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June 22, 2020 2:00 am
Not many couples want to pattern their marriage after the book of Job. But Jeff and Sarah Walton, hit time and again with heart-crushing circumstances, began to find great comfort and wisdom in those pages. Soon after Sarah gave birth to their first child, their infant son came down with an infection. Together they leaned on the Lord to help them. Later their son started exhibiting strange and erratic behavior, and no amount of discipline seemed to help. As years went by and their family expanded to a family of six, Sarah began to battle Lyme disease. Hear what they've learned as they've walked through life's storms.
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Stress and pressure go up in a family so does marital tension and conflict. That's what Jeff and Sarah Walton experienced. Jeff had a high demand job providing medical supplies for surgeons. He had to be available on a moments notice to supply what those surgeons needed.
Meanwhile, Sarah was home with kids including a special-needs child who was acting out and she needed her husband's help is really no easy solution in those moments he knew if he didn't show up at that surgery he can lose that doctor's business and I knew that I really did try to be understanding to that and tell myself I know he beer if he could. I do believe you want to be ED here if he could on. I felt like I needed him more than any other time and I remember saying to him and waving a white flag. This is a time when I need you.
This is family like today. Our hosts are Damon and Wilson on Bob Lapine. You can find us email@example.com what happens during stressful times in your marriage will either drive you apart or can bring you closer together as a couple talk more about that today with Jeff and Sarah will stay with us and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us. So when was the last time you read Job chapter 1. Everyday chapter in the Bible that I read the Bible through every year ago, when I get to Job like you know you don't want to read it.
I don't because it makes me bad and scared chapter is this chapter, where Satan comes before the Lord and says you know these people are following you. Job and his family were just following you because you bless him and God says okay you have permission to take them through and see what happened. That's the part I don't like is my question above is you get ready to introduce some of you ever thought about writing a marriage book based on the book of John never had the idea. I'm not sure how many people like him except that it's a powerful and profound book as is, and we all suffer and go through times of suffer. We do Jeff and Sarah Walton joining us on family like today guys, welcome.
Thank you so much and Jeff and Sarah live in suburban Chicago. They are graduates of Taylor University. They are the parents of four kids and I have written a book called together through the storm and it's been the storm. It's been 16 years Ameritrade and it's not been 16 uneventful years for you.
How how long after you were married, did you experience your first all we we have a major bump in the road here to remember. Yeah, we had just moved. He had just gotten this job on he had been working at a station hotel and he had just got hired as a medical sales, consultants and cynics are being on call so we just moved to be closer to the territory that he would be in and I found out it was pregnant, was about two years after marriage and after I had our oldest think he was seven weeks old and he suddenly spiked a fever and anybody who knows when a baby that young spiked a fever and it was like 102.5 fever was pretty high.
We are rushed to the hospital with him and they did a spinal tap. They did all sorts of things and informed us something very, very serious was going on but they didn't know exactly what so we were told this could be meningitis. This could be leukemia. This could be deception. Deception. Each one was kind of worse than the last.
We ended up being there for five days. He was pretty much lethargic the whole time he was on very heavy doses of antibiotics and we had no answers. Every day was new options of what this could be.
They had taken sample after sample his white blood cells were skyrocketing as red were dropping on it didn't look good at all.
Were you stoic or were you fearful. I think we are a little in shock. I just had a baby seven weeks ago and it was all new and this was just thrown at us and actually remember it was our anniversary when we are in the hospital thing is our third year anniversary yeah for me I was really fearful and I think when I had into being a parent for the first time and just like marriage you think of things can go well and there's not can be the bump initially we came into that and have the bump in our road within the first two months.
I remember even call my parents from the hospital and trying to to get out over the phone what they were starting to look at.
My voice was just gone and I was just in tears so overwhelmed by a ton of emotion and just everything flashing before her eyes, of what is going on. Our life is about to change and just the unexpected before us. So anyway, after five days they basically said nothing has come back. We can't find what's wrong we can tell he is a severe infection but we don't know what and so at that I think is the fifth day. His numbers stabilize didn't really improve, but they stopped going the wrong direction and they sent us home and they said we are sending you home with an unknown infection and we will monitor and if anything else comes back we will need to get in touch with you so that was kind after we went home and I think we are in shock like what just happened.
