Back Out West To Old Dodge City

Posted: July 16, 2011 in Love and Marriage
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Driving home from Tennessee took the better part of a day, but the very next morning, we were back in the car heading toward Dodge City, KS.  We had lived there before moving to Missouri in the Summer of 2005, and we still had family and friends in the area.  The stated purpose of our visit was to see two of our daughters and my wife’s Mom and Stepdad over the Christmas holidays.  On a deeper level, we needed to go back there as part of the restoration tour.

It was while we lived in Dodge City that my spiritual problems really came to the surface.  I never wanted to live there, but my wife and I both felt that God was calling us to, so eventually we went.  We had a very difficult time there on many levels.  We were the victims of numerous property crimes, which isn’t particularly unusual with the gang problems that city has, but it was still frustrating.  My job became less and less satisfying as well, to the point that I seriously considered getting out of teaching and finding a different career.

A lot of people would say that if we were really doing God’s will, then we should expect to face obstacles and adversity, and that would be true.  What we didn’t expect to face was all of the internal problems and fighting that went on within the church that we were trying to work with.  There was sexual misconduct among the leadership, power struggles over who was going to be in charge, and way too much of people pursuing their own agendas.  Our family went through a lot of disillusionment and hurt during those years and, unfortunately, I blamed God for choices that people made.

When we finally left, it was bad for us financially in that we owned two houses in Kansas and hadn’t been able to get either one sold, but I felt that I was literally dying out there and something had to change.  I asked God to have grace and mercy on us and to let us try to start over.  I had good intentions when we moved, but I didn’t see things through.  Once we had lived in Missouri for just a short time, we went through the tornado and I really never recovered.

Last July, toward the end of our separation, I was going to visit my daughter, who lives in a small town near Dodge City.  My Mother-in-Law said it would be good for me to come stay with them, so I took that as a good sign for our marriage and I did.  They have a guest room in the basement of their house and that’s where we usually stay when we visit.  It was good to see everyone, but it was also agonizing to sleep alone in that bed.  Beyond that, it was terribly difficult being 400 miles away from my wife at a period of time when I had no idea what she was up to or if I would ever be able to win her back.

When we went there last Christmas, a lot of healing took place.  It was the first time we had been there since getting back together, so it was a celebration of more than just Christmas.  We were also rejoicing in all that we had overcome.  For me, it was wonderful to be back, but not alone this time.  It meant a lot to me that we also spent some time walking around and revisiting some of the places where we had really fallen hard and suffered a lot of losses in the years prior.  We can never get those years back, but we don’t have to live with bitterness and anger because of them.


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