Monday, April 7, 2014

Not So Mysterious Ways

There's a common saying in this world that 'God works in mysterious ways.' I believe this is true, but I also believe there is a counter statement to this, as well: 'Satan works in not-so-mysterious ways.'

I've told y'all before that I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009. Since then, my life and the lives of my family members have been unpredictable and sometimes frustrating. We cannot predict when I will have a Bad Day. We have, with time, recognized that if I am very active or if I 'push' for 2-3 days, then I will have to crash and rest for, at least, 2-3 days afterward. We try to schedule events accordingly, but part of the annoyance of MS is how you never know day-to-day how you will feel. I might do everything 'right,' and then still wake up the next day dizzy and unable to lift my head off the couch, much less walk around the house and do chores. My husband is amazing. He is patient. He is kind. He is the 'nice one' in our family. I am not. I am impatient. I get angry (mostly at myself and my body's inability to do everything I want it to do), and I get depressed.

How do I cope with the depression? For one thing, I have been on Happy Pills for years...even before the MS. My husband likes me on my Happy Pills. He likes not finding me in a closet surrounded by pictures sobbing because I used to laugh till my stomach hurt. I'm not a huge fan of the Happy Pills, but they do keep most of the badness away. I don't laugh as much as I used to, but I don't cry uncontrollably as much either. What I do do is sleep. A lot. And I read. A lot. And I scrapbook and play in my art journal. A lot. The severity of the dizziness and depression/frustration/anger often determines how much of any of these activities I participate in. I like being active. I like keeping my brain active. I like multi-tasking and doing 1000 things at once. I mean, seriously, I was an ER doctor. ADD multi-tasking was my life.

Which brings me back to my earlier statement: 'God works in mysterious ways, but Satan works in not-so-mysterious ways.' Why am I talking about this now? Because yesterday was a Sunday, and Sundays and Wednesdays have become my most-frequent Bad Days. If I could predict when a Bad Day is coming, I would have to bet on it being a Sunday or Wednesday. Why these days? Because they are important to me. I am a Christian. I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who died on a cross 2000 years ago and was raised from the dead to save the world from our sins. Sundays are Sabbath days. We spend our Sunday mornings (and sometimes afternoons and evenings) at church, worshiping and praising God and fellowshipping with our church family. Wednesdays are also church days. We are Southern Baptists. Baptists still have Wednesday night church. Wednesdays are less formal than Sundays, and more time is spent digging into the Word and teaching it to our children. Wednesdays are when my husband leads the 1st-6th grade boys in Bible Study. Wednesdays are when our 7th grade daughter gets to praise and worship with the teenagers in our church and when our 2nd grade daughter gets to learn about missionaries and spreading the Gospel here and around the world. Wednesdays are when I get to be a Pediatrician again. Wednesday nights have become an unofficial clinic night for me. Rarely does a week go by that I am not called to see a child or 2 in the nursery for a rash or a fever. Wednesdays are my time to serve.

So why do I have many of my Bad Days on Sundays and Wednesdays? Because Satan wants to keep me (and my family) away from church. He wants to disrupt our friendships and commitments. He wants to attack our family directly. He wants to separate us from God. Satan knows that we belong to Jesus, but he does not want us to witness or serve or in any way further God's work. He wants to destroy our family. He wants to stop the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And so he is obvious in his attacks. He knows of my physical ailments. Why not stimulate the symptoms and accomplish 2 things at once? I feel awful, and I cannot attend church and worship and serve. But I've learned. This pattern has intensified over the last 4 years. I've learned that if I can raise my head off the couch and get dressed and make it into the church building, then I will not regret it. God fights for me. Who am I to stand in His way?

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
- Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

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