One would think, because I’ve had MS for nearly 15 years, that it wouldn’t keep surprising me. Every time I leave the house, I come home exhausted. I was sharing with my husband yesterday about how I’m sick and tired of being surprised and disappointed by the same old thing. So yesterday, when I came back and finally sat at the kitchen table, he approached me: “Come on Anna. You can’t let this keep surprising you, remember? What’s your go-to verse?” My….verse? “Yeah, for when you start getting disappointed. You don’t have one yet?” So that’s what we did. We spat off verse references that can help me when I’m disappointed that I don’t have any energy. Again. Here is our list that we came up with quickly!:
Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
John 16:33: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
God sees me, and He knows my frustration. Some how, some way, this will all work out for the best. It’s part of His plan. I have no idea why, after sitting outside for an hour, I’m still shocked that I can’t walk well (um, worse than before. I just don’t walk well, period). Why, after getting down on the floor to play with Lydia, I sit and just need to stay there for a bit. (I don’t crawl around so much anymore. I just tell her our Barbies (or unicorns or whatever toy we’re playing with) will drive to the park, and the park will be within my reach. Or some other half-way compromise. She’s awesome for (most of the time) working with me.) She just w! ants to continue playing with Mommy, so she follows my…stipulations? We’re both happy– I get to play with her longer periods of time!
God is my help. He uses my weaknesses for His good. In fact, His power is made PERFECT in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Even my very obvious physical weaknesses. As I continue to internalize this truth and recall the scriptures I had memorized years prior (for this purpose, actually), I will remember that I am strong in Christ.
In Exodus 23, we tune in to the soliloquy of when God is instructing His people about going to the promised land. Starting in verse 20, God tells them, “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. (22) If you listen carefully to what my angel says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.” He goes on to talk about how he will drive out the peoples before them. But verses 29-30 caught my attention:
But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
Wow. We want God to do everything, miraculously, “right quick,” as my Appalachian friends would say (Okay, I’ve adopted that phrase as well. That’s how my mom can tell I’ve been in East Kentucky for four years!). But God’s not all about the right quick, the immediate. Sure, it happened in the New Testament, when Jesus commanded the crippled to get up and walk or the blind to see. It still happens today. But the Israelites couldn’t handle the immediate, and God knew what would happen if they did. They didn’t.
I think about my own body, affected by Multiple Sclerosis and lack of taking care of my body for so many years, especially up front. God probably could heal me with a touch. But He has told me that He won’t. Basically, He has told me that I’m standing at the edge of the ocean, ankle deep. I just want to run in, but God doesn’t want that. Jesus will hold my hand as I take one step after another, little by little, until I’m immersed in the water. I sometimes imagine the Holy Spirit as water. If we’re standing in the water, we still have the majority of control. But once we’re immersed, the ocean can take us where it will. [Song: Oceans] God told me that I will not get knocked over by the waves, though they come against me. I realize that if I were to run into the ocean, I would fall almost immediately. There’s a reason I’m being healed little by little.
Here is some proof I have: One of my first symptoms of MS was a lack of fine touch. I have that now, and I can do my daughter’s hair! I mean, she’s a wiggly toddler now, but I CAN do it. (Especially if I’m tag-teaming with someone else who distracts her!) That happened last September. I thought more things would be happening immediately then, but I know better now.
Most recent proof? I usually stop drinking water between 6 and 7 at night, because otherwise it’s 3+ trips to the bathroom. I am straight-cathed every day. It used to be multiple times a day, but now amounts are way less! A year ago, we were getting 250 CC’s each time. Now? Anywhere from 180 (if I’ve been hydrating) to 80! I drank water until after 9 pm last night, and I ONLY GOT UP ONCE. And that was about the time my taking-medicine-before-bed stuff runs through my system. I am now being cathed once daily, and it has recently been 100 CC’s most days. God is healing my bladder!
Every day, I pray, “Thank you, God, for my healing and restoration!” I believe I have been healed by the Spirit. I am no longer hospitalized for strep or a cold, as I was soon before and after Lydia was born. I have scripture plastered on my bathroom wall with post-its and pieces of paper taped up (my bathroom is the only inner room I could find in my house that I could get at. See the movie “War Room” for why I do this).
