We ALL Need Heart Surgery…

We have an update from my husband’s recent cardiology visit.

So I’ve been walking around with my own heart caught in my throat for about a week.

Do you remember that feeling? When I think of my childhood and the bullying, this is the feeling I remember most.

Tears flow easily. Fear threatens me constantly.

You may know what’s going on – or you may not. Bottom line, my husband has a congenital heart defect and another heart condition that was caught “accidentally,” and we’re in a Now we didn’t anticipate.

What do I do?

What do I do when I have no control?

Ah, Eve, your mistake and God’s consequence haunts me even to this day. I can’t control. I used to know that. At least before I knew about this.

But what do I do in this Now? When life spins outside my realm of influence such that I feel less like an active participant, and more like a spectator, a bystander, watching events unfold, wondering where they will lead next?

My body is betraying me. It reveals my fears and sorrow. My mind doesn’t dwell on thoughts of “what if,” but they do lurk in the shadows, they lick around the edges of my peripheral vision, like wisps of smoke that are there and then not. But my shoulders and neck and back muscles reveal what is true. And I am too close to the edge of the emotional cliff, you know the one, where the smallest of things bring tears.

And sometimes I realize I’ve been holding my breath.

Food’s lost its flavor, sleep difficult at best.

My husband’s cardiologist’s latest orders included the cessation of caffeine. So we’re switching to decaf. Under normal circumstances, I’d fuss a bit. But I literally can’t handle stimulants right now. My addiction to adrenaline (hence the horseback riding and love of public speaking) is all I can deal with – and it’s not daily, so that’s good.

How do I sit here and WAIT for the reports to come back, wait for conversations to take place, wait for potential decisions to be made by men who don’t even really know my husband? How do I just WAIT on that?

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, right?

Am I waiting well?

I don’t know.

The Roesners are all clinging a little tighter to each other these days.

And I confess, the daily common difficulties of marriage frustrate me even more than before.

We may have so very little time.

Someone will make a decision – one that could keep him on planet Earth for a while longer – or one that puts him at greater risk – all based on just 3 millimeters of change.

3 millimeters that could have been 3 miles for the result moves him from, “Oh you can wait a while, we’ll monitor it,” to, “Um, you need to call the surgeon. You may need to schedule this.” We didn’t think that last one would be here so soon.

We thought we had more time.

We might – but we simply just have to wait. Talking to world renowned cardiac surgeons apparently takes a while. Last time we waited over 3 hours for about 7 minutes of his time.  “Come back when it’s XYZ,” he said. And here we are at XYZ.

So plans of Christmas or summer vacation include the dark grey life-depleting environment of a hospital in Cleveland, when we thought we had years, and now we have months.

So we cling to hope of a miracle, yet. And just wait.

And we work on our broken hearts, both of us.

And I work. A lot. Because that is a great distraction. And I hurt. And I feel alone, even when I’m surrounded by people.

When I forget to breathe, when I forget the names of my friends, I just look up through blurred vision, asking, “Will You show me Your face in the midst of THIS now? Because I can’t see, and I can’t think. All I can do is cry.” Then I imagine myself curling up in a ball, fetal-style, in His lap. His hand strokes my hair. I can nearly feel it, He seems so close sometimes. Abba, Father. Daddy.

God help us.

Sometimes He seems so far away…I wonder about Him.

I wonder if His plan for me includes REALLY being alone, widow-style. I wonder also if my concern for my husband’s heart condition and the threat of something happening at any moment and him having just minutes to get somewhere or he dies… if that causes my own heart damage.

He is God.

He does what He wants.

I know He loves me. I know He loves my kids and my husband. But I’m not a fool. I also know He’s always about His business over my comfort, my desires.

And that, THAT is the thing that frightens me the most.

Enjoy the NOW you are in...

pg kiss



So every day, I’m praying Leah’s prayers as she blogs in gratitude for her husband.

And can I just gently, softly, kindly, remind you to be grateful also?

I confess I’m having to actively choose gratitude in the minutia moments of the average day.

Because the simple truth is that we ALL need heart surgery.

So I offer an actively chosen sacrifice of thanksgiving for the Now that we’re in.