Your leg feeling relief you earlier was now.
It was such a sudden up and down and we still didn't have answers so wasn't like it was nice closure like now we know what happened when he was healed, he healed was he still lethargic. Each day he got better and he was seeming like he was back to normal. But the rest of that year he seemed susceptible to infections. He got a really bad flu and lost a lot of weight but overall we thought that was a testing ground for us. God, it really was kind of our first real major test as a couple and I think I thought like okay we made it through that likely survived that we really did lean into the Lord. We are terrified of course.
But I did see us cling to the Lord and that that we had to come to grips with God is given us this child if he takes him from us. Can we trust him is really hard to wrestle with.
But I think it force us to ask that question. The ironic thing is one of the verses that we dedicated our son to was that he was lent from the Lord.
And so that put into clarity really soon of.
Are we really holding loosely to a son, and he is a gift from God, and now we have the choice of fully trusting in God, or we can try and grip and just do it on our own strength so facing that reality within the first couple months I think has really been a launching point then for what we faced in the 12 year sentence and just with parenthood. In general, his first year you continue to have health up and down.
Still no diagnosis of what's going on with him did you ever get a diagnosis. No and it's been 12 years of several different doctors.
It started out as the healthcare it was. I think we just assumed that life was going on as normal other than certain you know getting sick a little bit easier. Things like that. By the time he was able to crawl. I think is about 18 months. As he started crawling and walking we notice he just Repetitively going back to things he shouldn't do, knocking things off of shelves just had a little bit of a destructive type of nature and we would try all sorts of little parenting techniques. You know you're told all the different ways to do it handle these situations to redirect give a little hand swats a no-no on and we went from one to the next to the next and it just seemed to get harder and harder and harder and has he got older it started to turn into severe tantrums and strange behaviors that we couldn't quite figure out what it meant.
We tried all sorts of parenting techniques to try to help train him to listen and all the things you're taught as a Christian parent with all these different Christian parenting point where you thinking this had anything to do with that initial infection. No I don't think we had, honestly, at that point I think we just thought we were really strong-willed kid and we just probably of the strongest willed kid on the face of the planet and widow parents of strong-willed kids are just bad parents and neither do a yes kid would be yet behaving exactly exactly yeah and it was it was starting to increase the point where I had a hard time going to play dates. He would hurt kids. It was very impulsive behavior stuff I couldn't see coming, so I was on alert.
Every moment I was anywhere in my feet hitting his milestone markers on the allies other than talking. He was a little delayed in speech, but otherwise I was so confusing. He seemed to be developing relatively normally.
But there were these behaviors that we couldn't make sense of, but because he was our first we just didn't really know if there was anything wrong or is this just another way he is and we have to adapt to that and so I would say probably wasn't until he turned four and we had just moved and he actually got an infection I believe got strep and he was put on antibiotics and something happened in him and it became. He became erratic just screaming, shrieking, banging into walls hitting doing anything, throwing everything with and I mean matter of hours and that's I think what finally made us realize something is not right. Something is going on and that's what initially launched us into searching out for a doctor that could maybe just figure out is this abnormal if so, what are we dealing with. And so, that began our search with doctors. We just began with pediatrician. They didn't really know so we started with the lowest we could. Just changing diets, vitamins, increasing nutrients that he was clearly depleted in the Internet heavily entered because I need a complete everything. On the Internet so at age 4 he is you are you thinking autism are you thinking developmentally disabled in some way. Yeah, I think the closest we would've thought at that point was autism gone but what was so confusing to us is he also could seem completely normal. So it wasn't consistent there would be times where he was the sweet bright very engaging little boy. He was funny, but every day, good portions of the day would be these things that would be triggered in him. That would last two hours, three hours of screaming tantrums, your euro stay at home mom Were you just exhausted all the time all the time and I I had no say nobody knew I didn't know what to tell anybody.
So taking them to a store.
I would leave with him screaming and hitting me in would be cotton really scary situations in the car that I couldn't control and it got harder with other command. Once we had other kids as well and were you wondering what am I doing wrong all the time. You just your doubting yourself every step of the way and especially as a Christian parent thing I'm reading these scriptures out of raisin vinegar. Get most of the family like family life and we were really we are really seeking wisdom and we would reach out to other Christian parents that we respected and I remember we would take advice and we try to implement it and it would make your situation worse and it was so leave us feeling really really despairing like what we shrink from wrong Jeff how are you have all this you think the ironic thing was during this time is third mentioned.
