All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow
by Shelly Cruz
I was feeling inadequate as a wife and mother lately, but had no clue why. Maybe it was because Cecilia called her husband Sir, and was always hanging on his every word. This had been making me nervous for a while now.
I remember asking her about it one day and she only shared, that Sarah called Abraham “Lord.” It was a matter of respect.
I took a moment, trying to imagine myself, calling my husband Lord, or even Sir. I could not help but chuckle each time I said it to myself. Is this something that a Godly wife was suppose to do? Should I be asking my husband if he would prefer I call him Lord, or Sir?
I have always been a laid back sort of wife and mother. My husband never complained about anything. We were both genuinely happy, and so were our four children. I tried hard not to butt in, as our husbands continued speaking. Cecilia’s husband continued to share the details, of this so-called trip, with my husband.
I kept hearing Cecilia’s husband repeating himself that we “REALLY” needed to go to one of these week-long marriage and parenting conventions. That it would change our life. It kept sounding amplified in my ears… I knew my husband though, and knew he was already feeling red flags with this sudden rash conversation. I could feel it, and see it in his eyes.
I silently thought once more, while thinking about the details. What if my husband accepted this invitation, to this weeklong marriage and parenting convention down in Texas? Where would our four children go during this trip?
Before I could give it another thought, Cecilia’s husband said, “And don’t worry about your children, our oldest will be more then happy to watch them all.” Oh, figures… I thought to myself. This guy has all the answers!
Cecilia’s husband continued to elaborate on the marriage course, and how encouraging the classes were and that they really touched up on leadership in the home. He then talked about the parenting courses, and how they mold children into quiet, obedient, God fearing children. This followed up on the teaching; do not speak, unless spoken too, and not sparing the Rod.
I really did not like any of this, and was waiting for Cecilia to speak up, on my behalf. She already knew how hard it was, each time I witnessed her husband take one of their little ones to our bathroom, or back yard for a spanking. It did not happen too often, but had happened on three occasions, that I could clearly recall. I did not want to be judgmental, but I had heard enough! I couldn’t control my silence any longer, so I blurted out, “Who teaches these courses?” Cecilia’s husband offered nothing more to my sudden outburst except, ”A really Godly, God-fearing Man”.
I then asked Cecilia’s husband how many children this really great Godly man had? Cecilia’s husband said that he had never been married, so therefore did not have any kids of his own. I then chuckled, as I replied, “So this guy who has never been married, nor has any children of his own, teaches other married couples, how to have perfect marriages and perfect children”?
I think Cecilia’s husband sensed my sarcasm, and was not entirely taken with it. He then looked me directly in the eyes, and said, “He is able to teach through the Lord’s revelations, like Paul of the New Testament.”
My husband remained quiet during this time, and I began thinking that maybe he was feeling intimidated too, by all this. Cecilia’s husband had a very strong personality. He then continued his conversation with my husband, as Cecilia remained quiet and submissive, hanging on his every word. It kind of felt like she was not there at all.
I am not sure why, but the topic changed to church related issues next. Cecilia’s husband was now asking my husband about his church background. I thought we had already been through all that before, but maybe not. My husband mentioned that he grew up in a very legalistic church. Cecilia’s husband asked, “How so?” I sensed my husband’s discomfort on being questioned about this. So, I butted in once more, with the details that my husband had shared with me in the past. I mentioned that the church in which my husband grew up would not allow any ladies in the door who had pants on, or wore jewelry, make up, etc. And that the men and boys had to all have suits on within the church doors. No television or radios were allowed in the homes either.
Cecilia’s husband looked at me, and said, “So, it was a biblical church then”? My husband then broke into the conversation, and said that the church made him fall very far away from the Lord in his teen years, and then my husband changed the topic. I was pleased with my husband’s answer!
Cecilia’s husband then brought the conversation back to the trip, this time mentioning the name of this Godly man who never married, or had any children. I made sure to take note, in fact I excused myself to the bathroom just so I could write the name down, so I wouldn’t forget. When I returned to the table, all was quiet, and they all got up to check out and go back to our house.
We arrived back home, and said our final good-byes. Cecilia hugged me, and promised to visit us real soon. She even mentioned for me to keep in touch, by phone, telling her how great it was down South. If I did, she said, then maybe they’d move down South in a couple years. I remember thinking how that was an odd thing to say. Perhaps she was just making small talk, or joking around though.
The next morning arrived and my family took off for a whole new life of unexpected possibilities. We moved down to the Bible Belt.
A few weeks passed by, and I picked up the phone to call Cecilia, but there was no answer. I left a message for her to call me back, but never received any call back. I decided to try again after a few more weeks passed. No answer that time either, so I left another message for her to call me back.
