Gone, but Not Gone

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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.

zoo.peacock  zoo.flamgo  zoo.peacock2

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwvGFWKBo4o

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4 thoughts on “Gone, but Not Gone

  1. Hi Vicki,

    This devotional you wrote is so so timely for me. Thank you so very much. Been a while since I’ve touched base and probably like you, things happen, life happens, things change.

    I have printed out a lot of healing scriptures and been trying to read them everyday. But Satan has been prowling around me and trying to prevent that. Really still hurts the bridge of my nose to keep my glasses on. I have almost concussion (all the symptoms but no cat scan yet) since June 8th when I came up under our new travel trailer’s freezer door which was open and I knew it but guess old age has done a number on me as my perception was way off.

    Have severe head pain, headaches, terrible dizziness, weakness, nausea, etc. I feel so dumb as it wasn’t necessary to do what I was trying to do when I hit my head!!! I am paying for it dearly. Feels like I am never going to feel better but I know that is the enemy telling me that. Not the summer I had planned, really!! Then to top it off, after finally going to doc after 9 days of pain, gave me meds and shots and then promptly had a bad reaction to the med and fell out of bed and hit the floor headfirst, hitting my nightstand and wedged between my bed and my bureau. Boy, was I screaming for Bud. We cannot sleep together anymore due to my illness and my bedroom door was closed and so was his. I was so afraid he wouldn’t hear me. But he did, picked me up. So so thankful no broken bones. Nasty cheekbone bruise, other bruises, not fun.

    But anyways, can;’t type much more due to head, but just wanted to see how you were doing and also ask you to pray for me. I loved your paragraph about MS. It may suck the energy out of my body but not my life!! We are not gone, just changed. God’s plan for us is always good and with us. I have been feeling so depressed lately due to all this and also with Keith. He is just vegetating, along with his wife. Not moving, not doing, just sitting, sleeping. He is so wounded that its hard to describe how bad it is. I keep praying but nothing is happening. I know God is always with us but its so so hard to see him slowly wither away. My heart is so sad for my child. I just don’t know what to do, so I just keep on keeping on praying.

    Am so glad you see these wonderful things happening in Chris’s life. I pray for the same some day. Only time will tell.

    Need to rest now.

    Thank you again Vicki for your prayers for me and my family. They mean a lot to me, even though we may never meet physically, I feel like I know you as I do my friends here. Your heart and soul and love for God shine through your words.

    May God bless you today and always.

    Love,

    Patty

    PS Great song, but cry too much which hurts. 🙂 Will listen to it again later.

    • Dear Patty,
      It’s so good to hear from you again, but so hard to read what you’ve been going through. Talk about a double whammy! Your poor head!!! I’m grateful Bud heard your cries for help.
      “He is so wounded that its hard to describe how bad it is.” I can relate to the difficulty in describing how bad things are, at times. Especially during times when we see no answers to our prayers … when our pain continues because our child’s pain continues. Those are times when we have to cling to the Truth that God is at work even when we see no evidence of it.
      Whenever I read your updates, my heart breaks for you. But, I’m also uplifted and encouraged by your faith. In spite of how hard life is for you (with Keith, with your illness, with your injuries…), you can still say things like:
      “I have PRINTED OUT A LOT OF HEALING SCRIPTURES and been trying to read them every day.”
      “We are not gone, just changed. GOD’S PLAN FOR US IS ALWAYS GOOD AND WITH US.”
      “I KNOW GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US but its so so hard to see him slowly wither away.”
      “My heart is so sad for my child. I just don’t know what to do, SO I JUST KEEP ON KEEPING ON PRAYING.”

      Those statements prove that nothing will shatter your faith in your living Father.

      I will pray for the Lord to fill you afresh with His joy (to crowd out the depression). I’ll ask God to work mightily in Keith, doing a work in his heart that only He can do.

      “Even though we may never meet physically, I feel like I know you as I do my friends here”: That’s exactly how I feel about you!

      Gentle hugs,
      Vicki

  2. Dear Vicki,

    I can always count on blessings when I connect with you! Thank you so very much for finding the “God words”, so to speak, in my whole litany of “stuff” and in doing so, pointed out to me that yes, I am still in God’s special blessed loving caring arms! i really needed to hear that! I was in so much pain yesterday when typing I really hoped I made sense. Didn’t know. Now I do, thanks to your reply.

    And also, am so blessed by not only your words but your prayers. How awesome that 2 women meet online and become friends, sisters in Christ. I love it. I know the same is true for RM. I just haven’t been able to keep up with the posts lately, let alone commenting. But you always strike a chord in me and I am so grateful for you. I know its a very difficult hard issue of being a mom of an MI child that has brought us together but God aways makes good out of what seems like an overwhelming life situation. Others cannot understand and I get that. But it is so good to be able to share with a mom who does get it! I am so blessed to call you “my friend”.

    Love,

    Patty

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