Psalm 50:22-23 ESV

“Now consider this, you who forget God, Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver. “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”

And I’d be lying I didn’t admit to you that a small part of me bargains with God…

Father, if I love this much, if I obey this much, if it costs me everything in my heart at this moment and yesterday and tomorrow, can’t we then please please please have a miracle if I’ve been pleasing to You?

And my raw heart remembers as the words swim in my blurred vision that He loves me, and nothing I can say or do can add or take away from that.

Last week, a beautiful woman from the Daughters of Sarah video pilot class summed up her experience in the class as she tearfully said, “If I was the only person on Earth, He would have come and died just for me, He loves me that much.”

So today, in an effort to fight against the fear that threatens to devour me, will you join me in a Thanksgiving dare? Even if things are hard in your marriage, can you choose to see your husband the way God does – as precious, important, a rare treasure?

What is your favorite thing about your husband? What are you thankful for today?

As for me (other than the simple fact that God’s allowing him to be breathing still, which isn’t minor), it is his work ethic. Great at what he does, he works hard, serving those he works with so they can get the best results. He’s brilliant, and works hard, even though he could get by with less effort. And I am thankful for this example of excellence – it’s Biblical

Check Colossians 3:23-24 NASB

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Okay. Your turn. Add yours in the comments.

Dare ya.

And thank you for being on the journey with me.

Love to you,


titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

32 thoughts on “We ALL Need Heart Surgery…

  1. Thank you for sharing. I will pray for you. Today I’m thankful for my husband. He has never ever raised his voice at me in the 12 years of marriage! ( wish I could say the same). He is a very hard worker. Back in 2007 we were $100,000 in debt. When he realized what is going on and where we are headed he went to work for a guy that paid him $14.50 an hour. By the grace of God and his hard work we were debt free 4 years later.

  2. this blog, and the one you sent today has moved me to tears.. We went through a similar trial over the summer. My husband thought he had pulled his ribs out of place, which was interfering with his breathing. I ended up taking him into the ER just for a pain med shot so he can breathe a little easier. But within a few minutes, the doctors were telling me that he had a list of other things wrong and may not make it through the day. No warning signs, no preparation. The floor was pulled out from underneath us.
    But the good news is, he made it. And we stand here today, more in love, more appreciative of life, and determined to make a difference in the world. We never know how much time we have… I am praying for you and your husband. You two will come out even stronger. Hugs and Prayers!

  3. praying for you and hurting with you!!! I’m so sorry you are walking through this. I’m praying for God to be enough for you in this time. Enough love to heal your heart, enough protection to help you walk through this. I’m also praying for healing, but don’t know God’s heart and what he’s trying to accomplish. You are loved and prayed for! ((hugs))

  4. I’m grateful that my husband can make me laugh at anytime. He lives to make people smile and laugh every day. I’m blessed to call him mine.

  5. Nina, I don’t know if this helps, but my father beat my mom and left this earth by giving me a hate letter about her when I was 11. Your photos are wonderful, just lovely. Hurrahh! Love has triumphed in your marriage. I wish I could say that about my parents. I thank God for the people who consequently showed me the way to Him, despite all of that.

  6. Oh my. As I sit hear reading your blog and the responses from other wives, tears are streaming down my cheeks. I have always had a critical bent (I know it’s my insecurities) in my relationships with men (partially because how I was treated by my stepfather, and partially due to the fact that becoming critical is a weakness of mine). Funny, because I am such a positive person, otherwise, and it’s hard for me to be around negative people…go figure!

    What I admire about you, Nina, is that in the midst of your storms and trials, you continue to reach out and share your faith, hope and love. May our Heavenly Daddy continue to comfort you and your family and give you HIS peace that surpasses all understanding.

    What I love about my husband (who is retired) is that whatever he does (especially in his many areas of volunteer work), he does it with pure joy. I’ve been married to him for two years, and I think he may have complained twice about a situation he was facing or had already faced. He is a great role model to me and to others. (Could this be why he gets so many calls throughout the week asking him to lead a team or project? I think, “Yes!”). I tell him all the time what a great administrator he is. Sounds like his next role will be Mayor of our small town, come next election. 🙂

    • Hey gorgeous. 🙂 Any good you see is Him in me. And as I read your comment, I saw Him in you, too. 🙂
      Love to you!

