I am sick in bed. I have been for a week. I tried to talk myself out of it. I tried convincing myself that a trip to the farmer’s market would be helpful because I needed a little sunshine. I told myself I could run those few errands for the kids because I should be feeling better by now. But alas, Monday is here, I’m in bed. I’ve taxied a bit and will accomplish a few more of my ‘mom duties’ but for the most part, I still feel like crap.
I’m somewhat use to not feeling well. When I was 24 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and over the last few years it’s gotten somewhat severe. My husband said to me with all the love in his heart, “I’m really tired of you being sick.” And not because he doesn’t want to take care of me, but because he’s quite literally over my sickness. But he knew, and he’s committed. In sickness and in health.
I see these stories of amazing husbands and wives who sacrifice everything to take care of their illness ridden spouse. Wives who stand by husbands through every bypass surgery, husbands who stand firm when a wife has breast cancer. They are there for every treatment, appointment, MRI.
But I wonder.
Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Are we willing to honor our vows to our spouse in physical sickness but not spiritual sickness?
To me spiritual sickness is the most prevalent and real and damaging. To me, spiritual sickness is what causes divorce. To me spiritual sickness is why we have to promise what we promise so help me God.
I have been spiritually sick in our marriage–cancerous-like spiritual disease that has affected my whole being, and my whole marriage. I have had moments of pure spiritual freedom, where all was well with my soul. But for significant parts of my life, my marriage, I have been spiritually sick.
And so he has kept his promise….
In sickness and in health.
He has nursed me back, patiently covering my wounds with a healing balm emulsified by forgiveness, by daily forgiveness, found only in Jesus. It has been the forgiveness, the washing of my feet, the drying of my tears that has opened the door for the love of Christ to redeem–to really redeem.
In class and counseling before marriage, well intended pastors and veteran marrieds match your personalities and your argument-response-methods. But no one really tells you of how horribly sinful you are, how you will desperately need Jesus in your marriage, and how “in sickness and in health” is going to count for more than you could ever imagine.
Too many people bail on marriages because of spiritual sickness.
He doesn’t have joy like I do.
She wanted that other man instead of me.
He looks at porn all day.
I’m just not in love with her anymore.
Accepting a person’s spiritual sickness doesn’t give the person permission to die of their cancer. It simply means recognizing what it is for what it is and choosing to battle it together, just like you would the flu, or heart disease.
I write this to you — you who feel like you are losing your marriage…you who don’t know if you can go one more day. I write this to encourage you that it is only Jesus that can call the sinner into righteousness. I write this because as that sinner, it is my husband’s constant commitment to my spiritual wellness that has allowed me to really experience the love of Christ. Do not give up. Embrace your vow–be there for him, be there for her, in sickness and in health.
Thank you Michael.
My expertise, and opinions for that matter, are vast and wide. I answer questions about starting churches, running children’s ministries, anorexia, sexual abuse and parenting. I don’t claim to know everything about anything, but there is one area I’ve got it completely nailed down…
I see tweets and Facebook posts all day long, “Oh I have piles of laundry!” ”Oh how do I get caught up on laundry!” I walked into my sisters room today and saw piles and piles of clean laundry on her floor awaiting folding.
So how do I do it? How, when I have five people in my house do I stay on top of laundry? I’m going to tell you my secret. It will be the best mom-advice you EVER RECEIVE IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE! I promise, it’s that good.
Everyone does there own!
Yes, everyone! From the time Zac was five, with assistance, he started doing his own laundry. I trained my kids young, and I was trained young, too. I started doing my own laundry when I was in the third grade. It didn’t kill me-obviously. It hasn’t killed my own kids, yet.
Now it takes time to train them. Sometimes I still have to remind my 14 year old son not to just wash a few things at a time. Sometimes, I see my 16 year old bringing down a load to start at 10 at night. But the investment has been totally worth it.
I don’t hear things like:
Mom can you wash my….
Mom, have you seen my….
Mom, I don’t have any ….
My husband does his own laundry as well, but not because I make him, he just prefers to keep his stuff separate and stay on top of his own dirty socks. I do my own laundry, about 2 loads a week and floor mats. Everyone washes their own towels and sheets.
Life made simple.
I love the philosophy of don’t do for a child what a child can do for himself. I wish I was more disciplined with this in every area with my kids. Even though I’m a work in progress, laundry is not a problem in our household. And it could not be a problem in yours either.
What do you think? Could you make it work?
Have a great, laundry-free weekend!
Last week was our annual ice day in San Antonio. We brave nothing near as tragic or ridiculous as what’s happening in Georgia right now, but our town is definitely not prepared to handle snow, or even ice. On the eve of the winter blast, I was taking my strep-throat infected, finally hungry, nine year old to grab his favorite food. We approached the light and he immediately started digging for change. Every corner is occupied by beggars, and ice days are no exception. Zac spoke a blessing as he handed the man the money. In return, the homeless man offered encouragement to Zac to stay in school so that he doesn’t have his fingers frozen off. As we pulled away, one thought came to my head…
Gloves became our mission that day. We quite literally ran inside of Wal-Mart to find the warmest gloves in the store. We purchased them, quite literally ran back to our car and made our trek to find this man who had frozen fingers. But he was gone. We circled and saw him huddled with friends under a distant bridge. After picking up my daughter from school, we made another round to see if he emerged but now he was forever gone. But on the way back around, we spied a woman, pulling her baggage (don’t we all?) with an over-sized coat pulled over her hands. We pulled into the parking lot, rolled the window down and blessed her.
Ahhh her face. Her angelic, worry filled face was glowing with gratefulness.
As the winds blew stronger and the temperature dropped that night, I lay in bed heartbroken for those sleeping in the woods and under bridges. I wondered…
Why doesn’t the city step up and plan better?
Why aren’t we using our paid-for-by-taxes school gyms to offer a temporary sleeping place for the homeless?
Visions of local churches, large local churches, filled my head… Then a picture of a grieving God looking down from heaven whispering, “They just don’t get it.”
My wondering wandered…
Why aren’t churches being the hands and feet?
Why are closed-on-Thursday-waiting-waiting-for-Sunday buildings empty?
Why is God’s sanctuary locked up tight?
Whatever the reason, I’m almost certain they are all rooted in the need to not be inconvenienced. It’s not our mission, it’s not in our budget, it’s too close to the weekend.
Yesterday I read about Chik-Fil-A in Georgia who closed their profitable business and went out into the ice stricken streets and fed the abandoned. Then the doors swung open as they offered respite and warmth for wayward travelers. Again I ask…
Why does Chik-Fil-A ‘get it’ but the church doesn’t? I continue to wonder if the church is wrongly, and sinfully, building it’s self on the ideology of the American Kingdom and missing the opportunities to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven.
What do you think? Pastors, churches, what is your excuse?