Linda Bittle - West Plains, Missouri 65775

This is Not Where I Thought I Was Going

#24- Weirder Still

I kind of thought that my life couldn’t get any weirder after my encounter with God in a hospital bathroom. I recovered quickly, went back to work, and back to my life. I almost forgot about that weird thing that happened.

And then my husband decided that we should build a house.

I did not want to do that. We had paid off a little house, put new windows and siding on it, and fenced the back yard for our 4 Brittany Spaniels. For a couple of kids who grew up on welfare, we were doing OK.

Except that he didn’t like to keep a job. And he hadn’t touched me in a really long time. There’s an old Tanya Tucker song about the other person hanging off of his side of the bed. I could identify. I wasn’t happy about it, but I intended to live up to my wedding vows, no matter how hard that might be. After all, I didn’t really have high expectations for marriage anyway.

And he just wore me down.

One day, out of the blue, I had another weird…thing…happen. Alone in the kitchen, I heard that voice again. Well, not an auditory voice, but one that I felt in my mind. And I knew I was healthy this time. It kind of freaked me out. But I stopped and listened.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

~John 16:13 English Standard Version
Blueprints on a table, with a drill, screws and a level.
It was a beautiful house. I truly built it to be my own. Stock photo –

The Weird New Message

“Build it,” I heard. “You don’t get to keep it, but build it the way you want it. Just know that it’s not yours.”


And then, “Three years. Three years.”

What? Surely I was going crazy! But I kept hearing that same message over and over. Always with the couplet. “Three years. Three years.”

So I decided to do what any halfway intelligent woman would do. One thing I knew about my husband was that he never agreed with me on anything anymore. I figured we could argue about house plans for a really long time. I’d be obedient, but also not have to do anything rash. We bought a couple of magazines with house plans, and each of us turned down the corners of the pages that had house plans we liked. Then we’d switch books, and make our arguments until we came to an agreement.

Imagine my surprise when we both chose a cute little 3 bedroom on a full basement. It fit our need for a dog-friendly house, with the master bedroom back away from the living areas. He still worked the night shift and slept during the day, so that was important.

So We Built a House

It was a beautiful house. Distressed red brick on the front. Big deck on the back, with a nice fenced area for the dogs. Doggie door that only one of the 4 Brittanies ever learned to use to go both in and out. Wonderfully designed kitchen set up for baking. Big pantry. Library. Jetted tub in the master bath, with a heat lamp in the ceiling. Tornado hidey hole in the basement. Big yard with room for garden beds. I loved that house.

We moved in over Labor Day weekend in 2000. I thought things would change for the better once we moved in. And for a while it did seem that he was at least willing to work to keep it. But there still wasn’t any affection in the marriage. And the message I still got regularly had changed to simply, “Three years. Three years.”

Sometimes I think we might have made it, albeit not happily ever after, except that his brother died. Even happily married people don’t always survive that kind of family stress.

Even though I’d had a lot of warning, it still took me by surprise when he left.

I moved out of our beautiful house over Labor Day weekend, 2003. And in mid September, 2006, I left Missouri to attend a crazy outdoor program in Washington State. Three years and three years.



  1. Linda Barksdale


    1. Linda Bittle (Post author)

      Thank you so much!


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