The first part of our journey begins here: Living in a Tent (Redemption Part 1)
Tent life was pretty rough. The hardest part was probably the terrible storms, the ‘dog days’ heat, open fire cooking, arguing with my parents a lot, and with my significant other. The last two should definitely be first.
We were less than a year into our relationship, neither one of us believing in Jesus. Living in sin completely, but for some reason being pulled to escape the norm of society that we had lived in, and created in ourselves. I had learned about his porn problem in April of 2013, it is now August of 2013 and I had believed him when he smashed his electronic devices to pieces and told me he was sick of looking at such disgusting things. Very sincerely, very convincingly. And I still believed him when I found out that he did it again, this time via my parent’s internet connection when we were gone one day. I was literally devastated. He had given me the ‘all clear’, that I didn’t have to worry about anything before we left (because I was such a wreck always fearing he would do it again). He tearfully confessed that night that ‘it’ had happened. The next day he threw his laptop out while we were driving down the road. He let me know that this was something engraved in him since he was a young child. He grew up with pornography in his household. We can say his dad was a ‘collector’ of such trash. His dad actually had it in boxes piled up to the ceiling when I went to visit his parents one day. He was never disciplined for it or told it was wrong. Actually, the opposite of those things were taught. He hated himself for it, and he hated it.
Exactly what an addiction does. It gets you to a point where the addiction isn’t pleasurable anymore, but now a necessary, begrudging thing that must be done for whatever reason.
I was living in a tent with this person. I had sold all of my life for this person. A person I didn’t really know everything about, but I did love deeply because he was more than just sin, even if I had no concept of that yet anyway. We were/are very connected to each other. The worst day was when I was flashing back to being told the bad news (of the second offense), and feeling especially confrontational about it. We got into a huge argument while at my parent’s house (they were gone). We had brought our German Shepherd to their house with us and had left him outside in the backyard. Things were getting pretty heated in the house so I decided to go outside. When I walked outside I found my white German Shepherd, now saturated red with the blood of one of my mom’s poor, innocent miniature goats (oh, the symbolism!). I remember thinking, his appearance matches everything that was going on inside of both of us. I had to get my boyfriend – whom I was filled with hatred at – to get help for the goats, and the bloody dog, and having to tell my parents what had happened when they got back home. That was a terrible day, but I know it was a day that was supposed to happen. This was an important part in our coming to the Lord because I had to (eventually) learn forgiveness and my boyfriend had to (eventually) learn how to defeat his demons.
- So moving on!
In late September of 2013 we finally got our “Shabbin’” built (on our one year anniversary mark). After almost 2 months of living in a tent, I was ready to live in some solid walls – especially before the real cold set in. Shabbin’ is the correct descriptive word for our home. We see it (in our minds still because a house takes a long time to build when you are young, not wealthy, not wanting to go into debt, only 2 people building it etc.) as a shabby cabin. We had to hurry our plans because fall was setting in and it was already getting pretty cold at night. We built a 12X16 home by ourselves. Woodworking is in my blood (I have been doing it since I could hold a staple gun), but I had never built such a massive structure that we expected to stand firm and shelter us. I was like a foreman and my boyfriend was my crew.
We labored so hard, and let me tell you, we were arguing before, but building a house together piece by piece can really put a strain on things, too. Again, this was a learning process from our Father, but we did not know it at the time. My love and I had to carry every piece of our home over 100 yards to our building location (we had a driveway put in, but it doesn’t reach all the way to our house). Once the home was erect, we had to install a wood burning stove. We did this on my love’s birthday. It wasn’t a very good day. Bad attitudes while working on such a project, putting a massive HOLE in your roof, and not ever installing a chimney before… BUT we (barely) averted disaster, and heat we had!
We lived in our Shabbin’ through the winter with no insulation. No coverings on the walls, no coverings under the tin roof. Rainstorms were especially loud in such a small box with only thin tin as protection. It literally got so cold one night, and we were burning with the wood stove, that condensation formed on our ceiling and was raining down on us. In one corner was our bed, the wood burning stove in the middle, a ‘kitchenette’ in another corner. Not really much room for anything else. We had an outhouse. We brought in our large animal feeding trough to bath in. We built a house together as I was (painfully and slowly) building trust back up in our relationship, and as the Lord was doing His works in our lives without us knowing it.
The winter of the first year living in the Shabbin’ was the worst. Record low temperatures. Ice and snow storms. It was crazy. It got so cold in our house one night that our dog’s bed was frozen to the floor. Their water bowls were frozen. I think my eyelids were frozen. We were stubborn and determined (sometimes stupid) not to take help, but to weather out this part of our lives in tribulation while growing so close to each other. Sometimes, I think we felt like it is what we deserved.
December was the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. Another crazy, but new chapter. We met some people one night while playing a card game called “Magic: The gathering” (not as bad as it might sound) at a local card shop. They invited us over to their house, interested in our story. The only thing that stands out to me about that night was when we were talking about movies. We mentioned watching “This is the End” and one of the guys said he doesn’t watch those kinds of movies because they use the Lord’s name in vain so much in it. That was something my boyfriend and I pondered on for several weeks after hearing. That Christmas of 2013 my boyfriend proposed to me. I was still uncertain about trusting him with his (former) habit, but I loved him so much. I said yes, and we became engaged. The following year is when a whole new roller coaster ride was setup for us. I mean, a real nauseating and bumpy ride. 2014 is the year we grew closer to these new people in our lives. It is the year we were baptized. It is the year we got married. It is the year my relationship with my family crumbled to pieces. It is the year when we learned a lot about Jesus, but not necessarily the Jesus that is our Redeemer and Lord. Dear readers, there will be another post for the year of 2014. I look forward to sharing it with you soon!