Through one of my trips into the Central Asian mountains, I met a man unlike any I had encountered before. His name was David, and having met him, I would not have guessed I would end up becoming his best friend, and then his wife. He didn’t wear wranglers and his gear consisted of skis, a climbing rack, and ice picks with not a saddle to be seen. Tall, and handsome, he had grit beautifully offset by gentle humility. But the thing that drew me to him was his relentless desire for Jesus to transform his heart, mind, and life. Well, that was the biggest thing, then there was his servant heart, his unique sense of humour, those brown eyes and the list carries on!
Having experienced God’s power at work in mind boggling ways, we found ourselves envisioning what life in ministry together could look like. Long before we were married, our hearts were turned towards long term overseas church planting in the unreached wildernesses of the world.
Nothing we imagined could have prepared us for what was to come as we covenanted together “for better or worse, in sickness and health.” As it turned out, sickness began on our honeymoon and has not yet ended as we plunged into the world of the unwell and struggled to move forward amidst shifting uncertainty.
It took over two tumultuous and rocky years to discover what was ravaging my body was a disease called Lyme. And then the fight began in earnest. It is a strange feeling to be diagnosed with an illegal disease and we found no help whatsoever within the medical system. Not recognized in Canada, chronic Lyme disease wreaks havoc, undiagnosed, on thousands of Canadians or is misdiagnosed as something else.
God led us through the roiling waters of the system to specialists who recognize and successfully treat Lyme with compassion and commitment. While God was at work in my body, He was also very much at work in our lives and marriage.
The Great Redeemer is taking a life, broken and dismantled, and slowly putting the pieces back together in the right order. In a marriage that was rife with insecurity and control, God is at work to create an oasis in the desert of difficulty. In a body riddled and crippled with disease, God has been faithful to implement healing in His perfect time.
There are many treasures to be revealed in the muck and grime of a lifetime when Jesus is on the uncovering team. When our human eyes see only pain, suffering, and buried dreams, God sees a trove of eternal treasures to be uncovered and claimed. Gifts of peace unrelated to circumstance, joy untouched by calamity, and uncommon wisdom and grace meted out through trial. Strength of character and soul not subject to the roller coasters of emotional turmoil.
Through the last several years, we have learned much about health and the absence of it as we studied how to overcome Lyme Disease. We have travelled the ups of improvement, and learned to be steadfast in the shattered hope of regression. We have invested in the gift of our marriage and have seen God bring a relationship that caused significant pain to something beautiful, rich and rare. We are learning that hope must be anchored first in Jesus, or life will snatch it, like a rag in the wind and rip it to tatters. Only in Christ is unshakeable hope to be found, and from there, He brings hope into the day to day.
On a beautiful Easter Sunday morning, Jesus miraculously healed me in a story only He could dream of. (You can read it here: Easter’s Miracle) Having seen God restore us so powerfully, we believe there is nothing Jesus can’t redeem and heal, and His power is available for those who seek after Him and His heart. I hope you’ll find treasure in the words of this blog for your own journey, and I am blessed to walk on together!