Honestly, the memories still feel fresh.
They’ve long passed and healed, yet they’ve left scars. Not scars that remind me of pain, but scars forever reminding me of the power and hope of a God who saves.
Life was upside down. Our once chaotic, yet predictably peaceful existence as a family of four had disappeared in a moment.
We had stepped into the world of international adoption and fallen deeply in love with a little girl God called a Schumaker long before we’d ever seen her face. We didn’t know it, but our little Schumaker had suffered the unimaginable and the trauma and neglect had taken its toll on her mind and body.
Classes. Books. Counselors. Doctors. We did it all in preparation, but none of it touched the depths of the battle we were about to fight.
Malnutrition, PTSD, RAD, Marfans, PANS, PANDAS, Scoliosis, Strabismus.
Raging that consumed most of the day.
And months of sleepless nights blurring and overwhelming an exhausted mind.
“I’m sorry. This little girl is the most complicated we have worked with. We don’t know the answers. You have to understand, healing may never come,” said doctor after doctor.
To which I cried out, “God, this wasn’t what we signed up for.”
As we ached with love for this child God had gifted us, we grieved for her wholeness and for ours. And we coped in the only way each of us knew how.
I think we all do that. We develop our individual coping mechanisms to deal with unhappy times. Part is our unique wiring and another part is a byproduct of our upbringing.
It makes rising above the unhappy times hard to do. And it’s why so many marriages fall apart when tragedy strikes.
My husband is wired for project completion and problem solving. He’s a self-disciplined check-the-box kind of guy who works diligently at completing each to-do list. Logic and reason are his go-to responses.
I love completing projects, too. However, I’m perfectly happy hiding the to-do lists in the junk drawer once in a while. I’m sensitive, emotion driven, and see the world from a perspective of relationship.
He craved checked boxes, a treatment plan with a projected completion date, and a way to stop the raging intensity within our home. But he couldn’t make it happen.
Very quickly and without realizing it, his work became his sanctuary. There he could solve problems and find relief from the grief.
On the other hand, I found myself emotionally drowning. I wanted him to listen to my fears. Listen to my hurt. And listen to my insecurities about parenting a child with severe special needs.
I needed something he just wasn’t capable of giving in the midst of this grief.
You see, what it comes down to is that our weaknesses are never more noticeable than when a crisis occurs.
They boldly rear their ugly heads just as life slams into us.
With our weaknesses exposed, we had choices to make. Let pride rule by holding onto our fleshly desires? Or give Christ rulership over every dark area of our lives. Continue fighting by our own strength? Or let Christ’s strength shine into our weaknesses?
We chose us. And we chose Christ.
For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! … ” Psalm 92:13-15 NLT
Friends, it wasn’t easy. It resembled a marathon more than a sprint. It took patience, grace, forgiveness, and intentionally choosing to love each other well even when we didn’t feel like it.
But a different day did arrive. One where we realized we were different. We were stronger, individually and as a couple. Our love was deeper and more dimensional. And we had drawn nearer to the heart of Christ.
I wish I could tell you unhappy times will never cross your path. I wish I could protect you from them.
But I can’t.
I can only share with you hope. Hope to know unhappy times won’t last forever and joy will come again. And hope to know it is possible for a marriage to rise again.
As a wife, mom, teacher, friend, and writer, Lori believes her purpose is to encourage others to seek hope. Pointing others to Jesus brings her joy. Writing about the hope of Jesus is her focus. It’s because of this that she is excited to welcome you as a friend as you struggle through brokenness, celebrate life’s joys, and grow to know Jesus more and more. Find her blog, Searching for Moments, at www.lorischumaker.com.
Before you leave…
I’m so glad you’re here! I’m praying for you as you reflect on Lori’s story and the hope she shares in the midst of living through difficult and challenging circumstances which arise in marriage. The ones that cause us to cry out to God and question if we really have what it takes to live out this hope we’re called to.
Sometimes we need sweet reminders of this hope and of the intentional choosing of Christ and each other. That’s why I’m giving one lucky reader this “Love Never Fails” print!
I’ll randomly draw 1 winner and announce during next Tuesday’s Marriage Matters Series Post.
To enter the giveaway:
♥Leave a comment for Lori and share some encouragementJoin @crystal_storms on 9/13 as she shares how to Fight the Power of Negatives #marriagematters Click To Tweet