When Your Husband Is …

When your husband is what? I don’t even know what to call it.

In danger? At risk of dying?

6:30am. He’s leaving for work.

I watched him lift his uber-heavy computer backpack and cringed.

How much does that weigh?

Is it more than he’s allowed to lift?

Will that be the thing that sends us to the hospital?

But does it weigh more than he’s allowed to lift?

I want to ask.

HOW can I ask?

How can I ask without sounding like a mom.

“Is that okay for you to lift?” I asked.

It was fine.

More than fine. I’m over-reacting.

Mothering, probably.

Good grief.

I’m not caffeinated, either.

One should not have thoughts or give voice to them without being fully conscious.

How does one do this? How do I HELP in the middle of this now that I’m in?

How do we have discussion about these things without me turning into his mother?

He doesn’t want me to be his mom – he already has one, and she’s awesome.

I don’t want to BE a mother – at least not to the man I married.

I love being a mom to the people I gave birth to.

But how does this change everything?

June 22, 2014. We celebrate 23 years of marriage. 29 years of friendship, too.

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And I had no idea that I’ve joined a club.

It’s not one that I would ever want to sign up for, either.

Out of the woodwork they come – women whose husbands have had life-threatening illnesses.

“How are you really?” she asked.

“Oh, Nina, I’m so sorry,” choked another.

“Let me know if there’s anything you need,” they said.

“How can I pray for you?” is the most frequent.

Unsolicited, the calls come, responses to prayer chain news.

One of my friends, one I hadn’t seen in a while, even messaged me to offer ironing.

My girlfriends encouraged me to go out to dinner with them one night this week. I went. That was hard, but I was so glad I did.

My friend on a missions trip in ROMANIA calls me just to see how I am.

And another ministry leader friend of mine force squeezed her time enough between plane trips and meetings to have a cup with me. She came bearing chocolate. “I desperately want to see you!” she’d said. How anyone could love ME enough to be desperate to see me makes me cry. I’m rich beyond measure with such beautiful women in my life. I love them all so.

They teach me how to love.

And I’m thankful.

How much He loves us to send love through His children. Children that have their own heartaches, women who have suffered well.

I love the body of Christ, and how it puts physical feet, hands, and arms to His love.

Sometimes, I confess, I forget to breathe. I find myself standing at the kitchen sink, busy waiting BUSY WAITING…how is it that I am busy waiting?? Does that make any sense??… for the next doctor’s appointment, washing out the coffee cups, staring at the soap and the leftover crema washing down the sink, and I realize I am holding my breath.

Because he bought the cappuccino machine for me…for our anniversary.

Because I didn’t even drink coffee til he took all of us to Germany last year… and in the damp cold rain, the warmth of a cappuccino perked me up and helped the painkillers go down and I could do another day of making the memory of a lifetime with our family…

And I think of how I hate traveling and how he loves it and so I go anyway…

And dread it then love the places we go…

I think of how marriage changes us, hopefully for the better.

I think of how He’s changed me.

I wonder how different we both are after nearly a quarter of a century together.

And suddenly there are tears swirling down the sink with the soap…and the whole world is blurry again.

How long til I adjust to this news and my eyes stop being so wet all the time?

And sometimes, Philippians 4:8 will flutter into my heart, and I will inhale, and ask, “God, what IS true? What IS good? What IS right, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy and excellent in the middle of this now that I’m in?” And even though I can’t see the good of the now that He’s chosen for us, I can be thankful that He is still in control, and I can choose to trust Him, choose to breathe Him.

Because without Him, I’ll just crumble to the floor in my kitchen and stay there.

My greatest fear is this unknown of how to be a wife NOW. How do I love well in the middle of THIS? How do I be brave like Sarah and not give way to the fear that threatens to change everything?

How do I not absorb that fear like a wounded dog and bite those around me?  Too many apologies this morning to undeserving children, and it’s not even 9am, and I need another cup of coffee.

Advice came from one of my wonderful sisters who said, “He needs a friend. Just be his friend.”

What does that look like?

I’m trying.

It’s bumbly and I’m awkward.

And while it looks like we need a miracle or he needs a risky scary heart surgery,

my friend Jesus reminds me WE ALL DO.

And the me that I used to be before I met my Savior has had a transplant.

For that, I’m eternally thankful.

So I pray, and I remember I’m not alone, and I love as best I can. And I believe my God is just saying, “This is nothing I can’t handle. I’ve got this. Just be. Do the next thing. Stop yer frettin’ child.” Sometimes, in my head, He waxes a bit southern, probably because I was born a yankee. :)

All are welcome here – all who believe in my Son.

And I’m glad you are on the journey with me, because I feel lonely when I’m all alone.

Maybe you do too?

I’m super thankful for all the prep work for our Daughters of Sarah Boot Camp Retreat next week. We have people from 6 states coming, and I can’t wait to worship with them. The work He’s given me to do keeps me breathing right now. It’s very good. Not the work that I’m doing, mind you, although I think it will be good when it is done, but just having the work to do, if that makes any sense at all, even. Ugh. I finished the Daughters participant manual, am working on the facilitator guide, the journal is almost done, and my new book is nearly finished… still so much to do, like put the presentation together… good thing this stuff energizes me…

He’s always good.

