A sudden medical condition, Sepsis, changed Ruth and her family’s lives overnight, and drew her into an encounter with God’s strength and providence. She shares her testimony with us.
By Ruth Wen
Two years ago in April 2019, my husband, Jason who was a Physical Education teacher, called me from school and said that he wasn’t feeling well. He came down with a fever, so we just thought it was a matter of him needing to rest. But that night, we had to bring him down to Changi General Hospital, and within a few hours, we noticed that his lips were turning blue while he was in the Accident and Emergency department.
The medical team couldn’t find an oxygen reading from his extremities (fingers and toes) and started to panic, saying that he had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Shortly after that, they also had to intubate him because he couldn’t breathe. Within 24 hours of catching that fever, the doctors told us that they weren’t sure what was wrong with him. They were still investigating but urged the family (we have two kids, aged nine and seven) to get ready to say our goodbyes just in case anything happened to him.
I was shell shocked at that point because we had just talked about where we wanted to go next in our marriage and in our spiritual walk. We had plans set out. We wanted to get involved in different prayer and marriage ministries. I wondered what had happened? Was I going to lose my husband?
We had plans set out. We wanted to get involved in different prayer and marriage ministries. I wondered what had happened? Was I going to lose my husband?
At that point, I knew that this was beyond my control. There was nothing else I could do, and I thought, “Oh God, I don’t know what is going on, but I do know that if I were to turn from You at this point, that would be the greatest loss that we could suffer. I want to cling to You and I want to see You come through for us.”
That evening, my mum came to visit me. She had received a vision of Jason walking down the aisle with my daughter on her wedding day. It was a relief to know that my mum had heard from God. Though I didn’t know what was ahead, it was comforting to know that God would be holding us through it all.
When Jason regained his consciousness five days later, the doctors told us that they might have to amputate some of his toes because of the oxygen loss. This was due to the blocked vessels in his fingers and toes.
I knew that God’s promises to me about Jason’s life would still come to pass, and I could trust Him.
I wasn’t prepared for this. I wasn’t prepared for the impact of that on my family. But because he was unable to make a decision, I had to be the one signing off on everything. That afternoon, I remember crying out to God, “God, how do I sign this (medical record), knowing that it will permanently affect my husband if anything happens.” I went to the airport with a friend and while we were walking around Jewel (shopping mall), we saw a rainbow right across the centre of the fountain.
It was then that God spoke. I knew that God’s promises to me about Jason’s life would still come to pass, and I could trust Him. With that, we proceeded with the first of many amputations that Jason had.
I told the kids that God was in control, and that we could look to Him because He loves us. We cried together and prayed together, and believed that God would not fail.
Jason was in hospital for four months. Every day, I would wake up thinking that all I needed was to get through the day. I needed to take care of the kids, take care of my husband, and everything else that needed to happen for the house to function. God's steadfast love became very real to me and His mercies were new every morning. I didn’t know about tomorrow but I needed grace to be victorious in the little things one day at a time.
When there were medical decisions that I had to make, I imagined myself bringing it back to God and giving it to Him, saying “God, take this."
A New Normal, A Stronger Marriage
When Jason came home, we learnt to cope as we were both emotionally beaten up by what had happened. He had difficulty moving about and questioned his role and identity as a father, a leader and a lover. One of the things we spoke about was that although he was physically unable to do certain tasks, we would treat him and respect him as head of the household and the head of the marriage. We might not do the same things, but we could do things differently, and that helped us move forward.
Our marriage has grown stronger through these circumstances because our ability to communicate has grown stronger.
Instead of roughhousing the kids, he would play board games with them or sit with them while they were doing their schoolwork. Whenever I needed to change a light bulb, he would stand below and give directions while I tried to figure it out. We learnt to embrace a new normal.
Since, he has had below the knee amputations on both legs, walks around with a prosthesis and lost some fingers. However, I’m very grateful to the Lord that he has steadily persevered in learning to walk and is able to do almost everything with occasional assistance today.
Most couples think a marriage grows stronger if you say less and avoid picking on each other. But the funny thing is that our marriage has grown stronger through these circumstances because our ability to communicate has grown stronger. We’ve learnt to tell each other when we need a timeout, when we're tired, when we're upset and when we're depressed. We've learnt to take all that and be able to communicate with each other in a very healthy way about it.
His Strength is Perfect in Our Weakness
One of the things I’ve learnt is that I don’t really have to be strong. Sometimes people look at me and think “Oh, you’re so strong.” But actually, I tell them, “No, I’m so weak, and that’s the wonderful part.” When I realise how weak I am, I can see God coming through, giving strength and providing for the small things. I’ve come to witness His grace and His assurance that it's okay for me to not have it all together and go to Him for help.
Isaiah 59 talks about how God's arm is not too short to save or His ear too dull to hear. What really resonated with me is how God hears and sees everything and that He will work for the good of His people in any and every circumstance.
When I realise how weak I am, I can see God coming through, giving strength and providing for the small things.
Finding His Rest
I feel like I've discovered a new level of rest that I've never known before. In the past we did trust God, but those were things that did not affect the core of who we were, so it seemed to have less impact. But when our core (marriage, health) was shaken, and we had no one but God to depend on, we saw God come through for us.
In a place of fear, we’ve come to witness His providence and His peace every step of the way. Knowing that He is there, we don’t have to worry about every domain and aspect of life.