In 2011, he reached a place in his treatment where he finally felt like he had kicked the disease - he was feeling really good and his doctor was ready to take him off antibiotics. Three weeks later, he got re-bitten by a tick and got re-infected all over again...only with worse co-infections. What are the chances??
Though I'm fortunate to be in great health, Brandon's illness is our illness. We're in this together. And because he never knows on any given day how he's going to feel, it makes planning really difficult. It's hard to commit to social engagements or trips in advance, because it often involves cancelling at the last minute...and disppointing others. So a lot of times, we just keep things really open-ended (which for a planner like me, is equally scary).
But Brandon's a fighter. His courage in the face of this unrelenting illness is incredible. And actually, the fact that we're able to do as much as we are able to do (like travel to Iceland, and work as entrepreneurs) is pretty amazing. Though the journey has certainly not been easy for us – and in fact, some days feel impossibly hard – we refuse to give up hope. Our hope is in God and not in B's healing, even though we are hoping and believing that he will one day be well. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, it says that "we walk by faith, not by sight." For us it's more like "stumble by faith," but that's at least our goal.
Brandon and I said "I do" to each other September 12, 2010. We committed to love each other "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health." I had no idea what the future held in store for us the day we said those vows, but I knew that there was nobody else I wanted to share my life with. In the years since, we've experienced all of the highs and lows our vows predicted, and through it all, I can honestly say that we love each other more deeply today than we did when these pictures were taken. But we've also had to get really comfortable with uncertainty. You see, when you commit to someone, there are no "ifs." You don't promise to love somebody "if" there's money in the bank, and "if" they are healthy and "if" they don't leave the toilet seat up. You promise to love them. Period.
Same with God. When I committed to walk with God many, many years ago, I didn't commit to follow Him "if" he gave me everything I wanted. If I started doubting Him every time things got hard, I'd have left years ago. My faith runs deep, mostly because I've had to walk through some dark valleys, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that God will never leave me nor forsake me. That is my certainty, even when everything around me seems uncertain.
Last night, our pastor talked about the tension that exists between receiving a promise from God (be it healing or a spouse or a job or a child, or whatever it may be) and the wait that ensues before its fulfillment. (I'm sure many of you can relate!) At the end of the sermon, he invited Brandon to share a bit about his journey, and to talk about the long years of uncertainty and waiting that he's endured. I have never been more proud of my husband - his honesty, faith, and courage in sharing his story was remarkable. If you want to listen to the sermon + B's talk, you can download it here, under 1/12/14. (The whole sermon is amazing, but if you just want to hear Brandon's talk, you can fastforward to the last 6 minutes.)
In the midst of all of my dreams for 2014 - dreams of getting a publishing deal, dreams of Brandon getting healthy, dreams of starting a family - I am learning to let go of control and embrace the uncertainty. It's there – in the waiting and in the mystery - that we are transformed.
(Photos by the amazing Eric Ryan Anderson)