On June 1, my husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. The first 17 or so years went by very fast, but the last few years have been challenging. I have been my husband’s caregiver since 2008. He has a chronic neurological disorder which followed a cancer diagnosis. Over the past years his condition has fluctuated and sometimes he needs more help than other times. Life has been unpredictable to say the least. While our lives have not been all that we had imagined them to be, we have been blessed.
I wish to share with you a very important lesson that I have learned. It is a mistake to get overwhelmed with trying to build a life rather than simply living it. Many of our dreams for our future were wrapped in waiting until our children were adults. Of course, now we realize that many of the things we planned for our empty-nest period will not take place because of his physical condition.
Knowing that God is in control has been our source of strength. Although illness has a huge impact on a person, I believe that the core of a person remains intact. The mood may change at times due to pain and suffering, but deep down there is a glimpse of who you are. On those days that I see little resemblances of the person I married, I have to remind myself of the character and love of the man I vowed to love in sickness and in health 25 years ago. When we make a commitment in marriage, it has to be to someone we would be willing to accept and love at any condition of life. Life has a way of sending you things you did not expect or prepare for.
Sickness is something we have no control over, and with sickness comes much more. Many times a chronic illness will take its toll on the family finances. Some families are forced into bankruptcy, losing their homes, etc. Marriages can end in divorce due to the pressure of a long term illness. But when it appears that much has been loss, remember that God wants to be glorified in our marriages. When God is glorified in the dark moments of our lives we defeat the works of the enemy and render him powerless.
I find it interesting that my husband chose a nurse for his wife. Coincidental? I would say not. But divinely inspired is a more appropriate answer, for God knows what we have need of before we ask.
To read more about my journey wait for my new book:
The Heart of a Caregiver.
1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Evelyn Johnson-Taylor Ph.D.