The Spiritual Rudder


A little help, here?

Wednesday, May 8; 6:30pm.

I’m sitting in the basement of our church, just after enjoying our usual Wednesday night, PEAK (Praise Education And Kids) meal. The food is always yummy, the company friendly…and let’s face it…feeding a family of five for $12 total (all of which goes to the church) isn’t such a bad deal. Plus, I don’t have to cook on Hump Day.

All. Good. Things.

Sugar Bean is in her youth group and the other two sprouts are in their classes as well. Several lectures are being conducted in various rooms of the building, so there’s something for everyone if you choose to partake. I just happen to find the basement comfortable, inviting, peaceful and quiet…allowing my brain time to breathe. Which doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should lately. Neither the brain breathing nor the peaceful quiet. But WHO am I kidding? I have The Beans…and they are noisy. Carry On, Warrior!

Anyway, one of the lectures currently happening is titled:

 “War, Divorce, and Faith: A Military Psychologist Reflects on Being a Christian”


Although I don’t have the first clue what, exactly, the lecture is about, just seeing the flyer taped to the wall was enough to plant the seed for an inner dialogue…and, of course, a post. Call it FOUNDATION INSPIRATION!

Sometimes, marriage is a series of battles, which can lead to a WAR. Battles ensue over parenting, finances, intimacy, in-laws, addiction, work stress–the list goes on. Too often, those seemingly benign, civil disputes mount to such a height, it results in DIVORCE. Enter FAITH. You must have faith that everything–despite all evidence to the contrary–will be okay, and hope for the best. Or at least a peaceful ending. One way, or another. Easier said than done, I know. Trust me.

Never having been through a divorce from either perspective–my parents were married 46 years before they passed, and I’ve been married for 14 so far– I don’t have any words of comfort or pearls of wisdom to share on how difficult it is to navigate. But I can say with firm certainty that MARRIAGE is tough. Next to parenthood–which is an ongoing, flawed experiment in failure almost every waking moment in my world–marriage is the hardest job I have. Or have EVER had for that matter. I’ve modeled naked in front of an art class full of strangers…in fluorescent lighting…and that wasn’t as exhausting, soul-baring or frightening for goodness sake! I’ve slung drinks behind the bar of a celebrity laden, Hollywood hotspot and not felt so exposed or used up. Seriously. Just the basic principle of it, meaning whole-hearted commitment, takes effort, from both people involved. Hence the reciprocal, vows of matrimony. It’s a partnership, and the moment one person begins to neglect any aspect of it, the foundation begins to develop miniscule cracks. Not visible to the untrained eye at first glance, but nonetheless present, these cracks can–if ignored over time–spread farther and farther into the pillars of the marriage. Is anyone surprised? Not really?

I thought so.

Picture a windshield with a tiny crack buried deep in the far corner. You see it, but don’t give it much thought. Realistically, how much can that little thing compromise the strength of the great big windshield, right? The “I’ll get to it later” mentality sets in. Seasons change, storms happen, temperatures rise and fall. Before you realize what’s happened, that tiny crack has grown into a spider-web across the windshield, obstructing your view…making it impossible to see the road ahead with any clarity.  BAM! You are lost. Completely off the grid. And THAT is some scariness. 

Saddens me to say, but it happens in marriage too.

Sounds pretty grim, huh?

Kinda like a crash in the last lap of the Talladega 500, I’m guessing.

There IS good news though. If you have a spiritual rudder–whatever faith it’s rooted in– helping you navigate the twists and turns, you’ll avoid careening into the center divider, and instead…find a repair shop just around the bend. Hallelujah, and praise the Heavens! You can pull into the pit…rally the crew (if you’ve employed one) and get a refurbished windshield! Not entirely new…just reworked. They don’t give them away for free, mind you. It takes hard work, patience and effort, but if you love the car with your heart and soul, and would rather it spit and sputter…dying beneath the weight of your efforts to save it…rather than have to bear the heartache of trading it in…then it’s totally worth the time, effort and patience required to finish the race and see that checkered flag waving in the breeze. The kicker is, you AND your co-driver both have to be in it for the long haul. No compromises. It takes two, working together. Period. Why, you ask? Because inevitably…you will get a flat tire, blow a gasket, break a belt, overheat, lock the keys in the car, forget where you parked, leave the window down during a rainstorm, or get drunk and need a ride home. Guaranteed. You always need a partner when dealing with anything automotive…or marital. If you are single, I suggest AAA. Or a professional NASCAR pit crew, if you can wrangle one. But be warned…you don’t quite receive that “personal touch”. Especially if you happen to be negotiating with AA simultaneously. Amen.

So, regardless of the fact that I have totally compared my marriage…and perhaps yours…to the machinations of automotive car parts and NASCAR racing…



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  1. Stacey Ramirez says

    Absolutely capital T truth. Love it. The car and crack in the windshield analogy? SPOT. ON. I think each new post becomes my favorite one yet, Nanc.

  2. Love it Nancy! It touches me deeply. I AM hoping for the best for you and I both.
    (I often wonder if you are in my head sometimes, geez)

  3. Oh Nancy, you are such a talented writer. This is such a beautiful post, and I know it is going to resonate with so many people. Marriage and parenthood are the hardest jobs anyone can ever have, but if everyone works really hard at it, it’s also the most rewarding. 😉

    P.S. You modeled naked?! I never knew that!! There’s a blog post for you!!!

    • calibamamom says

      What a sweet compliment, Dani! Thank you so much 🙂 And yes…I modeled naked for the art department when I was in college…lol.

  4. I remember when my best friend and I were in college, and we used to say, “Why does everyone say marriage is hard? You just find the person you love, and you marry them. It won’t be hard for us.” Um, WRONG. The easy part is finding the person you love and marrying them. The hard part is getting through the day-to-day life that can be mundane and cause some to stray. Thankfully we can find spouses that are like-minded and realize how many blessings come with marriage, no matter how hard or–again–mundane. It’s worth fighting for! But I don’t want this comment to be taken as a judgment on those who have divorced. My own parents divorced and remain great friends. I just–finally–get it. Marriage is WORK!

Give it to me straight. I can take it :-)

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