Silence has reigned in this place for such a long time. There have been days when I would look fondly into the window of this peaceful setting and wish that I could enter in. For, truly, I consider it a haven; a room away from the rest of the world, where my mind can focus and see purpose. It is this focus that I have missed.
For there has been a long period of time in which I lost the ability to focus or even put a meaningful sentence together. Reading and writing became impossible. The inability to understand written or spoken words laid me low. A disease had run rampant in my mind and body. They said that maybe I would get better...but maybe not. At first, the fear of death surfaced, and we trembled at what that would mean for our family. Then as weeks turned to months, and months to years, the fear of having to live this way outweighed the fear of dying.
The severity of symptoms would wax and wane. New symptoms would come. Pain and weakness prevented any real effort at personal care. My husband would care for me the way a parent cares for a child, on the days when I could not care for myself. He would gingerly help to comb out the snarls in my hair that came as a result of my being unable to raise my arms, or care about the simple task of combing hair. Helping me up and half carrying me to the bathroom or bed, he met my needs.
My children learned to meet their own needs.
My heart hurt with this knowledge, but I remained incapable of doing little but being there.
Each family member learned to interpret my mixed up speech. Being unable to remember simple words, or even their names, I ended up spitting out non-sense that they somehow understood.
We would laugh. It was funny.
It was humiliating too.
The day my husband bought a wheel-chair was a difficult day for him. "I don't want you to be locked away forever. This is so we can go out." I felt relief that it was a way for some sort of life, but fear embraced both of our hearts. Is this forever?
Doctors and medicines were expensive. My husband stepped away from the education he was striving for, in order to care for me.
Gradually, I have lost much of my voice. I can talk, but any prolonged talking causes strain. Singing, that had been a part of my entire life, has become something that I can occasionally enjoy, but the sound is not the same.
Again, I feel the Lord stripping away each piece of me, and I ask why. "Did I do something that makes you want to take back the gifts? I don't know who I am without these parts of me."
Throughout this, personal attacks came from some we trusted. My heart broke more, and I retreated. The stress increased the physical symptoms. My husband protected.
We kept going.
I would think of this place and wish I could write words to cleanse and heal.
As I regained my ability to read, I read His Words, and they were salt. Tears would come often as pain surfaced in response to the Truth. Little by little, the salt cleansed and healed.
I read words of those who had suffered much and lost much and continued to serve Him strong.
Again, I realized that He often strips us of things, and abilities, and sometimes the people we depend on, in order to show us our true inadequacy.
But empty vessels can be filled and used.
We build up our own ministries in our minds based on our experience, our skills and our worth.
Pride in our accomplishments always stands in the way of the work He wants to do. In His grace, He removes those obstacles in order to use us for His true work.
If I am never able to sing again publicly, if I can't write a word tomorrow, and if I never again have the ability to teach a complete Bible lesson, I know He still has a work for me to do.
Today I am writing because the words are here. It is little....but so were the loaves and fishes.
No one is guaranteed tomorrow. So if there is something that you feel burdened to do for Him, please don't wait.
Some of us are given a fresh start. It is similar to beginning life again, without skills or confidence. He wants our willingness, our worship, our thankful hearts.
With His grace, that is all we need.
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
"But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." II Thessalonians 3:3
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9