Married Life: In Sickness and In Health, Part 2

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Continued…{If you haven’t read Part 1, you can read it here.} In sickness and in health. I wonder if any of us really think about what those words mean before we vow them? I know I didn’t. I was nineteen years old when I uttered them from my lips. We were young, we were healthy, we had our whole lives ahead of us. That only happens to other people, not us…

My husband just celebrated his 40th birthday. We make jokes about how we’re getting old as we laugh about old times. Reality always finds its way back into our conversations no matter where they take place. I know he never imagined he would be unable to work and feel the way he does at his age. Those aren’t the types of things you dream about when you daydream about your life together. We used to sit and think about buying our first home together, having kids, our careers, and every fun thing we could do together as a family. Not once did the words living in pain, disability, stroke in any sense of the word, or no quality of life come up in our daydreams together. No, the picture we painted looked a lot different from the picture we’re living now.

All of this has had me thinking, do any of us really think about the vows we’re committing to before we speak them? Would I have said yes had I known every trial and every difficultly that was going to come our way was coming? Would he have purposed and committed to those vows had he known that his life would be where it was at today? Would these two young kids stand before everyone and say I do, no matter what, if they knew what it was going to mean?

Let me say once again, I know our story isn’t like so many others that I have watched before my eyes take place in the lives of friends and family. I know we are tremendously blessed and very grateful that we’re still here together and have hope. But in any case, it has still made me stir some of these thoughts around.

It hasn’t been easy. Many of our struggles only we know about, well us and God. So I know as I write these words, He knows exactly where my heart is coming from. Please remember that as you read. Sickness changes people and not just the ones who are sick. It’s a heavy weight to carry when it begins to affect us in ways we never thought imaginable. It affects the whole family because we are one unit in motion together. Many sleepless nights full of tears, arguments as we wrestle with what’s going on around us, stress as we try to figure out the dreaded financial aspect of life, and frustration as we try to figure out how to navigate this new way of life together all while keeping everything in tact.

In tact…maybe God doesn’t want it to stay in tact. That’s been my thoughts on several occasions. Maybe, just maybe, He’s wanting to rebuild and reconstruct us once again. I’m not naive to think that I have it all together or that we have it all together. I live inside of me, I know the train wreck I can be. I know there’s always room for improvement and improvement means to make things better. How can I fight that? Making things better is very promising. God is a God of promises, and He’s also my God who keeps His promises! That gives me hope!

Regardless of how difficult this journey has been so far, I know my God isn’t done yet. I may be tired, okay, flat-out exhausted, but I know that rejuvenation is coming, I know that the resurrection is on the way. I’m not so worried about me, I want it for my husband. I want his pain to go away and not just because of medications but because of God’s healing power. I want him to be full of laughter and life again, I want to see him doing the things he enjoys doing again, I want to see our family as we once were again because he’s better not because of a mask.

So how do I know that I would have still said yes that day if I had known what all yes meant? I know it because I’m more concerned with him than I am myself. The easiest answers throughout all of this would have benefited me and what I wanted, the more difficult choices have been because I want what’s best for him. Even though my flesh screams one thing, my heart and soul whispers another and I desire to listen to the whispers, no matter the trial. {Thank you Holy Spirit for dwelling in me and giving me guidance and direction.}

Truth is, I can’t imagine my life without him and that includes everything we have went through together. In the 22 1/2 years we’ve been together we have been through the ringer more than a few times, but the funny thing about that ringer, it gets out of us what weighs us down and keeps us from being who God wants us to be. It sets us free to love one another in ways we could never do on our own. It makes us stronger.

We’re stronger together and I know that to be true based off of reality, not fiction. Stronger together is not what the enemy wants, weaker apart is what he’s after. He knew the day we said in sickness and in health that we meant it and though he may try to weaken us, Christ in us strengthens us to live out this life together that we treasure and enjoy.

Marriage isn’t going to be easy, difficulties will come and trials will knock us down. It’s not how fast we get up but that we get up together that makes all the difference. Vows aren’t words, they are commitments to keep and to honor.

To my Gorgeous, you’re still my boy! 😉 I’ll always be your girl, baby! I love you more today than I did the day I said yes. A love like this CAN move the mountains because it’s the love that Christ has given us for one another, in sickness and in health! 

