I remember the day my husband asked me to marry him. We had met as students in Bible college, both determined to put God first in our marriage and dedicated to serving God in anyway He chose. We were in love, looking forward to our life as a married couple and then as parents to as many children as God gave us. We were married on September 2, 1973, by one of the pastor’s of our Bible college, Charismatic Bible Institute, which jokingly became known as Charismatic Bridal Institute, and after our honeymoon moved to Houston, Texas, where Mitch’s family lived.
As newlyweds, we went through some major adjustments, as most couples do. I felt neglected as my husband was busy with work and church activities and I was often at home alone. After a few months, our church started a discipleship class, and our home became one of the bases. Now I had three extra people to take care of, cook for, etc. And soon after that I became pregnant. Unlike most ladies who battle through morning sickness for three months, mine started in the first few days of the pregnancy and lasted until I gave birth. I went through this four times, though one pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. During our time in Houston, our first daughter, Teresa, was born.
In 1975, we moved to Throckmorton, Texas, to work with a ministry there. We prayed long and hard about this move, and felt strongly that it was what God wanted us to do. But before many months there, we experienced our first major trial. We were on our way to Fort Worth to pick up some carpet for Mitch’s boss and to visit friends, when a man who had been drinking crossed into our lane. The truck we were in was totaled, and we were all injured. Teresa died shortly after we reached the hospital, and the doctors warned Mitch that I might not survive. But I did, leaving the hospital over two months later, using a wheelchair.
Our next major experience as a family was the birth of our daughter Amy. She was a healthy, happy child and a real comfort to me after losing Teresa. By this time, Mitch had joined the Air Force and we were stationed in Blytheville, Arkansas. A few years later, our church decided to start a preschool, and since I had been a kindergarten teacher I was asked to take a class. Amy had just turned forum and that was an interesting year, as I tried to teach while Amy kept wandering out of her classroom looking for her Mommy. But she finally adjusted, and we had a good year. At the end of that year, Mitch’s military service came to an end, and we moved to Jacksonville, Texas.
A couple years later, I became pregnant with our son David. After David was born, we felt that God wanted us to move back to Houston, and we made plans to move in with his Mom temporarily, to give us time for Mitch to find a job and us to find a house suited to our needs. We expected to be there no more than three months, but it turned into more than a year. During this time, our son was diagnosed with massive infantile spasms, an age-specific seizure disorder that causes cluster seizures and often results in severe brain damage and mental retardation. To cut the story short, David is now thirty-one years old, but mentally he is still like a baby. He can do nothing for himself, has fourteen hours of private duty nursing care per day, and is completely bed bound.
I could also tell you about our days of homeschooling, of having a home bound school and therapy program for David, and of our years of caring for Mitch’s Mom before she passed away from Alheimers. But there isn’t time for more details. To summarize our experience as a family, I’d have to say that there were good times and there were hard times. Our story is different than yours, but you too will experience good times and bad times. No family is perfect, no relationship is perfect, because no person has ever lived a perfect life on earth except Jesus. I don’t know why God has allowed our family to go through so many difficulties, and I’ve stopped asking. What I do know is that God is good and He is faithful. As Laura Story said in her book When God Doesn’t Fix It, “We need to see marriage not as a union to make us happy but as a union to make us holy.” Marriage is the beginning of family, so the same thing applies to family. She goes on to say, our stories aren’t just a series of things that happen to us. They are part of a much bigger story of how God is drawing all of us closer to Him. A story of His faithfulness intersecting with our unfaithfulness.
And that’s my final word on family. For now.