I think families living with hidden disabilites are always grieving. We grieve lost opportunities. We grieve current challenges. We grieve the pain our family members feel when their disability is the direct (or indirect) cause of pain in their lives. Yet somehow in this grief, we continue to run households and go to work and function as well as God allows. Because our lives appear normal from the outside, many people in the church don’t realize how very painful and heavy the emotional burdens can be for the lives of people touched by hidden disabilities. Many of my closest friends do not fully understand the emotional pain I experience daily, even when things appear to be going well.
This week, I realized how much I’m aching from watching my husband continually suffer. For years I have watched him cry out every time he had a seizure. The seizures are agonizing for Ben. I have also had to watch him in pain with his recent knee surgery … he continues to limp, experience swelling, and walks like an old man. Add to that his recent bout with pneumonia (right before Thanksgiving), and he now wheezes all the time and lost almost all of his remaining energy. Even walking upstairs leaves him winded, short of breath, and in pain with his knee. Surrounding everything is the constant grief we both live with daily because he is not able to work, not able to remember things, and frequently becomes confused or overwhelmed.
Finally, we are both daily aware of my own struggle with working outside the home and not being home to care for my husband and children full-time. We carry a tremendous amount of grief and sadness in our hearts every day. This grief in no way pushes away God’s love or loses the truths of the Gospel. I trust God’s sovereignty. I know He is working all things for good in my life. But I’m also aware on a deep, soul-level, that things are not as they should be. That this world is not what we are meant for.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV)
Grieving but trusting,