Anyway, getting back to the topic I started with. God sees the big picture, and he knows what would happen if we all got what we wanted immediately. I have asked more people to pray for my healing and restoration, as well. God hears us. He’s told me so!
Press on, friends! God has everything under control!
On September 29, 2017, I was healed of MS. I was able to feel
fine texture with my fingers again. Muscles were firing that hadn’t in more than ten years. Later that week, I had strep throat, and I wasn’t bed-ridden or extra-weak like usual. I could not deny. I praised God for my healing daily. I wrote about that in this blog.
On the night of November 3, 2017, I couldn’t even sleep for the spasms of my muscles. Doug didn’t sleep much, either. I saw the clock every hour that night. I don’t know if I was awake from hour to hour or if I was awake the whole time. Lies had been flooding my head for a few days. I thought about goals I had set for myself that I hadn’t met. Steps I had tried to take, but didn’t actually. Maybe shuffled my foot forward. But I wasn’t even walking toward them. The next morning, I was as weak as I am when a relapse hits me hard. Neither Doug nor I knew what was going on; I had felt fine the evening before. We called in Lindsey, the nanny that wasn’t supposed to be there until later that day, to come in as fast as she could. After Lindsey and Doug helped me into the car, we went to the ER. By God’s grace, there weren’t many others there at 8am on Saturday morning. They checked me out for an infection of any kind. Blood count was fine, urine was healthy, strep test came back negative, chest x-ray looked good, heart was fine. I had totally expected to be admitted. They let me go hours after getting there with the diagnosis of an MS flare-up because I hadn’t been taking my medicine. They didn’t give me steroids or a plan, except, “follow up with your family doc.” I have never been released while I was still so weak.
So why was I a two-person assist again? Doug, who would have been at the library studying all day, stayed home so he’d be there to help when I needed it. Lindsey had to stay later in the day so I wouldn’t be alone. I’m healed, aren’t I? It was a fight. I battled depression a lot of the day. I slept a lot, but when I was awake, I recited scriptures on healing out loud. Over and over. I’d been having trouble staying strong after a matter of hours. I cried out to the Lord that I would keep strength through all of church the next day. Doug posted on a bunch of Facebook groups and contacted family and stuff. “We are declaring for God to rid Anna of MS once and for all and for His help. He has helped every time before, and He will do it again. Faithful is He.” That night, Doug and I knew we needed a miracle. Doug wouldn’t be able to stay home anymore, as his board exam is coming up soon. We have three nannies, but they’re not available to come two at a time.
The next day, I was stronger than the day before. At least I started out that way. I just prayed it would stay. And I went to church, where I received a ton of encouragement and prayer. We stayed in the church even after everyone left, and prayed. We knew we were in the midst of a battle, the enemy attacking us and those we closely interact with. After my afternoon nap, I didn’t need my wheelchair anymore!
I have been carrying around the healing scriptures and reading them. What other explanation is there for my healing this weekend than the marvelous work of God, the Healer, the Lord Almighty? I know I am in a spiritual battle, and I am standing with many brothers and sisters in Christ who are agreeing with me, as I stand with so many of them in their own battles.
If you would, you can stand with me. Pass these scriptures on to some of your own friends when you need a healing yourself. Read them out loud. You could need healing in your relationships, body, mind, or spirit. It is ALWAYS God’s will to heal you. So if you’re waiting for his will…that’s that. It is.
Psalm 107:20 “He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”
Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Isaiah 58:8 “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Jeremiah 30:7 “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord, because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.”
Jeremiah 33:6 “Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”
James 5:14-15 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
Matthew 4:23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
1 Peter 2:24, “’He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”
Let these scriptures, read out loud, be the sword you fight with in your own battle. Pick up that helmet of salvation to guard your thoughts, your breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart, the belt of truth so you do not doubt what you have seen and heard. Tie on the gospel-ready shoes which will give you peace, and don’t forget to pick up that shield of faith, which can block the incoming attacks of the Enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are in a battle, my friend. May God be with you!
