Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Man with a Missional Heart

Rex and Linda - '09 Guatemala mission trip 
on hotel roof with volcanic mountain in background.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
 “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
 And I said, “Here am I.  Send me!”
 Isaiah 6:8 NIV

Few things bring tears to my husband’s eye, but the words of Isaiah, whether read directly from scripture, or vocalized in music, cause Rex to choke and tear up.  He takes the words personally, from God to him. 

Traveling with my optometrist husband on eye care mission trips is one of the highlights of our life together.  We’ve been to Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Kenya and want to keep going on mission trips.  There’s one problem, however: my health problems.  Fibromyalgia and chronic pain in my right leg, caused by a hodge-podge of issue in my spine, makes walking painful and arduous.

Last winter we signed up to go on a fall mission trip to Honduras with our church but cancelled out a few months later.   No way would I be able to negotiate the steep walking paths in Canchias, the mountain village where we were to go.  I was disappointed for me, but even more disappointed for my husband. 

In July, it became apparent that my left knee, injured in my early 40’s—when I bent down to tie my shoe, no less—needed a total knee replacement.  So I chose to have the surgery the same week as the mission trip we were missing.   Somehow, this soothed my disappointed heart, legitimizing my absence from the team.  

My dear husband, without telling me, decided that he would go on a different mission trip—to our home, to take care of me.  Several days into my recovery, I was thanking him for being so attentive to my needs and he replied, “I decided that I would make serving you my mission.”

He touched my heart and took my experience of his love to a deeper level.  My love for Rex deepened in like proportions.  What an amazing man!  If only all spouses and caregivers were this loving and compassionate.

One of Rex's satisfied patients
I know the limitations of my illness affect us both.  This has to be difficult for my hubby who is an always-on-the-go guy.  If he’s not playing racquetball or golf, he’s water-skiing or riding his bike.  He loves to work in the yard and is a Mr-fix-it extraordinaire.  

For years, he has taken one week of his vacation time (unpaid) to provide eye care to thousands of people who rarely, if ever, see an eye care specialist.  He has a heart for missions.  To think that he chose to be my servant—God’s servant—is a gift of grace beyond measure.  

Rex, you are my gift of grace from God!


lisa said...

Linda, this is beautiful and I am so glad yu have such an amazing husband!

natureofgrace said...

Thank you, Lisa. I am so blessed!

Shari said...

What a wonderful tribute to your husband! I know there is no way I'd be able to get through all of this without Hubs.

natureofgrace said...

Shari, I am truly blessed with an amazing husband--someone who takes "for better or for worse" seriously! I'm glad you enjoyed my essay. Blessings, Linda