Saturday, September 14, 2013

Reprise: Autumn Again

"I have cried upon the steps that seemed too steep for me to climb 
And I have prayed against the burdens that I did not want to be mine 
But here I am, and this is where You're calling me to fight 
And You, I will remember through the watches of the night."
--Kristyn Getty

A year ago, I wrote this post

And then I wrote no more. Not because I was busy...even though I was. And not because I was heartbroken, although that was also true.

It was because everything changed.

The surgery that was supposed to fix my husband's back left him disabled.

A one night stay in the hospital turned into a one week stay, while my children were cared for by close friends and family and I scrunched in a stiff hospital chair and rarely slept in my own bed.

A two month recovery turned into a ten month recovery, punctuated by a second surgery to fix the broken knee that Matt sustained when he was on Morphine for too long.

...the Morphine stole him from me for the first two months. His mental state from that medicine was so disturbing, was so traumatic at times, that I wondered how we would ever get through it. The man in front of me looked like my husband, but it just wasn't him. The medicine made him act like a stranger. And that, my friends, is the worst feeling I've ever had. Ever. Ever.


I wondered if anything would ever be okay again. And even though my mouth and conscious will would cry out to God for deliverance...even though my words would turn my children's attention to the many ways that God was providing for us during this horrible time...even though my days were spent encouraging and caring for my love...further back in my soul, I had put up some serious walls, because at times it felt like God had betrayed our family and left us for dead.

Even further back, I knew that wasn't true. But I was so mad and so tired. So scared. Matt had suffered permanent nerve damage in his leg, which meant that he would never be able to return to his job. And as the one who knew this man best --this man who had struggled throughout his life with depression-- it was clear to me from early on how much serious time and work with God it would require before Matt would clear the dark woods of his anger and sorrow over this loss. So the road would be long, as well as hard. For him and all who loved him.

Because his household-supporting income was not the only thing he had lost.

As an active and extremely involved husband, father, employee, deacon, and friend, he was never idle. All of a sudden, he could no longer hike, help with home projects, or even play kickball with our children. The blow had been swift and harsh. Even our weekly family shopping trip for groceries was difficult, as Matt had to adjust to using an electric scooter, then later a walker, and finally a cane in order to join us. Trips to the Children's Museum an hour away now seemed as feasible as flying to the moon. My heart could hardly bear the pain he had to move through.

There are many days that I cannot remember from this past year. Days that blurred together, or that I have perhaps blocked out. 5 months of sleeping on the reclining couch with Matt so I could help him up if he needed me. 4 more months that I slept without him in our bed because my body started rebelling and would no longer let me sleep well on the couch.  But incredibly, I didn't feel any specific pain over "how it used to be." I oftentimes had a hard time remembering what life was like before the surgery. Because God's love covers pain, protects our hearts, and wipes out bitterness.

God has used this hardest year of our lives to assure me beyond a whisper of doubt that He loves my family and wants the absolute best for us.

During this last year God has
~deepened my love for my husband
~healed, stabilized, and matured my marriage
~taught my children that God is real, can hear us, and wants to teach us--even when it's hard
~led friends and family to tirelessly support us every step of the way
~given us release from a lifestyle that was no longer healthy and productive for our family
~directed us to a new and totally unexpected future

And He's done so many more things, big and little. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. {A little bit exaggerated, but you've gotta love it when the Bible says it best. God is so lavish with his love.}

God wants to be with us and wants to bless us. And when we've strayed from His plans for us, He comes running to save us from destruction. Because we just don't always know the difference between best and barely scraping by.

In closing, I want to share the song that has most healed my heart during this dark year. I've sung it strongly, I've sung it in a choked whisper, but I no longer sing it in I did when I first started singing it a year ago. I believe now that God will use what He must to heal us.