Today, I am privileged to introduce guest poster Jill Roper, my friend and mentor – remember how I got to see her on our Michigan trip!!?! Her role as “help meet” and wife has drastically changed during the past year and a half and I have hurt and prayed along with her family as her husband’s health has taken a terrible turn. Jill (of From the Heart of Jill) shares her real life example of what it truly means to care for and love your husband “in sickness and in health”.
“LORD, I need your arms tightly wrapped around me”. That was my prayer when I looked over at my husband the other day. How did we ever get to this place?
Nineteen months ago our lives were turned upside down. Hubby woke up with a terrible back ache and noticed later in the day a very odd rash going in a perfect line from his waist down to the bottom of his foot. Life has never been the same since.
In my mind’s eye I can clearly see us both in the church saying our wedding vows. The future looked so bright and I happily said those words, “In sickness and in health” with the rest of the vows truly not knowing what that would mean 32 years later.
I grieve now from the very depths of my soul. My life partner is slipping away and there is not a thing I can do about it. My husband has a very rare neurological disorder that has robbed him of who he was. He is on 15 different medicines daily. The disease causes him to jerk uncontrollably and his speech can be very difficult to understand during a severe bout which happens daily. It is very difficult for him to walk.
My husband spent 22 years proudly serving his country. He then spent the next 10 years in full time ministry and as a marriage and family therapist. The man holds 3 Master’s degrees and yet most days he can’t remember what day it is. He helped foster over 30 special needs children and together we have raised seven children.
In my book we have only lived a half a life so far. It appears now that the second half of the dream will never be realized. I have often said to friends, “I sure wish there was a book out there to help me navigate this storm!”
I have two choices. I can give up and say it’s just too hard or…..I can allow God to put me through the fire again and share what I have learned with others.
My Abba Father is teaching me once more to trust with my whole heart. You see, some years ago we lost our baby girl, Celeste at birth and then our son David died when he was just 13 months old. You come to a crossroads when death smacks you in the face.
How do you deal with such loss? How do you get up the courage to breathe again? The following passage spoke to my heart all those years ago just like it speaks to me now.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Cor. 1:2
God allows bad things to happen to good people for His purposes. God is the ultimate comforter. When we have been comforted he wants us to turn around and comfort others. I chose JOY! I chose to daily walk with joy in my heart, knowing that God is truly in control. This trial does not escape His notice.
I stand committed today just like I did 32 years ago to say with confidence, “For better or worse, for richer or poor, in sickness and in health till death do us part.
Jill writes a daily devotional blog which I always find to be inspiring, comforting, challenging and refreshing. As a busy mom (can you relate?), I have found it to be such a blessing to pop over to Jill’s site and find a few moments of spiritual enouragement. I highly encourage you to check out From the Heart of Jill and consider letting Jill be a daily source of spiritual refreshment for you too!