About 20 years ago I met the most incredible girl in the world. I was at my home church and about 4 or 5 pews in front of me was a blond haired beauty with her arms raised lost in a state of worship. I saw her. I thought to myself “I have to meet this girl.” As I mustered up the strength and courage to approach her, I immediately felt a connection (even though I’m sure she didn’t). She was the girl of my dreams. The girl that I felt God led me to.
I built a friendship with her and we began a great relationship. A year or so later, I asked her on a date. My goal was to build on our friendship into something much more. She reluctantly accepted my invitation. After a few dates, she decided that it wasn’t God’s timing and that was it for the “more than friends” situation. I was bummed out, but I knew I was young and “you win some and you lose some.” However, my heart felt differently. I pestered her and continued to pursue her because of the strong feelings I had developed for her.
Fast forward to September 25, 1999. That was the day the friendship became something greater…something much more. On that date, we began dating. I’m not sure exactly what God did in her heart, but at this moment in time, this blonde, beautiful young lady became mine (in a non ownership type way 🙂 We spent every minute we had together. I saw her everyday. We had thrown caution to the wind and went all in. We were in love. Proverbs 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I stood on this piece of Scripture. I prayed it most every night. And God answered my prayer. The closer I got to him, the more he granted my desires.
On February 9, 1999, I asked this beautiful girl to be my wife. She said yes. I remember buying the ring and carrying it around in my pocket for all of 1 day before jumping at the first chance I had to give it to her. She was mine. She was my dream. She was the one I desired and the one that God ordained to become my wife.
On September 25, 1999, we stood on the altar of our church and said the second most powerful words of our wedding vows…”I do.” This was an incredible day. It seemed that all the emotions and desires had finally come to a head. BOOM! Fireworks! The day came and our life together began!
I mentioned that “I do” was the second most powerful words in our vows. So what was the first? During those vows, we vowed to love each other and give our lives to each other. Then the powerful words came, “in sickness and in health.” Those 5 words are powerful. They have meaning and they can’t be ignored.
On March 30, 2003, our first little girl was born. What a joy! What a miracle! What an amazing day. We were youth pastors, we had a new baby, a new house and life was awesome! God was moving in our lives and in our ministry and we were “living the dream.”
After 2 years of living this dream, this blonde haired beauty woke up unable to move. Thinking it was just aches and pains, we didn’t think much about it. After a few days of this, it was time to see a doctor. The results: Chronic back problems that would result in 3 painful surgeries and permanent disability. WOW, how in one day things can change. From top of the world to the bottom. This threw a kink in things. We had a 2 year old and had one of the busiest, time constraining jobs on the planet. How could this happen?
It has been almost 12 years since this morning that changed life as we knew it. Today, this blonde beauty is a chronic pain patient. Everyday she hurts. Everyday she prays for relief. Everyday she is loved more by me. I’ve watched how she handles herself, despite this ailment, with others. She loves people and has a heart for people despite what she goes through on a daily basis.
Understanding a chronic pain patient is difficult. That is one of the main reasons I’m writing this. Chronic pain is something many of us, myself included, have no idea about. I find myself often in that state of a lack of understanding. A place where my “get over it” attitude comes in to play. It’s not intentional, just there. It’s frustration about things you can’t change. We as humans get upset when things are out of our control. We want so desperately for that person we love so much to be ok. To not hurt. To not suffer. Many times we even desire to take that pain away and bear it ourselves. So what to do? How do we cope? How do we understand?
In the little understanding I have (which is very little), support and them knowing that they are not alone, meaning that you are still with them, that you are not going anywhere and that you will love them through this, helps. There is nothing much to say that will take their pain away. There is not much physically you can do to bring them comfort. But what you can do is make sure they know they are loved. They aren’t perfect and neither are we. Love them through it. Make them feel like they matter because at times they feel like they don’t. Try to understand and empathize with them the best you can. Sometimes the words “things are going to be ok” are not the best things to say because you can’t say that with confidence because you don’t know. Trust in God and continue to pray for them as they deal with this and as you deal with this.
In closing of this rambling, I leave you with this quote that may help understand a little better:
“Being young and sick is sorta like being elderly, except we lack the reflection on all the great times and great things we did long ago. Instead, we watch our peers make the memories and strides they’ll look back on fondly, bitterly observing and praying for our chance. Our time.”
God bless you and thanks for reading. Keep trusting God and keep believing for healing for those loved ones you may have that seem incurable. God is bigger than pain and bigger than any situation we find ourselves in. Keep loving and keep supporting and keep encouraging!