Tag Archives: Coping

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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Revelation, Prayer, and A Backpack


“Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person.  Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it, confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.  In it God shows himself to us.  That He answers prayer is a corollary, not necessarily the most important one, from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is.”   CS Lewis, “The Efficacy of Prayer” from The World’s Last Night and Other Essays

Recently God tenderly illustrated how He reveals himself in prayer.  Two of our dear friends were struggling with some problems.  We invited this couple over to our home for dinner followed by a time of prayer.  After sharing our meal together, the four of us gathered in our living room and implored Almighty God for help with these difficulties.

As my husband and I prayed all that was in our hearts for them,  God was ministering to my friend who was given a picture in her imagination.  She saw herself as a small girl wearing a backpack.  She watched herself take her left arm out and her right arm out and then hand her pack to Jesus.  She watched as He put His left arm in her pack and then His right arm in.  Once her pack was on His back, she observed Him taking her hand, as the two of them skipped happily off, swinging their arms.  She left our time of prayer lighter, her sense of peace and equilibrium restored.  Her burdens had been shifted onto the One Who Revealed Himself as  her Burden Bearer.

No doubt some of our requests from that night of prayer will be answered as a corollary,  but the most important part was the Revelation of the Lord Himself drawing near to love His child.

Lord Jesus, I am feeling sad and anxious, weighted down.  Today I am putting these burdens in my backpack and handing it to you.  I am reaching up to clasp your Hand as You clasp mine.  Let’s skip through this day together.  

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A Morning Valentine



We took a deep breath in January, sighing with relief that my husband’s cancer was gone and that his treatment was completed.  February bought a new crises of a different nature.  Once again I was fighting for air.  My gasping, running conversation with God mostly sounded like this: “I can’t take much more, Lord.  I’m about ready to come unglued….Help….Help……Help.”

During the early morning quiet on February 14th, I suddenly heard the music and words to an old hymn being played in my mind.  God was delivering a Valentine to me in the form of the old song, I am His and He is Mine.*  I jumped out of bed and found the old hymnal.  God’s love washed over me as I read all the stanzas.

“Loved by an everlasting love, Led by grace that love to know; …
Things that once were wild alarms Cannot now disturb my rest;
Closed in everlasting arms, Pillowed on the loving breast.
Oh to lie forever here, Doubt, and care, and self resign,
While He whispers in my ear, I am His, and He is mine.”

Nothing changed that morning, but I was changed, reassured once agin.  The strength, peace, and courage I had been screaming for were imparted in the embrace of my Savior.

Oh, Lord, keep me coming back for your morning hugs that give me strength, that give me life.  Keep whispering, “I am yours, and You are mine.”

*George W. Robinson and James Mountain from The New Church Hymnal

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A Conversation With My God



On a Friday we learned that Howard had multiple masses in his abdomen.   At that time the doctors in Denver, where we were visiting, thought he had a primary kidney cancer that had spread throughout his abdomen and pelvis.  We flew home on Saturday.   I worked on being brave for my beloved.  On Sunday I sat by the lake alone and cried.  With tears and words I cried out to my God.  “If I could have been the one to write this story, Father,  I certainly wouldn’t have saved him from a massive heart attack 6 years ago to let him suffer now.  Nevertheless, I know your thoughts are higher than mine and your ways higher than mine.  I know you love my husband.  I know your plans are for good and not for evil.  I know you numbered Howard’s days before he was born.  I know good comes out of suffering for your children, but this is so hard.  Please help.”

When I told our son Jim about my conversation with the Lord, he replied, “Oh, Mom, if Dad had died 6 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the last 6 years of memories!”   Jim’s daughter Miah, who is nine, had just been baptized and in her testimony shared that the person who had most helped her believe in Jesus was her Papa Stone.   The last 6 years were about leaving a godly heritage.

Yesterday, a friend at church gently reminded me that the way Howard and I walk this journey will be the blazing of a trail  for others who might also have to follow after us – for others who are watching how we cope with this.  I am reminded that whatever time is left on planet earth for my husband and for me, we have a responsibility to set the bar, to leave an example of what faith looks like in the valley of the shadow of death.   I know and believe the God we love with give us grace and strength.

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