Friday, June 16, 2006

Favorite Memory from Prague

Perhaps I am committing a logical fallacy by generalizing from the specific to the universal, but I believe that traveling is very good for relationships. For me, it is a wonderful opportunity to get out of the everyday pattern and experience unfamiliar situations that increase my love, respect and appreciation for the gift that God has given in my spouse.

On this trip, I learned that my husband is extremely kind, compassionate and patient. I knew all that before, but I saw it demonstrated in a way that was overwhelming to me while we were abroad. Absolutely overwhelming.

Unfortunately, the combination of a 14-hour plane trip on Saturday, 7-hours of walking on cobblestone streets on Sunday, and a genetic predisposition to lower back problems resulted in severe back pain for me, beginning the 3rd day of our trip. By the 4th day, I was completely bed-ridden. I couldn't walk, even from the bed to the bathroom. I couldn't sit. I couldn't stand. I couldn't lay down. I was literally sick from the pain (I vomited for the first time since 7th grade!). My mom has similar back troubles so I knew that what I was experiencing was not dangerous, just exceedingly painful. Every time my mom has had a back spasm, the only thing the doctor tells her is to take prescription muscle-relaxers (which I can't take since I'm pregnant) and wait it out until the muscles release their vice grip. Sometimes that can take hours, sometimes days. Meanwhile, the pain is intense (I told my mom about it after we got home safely and she assured me that between child labor and back spasms, she thought child labor was easier)! However, experiencing a back spasm for the first time in a foreign country while being 5-months pregnant with our first child, made the experience very scary.

God sends us trials to teach us things. And, I can truly say I am very thankful for those 96 hours of physical pain. I am thankful it was utterly debilitating. I am thankful it happened while we were thousands of miles from home. I am thankful because through it, I learned to completely entrust myself to the protection and care of my husband. It's so easy to rely on myself for many things because I've always been able to "handle it". While single, I put myself through college, established a good career, and was able to buy my own home. The last 8 months have been a joyful process of learning to submit to the headship of my husband, but it's a continuing struggle to see him as truly necessary. I thank God for the abrupt and convincing lesson that I really am the weaker vessel and that I really do need him. I learned that I cannot make it on my own; I shouldn't try. . .I need the protection and covering of my husband. While single and unable to rely on my parents, God gave me the grace to handle situations on my own, as He does for all Christian single women who are awaiting marriage. However, the grace He has now given me is through my provision of my husband.

Being completely and utterly dependent upon Josh was a wonderful and humbling experience. I saw him in a way I had never seen him before. He was strong yet tender, adamant yet gentle. He amazed me. I was so blessed by him and so grateful to God for giving me a godly, loving, servant-hearted husband.

I am happy to report that the back spasm passed by Thursday evening and we had a wonderful vacation, despite the little interruption. The city was beautiful and we had many cool experiences, but my favorite memory from Prague will always be the moment Josh lifted me from the bed, put me in a warm bath that he had drawn, and sat by the side of the tub to give me sips of cool water.

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