When I first met Teresa in May 2003, we were both working in South Korea. I was a civil servant for the U.S. Department of the Army, and Teresa was teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) in downtown Seoul.
She graduated from Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, with a major in French studies and a certificate in TESOL. Soon after she graduated, Teresa left the security and comforts of her home in Canada to become a teacher in an Asian country. She was truly an independent person, who ventured out internationally to carve her a new life and career.
And what I soon learned about Teresa was her commitment to her faith, family and friends. It was stronger than seven cords of chains tied together, strong and true; unbreakable and unshakeable.
It was this commitment - her tenacious commitment - that helped change me as a man; in fact, into a better man and a better person. Because, for the very first time in my life, someone made the decision to commit their life to me (no "what ifs" or "I'll give it try"). When she said yes to me...it was indeed for life..."In sickness and in health."
Teresa is very strong as well. She takes on challenges head on. She has amazingly navigated the medical system to ensure that my appointments are made and kept. And when a health assistant or nurse would call her to reschedule an appointment because our health insurance did not authorize an important test yet, she would say, "No, we will not reschedule our appointment. Let me call the insurance to set them straight". And you know what? She would win each time. Every time!
This is my wife...my best friend…God’s helping hand in my life.
Now, however, she went to bed early tonight.
I asked her what was wrong. She said this “cancer is starting to get to me.”
As she laid face down in bed, I kissed and caressed the back of her head. There were no words that I could say to take away her fears. This was the second time I saw her scared since my oncologist said, “I’m sorry, but your cancer has returned.”
I’ve often said “it is much harder for the other spouse, who serves as the primary care giver, than the one who has cancer.” And after seeing my wife feeling defeated this evening, I can assuredly attest that it’s true.
I know Teresa is scared, and she fears the thought of losing me. I wish I could take away her fears, but I cannot. However, as her husband, best friend and helpmate, I can do this: PRAY!
So, please join me, as I pray for her now, in the following words:
Lord, I pray that You would help Teresa to “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6). Remind her to bring all her concerns about me to You in prayer so that Your peace that passes all understanding will permanently reside in her heart.
Lord, give Teresa strength to stand strong in the midst of these tough times as I fight against cancer once more; sustaining her with Your presence so that nothing will shake her. And enable her to rise above this challenge and be lifted up to You.
Show her how to seek You more, so that You can deliver her from her fears (Psalm 34:4). Hear her, my dear Lord, hear her cries to You (Psalm 3:4) and answer them by showing Your love, grace and peace. Help her to seek Your face (Psalm 27:8) always, so that she can lie down next to You, and feel Your wings of protection.
Lord, my dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for each DAY…each HOUR…each MINUTE…each SECOND that I get to spend time with her. If I was able to trade each piece of sand pebble found along miles of beach…for a day with her, it would still not be enough.
She is truly my white swan. A gift from Your most gracious Hand.
Lord, for You are the true Lover to my wife. Hold her now as she lays in bed. Give her Your peace and comfort. Wrap Your heavenly arms around her and let her know how much You love her. Take care of her my Lord. Bring about joy in her heart so that she knows where her true joy comes from. For it’s not from me, but from You, through Your Son, Jesus Christ.
I am only a steward, who has the privilege and honor to walk beside this white swan of mine.
In Your heaven name, Amen.