Dec 8, 2010

How is this love

...is something that i've struggled with since ian's accident. i vividly remember a conversation with steve in the kitchen about my struggle with seeing a brain injury as an act from a loving, sovereign god. when i strip away what has been produced as a result of ian's accident, be it forms of sanctification, answered prayers, etc., and just look at the bare bones- that my husband has a horrible, life-changing brain injury- it feels nothing like love. ian's brain injury itself hasn't brought me comfort, or encouragement or anything else that would typically come with love.

for others out there reading who have experienced significant loss or ongoing disability, hopefully you can affirm, that this seems like it will be a life-long wrestling with what this trial "feels" like. i know in my head the truth of romans 8:28 that all things work together for good. i know that god is sovereign. i know that we are objects of his mercy and love, and not his wrath, because of what christ accomplished on the cross. but trying to get that to my heart when i get home at 4:00 and ian doesn't remember that i was gone at work all day (which happens on occasion) is an entirely different monster. living with an ongoing disability as significant as ian's will in turn, i know, produce beautiful fruit and eternal rewards. i know that we most rapidly become like christ when we are tested by fire. it's just really painful getting there.

"But before I go, I want once more to tell you how good He is, how blessed it is to suffer with Him, how infinitely happy He has made me in the very hottest heat of the furnace. It will strengthen you in your trails to recall this my dying testimony. There is no wilderness so dreary but that His love can illuminate it, no desolation so desolate but that He can sweeten it. I know what I am saying. It is no delusion. I believe that the highest, purest happiness is known only to those who have learned Christ in sickrooms, in poverty, in racking suspense and anxiety, amid hardships, and at the open grave...To learn Christ, this is life!"" elizabeth prentiss

18 comments:

Audra said...

Praying for your new life together. You both have been such an inspiration and reminder of God's faithfulness. I am so thankful for your transparency and your willingness to share with the world. I'm hoping that in one of our trips to visit Sov. Grace that we can see you both - we haven't seen Ian in over 10 years!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being an honest and brave soul. Praying that the Lord communicate loudly and tangibly what you know to be true theologically.

Anonymous said...

I had a dream about you the other night Larissa and I haven't seen you in probably five years or more. What is even more interesting to me is that I also met Ian in my dream for the first time. He was so handsome and funny! After watching some of the videos recently posted I imagine my dream was dead on! You were both so very happy and glowing! My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

Sandy said...

Larissa, Ian, I look at this photo; I read the words beneath. My heart aches. How difficult it must be I cannot comprehend. but, what I see in the photo, is love. God's love. Perhaps you don't see the love or feel the love because you are the love; the love of Christ personified. In the New Testament Jesus told parables to teach the common folk (all of us)what was beyond our understanding. He painted a picture so that we could see the Message of the Father. Your lives are not a parable, but very painfully real. But they are teaching, demonstrating to the common folk, the Message of the Father.
You are the Love.

~Andrea said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you... and if it means anything now, or can help you to feel it in your heart more... now, I can personally attest to the fact that His love has been extended to me personally, through both you and Ian... and Steve. I can also say that, based on what I know of my Lord, He is certainly refining both you and Ian to be 2 of the most beautiful of His princes and princesses. Ian will know and understand perfectly one day, as shall all of us... we're all looking through the glass darkly now. One day, one glorious day, you're going to know the FULLNESS of His love, and bask in it for all of eternity. Perfectly. Hang on to that promise girl. In the mean time, thank you for allowing us to walk beside you.
~Andrea

Anonymous said...

I haven't gone through anything like what you are dealing with but I have had my share of struggles that none other than Jesus Christ can fully know and understand. He keeps pointing me back to the fact that He is truly a friend like no other. He truly cares and understands like none on this earth can or will.
Keep crying out to Jesus daily; hourly.
Your sister in Christ,though we have never met-
Wendy in MD

Drew said...

I've wrestled much with God's goodness since the death of our son. Here is a link to some thoughts about it that may be helpful:
http://reidupdates.blogspot.com/2009/09/spectrum-of-gods-goodness.html

Meg said...

Yes I can attest you are not alone in these thoughts and feelings about a loved one who has disability. My dear brother, now age 30, was born with CP and has a very significant level of brain injury, requiring service for every daily task you can think of, etc. I will say that in the course of 30 years I've noticed there are seasons in my perception of God's love related to my feelings about this circumstance. Sometimes feeling reduced to only an intellectual trust in God's doing good in the matter, and sometimes experiencing deep conviction and even joy and thanksgiving. Over time it has gotten easier to wait out the dry periods trusting in God's faithfulness and knowing that even before heaven there are going to be periods of deeper experience and conviction of His love in the matter. If that makes sense! Also as years go by His greater revelation to me and growth of my relationship with Him help a lot. Blessing to you in your marriage and I will pray about what you shared today. It sounds so normal to me.