Married Life: In Sickness and In Health…Part 1

 

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I feel it’s only fair to say upfront that this isn’t one of those well crafted blog posts that places every word perfectly in its place, but I will say it’s honest and real.

As my heart recalled a day twenty-two years ago that changed my life forever it found itself reflecting. Reflections of a day where I said yes to the boy of my dreams who has since become the man of my dreams, the only one for me.

A girl, just sixteen years old, watched as this boy, just seventeen years old, confessed his love for me after only four and a half months of dating. He asked me one question, one simple question, or so I thought. He asked me to be his wife, forever. Now, let’s be honest, what could such a young girl know about love and a life together. Truthfully, I didn’t know much, but I did know that something felt different inside of me. I knew that I loved him in every way that I could understand love at this point. This young girl said yes as he placed the ring on my finger and we knew then our lives would be perfect!

On that cloudy September day just three years after our first date we stood before God, before our family and our friends and repeated our vows to one another. Candlelight beaming through the room, melodies of our memories being sung so beautifully by voices that seemed to express our hearts so well. Even in that moment I had no idea what I had said yes to years before or how my vows would truly take on a life of their own in the years to come.

In September 2014 what seemed to be an average medical issue sent my husband to the doctor and it has awakened in sickness and in health from a slumbering sleep. We had no idea what was taking place or where it would lead us in the coming days. For seventeen months now we have walked by faith in ways we never had to before. I have watched as this man who I am so in love with changed before my very lovesick eyes. I have watched him suffer, go from a heart so full of life to a body that seems to struggle to keep living. Fear has struck our hearts many times over as we couldn’t do anything but go from doctor to doctor with the hope of finding not only answers to our questions, but help. We knew our God was faithful and sovereign but being human, we still struggled to understand why. The amount of prayers that I know have went up to the Heavens was enough to flood the earth if He hadn’t promised He wouldn’t do that again. Even when the answers weren’t coming, we trusted, we kept praying, we recalled His background and how faithful He has been.

Today, we believe we finally have some sort of answer to go by, although we still don’t know what, how, when, or why. By God’s divine orchestration and blessings, we were led to a doctor that finally listened and not with the intent to spit fancy words back at us or names of diagnoses that meant nothing more than, “I really don’t know what’s wrong with you but at the risk of admitting that, you have….and here’s some prescription drugs I’m going to give you that will mask the symptoms enough to where you’ll just accept what I have to say and live the poorest quality of life you could ever imagine.” Run on sentence? Maybe, but definitely how we have felt this past year.

Do I fault the doctors? No, they didn’t know what it was for whatever reason and I’m not here to debate the many possible reasons why. Do I fault God? Absolutely not! He is mighty, sovereign, trustworthy, all-knowing, all-powerful, and nothing is impossible for Him. Whatever took place that day, it didn’t surprise Him. He knew it was coming. Do I ever wonder why this had to happen? Yes, everyday! I am human, and I am made of flesh and blood living in a world that can’t possibly comprehend many things.

No, it’s not cancer and I know things could be much worse. But for us, for what we’re facing, what has been sent our way is still difficult to deal with and walk through on any given day. We count our blessings that it’s not worse, that he’s still here. Counting those blessings and recounting all that we have to be grateful for is what has kept us going and not falling into an endless pit.

The doctor said it was a TIA, transient Ischemic Attack, also known as a mini stroke. It took place in the internal capsule of his brain. Something was floating through his bloodstream and blocked blood and oxygen flow to this portion of his brain for a period of time causing damage to the nerves. This has caused his brain to have electrical misfires affecting his entire left side of his body that has led to tremors, intense nerve and muscle pain, frequent falls, tingling, numbness, difficulty concentrating and focusing and many other issues. The doctor has said he believes he can get a thirty to fifty percent improvement out of therapy treatments for the next six months. Now, I know that my God can do anything if that’s what His perfect will desires. I appreciate the doctor, but I trust in my God.

Our lives have been imprinted with an image we couldn’t have thought possible as we repeated our vows to one another, “in sickness and in health”…{to be continued}