Here’s what I have to say to my illness.
Wretched multiple sclerosis (MS),
You may have whittled down my ability to teach. You may have invaded my brain with countless lesions. Making it difficult for me to meet the demands of full-time teaching. But, I’m still teaching occasionally. You may suck the energy out of my body. But, not my life. I’m NOT gone. Neither are my skills and talents.
Always defiant and victorious, Vicki
Life created by God:
Consider a forsythia bush. It maintains the potential to display beauty regardless of the season. In winter, its branches look dead. But, deep inside its lifeless appearance lays a vibrant life.
I’m like that winter branch. I still have the potential to share God’s love regardless of my symptoms. I’ve found new ways to bless others. Instead of baking cookies, I snap photographs of God’s creation. And use them to design calendars.
Regardless of the seasons in my life, I remain the person God created me to be. I have the assurance that, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:14a). MS hasn’t destroyed who I am. My disease may have altered my plans. But, my illness can’t demolish God’s plan for my life.
Similarly, mental illness (MI) may have stripped your children of their desire to do anything. But, it hasn’t robbed them of their God-given talents and skills. Ask God to reveal evidence of those abilities.
God has given me glimpses of my son’s talents and skills. Chris occasionally plays his keyboard. The music I hear doesn’t merely fill me with pride. It fills me with gratitude.
That’s the Chris I know and love.
Recently, Chris was telling me about the operating system (OS) he had created for computers.
“Check out my website, Mom. Visitors will find instructions how to install the free OS.”
When I clicked on his site, I had no clue what it all meant, but was amazed. I was blown away by the clarity of his language. Obviously, MI hadn’t robbed him of his technical ability, or his ability to explain directions in understandable terms.
Life with a purpose:
Has despondency has left your child with little or no motivation to function? Or does your child desperately want to contribute, but isn’t sure how? Does MI seem to present insurmountable obstacles?
Do you look at our child with MI and wonder what will become of him? You’re not alone. Many grapple with the question, “What gives meaning to my child’s life?”
Perhaps, you’re determined that his existence won’t be all about MI. Ask God to arouse in him a desire to use his creativity or skills. Seek God’s wisdom to discern His plan for your child.
Power for living:
We imagine our kids living a life full of challenges. And our hearts are broken. What hope can we gain from the Bible? Did anyone face unending trials? The apostle Paul did. So, when he shares hopeful words, we listen.
First, read what Paul endured:
“Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
It’s no surprise that Paul didn’t think he could endure it any longer. Join me in my “conversation” with Paul.
When you reached your limit, what did you do, Paul?
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
So, God’s grace helped you?
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
It’s encouraging to hear that God’s power and grace worked through you. I pray my child will experience that same indwelling, divine power and grace.
Grace that’s never gone
So how did Paul endure? God’s grace remained with him.
Regardless of the challenges our kids have to face, they will always have access to God’s grace.
Like Paul, I can say, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” And by the grace of God, our children will be who they are…who the Creator made them to be.
If you feel beaten down, let Hillsong’s “You Are My Strength” minister to you. The lyrics tell of God’s amazing grace:
“In the fullness of Your grace
In the power of Your name
You lift me up
You lift me up”
Listen to their song over and over until the lyrics block out all the thoughts that attempt to discourage you. The Truth is that God’s grace will lift you up.