Note from Marie: This post was written after I entered a Multiple Sclerosis relapse that lasted for twenty-two days. It was the first of several extended relapses in the same year. I posted “Here I Am Again” at the start of the relapse.
When I first recognized that I was going into MS relapse, I anticipated a few days of inconvenience and increased pain based on relapses in the past. I felt prepared to enter a time aside with the Vinedresser as He pruned away on this weak branch of His. I prayed with humility and acceptance of His lessons at His designated time.
What I was not prepared for was the vicious pain I endured for twenty-two grueling days. From hips to the soles of my feet, my legs felt on fire, and I could find no relief. In addition, the muscles in my legs would alternately lock into spasm. I could not rest because the pain would wake me up. I tried sleeping in my La-Z-Boy recliner, but even that comfy old chair was no help.
With the aid of my walker, I could shuffle from bedroom to office, but left the house only for necessary appointments. My mind felt shrouded with “brain fog” and I found it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything. I had difficulty focusing on Bible study, and even found conversations hard to follow.
I basically slogged through my days, barely keeping up responsibilities. I kept my routine of dressing, doing hair and make-up. I prepared to lead Ladies’ Bible study, I paid the bills. I went through the motions of eating without really tasting the food.
The week before this relapse began, my husband Jim had a cardiac defibrillator placed, so he was also weak and in need of lots of rest. We missed four weeks at church, and three weeks at Small Group. Though friends in Bible study continued to come on Tuesdays, I felt isolated from the outside world the rest of the time.
My initial plans of sweet fellowship with the Lord were interrupted by pain. In reality, by the end of the second week, I was wrestling with God and pleading for remission. I found it hard to pray. Instead, I immersed myself into reading novels, where I could briefly escape from facing my own life. I shuffled into the library and checked out inspirational novels whose characters were overcoming challenges of their own through God’s grace. Somehow, if not inspired, I was at least diverted by those books.
After those 22 days, I awoke one morning after a night of decent sleep. For a brief few minutes, I had no pain in my legs. I felt rested, and I felt hopeful. I was almost afraid of that hope, afraid to believe that the long relapse was ending. I began to feel my optimism returning. It was like surfacing from deep waters. Praise God, the ordeal had ended – for a time. I know there will be more relapses. This week a dear friend asked me to be her “Wellness Prayer Partner”. Isn’t that awesome! We have bonded through mutual understanding of physical challenges and the need for prayer. God brought us together by divine appointment for such a time in each of our lives.
Isn’t that just how He works? God knows just what we need at every moment. I know that in His grand plan there is purpose in the suffering. There is purpose in meeting with a new prayer partner.
And I am grateful.
Dear Lord God,
You know me in the deepest recesses of my soul.
You know just what I need, and just how much I can endure.
You have promised to give me no more than I can bear,
and You have kept Your promise.
because I have not had to bear it alone.
You have also given me the treasure of a praying friend who understands.
I praise You and I thank You.
You know best, my Vinedresser.
You have pruned deeply this time, and it has been painful.
May new growth and fruit come from the pain.
I love you, Lord.