I’ll just get right to it.
The first year of my marriage was pretty rough due to the state of my mental and physical health, among other reasons. I was still suffering pretty badly from a very damaging eating disorder that was effecting, as you can imagine, my mental state of being as well as my bodily functions. I was overly obsessive, secretive, sensitive, tired, weak, and extremely self-conscious and depressed. Meanwhile I was student teaching, directed a high school play, and trying to graduate from the College of Education at my University, and be a good wife.
I know that The Lord had to strengthen my husband during this time, because, while he knew I struggled with bulimia, I don’t think he understood the control it had over my everyday life simply because he just never was a witness to all of it.
I could go on and share my testimony about how The Lord delivered me from this 7-year disease, but I will save this for another post at another time. The point that I wish it make, is that I have a little bit of experience with mental and physical instability, and I know the importance of praying for marriages that are in situations that are similar to this.
Day 6 of fasting and prayer for marriages is difficult for me (perhaps this is a theme throughout the week). It’s difficult because I have been fasting for the daylight hours each of these days, yet this is also the first week of my marathon training, so I have also been running quite a lot. The Lord has given me victory in these situations, and has provided me with energy and strength, as I wrote about in previous posts. Today, after running six miles last night, and not having much of an appetite during dinner, I am tired and hungry, and I doubt the effectiveness of my focused prayer.
Satan has these thoughts running through my head that are complete lies. The Word of God tells me that He hears my petitions and answers the prayers of those who love Him. But there is definitely the temptation to loose faith and loose heart. And this is what fasting and prayer does: it makes you have to focus and rely heavily on The Word of God, and to trust in a deeper way.
Today, as I reflect on my week, I am so grateful to God for giving me a healthy body that can run and get through a week of fasting without severe health concerns. For those of you that know me well, you know that this has not always been the case for me, and fasting used to have a severe effect on my physical and mental health. But The Lord has delivered me from this and He has provided me with strength. As I reflect on my marriage, I am grateful that Dennis and I are both alive and healthy and thriving people. Considering where we live, this is truly a gift from The Lord, and He has protected us and provided for us in ways I could never have imagined.
But…. this is not the case for some people. There are people within my church home who have very ill spouses or live as widows or widowers because of a death. I even know of one couple who married knowing that the husband’s life was going to end very shortly after they said their vows. I cannot imagine such courage and trust that this kind of relationship would take! And so today, my prayer is for those people who are a suffering spouse, have a spouse who is physically or mentally ill, or a spouse who has had their husband or wife pass on to be with The Lord.
Today I praise you and thank you for all of the marriage that do not have the stress of illness or death upon them now. But Lord, my prayer today is for those marriages that do.
God, I specifically intercede for those who have a husband or wife suffering from a mental illness or disorder. Lord, I know that when I was deep into the pit of my own disorder, You strengthened my husband to be a support to me, to encourage me, and to love me with the love of Christ. Thank you for that! I pray that You now strengthen those other spouses who need to be strong for their mentally handicapped or disabled partner. It could be something that they knew about before the marriage, or something that developed after they made their commitment. Whatever the case Lord, help them to trust that they can come to You and rely on Your Spirit to guide them through it. I know that people suffering from mental instability like depression or dementia can lash out or even do things that they don’t mean to do. I pray you bring understanding and patience to those who love them and care for them, especially their spouse.
God, I pray for those spouses who have a partner with a physical illness or disorder. This may be due to old age, or it may be something they were born with, but regardless Father, I pray you strengthen the sick member and help them to experience healing from Your divine hand.
And Lord, for those that are taking care of their sick spouse, I pray that you help them to be obedient and cheerful servants to You and to their loved ones. Do not allow them to loose heart and encourage them in how they love and help their partner. It could be that their spouse is paralyzed, or perhaps they have a terminal illness. In these cases Lord, I pray you encourage them to both rely on You and trust that You will provide healing eventually, even if it is when they return to Your presence in heaven.
And God, I pray that when they do go on to be with You, that you bring their living spouse hope and comfort during the loss of their loved one. Keep their prospective on You God, and allow them to grieve as they need to in a healthy way. Let them not feel guilty for their sadness, but also help them to find joy in the memories they had with their husband or wife, and to celebrate their life and their new life in eternity. Give them that eternal perspective needed to understand and make sense of the death and the loss, and help them know that You give and take away according to Your purpose, and that they can trust You with that.
God, I pray that these couples collectively turn to You for guidance, and for those that don’t know you, I pray you use the sickness or loss to turn their hearts to You. I know that You can work all things to good Father, and I pray You make that fact known to those people.
It’s in Your Son’s name, Your Son who suffered and died for us, that I pray. Amen.
Do you know of a family who is struggling with a sick or deceased spouse? Tell us so we can pray for them.