In Sickness and Health

“I, Josh, take you, Tamara, for my wife,to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

The older I become the more I feel the amazing blessing of being loved this way. When Josh and I said our marriage vows to each other on November 10th, 2007 I was in the midst of battling a neurological disorder. There were many unknowns about what our life would look like moving forward.

I became sick several months into our engagement. The save the dates had already been sent when we learned that the muscle weakness and paralyzation I was experiencing weren’t symptoms that would be quickly fixed or even had the potential to get better. Josh was under no obligation to stay with me. Walking was a struggle, driving a car wasn’t happening, and just being able to get out of bed in the morning was hard.

The reality is that most 23 year olds don’t get to start off a marriage the way I did. Our plans for the wedding and honeymoon changed to accommodate my illness. And never once did I feel like I was a burden to Josh. He piggybacked me around the streets of Monterey, California on our honeymoon gladly, carrying me when I couldn’t walk.

During our engagement when I became ill I never once questioned Josh’s love for me. He took time off work to come to my many doctors appointments, held me when I cried out in pain and frustration over my circumstances, and loved me in spite of what was happening.

The way Josh loved me during this time still takes my breath away. There was no guarantee that my health would improve or that we would even be able to have a family together. Although if you ask Josh he will tell you that he knew I was going to get better.

In this beautiful way Josh has sacrificially demonstrated God’s love for me over and over again. God loves me when I am sick and when I am healthy. My circumstances will change but the love God has for me never does.

Yet in the sickness it was harder for me to feel God’s presence and easier to gravitate to Josh. Josh was tangible. I could see, talk with, touch, and feel Josh’s presence even if he was in a different room. I knew he was there. But at times as I struggled with “feeling” somewhat forgotten about by God. What was supposed to be one of the happiest times of my life quickly became a dark and shadowy valley. Where was God in the midst of my pain and suffering? My illness taught me that I have to continually depend on God in sickness and in health.

The reality is God didn’t change. My feelings had.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35

The word of the Lord abides forever. 1 Peter 1:25

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

These verses tell me that everything in life may change, but God’s Word remains and His truth never changes. My feelings may be strong and the situations in my life can rapidly fluctuate but God’s Word is so much more than anything I can ever feel, experience, or face. His Word is true yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

While my marriage vows are a lasting covenant on earth with Josh until death do us part, God has promised to have and to hold me, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, from now into eternity. Even death cannot separate me from God’s love.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

We have a choice to either be controlled by our thoughts, feelings, and circumstances or we can utilize the self-control that has been given to us by the Holy Spirit to abide in God’s Word regardless of our feelings or what is happening in life. God’s Word is always truer than our feelings.

What I learned about my marriage and ultimately about God based on the phrase “in sickness and health” is that relationships require commitment. Living out our commitments can be difficult at times especially if our circumstances are challenging. We all have the choice of who or what we will cling to when times get hard.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

The majority of people say their I dos under the most ideal circumstances, not when they are battling their toughest struggle. Marriage is a day to day commitment and continues to remind me of how God loved us and Christ died for us when we were least lovable and when the situation was the least ideal. These difficult times allow us to trust God even in the challenges while building a marriage that lasts. I am grateful for this lesson that I learned early on in my marriage.

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Cheers to 9 Years

Josh Tam Wedding

Josh was 34 years old on our wedding day and I was a few days shy of turning 24. Today I am a few days away from turning 33 and I as look back on the last 9 years of our marriage I can proudly say that our love story is my favorite, and the best part is it isn’t over yet!

I would be lying if I told you that everything has been smooth sailing since the day we said I do. Neither of us are perfect and thankfully we don’t pretend to be…wellllll sometimes I can be pretty close, just kidding, just kidding. But in all honesty it takes two people to make a marriage work and Josh and I always joke that we are stuck with each other for life because of our covenant marriage*.

With age comes more maturity and the ability to look back on life events from a different perspective. When Josh and I got married I thought I knew what love was. I knew love needed to be patient, kind, hold no record of wrong, not easily angered, not proud, not rude, not boastful, and not self seeking. I knew all these things but I didn’t know how to apply them to my marriage. It has taken years and with daily effort for me to actually attempt to be that definition of love in our marriage. And here is a spoiler alert: I still fail at this most days!

If I have learned anything it is to constantly keep praying, renewing my mind, and focusing on the positive so I can pour out unconditional love onto Josh and now also our children. Not seeing your husband for 24-48 hours at a time, multiple days out of the month, can create a real disconnect in your relationship if you are not careful.

I crushed on him hard at the age of 17 and told my friends I would marry him one day and have his babies. I promise I was not a stalker, but I am super happy that my teenage dream came true! In honor of 9 years of marriage I wanted to brag on Josh for a second and share how he has been a great example of biblical love.

