My husband is my hero. Honestly. If you look at a picture of him, I swear there’s a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of a halo. And yet, he calls me his angel. How did I get so blessed?
Our wedding was a blissful September occasion in 2013, just a mere 2 years, 8 months and 24 days ago. But, who’s counting? It was a perfect fall day surrounded by family and friends and completely blessed by God. I’m sure I thought that our lives would continue to be that perfect.
I was already chronically-ill at the time of our wedding, but it was mostly things I could ignore, like headaches and sinus infections. I blamed all on the Tennessee allergens. But it wasn’t too long before I went through knock-down illnesses over and over again until ‘ill’ was my new ‘normal’.
Let me tell you about this man I married. He is a Special Education teacher and he is amazing at his job. He has a generally lovable personality and gets along with everyone. He helps those he can, to the best of his ability. And he has taken care of his chronically-ill wife since the moment we said “I Do”.
In case there wasn’t already enough mush, here is the song I wrote and sang to him on our wedding day:
My Miracle It feels like a dream that you are here with me You came into my life and you made me your wife How can this be true, that I love you? God has shown his favor, and you're my miracle. You looked into my eyes and you touched a place inside That I had locked away because I was afraid Now my love pours forth. My heart is yours Why God blessed me, I'll never know, but you're my miracle. I promise you. I do. With all my heart, forever, you're my miracle. For the rest of my life, you're my miracle. Jason, you're my miracle.
You can watch me try to Dolly Parton-it with my big ole fake nails here. Everybody now….. AWWWW! I love him just a little. I could not have imagined how much truth this song would hold throughout the next few years.
I often think that my beloved got the raw end of the deal. Although it breaks my heart, it’s sometimes hard for me not to think that he deserves a healthy wife. A wife who can take care of him when he is sick, who can contribute to the household bills so the burden is not solely on him, who can attend social events with him, and who can serve alongside him. We have never experienced the “in health” part of marriage, and the “that’s not fair” part of my brain acts up sometimes…er…a lot of times.
Depression often comes with chronic illness. I can usually feel myself slipping down that slope but there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it until I hit the bottom and start climbing back out. In the depths of the pit, my beloved holds me while I cry and helps to pick off the rubble that fell on top of me on the way down. I honestly cannot imagine what I would do without him.
It is very clear to me that God gave my husband to me at the perfect time. Some days I find it hard not to tell God he could have at least given us a couple healthy years, but his timing is much more complicated and perfect than we could ever imagine. I have never needed someone so much. Sometimes I think about what this illness would be like without Jason and it scares me. I’m certain I would have lost our home and I would be on the floor of my room in my parents’ house rocking back and forth in the fetal position.
But I still regularly have those “it’s not fair to him” moments. I say to him, “I want to be better for you”, and this saint-of-a-man always responds with, “I want you to be better for you.” I also regularly struggle with wanting my life to count for something more than this. In the depths of my despair, I lament the end of my career, my social life, my service to others. I hit the bottom again a few days ago and I, once again, told Jason I just want to do something meaningful but I’m lost. He responded with something like, “You’re my wife”, and because I was being so negative he added, “for what that’s worth.” Let me tell you, friends, I BROKE. How could this man think that being his wife is anything less than EVERYTHING?! He is literally saving my life and doesn’t even realize it, because I haven’t told him enough times to cancel out all of my negativity. I haven’t let him know enough how much he is being Jesus to me.
A Spirit-filled thought came to my mind at that moment:
“Stop minimizing your husband’s ministry.”
It never dawned on me that saying things like, “It’s not fair to you”, “I wish I was better for you”, or “I wish you had a healthier wife” was minimizing my beloved’s God-given ministry of service to his wife. I realized in that moment that God has called him to daily serve someone who needs him more than words can say, and the moment he said “I Do”, he committed to accomplishing that ministry to the fullest. What a difficult challenge he has accepted!!
To say that I am grateful is pretty much the understatement of a lifetime. Though I struggle with thinking I don’t deserve it, I am grateful to God for choosing a man who will help him carry me through the valleys and over the mountains. I am humbled that God would make caring for me Jason’s ministry. I am grateful to my husband for saying “yes” to this incredible and difficult opportunity. And I’m grateful to God for opening my eyes to the beautiful ministry that is happening right in front of my face. I am the bride of my husband, who is pouring all of himself out in sacrifice to me. I am the bride of Christ, who has already poured himself out in sacrifice to me. I never want to take any of this for granted.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." - Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV)
Wow! My husband has quite the job to do! I am so incredibly thankful he is there to carry me, love me, and cleanse me with the love of Christ.
Maybe you are the ill spouse, who feels guilty for putting all of the burden on your beloved. Oh my dear ones, please hear that you are your spouse’s God-given ministry. Let it sink into the depths of your heart how incredibly loved you are by God. Maybe you are the spouse, who is weary from taking care of the household or from trying to convince your spouse that she/he is worth every moment. Please hear that you have an amazing gift. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for serving God by serving your spouse. I hope that sharing the insight God gave to me will speak to all of your hearts. Much love and prayers to you, and much love to my beloved. I would marry you every day if I could!
And they lived happily every after…
Photo Credit: Kara Faith Photography