I showed up for my MRI at the time and place I was told to be. I hadn’t gotten an MRI at this hospital before, but I made sure to check and double check with my neurologist’s staff that this was right. I showed up and…. I’m not even on the schedule. The gal I needed to talk with at my neurologist’s office was on lunch, and I had traveled a good 40 minutes to get where I was told to be. I started getting angry. So, Karen (nanny), Lydia, and I went out to the car and I made some phone calls. I passed the office number to Doug. I shared with my mother my frustrations. Karen was also a little agitated, I think. So, Karen goes back into the building to talk with the staff. “Don’t worry,” she told me. “I’ll get it straightened out.” I smiled, because I’ve heard this southern woman straightening things out before. When she comes back to the car, she gets my walker back out and tells me that they’re gonna squeeze me in. Doug calls me around the same time and tells me that the neurologist’s office is re-sending the orders and I’d get my MRI today. (Yay!)
So, right after the MRI was done, Doug and I got to look at it with a radiologist. You know how I’d declared in the name of Jesus there would be no more MS there? Well, there was. The MS was still apparent in my brain. Nothing was active, but you could definitely see it there. I was so disappointed. The next day, I recorded this conversation I had with God:
Even if the scan shows there is MS in your brain, do you still believe you are healed? Yes, of course. I cannot deny what I have seen and experienced. Do you believe you are healed, even if it will take a lot of work on your part to show everyone? …yes. I must proclaim the wonders I know you have done. But will I still need to take medicine for the MS? I’m not going to tell you that now. Just trust me, okay? I will trust you. I know and believe with my heart that I am healed, no matter what the scans say. Lord, I pray you’ll keep me strong. I pray on the armor of God to protect my thoughts and my emotions. I am in your hands, God! Thank you for your faith in me. Now go, and sin no more.
I’m just bummed, I guess. When I declared that there would be no evidence in my MRI of MS, I guess that was me hoping more than God telling me it would be so. Probably. I mean, I know he can do it. I had it all figured out, how I’d be able to prove to everyone by showing them my MS-free scan that I’ve been healed. But maybe that’s just it. Maybe I’m not supposed to have it all figured out. I still am healed. I’ve been sick this week, which has made my body feel like it did when the MS was still there, but I know it’s not. God’s got my back. This is my miracle, and I’m going to run with it.
Jesus didn’t meet anyone’s expectations. His disciples expected him to reign king and overthrow Rome. But…he died. What did they feel that Good Friday night? And then, Jesus shattered expectations by defeating death and rising again. He paid the price for you and for me, so that we could live in paradise with him forever. But he didn’t meet his disciples’ expectations. He blew them out of the water! God didn’t meet my expectations, either, but I’m expecting bigger things than what my little human brain can come up with. God will follow through, too, because he ALWAYS does. Just…according to his plan, not ours.
In church on Sunday morning, I was so encouraged by my family there. They believe I am healed, too. One sister told me, “Miracles are instant, but healing can take time.” She laughed. “How else would you have been able to jump like you did last week?”
I cannot deny, nor will I ever, the miracle that God has done in me. May it glorify His name forever and ever! Amen.
This last weekend was amazing. I attended the “Awake and Arise” Conference on Friday and Saturday, where Buddy and Veronica McGlothlin ministered to us. We met in a storefront building on Hambley Boulevard in Pikeville, KY. I didn’t go expecting to be healed, but I knew God had used Veronica to do so many times in the past. I didn’t expect it, even though friends of mine were excited I could go because it was possible. I’ve been disappointed too many times in the past when expectations did not meet reality. But when Veronica came to minister healing to me, she asked me if I believed God could do anything. “Absolutely,” I responded. Buddy, Veronica, their daughter, Elissa, and others were praying for me. And I believed. I received it, and I thanked God for healing me. But as soon as I returned to my seat, I had doubts. The evening continued, where it was talked and sung about the fact that God can do anything. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” and verse 21 finishes the sentence, “to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.”
I wrote in my journal, “I declare in the name of Jesus that my MRI will show NO lesions, not a trace. I BELIEVE with my heart, Lord!”
We talked about Joshua and Caleb. They believed God when the rest of Israel did not. We are a Joshua generation! God says to arise and take your mountain! I wrote in my journal, “God has given me health, and I am reclaiming it!”
While we all came to the front and Veronica was ministering to us again, Doug came up and told me, “Jump!” I was like, “What?” He said, “God told me to tell you to jump!” And so I slowly bent my knees and JUMPED! Both of my feet got some air! I jumped and landed without losing my balance. I could. Not. Jump. At all. Before. Especially while keeping my balance. I kept battling doubts in my mind, but I was successfully trampling them down.
