Lying in the Emergency Room of choice…being asked “have you ever considered hurting yourself?” and “is there any abuse at home we should know about”…having nurses check my wrists for marks…my husband explaining that the pain gets so bad for me that I have said “if I come up missing, I’m in the woods with a bullet in my head” and how he knows I would NEVER do that but THAT’s how bad this gets at times…like, WHAT?!! What the crap is happening?!! Tears just stream down my face, I can’t actually cry because my head will explode so for the 3rd day in a row I just cry silently. I just want it to go away. Please…for the love…just make it go away. All of it. The headache FIRST because that’s the prominent problem at hand, but the pain next. Then the stress felt. Then the no sleep issue – that’s a big one doc! Make the thoughts stop. Make the missing people I feel end. Make the attacks stop. Make the mean people just quit. Make ALL of this just go away. Please.
A FAST…like not kidding you, this kid had wheeled a few people back before and knew the way to make that wheelchair scoot…ride to the ct scan room and back, the doctor comes in to say “well, everything medically inside your head is fine…no tumors or spots of concern.” TJ explains the occipital nerve issue I deal with. So, just as he knows how, the doctor says he will be willing to meet with me outside of the ER to discuss medical options to control my headaches and my anxiety/depression. Which I so appreciate because he is offering the help he knows. So I explain to him my utter fear of man made medicines and have Zilch-O desire to become dependent upon any. My dad suffers from bi-polarism and I have always been so terrified of suffering the same so I do NOT want to chance chemicals in my body messing up other chemicals. Doctor respects my decision and preciously gives me a shot to fix the inflammation in my muscles/neck, a medicine to control my nausea, and a medicine to relax me so I can sleep. One time deal. And in a “here’s your bonus award for coming in today Mrs. Bragwell” way, prescribed me a small dose 10 count anxiety pill. “Just to take the edge off at times…will help you sleep” he says. AND MAN WAS HE RIGHT??!! I didn’t say I would NOT take anything…just don’t want to become dependent on anything. Lol
So, did the shot fix me? Did the amazing good sleep I got that night? Maybe it was the sweet and encouraging nurses and doctors who were so lovingly concerned about me? …
No. NO. and NOOOO.
All behind the scenes of this 2 year, life changing, stressful, heart aching, and ultimately “DEPRESSION” causing “situation”…has been THIS constant and amazing and beautiful person working for my good. Holding me up, keeping me together, reassuring me in our God, picking me up off the floor, praying over me, praying for me, cheering me on, wiping my tears and holding my hand, correcting me when I’m wrong, holding me accountable to my responsibilities, reminding me of THE BIGGER PICTURE…and his name is TJ.
Now let me say this…GOD is the ever constant, ever present, all safe REFUGE for us. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t sway. He isn’t persuaded away from us. He doesn’t buy into the false stories and lies of people trying to make Him pull away from us. Others will. And that’s told to us in advance…see, He doesn’t allow any “surprises” to jump out of the woods and blindside us. He tells us: “you will be hated.” BUT HE LOVES US. He is sitting there just WANTING us to rely on Him. “SIMPLY TRUST ME baby.” “I will take care of you…just allow ME!” And I know that ONE way He takes care of me is through His creation, named by his mother and father,…TJ.
This man. Yall, he is THE most aggravating person in my life. He can drive me batty in a flat racetrack second. He snores. He can take WEEKS to do something I ask of him. He has his limits. He is the way he is and he has the hobbies and desires he has…I knew that at 13 just like I know it at 39. He likes junk. He is NEVER interested in throwing ANYTHING away based on the handed down philosophy of Bragwell men “I may need that one day.” (eye roll please). He shuts down easily. He has NO interest in talking about his feelings. He overthinks. He plans waaaaaaaay too far in advance for my taste. He doesn’t like spontanaeity. He thinks going out to eat and dropping $75 is ridiculous when you can just eat at home. He picks his toenails. He bites his fingernails off and leaves them lying around on the coffee table. (THIS I have threatened divorce over.) The point if HE IS NOT PERFECT. He is just like every other male, he is flawed and weird and set in his ways and different than his female counterpart. So I am not trying to portray that he is this perfect little creature who just sits and stares at me and tells me how beautiful and precious I am all the time. See, even THAT…he’s never really been good at. “Keeps you humble Tressa” is his “reasoning” hahaa!
