It’s like waiting for your wedding day again, but you don’t know the date. Before you know it there have been 376 days of waiting. The pain growing deeper with each one. Pain cunningly turning into grief, spewed like venom at the one you are waiting with, and for.
My love language is touch. I crave the touch of my husband. I crave his tender and passionate kisses. I crave the consummation of our marriage. I crave to know him how a wife ought to know her husband. Completely.
I crave a single moment, a single breath, of privacy with my husband.
During our last visit I watched a man, married the same day as my husband and I, walk into the visiting room with his overnight bag and sit at the FRP table. His belongings were being searched and logged, while his wife waited temporarily in the parking lot to be taken back for their first private moments together.
I know my call is to rejoice with them, but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. Instead I wonder, somewhat angered, how is this possible? Why have we not received our approval yet, let alone a date.
“The Family Reunion Program (FRP) is designed to provide approved inmates and their families the opportunity to meet for an extended period of time in privacy. The goal of the program is to preserve, enhance, and strengthen family ties that have been disrupted as a result of incarceration.” (doccs.ny.gov)
My husband was approved for the program back in 2011 and enjoyed many of these with his mom and brother, even after our marriage. It was incredibly straining to know your husband was on one of these visits, and you weren’t able to be there with him.
I had incredible bitterness, though I knew how special and important this was for him. My selfishness was eager to cry out, “If I, your wife, can’t be there with you, how dare you go!”
The truth is, I can’t fully understand just how vital and freeing those forty-eight hours of FRP are for the inmate. I can only imagine that my craving for this time is magnified a hundred times more for my husband.
That pains me even deeper.
We pray. We hope. We wait.
I know we don’t wait alone. I know others married the same day as us continue their wait also. Even more, I know others who applied before us still wait. Some have been waiting years, many. I praise God that won’t be us, and I pray that He gives us peace and strength as we wait on Him.
I know He carries and matures me through this.
I am reminded once again to be mindful of what I pray. He hears, and He answers. In my prayers for patience my Jehovah Jireh has provided me ample opportunities of practice.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
I trust fully in Him. I trust fully in His good plans for my life. I trust fully in His perfect timing and His perfect will. I trust fully in His faithfulness. Greatest of all, I trust fully in His love for me.
He loves me so much He gave me His all. No good thing has He, or will He, withhold from me. (Psalm 84:11)
This is my grief turned back to hope.