Tag Archives: Chronic Disease

My Two Friends

My Friend Ruthann is a friend for life, faithful and loyal. We can go for long periods of time with no communication, and yet, when we do connect, it is as if we have never been separated by time and space. She is a Christ Follower; there is abundant fruit in her life to make that truth apparent. She is a godly woman.

Ruthann has had MS for over 40 years. Indeed, she has always said, “I have MS; MS does not have me.” Her courage and grace, as she has lived with this chronic illness, have been inspirational. Her focus has always been on Jesus who has made her an overcomer. Because of her, those of us who have known her, have known what an overcomer is.

My friend the Holy Spirit keeps me company each day. He gives me strength, courage, and wisdom. He counsels me. He comforts me. He is the Mighty God.

Recently I learned I have polyneuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy. I have begun to face fears and possible outcomes: will I remain mobile? will I be able to prepare meals and do housework? will I be able to dress myself and feed myself? In the midst of these whirling questions, the Holy Spirit has kept singing to me. He has sung the song, Who am I, written by Mark Hall. “I am a flower quickly fading… Here today and gone tomorrow…And you’ve told me who I am…I am yours.

When I finally called Ruthann, to share my new diagnosis, there was the instant empathy and support I had counted on. In fact, as I shared, she said, “Mary, it sounds like you are reading my biography.” She told me that during the season of coming to grips with her diagnosis of MS and wondering all the what ifs, the Holy Spirit had said to her, in essence: “Nothing has changed, Ruthann. You are still mine. Nothing can take you out of my hands.”

The Holy Spirit had spoken to me, and Ruthann confirmed and repeated the message. My two friends have spoken truth.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” From Isaiah 43

I have neuropathy, but nothing of importance has changed. My life is still on the same bedrock of truth: I am His. He has me. He always has and always will. There is peace.

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Remembering An Overcomer

Laurie had a type of muscular dystrophy.   She entered our lives when she was a teenager with mobility challenges.   My husband was her pastor, and she attended the youth group we held in our home.  I can’t recall her ever asking us why a loving God allowed her to have a debilitating disease.  She asked me to study the book of Revelation with her.  I felt intimidated and inadequate for the task.  I knew nothing about that mysterious book of prophecy.  As we read it together, accepting what we didn’t understand, we found much we did understand – much that inspired us.  There were promises made to the saints who would overcome trials and sufferings.    We were told that patient endurance, faithfulness and wisdom on the part of the saints was called for.

Our paths separated as Laurie entered adulthood.  Life would challenge each of us in the years ahead, especially Laurie, as her illness left her needing a motorized scooter to remain mobile.   She overcame the temptations to bitterness, to despair, to self- pity.  She kept the faith.  She fought the good fight. The muscular dystrophy took her life when she was only 50.  She has received her reward.

 

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