Last October, my husband broke.
I mean his brain broke. And his body broke. And no one could tell us why. Or what exactly was wrong.
And I stood by, helpless. If you were take my sweet husband out for coffee, he would tell you all about his experience. And how it drew him closer to his Creator. And I promise you, your jaw would drop as he shared with such grace and faith. He’s just like that. But I confess to you that I don’t handle brokenness with dignity. When I patch things together but they just turn out ugly. Cracks showing. Glue and tape slapped on. But barely. When the God of the Universe approaches brokenness, He makes it new. Beautiful. Better than before it was broken. That is what He did for my family.
My husband came home after a normal day at work one day complaining of a low hum in his ears. He confessed kind of sheepishly that he had also had a small panic attack. He’s a laid back guy. A tough guy. Not like him. Said it just came on and he didn’t know why. And that was the beginning. The next day the hum was worse. The panic attacks increase in frequency and intensity. The vertigo begins. So dizzy he can’t walk. Several days of laying on the couch. Too anxious and dizzy to move.
What could be wrong? God, fix Him.
The first doctor’s appointment. Sent home with a bag full of meds that didn’t work. Blurred vision. Can’t go to work. Hyperventilating. Lumps under his armpits. Depression and fear keep him bound to the bed or couch. He excuses himself from the dinner table to sob in the bedroom. Day after day after day after day.
What’s wrong sweetheart? Is it me? I’ve put too much stress on him. Maybe if I was a better wife, he wouldn’t be breaking. God, how can I be better?
Doctor’s appointments. Two and three appointments a week. More pills. No answers. No difference. Pains in his side. Mysterious physical symptoms continue to appear. He speaks very little. When he does it doesn’t make sense. Paranoia sets in. Everyone is trying to get him. It’s time to take the guns out the house. His hands shake. He doesn’t remember things. Days become weeks.
Will this hell ever end? I’m angry. And feeling sorry for myself. I snap at the kids. I want to run away. Should I put together a resume? I’ll surely have to go back to work soon. God, how could you let this happen?
Counseling. Grief counseling. Marriage counseling. It’s PTSD. Or so they say. But I’m not sure. I feel like they don’t know why he’s breaking any more than I do. They say all of the physical symptoms are unrelated. Some get better and some stay the same. But then the freak accidents begin. He throws his back out. He breaks a tooth. Etc., etc., etc. The stack of bills and laundry is staggering. Months without an end in sight.
Every thought in my head is red. I squeeze my lips tight. I can’t breathe. No one understands. Screams threaten to seep out my nostrils, my ears, my eyes. I don’t want to talk to God anymore.
Where are you God?
Quiet. I anger-pray. But weakly. I’m so tired.
What do you want me to do????
Get up earlier. I hear it inside. But it doesn’t make sense. I’m desperate though.
God, I’m going to meet you in the morning. Are you going to show up???
The next morning, I wake at 6 am. I make myself coffee and eggs. They taste amazing! It’s been so long since I’ve had good food. I crack open the beautiful new Bible my husband bought me for Christmas and carefully turn the pages to the book of Job. The study I’m beginning is called “Abounding Hope.”
You showed up! My heart leaps.
I read. I highlight. I make notes in a pretty pink journal. I crawl onto the floor and place everything on the altar. I cry and tell Him everything. He already knows. He gives me peace.
You are the God who sees! I’ve missed you Father!
My husband does not get better. At first. But something in me changes. I turn over my un-fixables to my Father. I go through days making crafts with my children. I bake bread. I run. I snuggle up to a man who no longer resembles the one I married. I rub his furrowed brow and pray over him. We pray together. We look up scripture before we go to bed. And pray some more.
You go before me. You are with me. You are for me.
I didn’t cause this.
I can’t control it.
I can’t cure it.
But I can be a contributor. One who brings grace, love, kindness, joy. Or one who brings a dark cloud.
However, Bringing a life-giving contribution to the day requires some digging in to the Word and planning and consulting with a Savior.
Since then, I’ve made having my quiet time with my Maker a priority. I smear His Word on my body like war-paint. I praise Him. I sing. I listen. I ask for Him to draw me closer. I write out all the ways I can bless my family and others on a purple legal pad. All before anyone in my house is awake.
My husband is getting better!!! Our marriage is stronger. My faith is bigger. My husband’s faith is bigger. We will get through this.
You are the God who fixes broken things! Hallelujah!