When we fellowshipped after, I told some others about the MRI that would be clear on the following Friday, and they all got excited and agreed with me completely. Buddy commented that he could see my faith, and it was exciting. On our way home, Doug and I listened to the song “Hey Devil” by TobyMac. We sang very loud to the chorus: “Hey, Devil, go on, get your junk out of here, I don’t need you, I don’t need you! Hey, Devil, go on, get your junk out of here, I don’t need you, so move on!”
Saturday afternoon was the last part of the conference. I spoke with Veronica and Elissa before the session began, and told them how Doug had told me to jump, and I did. I even jumped again for them.
As we were singing, Veronica left from ministering to one individual to come to me. She touched me and said in my ear, “God hears you. You’ve been waiting, and he’s heard you.” Or something like that. Honestly, after she had ministered to me Friday night, I thought I wasn’t worthy enough of her prophesying or being specific to me. But she was then. As the singing continued. Doug leaned over to tell me, “I have to go to the bathroom, but take your brace off.” So I did! Now, that shoe did not have an insert along. And it turns out that my muscles don’t remember how exactly to work properly. But I could raise my left foot! That was my second MS symptom, I think, back in 2004. I showed Doug as soon as he got back. In his journal, he wrote, “9/30 is the new 10/13”. Instead of remembering the date I was diagnosed with a celebration of life, we will remember the day I was healed!
It was a different feel on Saturday, but I loved it. Veronica spoke over everyone, and while doing so, she pointed toward me and said that God has broken off the generational curse of MS in my family. She said some other things that pertained to me, as well, but the whole time she was speaking, I could just sense Jesus hugging me and smiling down at me. I told him in my heart “Forever you will receive glory for this!”
On Saturday night, Doug, my husband and student osteopathic doctor, was feeling and testing muscles that would always have trouble firing before. Those muscles, though weak, are activating again! I can feel everything with my fingers (that was the first MS symptom back in 2004), and my leg has all the sensation back! Stretching my left hamstring was like stretching a normal hamstring, not the feisty and resistant left leg he’d always stretched before. My muscles get fatigued easily, because it has been almost 13 years of incorrectly using them. But I’m using them! I wore my brace to church the following Sunday, for stability reasons, as my muscles are still weak. But, after some PT and time using everything again, I’m positive my body will function as it’s supposed to once again. As I was 13 when I was diagnosed, I don’t even really remember what a normal functioning body is supposed to feel like. But hey, I’m going to get to find out!
I had stopped taking my MS medicine in July, as we wanted to get pregnant again. I’d have to be off my medicine for four months before even trying to get pregnant. We had decided earlier in September to adopt instead, but I hadn’t let my neurologist know yet. On Sunday, a gal at church told Doug that for the last month or so, I’d been looking worse and worse when she saw me at church each week. But THAT DAY. I looked so much better! Had I been there, I would have added that not even a dose of my medicine could make me that much better that fast!
I found out on Tuesday that I have strep throat. I’m feeling tired, but I’m still able to walk and function! Whenever I had been getting sick in the last few years, it meant a worsening of my left sided weakness, and sometimes even paralysis. But I’m up and walking. My body feels tired like it did every day with the MS. I asked the question “Why?” but then God gives me this look. “It’s quite humanly normal to be tired when you’re sick, Anna.” Man, once I’m recovered and do some PT? I’m so excited to tell everybody and show off my clean MRI, as compared to the last one. God will continue to prove himself in wondrous ways!
Many of you know me in real life. I am very determined and usually have a good attitude. But, today I want to talk to you about weaknesses.
My physical weaknesses are obvious. I’m not physically strong, and I’ve tired out easily since the MS became a thing (especially because I always seem to push myself so stinkin’ hard). I know that there are a lot of things that I can’t do, and I have mostly stopped trying to do them. I could make this a whole big long post about the many struggles I’ve had with this over the last decade, but I don’t want to. Just know that it was a process, and it certainly didn’t come about easily.