BUT what he IS is this…He is a man who loves his wife. Not always in the “let me run my fingers through your beautiful and long hair” love…but ALWAYS in the love of God. Always. He knows what it is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He believes that he is commanded to obey this and will be held accountable for his “performance” of it. He knows to lead her as he follows his God. He knows and does seek Him first in everything. He has this relationship with God that he doesn’t even have with his wife…he loves God more than he loves me. Just as he should. I made this statement in my vows to him on our wedding day (almost 15 years ago…wow) “No Christian wife minds being her husband’s 2nd love…when God is his first.” And I meant that. And TJ has only grown and grown and grown closer to God in his relationship with Him. As His servant, His child, His student, His representative, His disciple…TJ is committed to being what his God expects, commands, and simply wants for him to be. And ONE of the benefits in this is that he loves me. And THAT my dear friends…THAT is how I put my big girl’s back on.
Friday morning comes and I have had the MOST SOUND sleep AND rest. I am awakened to “I made you some coffee baby.” Once I rise, with the after effects of the headache still threatening me, he tells me to pack. He had asked me on Thursday “what do you need to feel better?” and we had kinda talked about getting away. But the headache HAD to go first. I had confessed to him I felt a real disconnect from him over the past year, from the stress he has – the stress of “church” – the stress of teenage daughter and preteen son still living at home lol – and that we survived the first 10 years of our marriage with the “hard stuff” of babies, nursing, toddlers, job changes, moving, moving states, etc. with flying colors but this part was HARD. And I related it to us not having time for the other. We took a week’s dream getaway in October of 2013 to Hawaii and that was the last time we had been away alone. So, he knew. He knew that taking his wife away to her favorite place in the whole entire massive galaxy would help her. To the beach we went.
We packed one bag, 2 beach chairs, an umbrella, and sunscreen. He had our children taken care of by friends who were standing by asking “what can we do?” Love. Tears. I mean WHAT would we do without them right?! Can’t even. So, a stop at the pharmacy and a 6 hour drive later, involving one stop in which I happen to see in the back seat the “take home copy” of the ER discharge papers which reads “Diagnosis – Acute Headache/Depression” and that depressed me. Like, I was depressed about being depressed. There’s something about knowing in your mind that you feel down…and actually being labeled as “DEPRESSED.” BUT… Big laugh about it now though. Anyway, we arrive, check in to the hotel we reserved on 65S 2 hours previously…he walks beside me, holding my hand, to the beautiful and majestic and I don’t care how many times I’ve seen it before it ALWAYS amazes me to tears beach. The sand was so cool. The winds were just a perfect breeze. The sun was barely peeking out from its friend the clouds. The waves were gentle with just a kiss of “come out here and I’ll getcha.” And my mind was quiet. My head was eased. My heart was full. My faith rekindled. My husband the reason.
As he placed my chair in the perfect spot and got my umbrella on the back, making sure I am just as perfectly comfortable as possible, he begins to walk.
His ADD does not allow him to just sit for very long. Bless. And as he is walking, I’m taking all of THIS in. Like, I’m at the beach. On a Friday. With no planned out agenda. No anticipating weeks/months of excitement. Just there. Without a worry. Because my husband loves me and knows that my laughter was gone and I was big girl pantiless for far too many days. That’s it. It wasn’t about him. Or the kids. It wasn’t about a vacation. It wasn’t about anything or body except that his wife was in need and he recognized it and selflessly make it his aim to rescue her from the sadness and depression that had all but consumed her. And I began to cry tears of happiness…tears of joy…tears of ultimate amazement that if TJ loves me THIS much…HOW MUCH MORE DOES GOD LOVE ME?!!
HOW MUCH MORE DOES GOD WANT TO TAKE CARE OF ME?!! HOW MUCH MORE DOES GOD SEE AND KNOW MY PAIN?!! HE created this beautiful place where the water meets the sand in a controlled fashion and where the sky and the water meet and gave me eyes to see this beauty and ears to hear the waves crashing, the birds talking to each other, and feelings to sense the sun and its warmth and the coolness of the wind. And created TJ for me. And had arranged to have me rescued by bringing both gifts to my ever present need in this very moment. And as the overwhelming realization of how MUCH I am loved by my Father and my husband engulfs me…I immediately felt peace. I knew that all is well in this spiritual house the Lord dwells in. He is pleased with our efforts and desire to seek and know Him…to worship Him in spirit and in truth…to humble our hearts and open our eyes to His truth…to make whatever changes necessary to please HIM and to not allow the attacks of the evil one and those doing his work to distract me ONE. MORE. MINUTE. And I lift my eyes to heaven…and say “yes Lord, I know You are there. I hear Your still small voice. I will from this moment on trust YOU. I will fix my eyes on Jesus and follow His example of obedience so I can too be where You are.” And comically, because I know He has a sense of humor, I also say “oooooooK, I will put them back on!”
Then this “Romeo” romantic –and believe me, this is a normal AND yet very very sporadic trait of his– comes back from his “exploration” of the beach with this…a gift and reminder of God’s perfect timing. His perfect love. His perfect -untainted by the world and its effects- care. His perfect creation.
And as the old song says…”and that’s all I need to know!”