December 12, 2016

The testing of faith and marriage

{ Joining in Barbie's #glimpsesofhisbeauty linkup. }

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." {James 1:2-4}

Jerry and I have been married for Jerry in 200121½ years, but we've been together for 23 years. Each of us had a previous marriage that ended in divorce. It was several years before Jerry could get me to even go out for a Dr. Pepper with him. I had to be sure the man was a Christian; I'd had enough of being unequally yoked the first time. (Photo: Jerry in May 2001 with the huge catfish he caught.)

I knew that Jerry had a couple health issues before we were married. What neither of us knew was how many more medical problems would continue to be added on top of those throughout the years.

We were homeless – twice – in the first years of our marriage as a direct result of his sky-rocketing medical bills (no health/medical insurance and no money). Due to the nature of those medical problems, he was only able to hold the most mediocre of jobs, and then only when there were no flare-ups in his condition.

By the time we were into the fourth year of our marriage, we knew we were going to have to figure something out financially to keep us going during Jerry's "down" times. I taught myself web development, eventually including graphics design, running my business from home so I could care for Jerry. I made enough to get us by, but that early market quickly became over-saturated with big companies who employed better-educated and degreed people... something that was unattainable for me. I even designed for a online digital scrapbooking company for a few years, although the earnings from that were paltry.

Jerry now has 27 separate medical diagnoses and has been permanently disabled since 2006. He's unable to walk more than a few feet, otherwise he must use a wheelchair. A couple years ago, we had to come to terms with the fact I could no longer continue as his full-time caregiver (due to his and my own health issues becoming progressively worse), and in April of 2015 we settled him into a nursing facility. I must tell you it's extremely lonely in this apartment without my husband and best-friend.

It has been a constant struggle throughout our years together, and we deal with the persistent problems of one or another of Jerry's medical issues always arising. Always. Yet we continue to rely on God. He is bigger than us and our problems. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've sat by a hospital bed, praying and reading God's Word. Oh, how many times I questioned what reasons there might be for this stuff to consume Jerry's body and mind as it has. I never came up with any answer except the testimony of a great God and our faith in Him.

And possibly the testimony of our marriage.

I've known people who left their spouses because of the other spouse's terminal illness or disability. I'm not that person. I'm not that wife. I made a promise to God and Jerry that I would be by my husband's side... "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part." These are the things I can do for my husband, to make his life easier, to show him love... and to show him God's love. To hold to my faith in God and count it all joy for all the years, and know that I'm doing what I can for Jerry.

Til next time, my friends!

14 comments:

  1. God bless you and Jerry.... God is the only one that knows the Plan. I hope your daughter in law is doing better from her surgery. Also prayed that God would give your other daughter in law and grandchildren strength as well as yourself. Many blessings today and always.

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    1. That's what I always say to Jerry – that God is in the plan!

      The daughter-in-law who had the brain surgery and the daughter-in-law who is the widow of my son with the 3 kids are one and the same. (She's currently my only daughter-in-law... but my other son's fiance may turn out to be a second daughter-in-law next year!) The brain surgery for Amanda seems to have made a HUGE difference for her and she's doing much better, thank the Lord! She and the grandkids are getting through the loss of husband/father better nowadays, also. It will just take time.

      Thank you so much for coming by to visit, Susy! Blessings to you!

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  2. Bless your heart! You and your husband have sure been through a lot. I have enjoyed reading all your posts. You mentioned that you will be 60 in January...well I will be 59 on January 22. I sure can't figured out how I got that old so fast!

    How far away id your Jerry from your apartment? I hope you are able to see him often.

    Take care and continue to post.

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    1. You are not going to believe this, but... my birthday is also January 22! How wild is that, huh! I have often wondered how the years went by so fast, too!

      Our city isn't that big, only about 42,000, so not a long ways to go to the nursing home where Jerry lives. I see him nearly every day, still schedule all his doctor appointments and take him. I try to keep our togetherness as normal as possible in spite of being in two different places.

      Thank you so much for continuing to come back to visit me! You are a blessing!

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  3. It's hard for me to understand why life works out this way for some people and not for others. :( What a story of hope that you have stayed by Jerry's side, if not in the same household, at least through love in other ways. You are a blessing. May God continue to make sure your needs are taken care of.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! I appreciate your words of encouragement. And thank you for visiting today. Blessings to you.

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  4. What a beautiful testimony of your love for Jerry, as well as your faithfulness to the Lord Diana. I am praying God's peace for you this Christmas season and that you and Jerry can share in the joy that comes from Jesus as our living hope, even in the midst of such difficulties. Beautiful words you shared today and what a beautiful testimony of your faithfulness in our great, big and mighty God. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. xoxo

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    1. Yes, God is good ALL the time! Amen! Thank you so much for your encouragement, your words mean a lot to us. Blessings to you, Nicki!

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  5. This is a beautiful testimony of faith and love! It's hard when we can't understand why things have to be the way they are, but your love for both God and your husband shines through. Blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful words, Lesley! Living it out in faith makes it easier... especially since we do have the love for God and each other. Thank you so much for visiting! And many blessings to you!

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  6. Diana, what a beautiful testimony of your marriage vow, "in sickness and in health". My husband is recently permanently disabled with unexplained pain and swelling in his knee. It's been rough financially and on our marriage, but we are committed to one another and to see marriage thrive. Thank you for sharing your testimony and giving hope to so many who are struggling with similar issues.

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    1. We will be praying for your husband's knee and that God will give wisdom to his doctors to figure it out so they can help him better. Thank you so much for your always-encouraging words and friendship. If I can give a hope to even one then it's worth sharing. Blessings to you, Barbie!

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  7. Diana, this is such an inspiring, encouraging story of how love and the grace of God glues a marriage together and holds it firm through great adversity. May you continue to be equipped and enabled to cope with the challenge of living apart, while maintaining the wonderful love you have for one another. God bless you both!

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    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful words, Joy! You give me reassurance that sharing this might someday help another couple to know it can be done... as long as God is in the mix! Blessings to you, friend!

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Your visit means so much to me. Oh YES it does! Have a blessed day!