The internal weaknesses of every person are unseen and personal. It was a huge mental battle to overcome the fact that I couldn’t take care of Lydia by myself, but I’m finally okay with it. I love the nannies we have that come to help me at home when Doug is at work! I can’t pick Lydia up and move her, but I can entice her to come to this other corner of the room with me. I can’t keep up when she’s crawling away (foot drop), but I can grab her foot and drag her back toward me, which makes her laugh (she laughs when I’m trying to crawl after her, too). I can’t walk around with Lydia, but I can hold her and cuddle her when I’m seated just fine. I can’t manage taking Lydia places on my own, but God always sends somebody to help me. Besides, it’s way more fun for them to get to be my blessing. Another plus? I usually get a good chat out of it.
I manage my energy well. I no longer try to do the things I can’t, but instead be the best at things I can. I am thankful for my physical weaknesses, because they don’t allow me to be the perfectionist at everything I wish I could be. That, in all honesty, is not at all realistic. I’ve done the whole “trying to be perfect.” And it’s exhausting. When I think about how I can’t physically do something, I think about how trying to do it could hurt me more than help me. This is where I am at right now.
This last week, I was talking to God about my hopes for healing one day. His response? “Don’t focus on what I can do. Focus on what I am doing right now.” Since this revelation, my eyes have been opened to random conversations I’ve had with strangers here and there, and how much it has impacted. Maybe it has impacted them, but each time, God tells me, “See? I have a reason for everything. You were needed right here, right now.” Why do I have to go get infusions every month for my medicine? To have wonderful conversations with other patients and the nurses who work there. Why was it taking me so much time and energy at Walmart this week? So that the couple walking past me could help put my groceries into the trunk of my car. Why do I still have my blog, though it has fallen out of a routine and is random, most of the time? So that you, the person reading this post right now, might just be encouraged.
A year ago, I was just getting strong enough and able to take care of myself again after living with my parents for three months. After that, I could move back home with my husband in Kentucky. We (Doug) moved into a one story house and had made sure it was handicap accessible before I got back. Pregnancy plus multiple sclerosis (MS) is ideally supposed to help the MS, even though it’s not on meds. Well, as I learned (even though I almost already knew), I am an exceptional case. Without meds, the MS in my body was pretty terrible. I’d gone without meds for a few years right after I was diagnosed with MS, until we found a drug that worked. For the first time in ten years, I was going MS-med-free, and it seemed to be going the same way. I would get an infection, and it would trigger a relapse. New lesions appeared in my brain during pregnancy. The day after I gave birth, I tried a new med that’s supposed to help patients with MS, too (not that it’s been researched tons yet). And although new lesions didn’t appear in my brain, the weakness was still pretty terrible.
In October, I was hospitalized when I became septic with a bladder, kidney, and blood infection all at once. When I get sick, I usually lose all strength in my body. After I was discharged (and stronger because antibiotics were helping me), I started some home health physical therapy (PT) in November. In January, I started up on outpatient PT, starting at the strongest I had ever been than working with that particular PTist, Judy. (She’d worked with me when I was pregnant, too.) I told Judy the first day I saw her that I wanted to ditch the walker. And pretty soon I was walking with two arm canes, and now, if I walk with an arm cane, I only use one! I still use my walker when I’m real tired, but those times are limited. (Yay!) Then, I started up on this walking machine thing called the Lokomat.
Basically, I go through the motions of walking, with about 50% of the effort on me. I also am not bearing any weight. For the first time in years, I don’t have to use most all my muscles to activate a weak one. The longest I have gone is for 30 minutes (as of April 3). This has also helped me with my stability! For the first time since January 2016, I have been able to stand for a whole shower, instead of needing a shower bench to sit on part way (or the whole way) through.
We have hired help at home (my caretaker/nanny) that helps me take care of my little girl, as I still can’t transfer her well or really walk with her yet. Whoever is there is also my hands and feet, as I still get tired pretty easily by running around or lifting things. And I call it “supervision” of me to make sure I don’t do something I probably shouldn’t be doing. They’ve been with me since Lydia was three weeks old, and in that time, I have better learned to ask for help when I need it. (Um, Lydia is now seven months old. SEVEN! Next thing I know, she’ll be off to school!? Lol.) Amanda, the gal who comes to our house to help me out that’s closest to my age, has become a dear friend of mine. I guess that longing for a friend to just sit and have coffee with I’ve had for years has finally been fulfilled!
