them than what they might do for us –for us they did absolutely nothing. A not in church sister-in-law brought us dinner many nites, showing more Christianity than anyone else in the area that I knew.
I am going to skip years here b/c while we both continued ‘in the faith’, our focus was more on just surviving and making sure our kids were ok than on anything in the churches where we were pretty much just a number. My husband says to remember there were also a lot of ‘good’ times and yes there were–they had really nothing to do with church, but a lot to do with God and we were definitely blessed with a lot of good times and our kids don’t even remember any bad times so we did something right. 🙂
(one aside) At one point we had the kids in a UPC ACE school, my then 3 year old son completely memorized all the morning scripture passages. The pastor would put him up front on Sunday mornings and have him quote whole chapters from Isaiah and the old ladies in the church would follow along in the Bible –he never missed a single word. 🙂 He is a computer tech today and was an ALJC minister, albeit a bit unorthodox in some areas.
Ok, I’ve talked enough for now –there may not be many patient enough to read all this but it really is kind of a catharsis for me even if no one reads it. 🙂