I never got any callbacks from her. This made me feel very sad and very much alone again. I tried to remain optimistic, and thought that perhaps, Cecilia was not getting my messages. Or was she? Maybe one of her children erased them, by accident of course.
I mentioned this to my husband, me trying to phone her, and having to leave messages, and getting no calls back from her. My husband told me, that I would not be hearing back from her, probably ever again. These words shook and disturbed me. I asked him to explain such a statement. My husband told me that it was just a feeling he had. One that he had been having ever since the night we left the North.
Cecilia said that she had just been busy, and she was actually too busy at the moment to talk with me. I was a bit disappointed, but said all right, offering her our new phone number. Cecilia told me that she had it on the caller ID, and that she would call me back, later that evening. I said OK, and hung up.
Evening came but the phone never rang. I really wanted to reconnect with her, so I called her back. This time, one of her polite children answered the phone. I was always amazed at how they would answer the phone, and often tried to teach my own children to answer phone calls, in like manner.
Cecilia’s children always answered the phone like this:
“Hello, this is Jennie speaking; whom may you wish to correspond with”? I had never met a group of kids that had better manners than this. However, when I would call, I would try to make small chat with whichever child answered the phone, but would never get anywhere.
These were not Cecilia’s younger children either. They were her teens. Often times, I would say, “Hey Jennie, how are you doing? This is Shelly. Is your mom there?” I would get nothing more then a “HOLD PLEASE” never a personal answer, or a, “Hi Shelly!” I always thought that was odd. Why were all the children so robotic? Where were each of their personalities?
Cecilia did end up coming to the phone that evening. I also heard Cecilia’s husband in the background asking, who it was. I did not hear what Cecilia answered though. Cecilia came to the phone, and asked me how I had been. Well, I was excited, and began to tell Cecilia how great it was down South, sharing all the details. Cecilia sounded surprised, which added more confusion to my plate.
I mentioned that my husband had just got a rifle the other day, and wanted to speak to Cecilia’s husband about it, since he collected rifles. Cecilia paused, and said that her husband was not home. I thought that was odd, given that I heard his voice when I first called her. I kept that to myself though, and told Cecilia to have her husband call mine, when he had some free time. She then told me rather firmly, her husband was a very busy man, and comes home tired, and did not have time to chitchat on the telephone. I felt like she smacked me across the face with that comment, and tone of voice. Why was she so abrupt with me? Did I do, or say something wrong?
I remained quiet, and she told me that they would drive down to visit us real soon.
Before hanging up with me, she brought up the convention in Texas. She asked me if we had given any more thought to whether or not we wanted to attend the trip with them. I told her that it was up to my husband. Her husband would have to contact my husband about it. I certainly did not want to get into this over the phone with her. I began wondering if her coldness had anything to do with us not being tickled pink to attend this convention with them. I guess only time would tell.
In ending our conversation, she mentioned that all we would need to attend the convention, is about four hundred dollars. I thought she was joking, and laughed. She then told me that she needed to go, and we would chat soon.
When I got off the phone, my husband asked me why Cecilia’s husband did not come to the phone to talk with him. I explained to my husband how our conversation went, and began to cry, wondering what I had done to obviously offend Cecilia in some way. My husband comforted me, and asked me to not call Cecilia anymore, just wait, and let her call me from now on.
Months passed by, and Christmas arrived. One day while checking my mail, I pulled out a small envelope post marked with Cecilia’s address on it. I could not believe it! It didn’t say much, but it did have a picture enclosed of their new baby. I had not even known that Cecilia was pregnant again. This prompted me to call her later that evening. I wanted to congratulate them, on yet, another blessing.
No one picked up the phone, as usual, so I just left another message. Then I hung up and went into my bedroom to cry! Afterward, I dried up my tears and prayed. I asked the Lord why I was being treated this way?
My oldest daughters did not understand either, and were asking me questions. Evidently, Cecilia’s daughters, the ones that were my daughters’ ages, said they were going to keep in touch with them, and phone them. My daughters never heard from them since we left, and they were feeling hurt too!
I decided to take action. I dug through a bunch of old papers in my bedroom closet, trying to find the name of the guy who was giving those yearly conventions down in Texas. I thought maybe, if I Googled the man’s name, something would come up, and it might help me understand Cecilia and her family a little better.
After just a few minutes of digging, I found it! Rather wrinkly, I uncrumpled the small piece of paper that I had scribbled on that last night we were all together. I looked down at my handwriting, and read the name to myself, “Bill Gothard” I knew it was Bill something, but had forgotten the last name. I was so scatter brained still.
I took the piece of paper over to my computer and decided that it was time to do some Googling…
Time Heals All Wounds by Shelly Cruz: