When adversity happens—when we’re hit with some of the tough stuff that happens in life, what do we do? Do we fall apart as a married couple? Do we slowly drift, or quickly push away from each other? Or do we work to approach it as a team, giving each other grace along the way?
Those are questions Steve and I have been facing this past month. Actually, we’ve faced it most of our married life. But this last month has been especially tough. A few weeks ago Steve got into a car crash. Our car was totaled, and is no longer useable. That throws into our life all kinds of challenges. But thankfully, VERY thankfully, no one was injured.
Lessons We’re Learning
What God has been teaching us is that it would be so easy to blame-shift all over the place. And it would be easy to worry about the many side issues that are involved surrounding this adversity. But God has been impressing upon both of us to step back, and work together on peaceable solutions.
It does us no good to focus on that, which we cannot change. Yes, we need to learn from this because it’s not just what you live through, but what you learn through, that’s important. And we are both doing that… not perfectly, yet it is happening in a “falling forward” type of way.
But right now, that car crash pales in comparison to the events of this last week and a half. Steve had a heart attack –a major one. Steve will explain what happened and then a bit about what we are learning.
Heart Attack Adversity
In the last two weeks we’ve experienced, by far, the single biggest tribulation/adversity in our 44 years of marriage. On July 11, I had what is referred to as the “Widow Maker” heart attack [100% blockage of my Left Anterior Descending Artery]. However, I didn’t know this until four days later when I finally went to the Emergency Room. Even the doctor we visited earlier in the week thought it was “just” a nasty case of heartburn.
The reason I didn’t “know” what was happening is because I wasn’t having the usual symptoms of a heart attack (pain down the arm or jaw, numbness, sweating, etc.). My symptoms were completely different. I was having extreme, relentless burning in my chest and down my esophagus.
A visit to the emergency room proved much different. We later learned that my symptoms are what are common to Type-1 diabetics. I’ve been Type-1 for 42 years, and I never knew that Diabetics have different symptoms than other people when they are having a heart attack. Please take note of this if you or someone you know has Diabetes.
Every doctor, nurse and medical professional we’ve talked to asks the same question: “Do you know how ‘lucky’ you are?” My response has been, “I’m a man of faith – I know HOW BLESSED I am.”
The heart catheterization they did shows I’ve lost 35% of my heart function. I also have a 30 per cent chance of sudden cardiac arrest for the next 30 days. Instead of operating on me and implanting a Defibrillator into my chest, I am wearing a Life Vest for the next 90 days. It does the same thing as an implanted one (if my heart goes into arrest, this devise sends out electrical shocks to get it started again). This gives my heart the opportunity to heal better around the damaged part and then the doctor decides if I need a permanent one implanted or not.
We are praying, and hope you will join us in prayer, for God to cause new pathways to grow in my heart. We’re praying my heart and we will grow stronger, rather than weaker despite this “adversity.”
You’d think all of this would have crushed Cindy and my spirits. I admit that it has been tough in more ways than I know how to explain. And yet, even though we are facing difficult challenges in defining a “new normal” for us, we are “falling forward” in positive ways. More than anything we are so very grateful that God has given me/us the gift of longer life.
We know deep down that He has a plan for us to continue to participate with Him in helping even more marriages and reach more people with the message of Christ. We’re pretty sure the main vehicles God wants to use, are through the ministries of Marriage Missions and my Fire Department Chaplaincy. We’ll see.
If you’re wondering how can we have this attitude after such a devastating, life-changing event slam into us like this, I’ll tell you. It’s because we determined many years ago that there would be NOTHING that could happen to us that would take us down. We have anchored our marriage (and continue to do so) in Jesus, prayer and the Word of God. And just as Jesus promised us in John 16:33 that we would have trials in this world, He also promised that we could “take heart.” We “draw comfort from the fact” that HE HAS OVERCOME the world. We stand on His promise, together!
Please stand with, and pray for us, and especially for the ministry opportunities He is bringing our way. And for those who have faced or are facing adversity, please share your challenges and your “hard learned” marriage tips in the discussion below. Together, “let us encourage one another, and build one another up” as we’re told in the Bible.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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