Today, I write from a place of discouragement. I think it’s best to be up front with where my emotions are since they are obviously present in my words anyway. In addition to that, I told myself when I began writing—whether that be by hand in a journal or online in a blog—that I would not attempt to mask the truth of my emotions. I spent many years wearing masks to hide my true feelings, and even though there are times I still reach into the back of the closet and pull out a mask to cover my reality, when it comes to writing, I vowed I wouldn’t do that.
Now that anyone reading this is fully aware of the emotional state from whence it is written, I can begin by admitting that the last seven to ten days have been difficult. The difficulties are both emotional and physical in nature. I’ve struggled enough with emotional issues to know that, for me, emotional distress can present itself by itself. In other words, I can have a bad day (or week…or month) emotionally while physically feeling fine. Many days as a young mom were spent in that state. On the other hand, seldom, if at all, have I had difficult physical struggles unaccompanied by the emotional turmoil. It seems, if I am having physical issues, emotional issues such as depression and discouragement are right there holding hands with their physical counterparts. The past few weeks have been filled with the crippling combination of the two and it is in that place that I write this morning. Physical issues that flared due to the MS that resides in my body coupled with emotional issues such as depression, discouragement, and despair will undoubtedly shape what you read. I actually need that to happen, for it is only in recording it honestly that I will be able to look back, hopefully sooner than later, and see that, once again, though I thought the storm would surely overtake me, I survived because I was carried by arms much stronger than mine and by love beyond any I could imagine. Right now—at this very moment—
I don’t feel those arms.
I don’t feel that love.
I feel lost.
I feel alone.
I feel abandoned, (save for a very few who have made their presence known).
I feel that I am going to be swept away by the waves at any moment.
As those feelings began to roll in, I found discouragement following close behind them. As those feelings intensified, discouragement seized its opportunity and swept in full force. That is the place I write from today. A place of discouragement.
Please do not assume that if discouragement is reigning within then that must mean my faith is gone. That is not the case. My faith is weak. Yes. But not gone.
As I struggled physically this week, I found myself unable to accomplish many tasks that need to be done. I looked around my house and saw rooms that need to be dusted, floors desperately in need of a broom and mop, bathtubs that need the power of scrubbing bubbles, rugs full of dog and cat hair that cry for a vacuum, laundry that needs to be washed, dried, ironed, and put away…the list could go on. My eyes saw the needs, but my body would not cooperate. Dizziness had, and continues, to take over. Crippling leg cramps seared through both legs. Eye pain led to pounding headaches. Nerve pain made even standing difficult. Pains down the side of my face and in my ear stung like a swarm of bees. Even bad-day activities like reading and puzzles, things I normally turn to, were impossible to engage in on these days. My faithful feline friend, Moo, kept me company as I lay in bed most days. My mind began to wander and eventually landed on one recurring thought:
Why am I still here…
In the moments that it was bearable, I read a book I had started. It is a fictional work, yet it is based on current events in the Middle East. The book details the lives of several individuals in varying countries—players in the end times according to Scripture. One character in particular caught my attention. She was a doctor who had given her life to the service of others in the name of Jesus. She started a medical organization that would send doctors and nurses to refugee camps in war torn countries to provide free and much needed medical care. The description, while fictional, stirred a desire in me. That desire was soon partnered with an intense longing to DO something with the years I have left. As I lay in bed or in my recliner, unable to complete the basic of household tasks, I fear that I am wasting time. Time is one thing we all have in common. All are given the same allotment—24 hours every day. We all must choose how we will use those 24 hours. For most people, the bulk of those hours are spent working at a job to make money to support the lifestyle they desire. A subset within those people work at a job they love to make money they need to support the lifestyle they desire. An even smaller subset work at a job they love simply because they love what they do, or, maybe WHO they do it for. This was the case with the fictional character in my current read. She had dedicated her life to helping others simply because she was following the command of Jesus to love others.
As I look at my current situation, I am filled with an intense sadness. That sadness stems from the lack of usefulness I feel in my life compared to so many around me who are serving God every day. I won’t mention any specifically simply because I don’t think it would be appropriate to point certain folks out knowing I would certainly miss someone’s work. I used to have a song on my MP3 player by Lecrae titled, Don’t Waste Your Life. There is a book of the same name written by John Piper. I read that book a few years ago—before my MS diagnosis. Even then I wondered what it was that God was calling me to do once my years of homeschooling were over. Now those years are over and a diagnosis of illness changed everything I thought I might be able to do.
All wrapped up in a package labeled MS. A package I never expected nor wanted but received none the less. It’s frustrating to want to do something and be completely unable to actually do it…and it certainly makes me wonder how my life can be used by God now.
The good thing, if it can be called that, is I’ve been in this place before. I’ve survived and come out the other side. I have to assume history will repeat itself. I have to hang on to the hope that God won’t let the discouragement get so deep that I drown within it. I have to trust that He will pull the waters back or give me remarkable swimming abilities.