The year 2005 was pivotal for me and my husband, Mike. Our son had graduated college and married his sweetheart. They then moved to New Orleans for seminary. On the one hand, I was so happy for them, but on the other hand I was going through a grieving process, missing my only son terribly. This empty nest was not suiting me at all. I was stressed and overwhelmed!
It took a while, but we finally adjusted to being empty nesters.
We enjoyed doing new things together, even took up golf and totally loved it. We were settling in nicely to this new phase of our life together and were fortunate to be able to take some very nice trips that Mike had earned from the company he worked for. After a ten-day visit to New Zealand we were heading back home via Hawaii with some friends, a wonderful time together. However, we had no idea what was waiting for us around the corner.
Hawaii was everything I had anticipated, lush and beautiful, great weather and wonderful views. But the second day we were there, Mike woke up with a severe headache and subsequently lost the use of his left arm and leg. It was so frightening. I thought he had suffered a stroke, but he didn’t have the facial signs. He wanted to see our regular doctors, so we flew home overwhelmed with fear.
We arrived with Mike in a wheelchair, both of us scared of the outcome. Preliminary suspicions of our family doctor included a brain tumor, but that wasn’t the case and we were thankful to God. A subsequent MRI showed lesions on his brain indicating multiple sclerosis. That was in 2009.
The years since then have been a roller coaster, to say the least. We didn’t know a thing about MS, so we looked it up on the Internet and found a plethora of information, some of it pretty scary.
I am the type of person who likes to fix things. I thought all I needed to do was find out all about this disease and face it head on. However, we found out MS is different in everyone who has it, so we had no constant to compare against. I had to face the fact that I couldn’t fix this. There was no cure. MS is called an “invisible” disease; no one knows there’s anything wrong until they see you stumble or not thinking right.
We also found out about the different medications, all with their own side effects. We were flying by the seat of our pants.
Then, through a friend who also has MS, we found a great doctor in Atlanta who is on the cutting edge of research for the disease. Mike is now on the best medicine possible, which has stopped his illness’ advancement. He is able to walk and goes to work daily. We have the challenge of managing that pain and occasional flare ups, but we will make it. Thousands of others do.
SOME OF THE MANY LESSONS I’VE LEARNED FROM THIS ARE:
- God is good, no matter what happens.
- I have to lean on God through His word and prayer. (Psalm 119:105)
- I am not the fixer, He is.
- I have to be strong and encourage Mike. (Proverbs 31:26)
- God will guide us to the right people to help us.
- God cares for us and is in control. (1 Peter 5:7)
- Encouragers need encouragement too. Support groups help. Stay in close communication with your church groups and let them know your needs and prayer needs.
- Though this has taxed our marriage, we have chosen to make it stronger through our faith in Jesus. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
- When overwhelmed in a situation, look to the one in control of the situation, God.
Is life overwhelming with something similar? Let’s talk. Please share in the comments section and I will answer you.
I will be discussing marriage during some of the breakout sessions in our upcoming women’s conference, Overwhelmed with Life to Overwhelmed with Christ. Be sure to get your tickets. I have some available, or you can order online with the link below.
We would love to have you attend our first annual Women’s Conference on June 24-25, 2016 with special recording artist Mike Weaver from Big Daddy Weave.
Be sure to get your ticket and come to be encouraged on this journey called life!
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