Before I married my husband I had a chance to meet some of his extended family. My first impressions were mostly good. These people were nice and seemed to be the happiest people that I had ever met. This is the life I dreamed of all of my childhood. My dreams were coming true, or so I thought they were. I was going to have the extended family I always had wanted. More people to love and to love me. This dream would quickly become a nightmare that I myself would be living. Who are these people?
The holidays my favorite time of the year and this year I was especially excited. This year was my first year meeting my fiance’s extended family at Thanksgiving. Everyone was so nice and immediately made me feel like family. We played kick the can and looked through the Black Friday ads. I was having the time of my life. They were so much fun, almost perfect in a sense. Yes, this is the family I had always dreamed about. I had hit the jackpot not only with my fiance but with his family also.
Finally, June of 2005 I married the love of my life and we were finally going to live our happily ever after. His uncle was our officiate and his family was still the happiest I had been around. About six months into our marriage we decided to join his family’s church. Though my husband had not been raised this strict it was the only church he knew growing up. In a sense this was the worst mistake of my life. I had never felt so alone in my life. Nothing that I did could make these people happy. I was not born into this so I was not really one of them The black sheep of this very legalistic church. I could see the brainwashing of my husband first hand and there was nothing that I could do about it. My husband was not abusive but this family wanted to control everything, down to what you wore and if you even cut your hair. He thought this was okay because he did not know any better, but I did.. I was not about to have my husband and by this time, my two little boys be brainwashed any further. I knew in my heart this could not be right, so I prayed for over two years. I was so alone, a stranger in my own home. As Baldwin wrote, “I say that the culture of these peoples controls me” (p317).
It had been five long years and finally they started to slip up. Their actions were becoming visible and my husband started to see the hypocrisy flowing out from them. My husband and I recently had found out that we were expecting. My husband had started to back away and was not at their every beck and call. My prayers were answered! Everything was going perfect with my pregnancy until about 11 weeks. That is when I went into the doctors off because I was having some bleeding and we found out that we were experiencing a miscarriage. I remember telling my husband I was not going back around those people. He went to service one last Sunday. That was it for him. They showed no remorse for our loss and were to busy talking about being promoted to youth leader for the district. In all of my pain, I gained my husband back. His blindfold was finally taken off. Today we have a third child and we also have nothing to do with this part of his family. I have forgiven them but I will never forget feeling like a stranger for five years within my own house. My husband and I also attend a new church. Just because we ran away from these people does not mean we ran away from God.
My life has led me on many journeys, some I did not want to go through. These journeys have all taught me things to appreciate in life and things that I never want to go through again. Life lessons I guess you can call them. I never thought five years of my life would feel so long. I am thankful for where I am today. Just the peace of knowing that God loves me for who I am not what I think I do for Him. I am no longer living in a world of condemnation, loneliness, or fear.