Rose said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

Bethany said...

Dear Larissa!
I can so relate! You're doing well for a while, and then something happens, and all the emotions come back and you mourn yet again. I think periods of transition bring it on a lot.
Only I'm not brave enough to post those kind of heart struggles on my blog. Thank you so much for being more brave than me. I know it serves a lot of people.
One book that has really helped me is Same Lake, Different Boat by Stephanie Hubach. Maybe I've commented about that before. She talks about distinguishing between God's goodness and love and understanding the doctrine of the Fall and its effects. I mean, we can believe in God's goodness and sovereignty and still acknowledge that sin has brought real pain and sadness into our lives. It's God's way of showing the evil of evil.
Not that you or Ian have sinned in this at all, but just the Fall and sin in general. Adam and Eve disobeyed God thousands of years ago, and so my son can't communicate today. It makes me hate sin so much... and it drives me to God- I dare not distrust Him, it would only bring more pain.
I don't know if this makes sense, but it's really helped me in allowing myself to mourn and acknowledge the wrongness/brokenness of the situation. It's not the way God first made the world. While death in all its manifestations are His servants, the Bible still calls them an enemy. And He will defeat them. Not that that takes the pain away...
Anyway, I hope something in all that is helpful. And please know that I'm praying for you, and for Ian.

Kristi said...

As I journeyed through a very recent 3+ year trial, one of the truths(Phil 4:8) that I had to continually choose to remind myself of was that, even though it might feel like a snake, God wasn't giving me a snake(Luke 11:9-13).
Praise God that we can be totally honest with Him and with others - knowing in some way - at some point we can be an encouragement or be encouraged.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your honesty and for baring your heart to us. I am reading "Sacred Marriage: What if God Desires our Holiness More Than our Happiness" right now and it is about this very thing. How marriage is a crucible created by God to refine us into the image of His Son and how very difficult that can be. Your crucible is many times harder than most of ours but your willingness to share with us is an inspiration. With much love, Leisa.

Claire said...

Love is a blessing and knows no boundaries, you are a true testament to this x

Nicole said...

Larissa, thank you so much for your honesty. Although my trials pale in comparison with yours, seeing how you continue to fight for joy and continue to trust God even in the hard times is such an inspiration. God derives much joy and glory from the way that you are walking this road and I know that He will continue to mold you into the image of His Son. Praying for you that the truths of God's sovereignty would not just be head knowledge but that you would experience His pleasure.

Di said...

i live across the world but you are one person i hope to meet in heaven one day. thank you for showing Christ like love.

thank you for sharing. will be keeping you in prayer.

elise said...

I can identify with the struggle in the midst of already suffering. Thank you for your transparency, it is refreshing, edifying, and encouraging to know that I'm not the only one who has been "there" in the cycle of emotions a life-long disability brings, and to also be encouraged that it's just that- a part of the cycle, not all there is nor all there will be. I know this comes almost 2 years after the post, but I thought I would comment anyway. Thank you again. His mercies ARE new, every morning, and we really don't grasp the scope of our Father and the depth of his provision and love.

Jen said...

Again, you've said what I haven't yet been able to articulate (and I'm a writer!) That THIS IS HARD. 16 months after my husband's stroke, I feel like everyone expects me/us to be "back to normal." But normal will never be the same again. My husband forgets things on a regular basis, and every time, it strikes fear in my heart, and I think "is he getting worse?" I want so badly for us to get beyond the pain and live the victorious Christian life, and to be able to say, "yes, this is hard, but we are so joy-filled that it doesn't matter." But many days, it's just "This is hard." And we cry.

And God IS still sovereign. And His mercies ARE new every morning.
And God IS love.

Thanks for sharing.

Marji said...

I know it's been almost 2 yrs since you wrote this post, but I just stumbled upon it. Our daughter suffered severe brain damage after open heart surgery when she was 4 mo old. She is completely dependent on us for her care and she has many medical issues! She is now 20 and I have spent a good part of the past 20 yrs pondering "How is this love?" Your second paragraph is what goes thru my head day after day when I have to change her diaper, etc. Thank you Ian and Larissa for serving a loving God who is the definition of love and thank you for being a testimony of that!