by Milton Hubbard
The past 30 months were the most challenging months of our 37 years of marriage. Every victory seemed to have a challenge waiting. Every advance seemed to have a retreat lurking in the shadows. Many questions did not receive answers. But through everything we knew God was with us. We felt the strength of your prayers and encouragement.
I know Kathy is now free of pain and I want to believe that she had the best seat at Kelsey's wedding. I know she is now a part of the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 who are cheering for us to continue running the race. On days when we are discouraged, she will be cheering for each of us not to quit but to keep running…even if we do not understand the things that are touching our lives.
Many of you have had significant roles in our lives during this difficult time. Some have brought food. Others have sent cards or made phone calls of encouragement. Many have prayed at our house or have prayed from a distance. Everything that was done made a difference. Some of the impact was visible, some was not. Please know that Kathy loved this body of believers and was grateful for everything you did to be led by the Spirit in ministering to her. Prayer times with Kathy often found us focusing on other people with needs in the body, as Kathy continued to trust God for her healing.
I did not realize how much I took Kathy for granted and failed to appreciate all of the things she did to minimize stress in my life. From laundry, to cooking, to shopping, to vacuuming, to organizing, to cleaning, to dishwashing, to clutter removal, to reminders of bills that are due, to throwing away leftovers, to sorting mail, to dusting, to garage sales to get rid of the junk we kept accumulating, to praying for our children and me, and a whole bunch of other stuff I don't have space to list…I took much of it for granted. I actually wondered what she did with all of her spare time. I was totally deceived and too stupid to know it.
The last 2 years of Kathy's life changed me. I told her I was sorry for being so stupid and that I really needed her to get well. She told me that she could see that I was changing. I hope that none of you have to go through what I have gone through to realize that your spouse is a gift from God not to be taken for granted or underappreciated. Take time every day and look for something good in your spouse that you can thank God for…and express to them.
When I came to pastor this church, I felt like I was in over my head and did not take a day off. Kathy tolerated it until about 9 months after Shane was born. I came home for lunch on a Saturday and she told me to sit down because we needed to talk [I knew that was not good]. She told me that she needed help and that if I was not going to take a day off she would make an appointment with the elders to apprise them of the situation. I started taking a day off but Kathy always felt a sense of competition between my relationship with the church and her. Today might be a good day to see if your spouse has any similar feelings. Keep in mind it might be something other than work.
Once again, I feel like I am in over my head. God said that it was not good for man to be alone. But for this season, that's where I am. There are days that I do well. There are days I do not. I am taking it one day at a time. Please be patient with me. I feel lost and am searching for the path He wants me on. There will be days when I will not be here. Janice will be able to tell you who is in charge when I am gone. If you have needs when I am here, please call me, it will not be an inconvenience, that's why I am here. My district pastor has suggested I take 3 months off. I do not feel comfortable with that. I will take time off as I feel the need and establish a direction for what I need to be doing to heal emotionally and spiritually.
Please know that your prayers are critically important at this time in my life. I still believe in a God who heals and know that we as a body must continue to pursue the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth. I feel extremely fortunate to pastor what I believe to be the best church in the state. You are my family and the family of my children. We love, value, and esteem you more than you can imagine. We WILL make it through this. Kathy is cheering and Jesus is praying. [Hebrews 7:25;] A new day is coming!
Milton Hubbard has served as Pastor of Living Word Assembly since 1977
Ryan Wheeler serves as Associate Pastor at Living Word Assembly.