So I was in medical device sales and we're trying to figure this out on the fly in so much of that with being a first-time parent you don't know what you don't know when you just kind of go from one day to the next and then cut a plow through that and so when I was in this role and on call 24 seven being called out at a moments notice and not knowing what the next day will bring in as you were bringing parts in the surgery medical devices in the surgery so you get called into a trauma case to go to guy medical sales on thing. I go to the doctor's office at the morning, and he's done at five but yours was a unique kind of a situation. It really was.
So what was for orthopedic trauma, and knowing that those accidents happen around the clock and I did not have normal hours and so they don't take off for holidays and weekends and all the special vents which created a lot of tension and growing tension throughout the nine years that I was doing this.
Probably one of the biggest challenges really were. That was the difficulties at home and everything that we had Sarah's world was in that 24 hours a day and I was in and out like a revolving door could be gone for 12 hours back home for an hour and then get another: have to rush out and just probably my nature. And like many guys in general.
You can kind of turn the page in and now you're plugging into work. We call it compartmental you yes yes so wonderful thing. Natalie and Jasmine is.
It is wonderful until you come back home and you feel like you've moved on from that situation or that letter. It is in there. It is so is all affecting marriage. Yeah, it was a lot especially because I would be walking through really a lot of very scary situations and I was doing it on my own while having other kids that I needed to somehow care for, but I would have to be in a room restraining her son while the other kids had to take care of themselves and I would come out from those physically emotionally depleted and then that would often happen several times a day and so he would come home and I didn't even how to explain to him what happened.
I couldn't explain to him. I couldn't explain to him the terrifying moments or how it feels is a mom to be have words and actions spoken and done to you from a child that you are called to love and care for and deep down knowing that he wants that, but he couldn't control it. So having to be that nurturer, while the same time feeling kind of like at the hand of an abuser.
In a sense, at times because he couldn't help it. You might be looking the goodwill. Jeff will be home and I'll get a break and then Jeff comes home and he's gonna go back out immediately on what you were counting on the other, depleted, and yet now all of a sudden Jeff's the bad guy yeah yeah it was certainly there was really no easy solution in those moments. He knew that if he didn't show up at that surgery he could lose that doctor's business and I knew that.
So I really did try to be understanding to that and tell myself I know he beer if he could, but there would be neither became situations where I felt like I needed him more than any other time to do I say I don't remember saying to him.
I'm waving the white flag. This is a time when I need you and I know you have to go and I and I support you as much as I can, and that but this is a moment that I need you and we had probably on one hand, those white flags were waived. Just let me ask you about those white blood moments because I'm thinking is a guy who's going. This is my job, my responsibility to go do this and providing for my family. I don't have an option here. My wife needs me. Is this the point where I call the doctor and type I can't come because my wife needs me and my eye. I feel the tension you'd be in at that moment: what's the right thing before the Lord to do here.
Yeah, I wrestled with that tremendously. And knowing that what I thought I was doing in that moment in those moments I thought I was doing the honorable thing. I was providing for my family was being loyal to the surgeons that I was calling on and knowing that by not showing up. They were so easy to flip and go to a competitor. That fear was in me. The fear of man and where that started to consume was I didn't have a boundary or a line in the sand. That said, if this happens and if Sarah cries out to me that I'm going to stay home. I think the biggest challenge was all of this is is often hidden. You know what was going on in our home. No one knew on what what was going on externally and if I say to a doctor that my wife needs me at home were having an issue going on. That just doesn't resonate well. But if your son is in the ER because of the an emergency or broken bone or something that might make more sense. We didn't have those and so by not having a clear answer of why I could maybe get out of this and at least get an excuse that presented a lot of problems because I chose work over being home and I thought I was really trying to do what was best for her family. As you look back now, would you do it any different or could you yeah and that's something we we have talked about a lot in such a case by case in the health situation. I think I would've needed to, and I think I should have. And like Sarah said it's only a couple times throughout those nine years that she was crying out and I walked out of the door and again went to turn the page and put my my foot in the door in the in the hospital and she was left home getting the brunt of everything in so knowing what that did ultimately to her marriage and how that was a huge challenge and something that we've had to work greatly through. I should've made a different decision and it's an organic case by case. Everyone's work in industry that therein, there's always different challenges, but is it to the point where I put my work above my family and there has to be a line where family is going to come first, and certainly with our desperate situation. I did not show that serve their there are some wives were waving the white plug every day with her husband leaves the husbands of the no-win situation. The plant life is so need independent she's got no other support system she's depending on him to be everything right, including the be Jesus for her in that moment so you can see the tension some husband yeah, like if I suggest every time my wife waved the white flag. I'd be out of work. Yeah, no, it's definitely short, were you feeling the tension that he might lose business you guys might not have income.
