I grew up in the northeastern part of the United States; my husband grew up in the mid-south. We met at the University of Missouri where I was working as an R.N. and my husband to be was in medical school. Over lunch one day, we shared our Christian faith and our individual involvement in the Christian Medical Society. Within a year, we were married and I was living 1200 miles from my home. At first, that was not a big deal. I had married a wonderfully charismatic, fun-loving, entertaining guy. He made up songs to sing to me. He met me for 2:00 a.m. breaks when I worked night shifts. He cleaned ice from my car windshield in the winter and left romantic notes. I was happy with the love of my life and fulfilled with my own career.
When I became a mother, life was thrilling and I loved my own little family. Soon, it was time for OB-GYN residency for my husband. For the next three years, I saw very little of my mate except when he was sleeping. Between being on call, surgery, clinics, and studying, sleeping was all he got to do at home. I had total responsibility for the children and my own happiness.
I thought life would change after residency. However, developing his practice was important for my husband, and commitment to his career was a high priority. We move ten times in the first ten years of our marriage. I found myself somewhat disillusioned, lonely, and unhappy.
One day during a conversation, my husband gently reminded me I was responsible for my own happiness. His reminder prompted me to read some books about self-esteem, happiness in marriage, self improvement, and so on. After some painful self-evaluation, I developed goals for myself and wrote a statement of purpose for my life.
Short term goals:
- Develop regular Bible reading and prayer habits
- Lose weight
- Exercise regularly
- Foster friendships
- Visit my family and friends in Pennsylvania every 6-12 months
- Provide a loving, peaceful, and safe home for my family
Long term goals:
- Live a life totally committed to God's will
- Have a fulfilling marriage
- Raise children who would love the Lord for a lifetime
Consequently, my dependence on the Lord deepened. I started praying about everything, anywhere. To this day, I love driving on road trips and communicating with God while I'm driving. Renewal and revival times came for me while I was driving to see my mother and dad during their last years.
My desire for intellectual stimulation, need for friends, and goals for my family were all met as I got involved in my children's activities at school and church. Because I was available and interested, I was given opportunities to serve and to provide leadership. As my family grew and matured, the activities changed and brought new challenges to my life. When our youngest son left for college 12 years ago, I returned to a nursing position in a physician’s office. Recently, I interviewed for a hospital position and I am excited about the new challenges that position will bring.
Although we have had to face struggles, temptations, and difficulties, we have had a happy and fulfilling marriage. My husband is a very successful OB-GYN specialist. He is happy because I have found fulfillment. Our children are doing well, serving the Lord with their spouses, and we are blessed with four grandchildren.
God is sufficient!
Joyce Dement is a nurse, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband, Gene, live near Joplin, Missouri.