Three Years Later...

Photo credit: Jasmyne S.

Photo credit: Jasmyne S.

It was during Holy Week three years ago that my husband returned home to our family after having been gone for nearly five years. I wrote this:

My husband, my marriage, and my family has been raised from death to New Life!! He is on a solid road of recovery, and we are moving towards reconciliation, renewal, restoration, and rebirth. Along with birthing my daughter, this is probably one of the most beautiful, exciting things I’ve ever been privileged to be part of in this life!!

He is Risen Indeed!!!

Since then, our family has indeed been on an epic journey of healing, recovery, restoration, and rebirth!!

Why was he gone, you ask? If you’re new to my blog or to our story, my husband was diagnosed at the age of 16 with bipolar disorder. This is a chronic illness that affects mood and behavior. It’s a spectrum disorder, and there are actually several manifestations of the illness, and varying degrees of severity. The kind my husband has is called Bipolar I.. In 2011, complications from his illness resulted in him being separated from our family for several years, during which time he was not in any kind of treatment or taking any medication. He ended up on one “adventure”, while me and our daughter ended up on another, for 4.5 years. Then, through a miraculous series of events, he was able to return to our family in 2016, and ever since then, we have been healing as a family, he has been healing from his ordeals, and God has given us an amazing testimony.

Three years ago, I was basking in the glow of the miracle of having him back with us!!! It was amazing, and beautiful, and hard and challenging, and glorious and scary and exciting…kind of like a roller coaster ride! We soared to the highest heights, and a few times it looked like we might die. But, it all has made for an incredible ride!!

Through it all, one thing has remained constant, and that is our faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am raising a young daughter, who is now 15 years old, and becoming a young woman. She has often been called “an old soul”, and it’s probably because of many of the experiences we’ve had. Having a parent with a mental illness has a way of growing you up pretty fast! Especially when their illness takes them away or causes them to be absent even when they are present. She has learned some hard lessons, but also some beautiful lessons. She has learned that as women, we are not to be dependent on any man, but on God, who is with us whether our daddy/husband is there or not. She has seen God be “a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widows.” She has seen the beauty and challenge of restoration. She has seen her dad persevere and never give up, and fight his way out of a very dark place. She has seen a marriage beat horrible odds and thrive in spite of all kinds of chaos. She has seen the hand of God up close and personal.

Because we’ve been on this wild ride for so many months, I’ve not had the time to sit down and write like I so desire to do. That day will come, I’m sure. But until then, our journey continues. Scott was gone for 4.5 years, and that is the amount of time I’ve given him to be back before I feel like I can declare us “healed”. So far, it’s been a little over three years…and we are doing fantastic, given the circumstances!

In a nutshell, all is well. Scott has been doing amazing. It was a bumpy ride at first, because it took almost 2 years to get his medication right, as well as just adjust to being a family again. Three years, three medications…and the 3rd time has been the charm!! After trial and error, we have found a medication regimen that works well for him. After so many years of being unwell, it takes time to learn how to be well. And that is where he is in his journey, learning how to be well.

Our daughter Jasmyne is growing daily. She has thrived since her dad has returned home…which I knew would happen. They have a good relationship, all things considering. They navigate their challenges pretty well (they are a lot alike in some ways, haha!), and they have their own unique bond. A few weeks ago he presented her with a beautiful Bible that he picked out for her, and I love to hear their conversations about the Word of God. She is involved in many activities…she sings, dances, acts, and writes, and has several outlets for those passions. We recently decided that home schooling was the best option for her to be able to pursue all the things she loves while still learning, and this is an exciting new journey for all of us.

And me? Well, as a caregiver, it has been quite a journey for me. My husband does not “look” disabled, and he’s physically very well, so his illness is hard to see sometimes. Caregiving for someone with a mental illness is very difficult to explain, and has its own challenges. As the meds were getting adjusted, it required more of me, but now, I am able to breathe a little bit more. I am a firm believer in self-care, my friends. And support. Tons of support. I am surrounded by good people, I have support of family and friends who love both me and my husband, and pull me from the brink of meltdowns when necessary…but thankfully, that hasn’t happened a whole lot. I’ve had to come to terms with some things, and make peace with life as it is and not how I thought it would be. But it has been an incredible opportunity to deepen my relationship with Jesus in ways I never could have imagined otherwise, and see first hand His faithfulness to me. I have seen His goodness, and I am confident that I will continue to do so.

Psalm 27:13 King James Version (KJV)

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Photo credit: Jasmyne S.

Photo credit: Jasmyne S.

God is faithful. Sometimes it takes time to see it, and we don’t always understand what He is doing, and we may shed many tears along the way. But, as I always quote of my favorite verse, Galatians 6:9,

Do not be weary in well doing, for in due season, you shall reap if you faint not.

The adventure continues…!!!