Thursday, 17 November 2011

Justin and Christa: Their Story

What would you do if you suffered from a disease for several years, experienced extreme pain and suffering on an almost daily basis, and saw no end or relief in sight?  What would you do if you had to watch your spouse, the person whom you loved more than your own life, spend their days and nights in endless agony?

Most of us wouldn't even want to imagine something like that, but that's Justin and Christa Vanderham's story.  Christa got very sick in New Zealand while attending a Bible school before she met Justin, but nobody could tell her what was wrong with her.  When they did meet and later marry, her symptoms were up and down, and they had no idea what the future held for them.

The beginning of their marriage became marred with constant suffering.  She was sick for over two years before she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease.  The agony they went through was unspeakable.

This video tells their story over the last several years.  Honestly, it's no picnic.  Some of the footage is very unpleasant and shows the seriousness of what she battles.  But I'm glad I spent over an hour watching it.

I was blown away watching this.  In all honesty, I'm a complete wimp.  I never could have endured what Christa did.  A few years ago I began having some digestive problems, and although I came out very lucky, I think I nearly excelled at the self-pity thing through that ordeal.  Now, I still have to watch what I eat at times, but I'm healthy and realize I was have always been incredibly fortunate.

What amazed me the most was how Justin and Christa's love for each other and for God stayed so strong.  I don't know how many men would have cared for their young brides the way Justin did.  I think I can say Justin knows what it means to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.

Justin writes this on his blog on May 24:

"The stress and anguish of my heart are far too high to even think about food. 24 hours without sleep is common. I go days without realizing that I haven't taken a full breath because of the trauma we find ourselves in. Running up and down the stairs getting drugs, helping her throw up, pouring baths, giving her mouth-to-mouth oxygen, micro-waving heat bags, researching online, and making sad attempts at laundry and dishes is what fills most of my days.
  I am no hero. If this is what being a hero is, I wouldn't recommend it..." (emphasis mine)
I've only had time to scan and read bits and pieces of their blogs, but both Justin and Christa have some great things to say that I look forward to reading more of. 

Next to Justin and Christa's love and their ability to stay strong, I greatly admire the heart and love Christa has for other people.  She had a few good weeks and she was in the kitchen not only cooking dinner for her and her husband, but others who were going through a hard time.  Or she was making cards, writing to people, encouraging others, or giving massages from a hospital bed.  How does one display such care and selflessness in the midst of their own suffering?  God, and His love, is all I can come up with.

Yes, their video is a little long, but if you have time to watch a movie, watch their story instead.  No, it won't make you laugh or leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, but I doubt you'll regret it.  Also, check out their website and Justin and Christa's blogs.  And pray for them that God would continue to bring healing to their lives.

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