  7. I am so thankful that my husband is so concerned about how farmers and others are polluting our soils and our children with chemicals. He is willing to speak out against these things and promote good quality solutions that are safe for everyone.

    • Stefanie –
      This is a personal favorite of mine. I fully agree with his cause, but how awesome that you do, too!
      Love to you,

  8. Thanks for sharing your heart.
    I am thankful for my husbands relentless care of his family. He works a lot of hours and is kind to us all.
    Praying for you.

  9. My heart hurts for you and your family, Nina. I didn’t know. I am praying for a steady heart for both of you and for healing for your husband. I love your transparency. Thank you for that. I appreciate the bible quotes today; they were needed. I, too, have a hard working husband, who loves me even though i have been sick since the start of our life together. I’m praying for you. I’ll keep on praying….always….

    • A steady heart.
      Volumes of agreement here from me. Necessary. Worth the fight against flesh.
      Thank you for the prayers.
      Love to you,

  10. Thanks…needed to read this today. My husband and I had a huge argument yesterday. We worked things out, but I think emotions are still a bit raw. I’m grateful for his honesty and willingness to have the hard conversations. For the way he truly wants to please me and love me…and for the way he doesn’t shy away from saying, “I was wrong to do this or say that.” Thanks for helping me to remember just a few of the reasons I chose him. 🙂

    • J –
      SO glad this blessed you – a man who can admit he’s wrong is a strong man, indeed. You are blessed. 🙂 Glad you worked things out, and I’m praying the Lord puts salve on those raw wounds.
      Love to you,

  11. I am thankful for the way my husband loves so deeply and the way he makes me feel treasured.

    I am praying for you. You know I have been there with the husband heart surgery thing. His was also found my accident because he lost his job (long story) but he wouldn’t be alive today without losing that job and finding the defect. It didn’t look like a God thing at the time but looking back I am so thankful. That was a hard year for sure.

    • Crazy how “accidents” happen… 🙂
      Thankful for them.
      I know you know.
      And I appreciate the encouragement and prayers. We’ll take them all.
      Love to you,

  12. Nina, I love your heart. Praying for your family.
    I am thankful for a husband who loves me and wants to be with me. He is a very special man.

    • Thank you, Sharmyn.
      We appreciate the prayers, oh so much.
      It’s good your husband wants to be with you – this is indeed a blessing!
      Love to you,

  13. I love that my husband drives our 15 year old twin boys and their friend to school each morning and talks about the great men of the Bible with them. He asks them if they want to be an “angry spear chucker” like King Saul or a brave, courageous, man after God’s own heart like David. —Praying for you and your husband, Nina.

  14. Nina I pray for you & your husband… peace, comfort, & wisdom from God.

    I am thankful for my husband has showed me unconditional love. I don’t always feel loved because of my own insecurities, but if I do ass God says… “Whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things” I can see how much my husband shies love in his own ways. He’s a dedicated hard worker striving to provide for our family, accepted four sons that were not his own, but received them like his own, dedicated to “serve.” I believe that is his love language, because that is all he does is serve others.” He is not lazy but a hard worker. He will bend over backwards to show he cares.

    • Thank you so much for the prayers. And lovely that you can actively choose to receive love as he is able to show it. This will help him grow over time, too. Awesome.
      Love to you,

  15. I’m thankful for my husband’s leadership. He leads at work, at church, and most importantly, at home. And that leading sometimes involves just washing the dishes.

    Prayers for you during this most difficult time!!

  16. I am especially thankful for my husband’s absolute dedication to his family and for his patience with me when I am battling negative feelings (insecurity). His sense of humor makes me happy. Nina, you are being lifted up, up, up in payers to Abba Daddy.

  17. I am thankful for my husbands positive outlook in life. Even when he is down with depression. I don’t know of anyone as strong as he is. Most people would give up, but he doesn’t.

    • YES. Positivity when depressed is no small feat. Good for you for being able to see it. That’s the Spirit in you, lovely.
      Love to you,

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