So, I’m making a ton of progress. And, we just found out that after more than a MONTH, the only MS med that has ever really worked for me has FINALLY been cleared by my new insurance company, so I can start taking that again! I can’t even imagine my improvements after that starts! But don’t worry, I’ll keep ya’ll updated. 😀
Hugs, everyone! (Even if I don’t know you, I’m gonna send you a hug. I like hugs, and I’m excited about this stuff.)
When I was diagnosed with MS, I think every single neurologist I saw warned me about pregnancy. Mind you, I was 13 years old! Then, before Doug and I were married, my neuro talked through what pregnancy would be like with both of us. I would have to go off of the only MS medicine that has ever worked for me, let it get out of my system, and then try and get pregnant. Doug and I had planned carefully when we should move forth with a family, knowing that God held it all in his hands.
My last dose of Tysabri was taken in September. It would take three months for it to get out of my system, and it would be completely out by December. Mind you, my body has not been without medicine since 2006. But as I usually do, I push through all the MS-stuff that gets in my way. We didn’t really notice anything until the middle or the end of December. We found out weeks later that I had actually gotten pregnant by then! Yay!
I started a full-blown relapse about the beginning of January. Church ladies had been super helpful, but when my husband chose taking care of me above school, we knew something had to be done. Me, always in contact with my neuro, got on some steroids right away, but I was admitted into the hospital, where I could have constant care and not worry about silly falls. My parents were in Florida at a farmer’s conference thing, so the decision was made for me to go home with them the remaining of first trimester. Then, Doug could concentrate on school and not spend every spare moment worried about me, and I could have some more constant care by those who were there when the whole MS thing started.
Since I’ve been home, I got on another three-days of steroids, have actually seen my neuro at the Mayo Clinic, and saw my baby on an ultrasound! Each day I get stronger. You know, until the days I realized just how much I’d pushed myself the previous day. Then it’s back in a wheelchair and resting so that I can accidently push myself on another day. Tomorrow, I head back to the Mayo Clinic to see PT and OT. THEY will decide when I can head back, in a way. Can I take care of myself? Can I stand and not fall? Can I WALK and not fall?
It KILLS me to have to be here, waiting to get better. I’ve decided to DO something about it, though. I want to hold and to play with my baby when he or she is born. I have been putting off PT orders since I was diagnosed back in middle school. But now I have a reason to want to keep up doing what I still can. Daily stretching? Daily exercise? I‘ve been down this road before. What I do today may not be noticed by my body for days or even weeks. I may wear myself out too far and knock me down for a couple days. But Baby M.
Thank you all for the prayers that have been sent up on my behalf. Keep them coming! MS is nasty, and all my frustration toward the situation is aimed at that. But I AM getting better! Even on weak days, I notice things I can do that I hadn’t been able to do before. Stay well, my friends! I will write again sooner than later! ❤
2 Corinthians 1:8-10: 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.
I have been looking into spiritual warfare a lot lately. I have also been reflecting on my inward struggles and have decided to draw up a battle plan. My biggest inward struggle is against the depression and anxiety that try to control the rest of me. It has been since I can remember. I am at a much better place than I once was. The biggest current struggle now, is that the serotonin-deprived parts of my brain are trying to convince me that it’s not worth exercising or stretching every day. It’ll tire me out and prevent me from getting anything else done today. It might get better for a little while, but then one slip up, and I’ll be right back where I started. It’s almost Thanksgiving, when we’ll be flying back to Minnesota. Car rides and flights always set me back. Why bother? This is a lie I have struggled with for FAR too long.
This spiritual battle wages because we are given the power to overcome sin’s grasps when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. There is no battle when there is no opposing side. The Spirit of God brings us to life spiritually, but we still live in these bodies of flesh that still have a sinful nature. Thus, the battles rages—but victory is assured because we are in Christ! (Matthew 26:41; Romans 7:14-20; Galatians 6:16-17)
In Genesis 4, Cain gets angry that God didn’t look upon him and his sacrifices with favor as God did with his brother, Abel. God addresses it in verses 6 and 7: “6 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’” God tells us to fight against sinful feelings! These feelings of depression and anxiety? THEY DON’T CONTROL ME!