If you waive this white blood yeah I mean it was like I said earlier there was really no right decision and it was just a bad situation. What were the ages of your kids after your oldest was born so I would say when these situations were happening more frequently as his business was getting increased and territory was growing it was probably one of our oldest was like eight about NHK was just over two years apart. Six foreign to and that was really it. Probably the most difficult time in our son's life was. He was bigger so it was more difficult for me to handle the other kids were sometimes hurt and so I was trying to juggle all these things and I also was doing chronic illness.
So I was trying to do that while not feeling well over wages through another alarm told the story. I know so you get the kids thing you know your deal with illness yeah with that, but I had been dealing with some illness stuff really since beginning her marriage had been having just really random things, stomach issues overall but nothing that was debilitating me, but each child that I had just the stress of the pregnancy reveal new symptoms that were coming out of me, and by the time I did my fourth I and the best I can describe it as I felt fluid shall the time I had these horrible aches all the time and you know when you have the flu used my do nothing but lay in bed and curl and die in such an awful feeling and I was having to somehow muster through that achiness and would often come with chills and with fatigue and stomach issues and a lot of really random things like nerve pain or joint. What hurts her different things like that and I just didn't have the option I could not lay down.
I couldn't rest. I had to be on call myself 24 seven with one our son but than typical kids to. We had three others that had means and they needed mom to take care of them and they were also trying to deal with the aftereffects of the stuff that had gone on with our son and they were trying to make sense of that so that also created behaviors in them that were also difficult. So it became her I was trying to constantly care for these really difficult situations, but I felt terrible.
Doing it and then he would walk in the door and I be ready to just check out I am is needed to. I didn't my body finally had the second to let down, and often he walk right back out and that that struggle in me would create. When do I get the out. I know he doesn't want to leave. I know he wants to be here, but I can't go on like this forever. I can't keep doing this. So in my mind to sacrifice here and I just can you be the one that is beaten to the ground. I just, I saw that my couldn't keep going on like this is getting sicker and sicker by the day and aren't situation was intense, if I would've been raising several white flags. Finally, we probably throw in a risk been thrown at me and you stop and think I'm in the early years of marriage are stressful.
Every couple you're making a just having four kids that stress will you throw on top of that, these health challenges, and these career issues.
I'm guessing that there are more couples who can identify with your story. Maybe not the specifics but they can feel those stress moments of trying to figure out how do we do this. How do we do this so that we can both not just survive, but so that we can build the what what we hope to build. We first got married. Marriage and family him and have all that be good. We've just scratched the surface on the challenges you guys have faced. Ultimately, your diagnosis was Lyme disease ran and and will talk more about this this week, but you've talked about this in your book together through the storms biblical encouragement for your marriage when life hurts and we want to make your book available to any family life to the list or who would like to get a copy of it if you can support this ministry with the donation would love to send you a copy of Jeff and Sarah's book again.
The title is together through the storms go to family life to the.com and others information there about how you can make a donation how you can receive a copy of the book family like today is listener supported you were able to listen to today's program because somebody cared enough about you to donate so that today's program could happen were asking you to do the same for others.
So if you go to family life today.com make a donation you can request your copy of Jeff and Sirs book together through the storms or if it's easier call us at one 800 FL today, one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today. Tomorrow we want to continue to her about the challenges Jeff and Sarah Walton placed in their marriage and how they had to lean into God to find the strength to endure those challenges. I hope you can be back with us for that conversation, thank our engineer today.
Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine see you back tomorrow for another additional family life today.
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