Ever feel like you are down in a deep mud pit and cannot seem to climb out?
When I spoke to my friend, faithful spouse of a chronically ill husband until his death, about guest posting for me, she said, “Oh, but I didn’t always have the right attitude!” I assured her that every single wife of a chronically ill husband I have ever talked to has had the same struggle. Husbands and wives, sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, all experience this battle. Married, celibate, rich, or poor — loving one another well goes against the grain.
When you walk in the door, tired from work, and your husband greets you once again with the true tale of his sufferings for the day…
How many of your husbands are mostly positive and upbeat about their illness? How many are very intentional about doing the best they can to function to the best of their ability however limited it may be? Or do you find stretches of days or weeks where the shadows outnumber the light?
Well, I can tell you, as the months turn into years and the body continues to break down, the emotional, mental, and physical battle with daily chronic pain is wearing both for the sufferer and the caregiver. Rejoicing in the Lord always is like running the middle stretch of a marathon. If you haven’t faced this type of battle before, don’t judge! Even if you have, don’t judge! Your situation is/was different in some key way. Christ does not crush the bruised reeds.
When you have to remember and keep up with all the important dates, bills, and responsibilities…
My lovely neighbor told me about how her husband of thirty years had a massive heart attack and was told by his doctor if he did work of any kind it would kill him. Suddenly she had all the responsibilities of her husband as well as her own normal duties. Months, maybe years went by before he did pass away.
“Some days I just longed to have someone take care of me again. It was so hard.” Now she is married to a kind man who cares for her in so many ways. It is beautiful to see.
When your husband puts on his game face for friends, but you see the crash and burn coming…
Like today! My husband made it to church, was chipper, and stayed late to enjoy the fellowship. He looked and acted pretty normal. But, he slept most of the way to church and most of the way home while I drove. He crawled into bed as soon as he got home. I paused a few moments ago to massage his badly cramping leg and find a med for him. “I guess I stood around for too long talking.”
Or the weekend recently when he attempted a car repair with a big burly friend. Having a friend help made the talk and laughter flow. Hours went by. I’m sure the friend thought my husband was just fine. But he did not see my husband load up on pain meds before, or the days he spent in bed afterwards.
Reminding yourself that God will not leave you or your spouse alone in your suffering will adjust your attitude.
I told a friend recently that I wished there was a daily saint pill I could swallow. Ha! Not so…
Somedays my heartfelt prayer is just this: God, you know all about this. I can’t fix it. It is more than I can handle on my own. Then I turn to the lives of the saints in the Bible. Almost every single one failed to respond in faith and gratitude at some point in their life. But God was faithful. God is faithful. God always will be faithful. So, I am reaching out a weary hand to my sisters who are down in the mud pit with me. Climb out! Reach for the light, joy, and strength found in Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31