Before I was diagnosed with ALS, I was suffering from PTSD and Dissociation due to my first marriage. In spite of that, I went to college in Florida to start a new career. When the children and I moved back up north, I continued my education, working two jobs, and caring for my children, with my parents’ unselfish, loving help.
After two years, I earned an A.S. in education, and transferred from community college to a university. I changed my major a few times, until I found my passion. I went from teaching high school, to teaching physical education, to English with a minor in journalism. I had finally found my niche.
In the meantime, I met and married a great man, whom I met in our church’s choir. He was a godly man, which I loved about him. I was certainly blessed by having him in my life. The children were experiencing blessings too, but I don’t think they realized it then. My husband was a good, good person, and I still love him.
After we were married, I still had one semester left at the university. Then I graduated with a B.A. in English language and literature. I had dropped the minor in journalism because I had difficulty walking and could no longer drive. The day I gave up driving was a very scary day. My right foot had kept giving out and my left foot was already useless. God was with me, and He brought me home safely to my children and to my husband.
Joshua 1:9b – Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (KJV)
When we were living in Florida, I was newly divorced and preparing me and my children to move back up North, we went to the store. I needed a few items for the trip. I let the children choose something that would keep them busy on the long ride back home. However, at the check-out, I was given a horrible blow when I realized that I didn’t have enough cash to buy my children’s toys. As the tears rolled my face, I told them that I didn’t have enough money to purchase their gifts. It broke all of our hearts.
In that moment, my angel appeared. She placed $40 in my hand and told me I could buy my children’s presents. I was shocked. I didn’t expect a complete stranger to help us. After the purchase, I tried to give the change back to her, but she refused to take what I had left. From that moment on, I promised myself that I would help others.
Strangely enough, my children and I were in the same store, except we were up north, when my first opportunity to help someone presented itself. A mother with two young children, found herself in the same situation I had been in, in Florida. This time, she couldn’t even buy apples. I felt for her. I asked her if I could pay for her entire order. She was so happy that I couldn’t help to be thrilled for her.
It started with my legs. Mike helped me walk upstairs for a shower and to get a good night’s sleep in our king-sized bed. The problem with showering was I had to hurry because my legs would give out. Mike waited in the bedroom, attached to the master bath, until I called to him. At that point, he rushed in, grabbed a towel, and ran to me. He opened the shower door and put his strong arms around my waist before I fell. Thank our Holy God that Mike never missed.
We then decided to move our bedroom downstairs to our dining room. All the children helped, even some of their friends who happened to be in our home, visiting. Prior to that, I had been sleeping in a tan, comfy recliner and spending most of my days there. I still had use of my entire upper body, so I worked for an online tutoring service as a tutor for English. I was working on my Bachelors degree in English language and literature, which I completed in 2012. My dad had taken me to a store that sold medical necessities at a discount. There I got my first electric wheelchair that I could drive by myself!
And drive, I did! I would drive to my parents’ home, which was a few blocks away. I also needed it when Mike and I drove across the country. That chair saw the Grand Canyon, Four Corners, Hoover Dam, Death Valley, and so much more! It was the most-traveled wheelchair I ever heard of.
It was a very sad day. My children … did they have to know right now? They had seen me lose my independence; they deserved to know why. I owed them that. Besides, I didn’t know how much longer I’d be Heaven-bound. I needed them to know that we’ll never take another day for granted.
So, we all sat at the kitchen table, including my now late husband, and I told them, “I have news. You all know I had an appointment with my doctor today, and he gave me terrible news. I have a disease that will kill me, but slowly.” We all broke down and sobbed. I asked my children and my husband to hug me every day and I made sure I told all of them that I loved them every single day; I still do. Now I include my two daughters-in-law and my sweet grandson.
After the crying was over, we hugged, and I asked them if they had any questions. They all said no. I, then, let them go back to their games. I, to this day, am sure I did the right thing in telling my children, but I still wish away that horrible day.
Yes, you heard correctly. I am pleased as pie for God letting me live with ALS. That doesn’t mean I’m overjoyed with my lot in life. But I know why I suffer. It’s because God entrusted me to bear this burden.