Isaiah 53:4-5: “4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for out transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Here, we discover that Jesus went to the cross for our body, soul, and spirit. His suffering was not just for our soul’s salvation, but the HEALING of our soul, as well! He brings us peace—because not only are our sins on that cross, but so are EMOTIONS, FEELINGS, and everything we can imagine! Frustrated? Nail it to the cross. Depressed? Nail it to the cross. Anxious? It’s on the cross!
I know these are a lot of scriptures, but these battle plans need more than just words of mine. You see, the word of God is the sword of the spirit. And with the faith that we receive by reading these verses of truth, we can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16-17). I shall continue.
The very first scripture I wrote was a time when Paul was depressed. So depressed that he despaired of life itself. In 1 Kings 19:3-4, we see Elijah when he is depressed. “3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom brush, sat down under it, and prayed he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’” Here, we see Elijah in isolation. Depression THRIVES on isolation. Shame is in the driver’s seat when depression shows up. “I am no better than my ancestors who died in the desert before seeing the Promised Land. Kill me, too!” That sounds an awful lot like what I said earlier in this post: It’s not worth exercising. I’ll just go backwards, anyway. I’ll just have this disability forever. Ahh!
How do I fight this? I need to focus on God changing ME instead of what’s around me. In Matthew 14, Jesus is walking on the water, and Peter asks to be called out, too. Picking up in verse 30: “But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” Peter didn’t pray for the storm to stop, he prayed, “Lord, do a work in me! Reach down and rescue me!” – THEN, the storm stopped! I’m not going to wait until I get miraculously better or I “feel like” exercising or stretching. I can’t keep praying that I’ll “feel like” exercising and stretching more. I just need to DO IT. Because I know that when I take a step, God will be there to guide it. Peter walked on the water until he saw his circumstances and got scared. I’ve been scared too long.
I talked a lot about exercising and stretching for my MS in this post, which is definitely something I need to be doing. I have been dealing with a lot of other lies that this battle plan will help to eliminate. The first step of what I need to do is to straighten all these things out in my mind. Actions are the follow through of thoughts, and I need to start there. Instead of praying that I’ll get more work and that it will pick up, how about I start doing the work I have better? It all starts in my mind.
“…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:9b-10).
He looked straight into my eyes. Even though there was much motion going on around us, he never broke eye contact. All day I could feel him looking straight into my eyes. I would always look to him, as well. When I was distressed about what this MS will do to me in the future, he cupped my face in his hands. “I will help you,” he told me.
“Will you heal me?” I asked.
“I will be with you, and I will help you through everything. Trust me?” he asked.
“Yes, Lord,” I answered.
Time passes. The MS gets better, then it gets worse. Then it gets better again. Even though I worry, I hear the echo of Jesus’ whisper. “I’ve got this. Don’t worry.” Even though I catch myself worrying at times, my heart beats with my reply, “I trust you, God.”
More time passes. I graduate college. I get married. New worries arise. Again, I look up into the ever-loving eyes of my Savior. As before, there is motion in the background, but I’m not looking anywhere. Suddenly, Jesus’ face turns into Doug’s.
“I will be with you, and I will help you through it all,” Doug told me. And I know it’s true. Because I trust my Lord, and he’s the one who sent my husband to me.
“What if the MS does something terrible to me in the future? How am I going to be able to handle children someday?” My frantic voice raises. “I can’t even handle myself!”
Jesus talks, and it’s Doug’s voice that I hear. “Read this verse, Matthew 6:34.”
So I do. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Doug looks at me with the compassion in his eyes that I know comes from our Lord. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, Anna. There are a million and one tomorrows until you even have to think about taking care of kids. By time that comes, you won’t even be worrying about it! You will just do.”
I nod my head as I pick up my journal, so that Doug can’t hear my conversation with God. I confess to Him my worries. I tell Him my fears. And then I give everything to Him. I even thanked Him for the MS, because I have to rely on God for my everything.
“My power is made perfect in weakness,” God tells me through his word. Oh, how I know it’s true! When I am weak, my God is strong. I asked for help taking care of my body, and he sent me a doctor-husband who is as sold out for God as I am. When my body is weak, God shows his strength through me. How else could I write such words tonight? 😉