While listening, empathy, and caring make things better, they don’t guarantee a comfortable journey.
They say it’s darkest before the dawn. In our marriage, that was true. Ann and I made it through our dark night, but the dawn that followed lit up a winding, rocky road much different than what we’d hoped for…
Mental illness would forever plague our family.
Chaos in our home would kill most of our ‘couples’ relationships.
Fatigue from explaining and fear of judgment would stifle most other relationships.
The all-encompassing world of raising special needs children would crowd out even simple pleasures.
We cried from deep inside: “How will we be able to walk this road?”
Realistically, there’s only one way. Now, some might tell you that you can do it on your own, while others predict you’ll never make it. Even more will say that Ann and I are weak, that we’ve given up, and that we use religion as a crutch. But after decades of walking this path, still enjoying a satisfying marriage, and somehow helping others from the pain of our past, we can testify from the trenches: “We know!”
That way? Faith. Faith in, and faith that.
Faith. “Faith is being sure of what’s hoped for and certain of what’s not seen.” Would you bet everything that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow? Faith is that level of confidence, but about things like healing and restoration that are far beyond the horizon you can barely see today.
Faith in. “Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Few can argue anymore that Jesus didn’t exist; there’s too much historical evidence proving he did. The question now is whether there’s enough reason to trust him for everything, including our current situations. But consider this…
Faith that. “He’s risen!” “I’m with you always!” “I’m coming soon!” “In this world, you’ll have trouble. But take heart! I’ve overcome the world!” Jesus—the one who rose from the dead, stays with us, will come back, and already won—walks this path with us!
And because of our common faith, Ann and I can walk our seemingly impossible, trouble-filled road and…
See all our children as blessings, despite attacks and deception and scars and loss.
Understand and not judge, empathize and not pity.
Accept our lot, even when it’s not pleasant.
Help others through our love and service.
Praise God for it all and through it all.
Now, your path is different and likely more difficult than ours, and I honestly feel for you. But I know from first-hand experience that faith in Jesus makes all the difference. He never disappoints.
I also know that faith isn’t a couple’s walk. While a common faith will bring you closer to each other, you must still walk your own ‘faith’ path while walking your ‘marriage’ path together. Grace and patience will need to flourish in that situation, but your faithful walk may be the thing that prompts your spouse to put their faith in Jesus, too. At that point, your marriage, your family, and the world will be blessed in so many more ways!
Trust in him who’s overcome. Trust that he can and will do all he’s promised. While your situation might not change this side of eternity, keep trekking with him. Remember, change isn’t the goal. Making the most of your journey is the goal.