I used to be fearless. I had the world by the tail. I knew what I wanted and went after it. I was successful and felt good about my life. Enter Multiple Sclerosis. Enter fear.
Fear can be defined as an emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. MS has shaken up my life and has caused me to believe that it, and the accompanying symptoms, is a threat to my well being. The fear is what I struggle with the most.
I was convinced a while back that I couldn’t go on a sightseeing trip around Seattle. I thought about the intense walking, the sun and heat, climbing up and down the amphibian boat we were to ride, and how fatigued I would get. I was concerned about being a burden and slow everyone down. My son lobbied hard and I decided to go. I am so, so glad I did!! It was a great day. We stopped to rest several times and visited the first Starbucks!! The Ride the Ducks trip was awesome and lots of fun. I was definitely tired at the end of the day, but it was a wonderful reminder that I can still enjoy life, my family is here to support me, and I can keep up with more able bodied people with a few simple adjustments; such as periodic rest periods.
Grief can be described as a response to something that has died, I can relate my MS experience to that definition. I have definitely experienced something that has died–my health, independence, fearlessness, mobility, and confidence. I have to design my day with fatigue and mobility in mind. How many errands can I run and in which order will provide the best use of my limited energy? My overall sense of well being and my sense of who I am has shifted to being someone who is now disabled. Of course, with my vast experience working with children and adults with special needs, I realize that only my mind can make me truly disabled.
Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) Paul states in Philippians 2:12 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. I know I have been called to a life abundant. I also know that it takes a lot of fear and trembling. Does that seem contradictory?
I have heard it said that our lives are like a kaleidoscope. Each time a kaleidoscope turns there is another beautiful picture of combinations of bright colors. And at the center there has to be light, because without light, the kaleidoscope would just be dark. Jesus is the center of my kaleidoscope and my life revolves around Him. He is also a light that shines through the colors that make them beautiful. He says in John 8:12 “I am the Light of the world. He who follows me shall walk not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
Life takes strange, yet beautiful, twists and turns. Like each turn of the kaleidoscope. Whether it was dealing with a spouse that committed suicide, a divorce, a difficult relationship with a friend or family member, a job layoff and subsequent change or being on unemployment; my focus has always been on Jesus Christ to give me His perspective.
I am an intelligent, capable and strong woman who has done incredible things and has an amazing life. I will continue to keep my eyes on God and His purposes for my life. I will adjust and be stronger for it.
I am only fearless because I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). I have the world by the tail because He that is in me is stronger than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). I know what I want and go after it because I seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33) and I know the voice of my Shepherd. (John 10:16) I am successful and feel good about my life. Praise God!!