In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
Til death do us part.
There’s so much love in those words, so much hope, and promise.
You say them as look into the eyes of the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with and dream about all the fantastic things to come.
When I said those words almost four years ago, I had no idea how true they would be.
I take my vows very seriously, and I meant every word I said on that day.
I still mean them, and I would say them all over again.
But sometimes, you have to fight for them.
This past fall after returning from vacation with my family, my husband came down with what appeared to be a wicked case of bronchitis or maybe pneumonia.
To be very honest, no one really seems to know exactly what it was, but it was terrible.
It was the kind of bronchitis (or pneumonia) that just wouldn’t quit and seemed to get progressively worse despite being put on medication by the doctor and getting ample amounts of rest.
After almost two weeks of no improvement, I rushed him to the hospital. That wifely instinct told me something just wasn’t right and that we needed to take more drastic measures.
While in the ER he went into full respiratory failure and I witnessed the entire episode.
I do not wish that on any wife—ever.
By God’s amazing grace my husband is still with us, but he’s not the same.
After spending two days in the hospital he never seemed to really improve, and the doctors all seemed baffled by what was wrong with him.
There was never any solid diagnosis (maybe it was bronchitis, or perhaps it was pneumonia or possibly something else) but he was given more medication, and eventually, the very obvious symptoms started to go away.
But, the headaches, the achy joints, the chronic burning sensation in his arms and legs and the constant feeling of being in some type of mental fog have never ceased.
This was six months ago, and he still spends every single day in pain—pain no one can seem to figure out.
His legs will give way without warning, he can’t hold a cup of coffee without pain, and the headaches are indescribable.
He is truly a shell of the man I married.
He’s been to countless doctor’s appointments (rheumatologists, neurologists, orthopedists, allergists and on and on) and put on numerous medications, from anti-depressants to steroids.
We continue to wait for the Lord to point us to the correct diagnosis so maybe, just maybe, we can find my husband some much-needed relief.
Our finances are in shambles, and he can barely sit long enough to work, so income is unpredictable.
Why am I telling you this?
I write all of this in hopes of reaching just one broken wife.
One wife who is trying desperately to take care of her house, work her full-time job, cultivate her friendships, keep her own health in check and spend more time with the Lord all the while still trying to take care of, nurture and advocate for the man she promised to have and to hold for the rest of her life.
It’s not easy.
There are so many tears.
So many days where I’m not sure I can go on.
Sometimes there is outright anger.
I’m not proud of it, but sometimes that anger has been directed at my husband.
It’s not his fault.
He didn’t bring this on himself, and he doesn’t want to be like this, but he doesn’t know how to fix it.
So, right now I wait.
And, I hope.
How do I do this?
Solely through the power of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
There is no one and nothing else that could get me through this right now.
Is it easy?
No, not at all.
But I make a decision every single day to hope, to love and to wait.
As humans we’re not wired to wait patiently, and certainly not in the face of adversity, so we must lean on the only true source of comfort, Jesus.
Jesus’ faithfulness is unconditional and lasting.
His promises are real.
On days when I think there is no light at the end of the tunnel, Jesus gets me through it.
Whether it’s a verse that keeps me going like Romans 8:28-29 or a song on the radio that makes me smile and fondly think back to times when my husband wasn’t so very, very sick, Jesus always gets me through it.
There are days when I’m driving, and my mind is racing with the what ifs and the how will I do this on my own and a simple act of seeing a text from my husband that just says I love you brings me right back to our wedding day.
It puts a smile on my face and gives me that peace I need so much.
It reminds me that I’m fighting for the man that I love so dearly, the man I will continue to fight for so long as I have breath in my lungs.
He knows what I need and exactly when I need it.
He is faithful, and He is good.
So, friend, fellow hurting wife, I hear you.
I feel your pain, and I know your anguish.
I cry those same tears.
I beg you—turn to Jesus.
He heals all wounds, and He will dry all tears.
Make an effort every day to cast your eyes upon Him.
“I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word.” Psalm 130:5
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