God Can Use MS as a Blessing
First off let me say that I would not wish MS on anyone. Nor do I believe that God gives people MS either as a blessing or a curse; MS, like all diseases, is a consequence of a fallen world and Adam and Eve’s free choice to disobey God. That said, I believe God can use the hard times in our lives to strengthen and bless us.
I must admit that I don’t particularly appreciate it when someone tells me that “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.” Most of the time, I want to respond that His idea of what I can handle and mine are worlds apart, but I must admit that for the most part, that saying is true. Or maybe it’s not. What I have found is that God doesn’t expect me to handle it alone.
I like to be in Control
I’m someone who wants to be in total control of my life. I don’t like the unexpected. I plan everything. I do not leave things to the last minute just in case something might come up. I like to know what’s happening and I want to have closure. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn as my caregiving requirements have increased was to let go of being in control. I’ve had to learn to trust God. Learning that I could not do everything myself was a tough lesson and one I continued to battle. Recognizing I’m not superwoman and I need help must be re-learned almost daily. It’s through all that I’ve had to learn that I have realized my greatest blessings.
Loved Being Part of Church
When Lynn and I got married, we both loved the churches to which we belonged before our marriage. Therefore, we decided rather than either of us give up our church home, we would find another one. We looked around but felt the most at home at Gethsemane Church of Christ in Mechanicsville. We both liked to sing, and I wanted to act. Lynn was a very talented tenor, and I was a passable alto, so we joined the choir. Through that, we became part of the cast annually for a Christmas dinner theater. We also joined the handbell choir, and Lynn became the drummer for the church praise band. I helped with the start-up of a support group called Discover Freedom (the group was initially started to support people with addictions but was soon found to help people with all types of needs). I also helped create a drama team and helped both write and present many of the scripts. We were at church 4 out of seven days and loved it. We made lots of friends and received many blessings from participation.
Lynn Became Weaker
Then, Lynn started getting weaker. First, he had to drop out of the choir. His fatigue was too much to allow him to sing or to stand and perform. Then he had trouble holding the drum sticks plus his legs got too stiff to drive safely, so he had to drop out of both the worship band and bells. I continued participating for a while. One day while I was away at a work conference, he fell and had to lie on the floor for three hours before I could get back to help him up. The trauma of that experience and the fact he became very overheated and dehydrated lying next to the heat register caused him to become very weak. He developed a post-traumatic stress disorder resulting in my needing to stay home more.
As a result, I ended up working from home more. He stopped going to church or anywhere else. Eventually, so did I so I could stay home to help him. We missed the fellowship from church and the opportunity to worship with our church family.
Came Home to Christmas
When we stopped going, it would have been easy for the church to forget us, but they didn’t. We get cards and phone calls all the time. The entire choir came last Christmas to sing Christmas carols. The church collected money, and one of the members built a beautiful wheelchair ramp for us. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Lynn was continuously in the hospital. A group came over to our house and decorated both inside and out so we could come home to Christmas cheer.
Church Met Our Needs
While at our house they saw our refrigerator was almost worn out and they brought in a second-hand one that was in much better condition than ours. A few months later, they collected money to put in a handicap shower, and two of the members installed it. Another group came by in the spring and helped remove several broken-down things in our yard. One of the members cooks our meals, and several donate money to her to cover her expenses. Someone else bakes bread for us every week, and another helps Lynn edit the books he writes. The blessings of this group are overwhelming! Our church takes such good care of us. We feel so loved and supported though we can give nothing in return. If we need something, all we do is mention the need and it’s provided. Our church demonstrates the love of Christ in the flesh.
Blessings from My Job
Then, there are also the blessings of my job. My supervisor is a wonderful, caring woman who has supported my need to work from home. She has approved me to have computer equipment set up so that I can work flexible hours. Furthermore, she allows me to work around Lynn’s care needs and the demands of my job knowing I’ll get my work done on time.
My team is fantastic as well, doing whatever I need to help me get information and keep up with things at work. My coworkers offer their support and encouragement and have sent me extra help such as carpet cleaning and meals during especially difficult times.
Blessing from My Family
Our children are always doing things for us and helping us out. Our parents and siblings do the same. As you can see, we have blessings upon blessings. Though God hasn’t chosen to remove Lynn’s MS, He has been there for us throughout the journey, helping us each step along the way. When I can’t do things myself, He sends someone along to help me/us out.
I hope you have a church home. If not, I encourage you to find a church like ours–one that lives their faith and puts into practice what Jesus taught us, to love your neighbors as yourself. God’s blessing can be more than you ever imagined.