My “job” here on Earth is to be a wife and mother to three fabulous people, my children. It also means that my job is not done. Now that my children are grown, I still need to be there for them and pray them; along with dealing with this disease.
What I’m speaking of in title is that our Lord trusted me to bear this burden with the utmost Christian attitude and behavior. I need to pray for their wellness, in this life and the hereafter, before they leave Earth. I have plenty of time for intercession (prayer). So, our God has left me to my own devices; fully expecting me to act as He would.
I remember when I was selfish, into myself, and jealous. I wasn’t very pleasant to be around. Ever since I learned I was diagnosed with ALS, a life- changing experience, I’ve had a lot of time to rethink my attitude, my ways of speaking to others, and my habit of putting myself on a pedestal. I became ashamed, and I wondered what I could do to repair relationships and friendships.
The first thing I did was to ask for forgiveness. That’s when I first called my friend and mentor, Naomi. Second, I tell my family and friends how much I truly loved them. Third, I stopped yelling at people, and started treating them with respect. Fourth, I pushed myself off of that darn pedestal, vowing to never place myself up there again.
So far, nothing has negative has happened, but blessings have I received in abundance! The most poignant thing that has brought me blessings is my change in attitude; God has blessed me for being humble. I’m happy because I’ve helped some people with problems, and led others to Christ. Without Christ, We are nothing.. My greatest blessing is that I have healed my relationships with my children. They mean so much to me.
So, why am I joyful about being diagnosed with ALS? For all of the reasons above, and because I’m a penitent child of God. He loves when His children come to Him in prayer. By the way, if you’ve asked me to pray on your behalf, I pray for you each and every day. I got your back!
2 Corinthians 13:11b – …live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (KJV)
I live a peaceful life because the God of love dwells in my heart and my soul. But, you may ask, how did he get in there? It’s very simple … I prayed and asked Him to come into my heart! I knew that Jesus had died for my sins, after having lived a perfect life of his own. I also knew that He had died an horrific death.
Dying on the cross made it as if we never sinned at and cleared our way to Heaven! It’s God’s most important miracle. It makes me want to praise and sing to the Lord!
In the meantime, I’m still living with ALS, awaiting God’s perfect timing in the manifestation of my healing. I’m thankful God saw fit to trust me with this disease. Do you know why? Join me next week!
I hadn’t seen Naomi since we graduated from high school in 1992. I had done something wrong way back then, and it gnawed at me for years.
I needed her forgiveness. When I told her why I called, she had forgotten the whole incident. I felt relief in my head and in my soul. From that moment on, we became friends and eternally sisters in Christ!
That was the leading part of my life-altering phone call…
We knew that she and I are both children of God. Therefore, our conversation, surrounding our God, became God can heal me! I took in that information … and I was shocked! Until that phone call, I had resigned myself to die with this horrible disease. Naomi told me to search God’s Word, the Holy Bible, for verses about God’s healing hand. Jesus healed many people and he raised persons from the dead. So, why couldn’t he cure me? The point is, he can! He could, if he chooses to. Either now or when I get to Heaven. The thought is very comforting. I want you to feel it, too.
I want you to feel the peace that now I accept in my life. Here’s how … next week!
Eventually, I needed an electric wheelchair, so I could get around by myself. I would go outside and smile at the stars and wonder when I’d be looking down at those sparklers, instead of looking up.
As a lover of nature, I spent my time going to beautiful places, and some excitably fun areas, too. I took a trip to Washington, D.C. with my dad and my children. If you’ve ever been to our nation’s capitol, you know how much there is to do and see there. I haven’t mentioned before, but, after my diagnosis, I wanted to travel with my immediate family.
I went with my mom and my sisters to Hershey, P.A. There is much to do in Hershey Chocolate Factory, and we indulged in it all. With my husband, we traveled across country, from New Jersey to California and back. We saw, among other things, the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam.
After the vacations, I made a life-altering phone call. But more on that next week!