I couldn’t say “good-bye.”
I couldn’t say “I love you.”
I couldn’t say, “Be safe and come back home soon.”
I couldn’t voice my prayers.
I hugged my husband with tears welling up in my eyes as he drove away to catch a plane to Lusaka, Zambia. Caleb, Jake, and Micah stood close and hugged me.
This was the first time in my married life and in my ministry life when I couldn’t speak and share my heart with my husband as he departed for a long ministry trip.
On Friday, I had been diagnosed with severe laryngitis. The ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) Specialist I saw ordered me to not utter one single word or even a single sound until further notice. Right now, I am at 2 ½ days and counting of an enforced silent treatment.
John had delayed his departure to northern Zambia for me. All week I had been suffering with an excruciatingly painful sore throat. Instead of improving with antibiotics, my throat pain only grew more unbearable. Every swallow caused great agony and every cough caused me to cry. I couldn’t sleep and dreaded going to bed. John determined that instead of leaving on Thursday for Zambia with our teammate David, he would wait and catch a flight later. We would see the doctor again and attempt to find an answer. My doctor recommended that I see an ENT and get to the root of my problem as something significant was preventing my healing.
Thankfully, an appointment was made available on Friday and it was then that the ENT determined that my larynx was under great stress and needed an unspecified break.
Believe me; it has not been easy to be quiet.
In truth, I haven’t been 100% silent – hoarse words escape before I even realize what I am doing. However, I have silencers all around me who chide me to keep still.
As John drove away, without me able to say a word, my eyes stung and my heart ached. To remain silent as my husband left was a horrible sensation.
But if I could have spoken the affection of my heart, these are the words I would have shared with my husband…
John, My Beloved and Darling Husband,
Thank you for cherishing me.
Thank you for honoring me above your work.
Thank you for bearing with me as I rose out of bed over and over again at night to find some relief this week.
Thank you for holding me when I hurt.
Thank you for speaking for me when I could not speak.
Thank you for making dinner, doing the laundry, completing the grocery shopping and making sure the house was in order before you left today.
Thank you for telling me that I am beautiful when I feel and have felt so awful.
Thank you for praying for me, loving me, and caring for me and choosing to stay with me when I needed you.
Thank you for choosing me.
I hope you have an amazing time in Zambia and that your God meets you in a phenomenal way there!
John, I know you won’t have internet to see this note of thanks anytime soon as you drive north into the rural landscapes of Zambia to meet with the pastors and ministry leaders there. However, I just wanted to express my heart when my voice could not.
You are a truly remarkable man and how grateful I am to be your wife. I love you.
Zambia Map image retrieved from Sheger Tribune