My husband, David, was practically raised on the lake. He grew up watching his parents and grandparents ski and went on his first tube ride at six months old.
During the summers, his family would make the trip almost every weekend to spend a few hours on the water. When David and I first started dating, I admired how multiple generations in his family could all come together and enjoy one hobby.
So, needless to say, we were excited about taking our newborn son, the next generation, on his first trip to the lake. It was supposed to be an easy, relaxing day. I was going to spend time with our baby at the lakehouse while the rest of the family had fun on the water.
Instead, the day took a turn for the worse pretty quickly.
My insanely careful, methodical, and cautious husband had a freak accident on the lake that day that shattered both bones in his leg, right at his ankle. Little did we know that it was only the beginning. Over the next year, he experienced multiple complications from exposed hardware that led to immobility, muscle flaps, skin grafts, home health, seven surgeries, muscle deterioration, physical therapy — it was a nightmare. Watching your strong, fearless husband scream in pain and completely depend on the help of others was heartbreaking.
As the initial shock wore off of his accident and reality began to set in, I began to wonder how I was going to do it all. So many thoughts passed through my head.
“How am I going to care for my husband and my newborn baby?”
“I’m not equipped for this.”
“I’m not a nurse or caregiver — I can barely handle the sight of blood much less take care of external fixations, broken bones, and open wounds.”
“I was just starting to get my footing as a mom.”
“My husband and I were supposed to figure out this parenting thing together.”
“How in the world am I going to handle all of this?”
And the fact of the matter is, I couldn’t handle it all — at least, not alone.
Throughout the next year, I learned a lot of really hard, beautiful lessons. Lessons of patience, grace, healing, trust, love, humility, generosity, and faith through one of the most difficult trials we had ever faced. Lessons that are still fresh on my mind and heart. Lessons that I continue to learn and understand a little more every day.
Thankfully, we made it through this storm. David has recovered and is healthy and thriving — most wouldn’t know that he had endured such a long, painful injury but he has a gnarly scar to prove it. This certainly wasn’t our first face with difficult circumstances and it won’t be our last. And while your story won’t look exactly like ours, I hope these lessons are something you can take with you, wherever you are on your journey.
Don’t let worry take over
Let’s be real. Throughout that year, I worried. A lot.
I worried about my husband and his health. I worried about the surgeries. I worried about health insurance. I worried about finances. I worried about my baby boy. I worried about our marriage. I worried and worried and worried. For what?
I began to realize that worrying got me absolutely nowhere. Worrying was simply imagining a future without seeing how God was going to work in that situation. God had a plan…the entire time. I just had to learn to let it go and let God take over.
Let others help you
If you take nothing else from this post, this section is the one with the neon lights and flashing arrows saying, “Look here!” In my head, I thought that in order to be a good wife and a good mom, I needed to be the one to take care of my family. It was my responsibility. I’m the one who committed to my husband that I would be there for him in sickness and in health. And while most of that is true to a point, I quickly realized that trying to do it all wasn’t helping anyone.
I ended up spreading myself too thin. To a point where I found myself sobbing in the middle of my son’s nursery floor at 2:00 in the morning with him crying in my arms. That was my breaking point. That was when I realized that I needed help. We called my mother-in-law the next morning and she happily rushed over to help with the baby while I got a few hours of sleep. So many precious friends and family members were ready and willing to help, but I had been too proud to let them.
Let them help you. Let them help with the dirty piles of laundry sitting on the floor. Let them hold your baby while you take a shower to wash the spit-up out of your hair. Let them bring you a hot, home-cooked meal. Let them help you with the yard work. Let them be a blessing to you — it will bless them, too!
Talk to someone
This is one of those things that I wish I had done. I spent so much time trying to be strong for my family that I bottled up a lot of what I was feeling inside. Talking with someone would have been incredibly helpful. Not only does it help to talk through the difficulties you are experiencing and get some of it off of your chest, but they can provide a much needed outside perspective. Whether it’s a friend, family member, mentor, minister, or professional counselor, don’t be afraid to confide in and talk with someone you can trust.
God’s answers our prayers in His perfect timing
This is one lesson I wrestled with from day one. We had our plans and our expectations — and they were completely shattered within a matter of seconds. We prayed for David’s healing and instead were met with more complications. We prayed that I would be able to care for our son while working full-time and instead we were met with opposition. We questioned whether God was ever going to answer our prayers. We questioned God’s timing of it all.
But, you know what? God timing was absolutely perfect. It wasn’t what we expected or thought it should be, but it turned out far better than we could have hoped. God opened doors and provided exactly what we needed exactly when we needed it. From finances to a new job to David’s recovery…all completely perfect timing.
Surround yourself with a loving Church
Y’all…there is absolutely no way we could have gotten through this without the love and support of our church family. They stepped in big time. They showed up in the waiting room for every surgery. They provided us with gift cards for meals so that I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking. They sent countless cards in the mail wishing David well in his recovery. They visited David in the hospital and prayed with him in his room. They stopped by our house just to sit and visit for a while. They offered so many prayers up on our behalf.
Surround yourself with a loving Church that truly emulates what it means to be the body of Christ. Their prayers, support, and love will make all the difference.
What have you learned during difficult circumstances? Let me know in the comments below!