There’s nothing about MS I like. It’s an unwanted, unwelcome disease that I’d rather live without if I could choose. It’s robbed me of my energy and reminds me constantly, every single day, that my body is failing me. I hate it.
But I have to tell you, even though it makes my days harder, MS is changing my life for the better. I realize it might sound a little strange, but I’m grateful for the things MS has helped me to see that I may have otherwise ignored.
1. IT’S SHOWING ME HOW MUCH I NEED OTHERS
I’ve always been an independent, I-can-do-it-myself kind of person. It’s not that I didn’t want help, I just felt that if I put my mind to something I could do it on my own. It wasn’t something I thought much about, but I carried with me this mindset that I could do things without the help of others. A big part of it was that I didn’t want to bother them by asking for help. Honestly, I’ve been this way as long as I can remember; Miss Independent.
Since MS came onto my radar this past summer I have been overwhelmed by the people who have rallied around me. It’s funny because in the moment I didn’t know I needed them, but having them there to hold me up in prayer, sit on the couch and cry with me, and encourage me on the days I feel defeated has helped me in ways I can’t express. I need people around me who can fight with me when I’m ready to throw in the towel.
Life is better in community.
2. IT’S HELPING ME PRIORITIZE
I’m a self-diagnosed “recovering perfectionist” and ashamedly also a “recovering workaholic.” I am proud of my strong work ethic and desire for excellence and have worked hard to integrate these principles into my life. It wasn’t uncommon for me to work a full work week, dive in to ministry on the weekends and sit behind my computer every evening. I love what I do, so extra hours of work came easily. I kind of liked it.
But being diagnosed with a life-altering illness makes you reevaluate everything. Was work really the most important thing to me? Could I invest more into my friends? Did Clark deserve more of my undivided time? These are questions I likely should have asked myself a long time ago, but sometimes our circumstances force us to look at things differently.
I still want to do things with excellence and use my time and energy to make a difference, but at the end of my life, I want to be known for my relationships, not my accomplishments.
3. IT’S TEACHING ME TO TRUST
I always thought that I knew what it meant to trust God. I had given Him my life and I really believed that I was doing the best I could to trust Him. Let me tell you, I now know that I had no idea what it really meant to trust God. No sweet clue.
I quickly realized that I had absolutely no control over how my body would feel when I had to preach. I couldn’t make $80 000 appear from nowhere when my insurance denied my treatment. I couldn’t do life on my own anymore. I needed to trust that He had everything I needed when I was lacking.
I don’t always have the answers, but I’m learning that He does.
We can’t control our circumstances. Often we find ourselves in the midst of things we’d rather not face. I know the feeling. It’s in those dark moments that we can sometimes learn the most life-changing things, but we have to choose to allow ourselves to be transformed. I don’t have all the answers and I’m sure there’s still some serious transformation that needs to happen in me! But, I’m grateful that in this uncertain season, I am changing for the better. At least I think I am.
In everything, I want to be transformed.