|My husband and I with four of our five children|
Honestly, there have been times we probably struggled to call it "good" by any standard.
The struggle is, in fact, real.
But then there is this...
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Mark 10:9 KJV
Sometimes I think we should have one of those "established" plaques in our home that reads something like..."Established by God December 27th 1992....Screwed up by Carlton and Beth everyday since."
Being married is difficult, no matter what you see on Instagram, it's hard. I don't always feel like a head over heels in love new bride who has just been eternally joined to her soul mate, and is frolicking in the joy of his amazing abilities to buy me the perfect gifts when I least expect it.
(One year for my birthday, very early on in our marriage, I received batteries...for his Gameboy. His gift giving has greatly improved and I have come to view the earlier offenses as a wealth of humorous marital stories to share. God bless him.)
What we all have to realize is, even under what appears on Facebook to be the best of circumstances, without effort, care and a Godly focus, our marriages can struggle and ultimately they can fail. There are so many aspects of marriage, too many to discuss in one post and too many for this one person to even try and pretend to be knowledgeable of, so what I will attempt to do...
Stick to what I know, what I can tell you about. What I can speak to is the effect that having a special needs child has had on our marriage...
I say these words carefully, as much as I love my son, the added strain of his disability is real. It is real for us individually, it is real for us as a family and it has been and continues to be real for our marriage.
We have not always agreed, we have not always felt like we were sharing the load and we have not always felt appreciated for our efforts and knowledge. But we have both always, always loved our son.
I sit here trying to put that "effect" into words, to describe our marriage and what having a child with autism has done to it, or maybe it is better said, how it has shaped it.
There is no part untouched by having a child with a disability, especially a severe one.
There is no part without a mark.
There is no part without some scars.
Some are deep, created from early insecurities and propensities toward selfishness, in their place we now find stability and understanding. They have settled down into those deep wounds and grown to fill-in the places that were once jagged painful cracks.
The parts of us that were bruised, that were damaged and fragile from hurtful words spoken in anger, they are now covered with a protective and strong layer of loyalty and devotion.
The areas that were scraped and raw from being drug through this journey without care or protection, they have been soothed and healed with the balm of love.
The love of Jesus.
Because apart from him we have come to realize we can not do this.
That is what this life that we have been given has done, it has highlighted and put on glaring display some of the very worst qualities and characteristics that we possess. It has left us with out a doubt that we need God.
The truth is, it's all so tightly woven together, I don't know that I can pick out the threads of our marriage and expose them. You see, that is what happens. It's what God designed, for two to come together and become one. Joined together to be a reflection of His love, His union and commitment to His church.
I think it is in this view, with faith that holds this belief of marriage that you find strength.
The strength to get through each day with our unique challenges.
The strength to be a family...
a family created by God...
given by God.
Through everything that life can throw at you, the twists and turns of our existence on this earth, I thank God that we are sewn together with the strongest of threads...Faith, Hope, and Love.
God I do not have to tell you that I am weak, You already know. Help me to continue to see those places in myself, those places where there is still so much work to be done. I know that apart from You we would unravel and fall apart and I am grateful for the strong threads of Your promises that hold my family together. Amen