I was super sick when we got married. Like paralyzed from the neck down, couldn’t feel anything sick. The older I get, the more amazed I am that he still wanted to marry me, not knowing what our life would be like several years down the road. Only knowing that I had been sick for 8 months prior to our wedding and that there was no real treatment plan to get me better. He could have easily walked away from me at this time and I know now looking back that he was 100% committed and all in. Most guys don’t go into their marriage prepared to take care of a sick wife who was at the doctors office weekly, in and out of hospitals, and needing help to do everyday tasks most people take for granted. Read more about my autoimmune disorder in The Girl Behind the Blog

He works so hard to provide for our family and does so without complaining…except when it is time to get out of bed in the morning. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “I wish shift change happened at 8am” muttered under his breath as the alarm goes off for the third snooze cycle. When he comes home from work to two toddlers running around chasing after him, because they are excited to see him, and a wife who can sometimes talk his ear off if she is not careful, he still makes the time to be present with us even if he didn’t get an ounce of sleep, when all he really wants to do is fall into bed and close his eyes.

Marriage is a balancing act. It is learning to put the other persons needs above your own, no matter how hard it is. And sometimes it is really, really, hard.

The disappointments I have had in marriage have come from me thinking that God owed me something because I had done things the “right” way. I thought that God was going to bless me and reward me with a happily every after. I failed to understand that I wasn’t guaranteed a happily ever after in marriage. When two sinners marry there are going to be struggles and hard times.

Hard times will happen in marriage. Hard times will happen in life. For followers of Christ the happy ending is not immediate in this life, but it is guaranteed. We know how this will end for us, and where our hope is centered.

When I reminisce over the last 9 years of our marriage I am in awe of all the God has done. God has used our marriage to teach us and sanctify us so we can love and honor each other and also love God more and more.

Josh has seen me at my worst and has still been able to find a redeeming quality in me that has sometimes been hard for me to see myself and loved me through it. He is kind, believes the best in people, and forgives much easier than I do. For these reasons and many more myself and our children are lucky to have him.

I am thankful for anniversaries because they remind us to seek the best out of of our relationships and look back on how far we have come. I seriously can’t believe that we have two kids and another one soon on the way!

cheers-to-9-years

Tomorrow I am sure I will go back to being more easily annoyed by the small little things that Josh does that bug me, but today I am going to reminisce on the happy memories that have made us us.

Happy Anniversary Josh!

*Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana are the only three states that offer a covenant marriage. A covenant marriage is a legally distinct kind of marriage in which the marrying spouses agree to obtain pre-marital counseling and accept more limited grounds for later seeking divorce. To read more about covenant marriage visit The Policy Pages.

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6 Ways to Pray for Your Husband

6 Ways to Pray for Your Husband

I recently joined a women’s bible study and at our first meeting one of the ladies shared 6 Ways to Pray for Your Husband with the group. I was so encouraged and want to share this prayer with you.

There is so much darkness in our world today. Our husbands are constantly being tempted and as wives we need to continually be praying for them. Marriage is not always easy but it is worth fighting for. God’s word is powerful and I love that these prayers include the scripture references. I hope this blesses you as much as it has encouraged and blessed me. These could also be used to pray over your children.

I pray that my husband may seek first Your kingdom today. Help him to live righteously. And as he seeks you, Lord, I pray that You will provide everything he needs today. And show him what his true needs are, compared to what the world says he needs. Thank you for providing for every one of his needs, Lord!

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 NLT

Fill my husband with Your Holy Spirit and inspire him to live right and true according to Your Word. Strengthen his hands and knees. Guide him on a straight path and hold him up, so that he can be made strong.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. Hebrews 12:12-13 NLT

Help my husband guard his heart. I know, Lord, that where his heart is that will direct the course of his life. I know that where his heart is, that is where his treasure will be. I pray his heart will be first to You, second to his family, and third to the mission and purposes you’ve designed for him on earth.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matthew 6:21 NLT

I pray that my husband will be humbled before You today. I pray that You will make him aware of the schemes of our enemy and make him strong to resist those schemes. I pray that he will desire to come close to you. I pray he will make the time to come to you. I thank you that You are always close when my husband approaches You. I pray that he will wash his hands from all the filth that he picks up just walking through life. I pray that if there is anything that my husband needs to seek repentance for that he will do it quickly so that he will not have to carry around heavy burdens and regretful thoughts. I pray that whenever his loyalty is divide between You and the world that He will always choose You.

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. James 4:7-8 NLT

I pray that my husband will turn to you to search and test his heart. I pray he will turn every anxious thought over to You. I pray that my husband’s heart will be tender so that when you point out areas of weakness that he will gladly and joyously turn over those offenses to You. I pray that you will lead him along the path of everlasting life, and I thank you that although there are struggles in this world that there will be no pain, shame, darkness or struggles and stumbling when we spend eternity with you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

I pray that when my husband gets overwhelmed today that he will cry out to you. Lead him to Your towering rock of safety. Thank you, Lord, that You are his safe refuge. Thank you that at this moment You are surrounding my husband with a barrier of protection—and that no enemy can reach him. I pray that my husband will look forward to worshiping in your eternal sanctuary forever, and that you will give him a glimpse of Your holy presence here on earth. May my husband always stay safe between the shelter of Your wings.

From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Psalm 61:2-4 NLT

Thank you, Lord, for listening to my prayers for my husband. Thank you for always hearing my prayers.

PS…If you would like a pdf copy of this prayer you can visit TriciaGoyer.com.

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