Today I am pleased to share with you our next post in my Mother’s Day Gift series. Tracy is our second born and first daughter. She has been married to Seth, for 13 years celebrating on May 27th. They have four children and live in Marietta, GA.
When my mom asked me to write this post for her Mother’s Day gift, I agreed, but I was hesitant. I questioned what I had to offer her readers. I thought about it for awhile, struggled for direction and then forgot about it, until now. I enjoy writing, but only when I feel inspired to write or find a topic that really holds my interest.
She wanted me to write on marriage. She did not give me direction, just whatever my heart wanted to write. Writing about marriage should be easy; I certainly have been married long enough to offer something, right? I still kept feeling inadequate.
Then God spoke to me and said, stop doubting my grace unfolding in your life and marriage and write your story, the story of my faithfulness to you.
I have been married for almost thirteen years the end of this month. Twelve of the almost thirteen years I have struggled with autoimmune diseases, at least four have been diagnosed. These have come with days of excruciating pain, nights filled with doubt, times where my husband and I felt distant and I questioned why he ever wanted to marry me? Yes, he promised to love me in sickness and health…but did he REALLY know what that would entail?
He did not know, but did it matter? No, because just as God was writing my story and bringing me through some deep dark days to refine and strengthen me… he was also writing my husband’s story on how to walk in love with someone through pain and suffering. He brought us together. He knew it was best for us to get married young, to have children early in marriage because I would eventually end up needing a hysterectomy. He has known all along.
Satan also has had a plan all along and that is to steal, kill and destroy.
What better place to start than a wife and mom who is in constant pain, but silent about her suffering. I was young, looked “healthy” to the outside world, but on the inside I was being torn apart.
Not only by my daily pain, but by Satan’s attacks. No one could tell I was hurting, I looked normal, so being the tough person I am (or prideful, however you want to see it) I would push through the pain and put on a smile most days. This was a breeding place for the lies of the enemy. Because I was a fighter and chose to not share about how I was really feeling, the enemy had a perfect foothold on me.
Silence is not strength.
There were times in our marriage where I could not keep silent or hide how I was really feeling any longer; I would explode into a blubbering mess of emotions. This usually left my husband feeling confused and hurt.
It was not until I learned how to voice my suffering that God began His work in me and in our marriage.
I thought keeping silent about my struggles was helping my husband, but in fact it was doing the opposite. Suffering not only brings us closer to Jesus, it brings us closer in our relationships, if we allow it.
The more I began to open up to my husband and others that I was struggling, the more I felt God’s grace wash over me and give me a supernatural peace through some of the hardest days.
Voicing my hurt brought myself lower and my need for Jesus higher.
All these years I thought keeping silent was being strong and if I voiced my suffering I was being selfish. But, in reality keeping silent was making me weaker and the enemy stronger. He wants us to be silent, he does not like it when we open up and become vulnerable because that is when God steps in and give us His strength, His grace.
Opening up also made my husband feel needed. I did not realize that when I was toughing it up and not sharing I was also pushing him away. He wants to be able to hold me when I am hurting, to pray for me when I need healing, that is him being Christ to me and laying down his life to serve me. That is his God given role and I was withholding that from him.
I have not figured it all out, my initial reaction is to still not want to share what all God has brought me through, to discount the miracles I have seen in my own life. It is hard for me not to compare my situation with worse situations of which I have heard, wondering how God can use my story to encourage others. But I have also learned that keeping silent gives no power to God’s grace and faithfulness in my life and marriage so I will write!
2 Corinthians 12:9 sums it all up perfectly,
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”