Time For A Word (or Three), From Me
Usually, you will only find me posting some type of devotional about how I see God working on my heart and life. But, just lately, I have been feeling pressure to write. Just write, about whatever comes to mind. So, today I endeavor to do just that.
The other thing I usually try to do in my writing is to promote a positive attitude, to encourage and, or to bring to light how I am growing in my walk with the Lord. Alas, with this posting I am not sure that what I have on my mind to share today will actually encourage or lift anyone up.
The other morning I woke up after suffering a horrible dream. No, it wasn’t a scary dream; at least not in the typical “Halloween type of horror” that one usually associates with bad or scary dreams. Yet, for me the dream was terrifying, and left me shaken. In fact now a day later I am still feeling the effects of that ‘silly ole’ dream.”
For those of you who may be unaware, I suffer from early onset Parkinson’s disease. Since the time of my diagnosis I have been very accepting of this fact, at least I have thought I have been. I resolved from the very beginning that this new wrinkle in my life would not weigh me down with worry or fear. After all, I do firmly believe that God holds my life perfectly and lovingly in His hand and He will never weigh me down with more than I can handle. Because of this belief, it has been my fervent prayer that God would use this disease to allow me to be a better ambassador of His word. In other words, that God would use what the evil one intended for ill to be instead used to glorify my precious Jesus! I have prayed to carry His banner, even in the face of Parkinson’s disease, with “Strength and Dignity.” (From hence, the name of my web blog.)
Now, with all of that said, back to this ‘silly dream.’ In my dream I had apparently taken a job with a new employer and apparently this new job was located in a hospital, hotel, or some other environment that utilized an in-house laundry department. (That will be a key factor as my story progresses.)
One day at work, in this new job, I found myself “off” medication. (Just an explanation for all of you who know very little about PD. Parkinson’s medications are known to only work for a period of time, before the symptoms of the illness return. When one is getting close to time for the next dosage of medication, one can experience increased symptoms of varying severity. This period is known as being “off” medication.) In my dream, I found myself unable to speak clearly, and unable to communicate via writing as my writing is illegible even on a good day. I also found myself disoriented and unable to locate my new office space. As I was walking around, or shuffling around; picture Tim Conway as the old man from the series “Laugh In,” if you are old enough to remember that 1970’s show. As I shuffled around I was searching for someone to help me.
People would walk by me; shake their head and walk away muttering under their breath about “drunken old woman,” or other malicious comments. Nobody wanted to help me. Nobody even tried to understand me. And, I was becoming more and more panicky by the moment, which in turn was increasing my stress level. And, the stress was amping my symptoms up, and up and up. With this progression of symptoms I began to look more and more like a drunken old lady or a freak in a circus side show.
Finally, I thought I had gotten through to two generous men. One gently took my arm and began to escort me. I thought that he was taking me back to my office. They took me through a set of elevator doors and selected a floor button. Then when the doors opened they escorted me down a hallway then, less than gently, one of the men shoved me through a doorway. The door did not look familiar to me, but remember I was disoriented. I was dealing with what I lovingly call ‘park-fog.’ I was just praying that I was in the right place.
Immediately upon crossing the threshold of the door, the man slammed the door behind me, and the door clicked locked. I realized I was not in my safe office space, but rather was in a steamy laundry area. I turned to try to leave, but found the door locked. I tried to scream out, but my tongue was thick in my mouth and all I managed was a grunt and a moan. I heard one of the men loudly tell the other, as they walked away down the hall, “Stupid retards, they escape from the laundry room all the time. I don’t know why they hire those people anyway.”
At this point I woke up with my heart racing and the right side of my body in full tremor mode. In fact even after my morning medication dosage, I spent a majority of the day dealing with tremors. Obviously, this ‘silly dream’ had shaken me, quite literally!
So, what, you may ask, is the point to this story?
The point, at least for me, is that I have realized that I have not yet come to full acceptance that I have a progressive neurological disease. I have not fully come to terms with how this diagnosis is going to affect my life and the life of my husband and young son. I have been putting on a happy face and moving forward as if this disease is a very minor inconvenience in my life. To be honest, and accurate, on most days that is how I feel. My medications keep my symptoms down to a very tolerable level. I do have some pain to deal with every day, but what person past the age of forty doesn’t?
The problem is that for the past few weeks now my symptoms seem to be ramping up at an accelerated speed. In the past two days, since I had this ‘silly dream,’ they have been even greater. I am not sure if this occurrence is psychological, related to the increase in stress level at my job, due to lack of appropriate rest, or one of a thousand other reasons. But, to be truthful with you, it has spooked me! I didn’t like the ‘me’ in my dream. I don’t want to become that “drunken old woman.”
Remember, I cling to my faith in the Lord. I know that He has a plan for my life and I trust fully in His omnipotence. I trust that He will see me through no matter what my life looks like. So, I have been questioning myself, “Why did that dream have such a powerful effect on you?”
I am not sure if it is vanity, not wanting to be made fun of, or it could be that I do not want to be a burden to any one and I don’t like the idea of having to depend heavily on people to give me assistance. Could that be pride rearing its ugly head? Maybe I am dealing with greed. Not being willing to give up what my life looks like for an alternate, weak, un-healthy body. Possibly envy is part of the equation. Maybe, I am envious of others who do not have a progressive disease raging through their body.
I could probably relate the possible “Why’s” to any or all of the seven deadly-sins however the bottom line is that I need to give my worry and fear to the Lord. I am told in Matthew 6:27 and again in Luke 12:25, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life. (NIV)” In His word, God has told me that I, in my power cannot change this situation. Why am I fretting over this? God loves me. One of the verses that I cling to is Jeremiah 29:11. It reads, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (NIV)” Who am I to question the Lord?
So, I am working on total surrender of everything in my life, yes, even my health, to God and His plans. My life is His. My health belongs under His control. My marriage, my children, my work, my future and in fact everything about me must be surrendered to his authority.
“Dear Lord, assist me in surrendering everything to you. I realize that I am going to have days where I try to assume control. I know that even my very best thoughts, plans and ideas for how my life should look pale in comparison to your vision for my life. I just need to get out of the way and let you take the wheel. That is my greatest desire. I don’t want the bumper sticker of my life to read, “Jesus is my co-pilot,” rather let mine read, “Jesus is my pilot.” I want you in the correct seat in my life. First place, today, tomorrow and forever.”
Okay, so I guess this turned into a devotional after all. I must admit to you that was not how I had planned to write this article. In my original plan, I wanted to complain, even gripe a little and possibly elicit a little sympathy from you.
Well, God has an awesome way of utilizing my fingers when I allow Him to do so. Therefore, you can save the sympathy for someone who doesn’t have the saving knowledge of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For me, just writing this article has been freeing. It has helped me to put my life back into the proper perspective. I am not going to lie to you and say that my health position has reverted to my ‘pre-silly-dream state,” however, I am able to sign off now, feeling blessed, refreshed, more positive, and ready to face whatever God sends my way. Praise God, for He is good all the time!