And I want to thank you for your prayers and your emails, and the cards – you are all just precious to me.  Jim and I covet your prayers as we just keep breathing until we know whether there’s been a miracle, or whether/when we’ll take a turn towards surgery on this journey.

Love to you,

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Comments

  1. says

    Continue to pray for you my friend! I know God has a reason for this storm. He will be glorified and honored regardless of the result. Continue to be your hubby’s friend and support and keep doing the next thing with him and for Him. I’m praying your hubby’s story will be much like my life threatening heart issue…still going 8 years past life expectancy…and feeling better than ever!! Love you and am always here if you need to release to one that lives your husbands story everyday! Trust me when I say he just needs you to be his friend and not make him feel “sick” but normal!

  2. Lyn Kienholz says

    Happy Anniversary! My husband Jeff & I celebrated our 1st Anniversary yesterday and it was magical and amazing just like my last 1st Anniversary that I celebrated with my 1st husband Mike. Mike was 34 when he was diagnosed with cancer, we had 3 children under the age of 6 and he died 27 months later. He was the strongest person that I knew until I met the me after he died and realized that I am the strongest person that I know. It is incredible difficult and I deeply wish that I had some curing words to help you through this process, but know that I am praying for you even though I don’t really know you other than through your blog.

    Philippians 4:6-7 …do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    My heart lifts you both up in prayer that God will bring you both peace during this time.

    Hugs & Prayers,
    Lyn

  3. Lisa says

    When my hubby had a heart attack 6 years ago, it changed several things in our world.
    1) I was a few millimeters from becoming a widow. 3 Stints later plus meds. we have been functioning better. We began to pursue a more healthy life style with respect to the genetics. Which is blessing our young men today.

    2) I had to confront fear of becoming an untimely widow on a daily basis. Throughout the event and long after that, at the kitchen sink over a period of time, in prayer and fasting, I worked through a lot of my own selfishness, fear and insecurities. And one day it just broke. I was sick of living in fear. I got angry enough to stop being bullied by fear. Faith broke through some tough territory. Trusting in God grew. New confidences and reassurance of God’s ability and desire to take care of me poured into all the broken places that needed healing. Scriptures brought the healing word. “Joy of the Lord is my strength”, Phil. 4:4-8, “Lord willing” has always been my phrase. But it took on a new fresh meaning.

    3)I learned to re-prioritize who and what was important. Learn to say “no” as needed.

    4)For 5 years my grandma nurtured her husband with ALS. He passed before she did but in that process she had a phrase “get your house in dying order”. Much gratitude went to my grandmother who passed at 62. Her departure was so organized for her kids it was a marvel to them. Our relationships with the Lord are in dying order and we are working on stream lining our belongings in dying order too. Funeral plans, wills, trusts, DNR, power of attorneys, who will raise the children if both of you depart sooner than expected. Those unpleasantries are better worked out together when you can make decisions together. Facing our mortality doesn’t have to be scary. It just different, new territory. The Lord will walk you through it every step of the way. Psalm 23. In the valley of the shadow death and life.

    5)Seek wise counsel from those older than you.
    6) Ask your husband how he needs you to support him these days. Being brave helps him a lot. Rebuke the fear and walk by faith. Resourcefulness is always a burden-lifter too.
    blessings Nina!

  4. Mary Lou says

    Nina, thank you for sharing your heart and letting us know how we can specifically pray for you. A wise counselor showed my husband the antidote to fear: “Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18. That has helped me so much. I find my default tune these days is the chorus : “his love never fails, never gives up on me” from One Thing Remains. God loves you and your husband so very much. Yes, you are right God is working behind the scenes. I love the verse from Exodus that says, “The Lord Himself will fight for you. You only need be still.”

    Thank you for all you’ve taught me and others. Praying for you continually,
    ML

  5. Jim says

    Nina:

    I just want to say that I really appreciate your being so concerned about your husband’s well being, and about being respectful toward him.

    Here’s what would work for me:

    “I’m really concerned about your carrying such a heavy backpack. I know that you can do it, because you are a real man who rises to challenges and gets them done. But are you sure that it’s not too heavy?”

    He is now excited that you think of him as a real man. By telling him that you think of him as a real man, you have given him extra strength to carry the heavy load, and you have made him more open to your concerns. He will probably tell you that it will be ok, that he has to carry the heavy computer.

    Then follow up by saying, “When you get home, I’ll give you a good back rub to take away the pain of carrying such a heavy load.”

    He will now look forward to coming home. In fact, you will be on his mind all day. Pray that he doesn’t get a speeding ticket on the way home.

    Jim

  6. Tracy says

    Praying for you. I feel so inadequate with words, but worry- now that I’m too good at. During one of my worry sessions and ‘what ifs’ and ‘but I don’t know’- The Lord very clearly spoke to my heart and said ‘Do you trust Me with him?’
    Ouch. Yes Lord, I trust You.

    Ps 46:10 Be still and know that I am God

    Hugs,Tracy

What do YOU think about these things today?