My husband, Ian, and I were married right out of college. Nine years later, we were living a picture perfect life. My dream of being a stay-at-home mom came true. Ian was working as a freelance software developer, a job we decided would keep him close during the day. We now had a smart, beautiful girl who had just started kindergarten, an active three year old boy hungry for adventure, and an eleven-month-old bundle of boy joy. Life couldn’t get any better.
I never saw it coming that January day. It happened so fast. What started as a common cold for my husband ended up changing our lives forever.
“Your husband is in multi-organ failure. I’d advise you get your things in order.” The intensive care unit doctor was kind, but dead serious. By the end of the day, his condition had worsened so much that he was in a medically induced coma and breathing only with the help of a ventilator.
Why is this happening, God? What is going to happen to us, to our kids? I don’t understand!
My world came tumbling down. I was in the middle of a terrible nightmare, one I couldn’t wake up from. My thirty-two year old husband was fine yesterday, but today he was dying. How am I going to tell the kids their daddy is gone? I don’t want to be a single mom! My ten-month-old will have no memory of his father. This is too much!
What happened next can only be attributed to God. For my family’s sake, I accepted the situation we were in and decided to make the best of it. I knew that without God, there was no way I was going to make it through this. God was there and built me up. He helped me search deep inside myself for something I never knew I had, and I found it. I was brave. I was strong. I found courage to press on.
That night in the intensive care unit, everything pointed to Ian’s inevitable death. His vital signs were extremely low. A team of specialists had done all they could for him and there was nothing left to do but wait to see what would happen. As a last desperate plea, I got on my knees, laid my face on the floor outside his room, and prayed aloud.
God, please save Ian’s life! You can do all things! I’m not ready to be a single mom! I can’t do this alone! I need Your help!
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words… because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” ~Romans 8:26-27
At that moment, a deep sense of peace flooded through me. It was as if a heavy weight was lifted from my shoulders. I had given up. If God wanted this for us, then I had to trust that it must be best. I realized that I was not in control of this situation, or any other for that matter. I had no choice in whether Ian would live or die. I gave it to God.
Our God is so gracious and loving. After nine days of therapies, medication, and prayer, my husband miraculously woke up. God answered our prayers! He survived a condition all doctors had warned me he wouldn’t. I was grateful I’d have a husband to grow old with after all. Our children would have their daddy, too. Witnessing this miracle rekindled my faith in God and the power of prayer.
However, there were consequences I was not ready to deal with when he woke up. The medications that helped save his life had also done irreversible damage. Ian’s hands and feet did not receive adequate blood flow for many days and turned black. I witnessed his hands and feet die. Ultimately, nothing could be done to restore them and all his fingers and both of his feet had to be amputated.
Why, God? Why did this happen? Ian is such a good man. Why did he have to go through this? How is he going to get through life without fingers and feet? What are the kids going to think about their daddy now? What about me? I don’t want to be the wife of a disabled man!
I have every reason to be mad at God. Would you believe that I’m not? In fact, I am grateful! These last five years of my life have molded me into the person I am today. Would you believe that I am a better person today than I was before this happened? I can now see how selfish and proud I was. I am much happier with this new version of myself than I was with the previous negative one. Now my life is full of purpose and true joy.
Have I lived through hardship and struggle? Yes. Was I upset that my husband lost his fingers and feet? Of course. Do I wish this had never happened? No.I’m grateful that God used my weaknesses to show me His strength. My whole life I’d been weak and uncertain of myself. During the time Ian was hospitalized, God made me strong and confident. God gave me the qualities I needed to be my husband’s advocate and biggest fan.
God also led me to the realization that I am not in control. I couldn’t control whether Ian lived or died, and I had to give up control of my children when I was in no position to care for them myself. God showed me being in control was His job, not mine. I began to trust His will wholeheartedly without question. God showed me his faithfulness.
I’m happy to say my family has now reached our new normal. Ian walks with prosthetic legs and has figured out how to live life without his fingers. He is completely independent and back at work. He can even help me with tasks around the house! After this experience, I will never take our boring, uneventful life for granted again!
Our children are amazing. They are eleven, eight, and six years old now, and they’ve adjusted to our new normal very well. They love their daddy so much and don’t see anything different about him. I think this trial has given them a wonderful perspective of life and they are better for it. They have become loving, accepting children who happen to have a tough experience under their belt. For that, I am grateful.
So, you see, I’m not angry at God. He has gifted my family with lessons we can carry for the rest of our lives. We have found joy in life no matter what the circumstance. Romans 8:28 tells us:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” ~Romans 8:28
God was always at work in our lives. Good came from our trial and we believe His purpose is being fulfilled in us. Many of us have experienced hardship in our own lives. Can we step back and see how God was there all along? Do we believe that there was purpose in our trials? Friends, God is the maker of all things, and He is in control of it all. Learn to trust Him wholeheartedly with your life. He knows best.