Thursday, July 25, 2019
Stepping on an IED was just the beginning of the struggle for his life
Part 2 of an interview with
Carlos and Rosemarie Evans,
Authors of Standing Together
During his fourth deployment, US Marine Corps Sergeant Carlos Evans stepped on an IED--and the loss of both legs and his left hand was just the beginning of the struggle for his life.
For the next two years, he and his wife, Rosemarie, went through the rehabilitation process together. As a nurse and mother of two young children, Rosemarie was used to caring for people, but the task of taking care of her triple-amputee husband brought new challenges every day. In addition to his limb loss, Carlos faced PTSD and developed an addiction to painkillers. He was sure Rosemarie's life would be better without him--and that it might have been better if he hadn't survived at all.
But unlike the majority of marriages put under similar strain, Carlos and Rosemarie stayed together. With the help of family, friends, and--most importantly--a strong faith, they've built a solid marriage and discovered a ministry they never expected. By the hand of God, their story, which began in devastation, has turned into one that draws in and lifts up more people than either of them would ever have dreamed.
Q: Many marriages have crumbled under the weight of trials less life-altering than what the two of you went through, however, you’ve come out the other side stronger. Can you share some of the decisions you made along the way to fight for your marriage?
Rosemarie: There were many difficult decisions made during that period. First, we needed to prioritize roles. There were times a decision left me feeling unsatisfied, but we had to focus on what was needed in the moment. We always tried to make decisions together. It didn’t matter that Carlos was injured, we consulted each other on every decision. Carlos was injured, but he was still the head of the family. We encouraged each other. When Carlos felt ready to give up, I encouraged him. When I was feeling defeated, Carlos encouraged me. Overall, the most important thing was to pray for guidance. In this situation, we understood we were not self-sufficient. We needed God to give us the strength to continue every day.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges in facing your new normal?
Carlos: I feared not being able to be the husband I promised Rosemarie I would be. I feared not being able to be a father to my daughters. I also feared rejection from other people. I didn’t love my new body. I wasn’t born without legs and one hand. Everything was new to me: Not being able to walk, to drive my car, to do things we take for granted. I was afraid I was no longer able to be independent. Living with constant pain was one of the biggest challenges.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who may not be seeking help for their depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or even addiction?
Carlos: Trying to help someone that is not actively seeking help is very challenging. It could be the person has not recognized that he or she has a problem. In my situation, I had people who confronted me, showing me that my actions were hurting me and the people who loved me. My personal advice would be do not push away the people in your life that care about and help you. Also, believe the best days of your life are not behind you, but ahead of you. I would say to somebody in that situation you are not the only person facing PTSD or addiction, so look for a professional or a support group. They can share examples of how they have faced similar situations.
Q: What were some of the ways you saw God working in your recovery?
Carlos: In the beginning, my questions were, “Where is God? and “Why me?” During my recovery, I understood God has always been there, taking care of me. He was with my Marines when I stepped on the IED. He was with my wife and daughters, giving them strength so they could comfort me. God was with the doctors, nurses, family, friends and many strangers who have become family. I saw God was making me a better father, husband and person. Each time we shared our story with someone, I saw God using my recovery for good.
Q: When did you realize God was preparing you for full-time ministry? What doors started to open for you?
Carlos: Since I was a little kid, I served in ministry. It was deep inside of my heart. After my injury, we started to share our experience with family and friends. Our scars became our platform—in churches, via TV, at the White House, on Military bases, in schools and correctional facilities, all over the United States, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.
Q: You say, “Standing has nothing to do with having feet.” What do you mean by that?
Carlos: In my life, standing is living God’s purpose in my life. Also, serving in my community, being a father and husband, and leading by example means standing in my life.
My daughter, Nairoby, taught me a lesson about standing. She was five years old and playing and running all over the apartment. She told me, “Now you run Papi, you run Papi!” I told her I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t run right now. I didn’t have the legs to be able to. I went to my room crying, and Rosemarie asked me why. I told her why, and she replied, “Don’t you see that she doesn’t see what you can’t do? She looks at you as Papi.” That’s what it means to stand.
Q: Where can people learn more about Touching Lives Leaving Footprints and C.R. Evans Ministries?
Carlos: You can go to CREvans.org as well as on Facebook (CR Evans), Instagram (@crevans923) and Twitter (@crevans923).