People say what a difficult time we must be going through, but I don't feel like that at all. It's been difficult at times, but not necessarily a difficult time. It's been a time to grow and to learn. It's been a time to put things in proper perspective. It's a process for sure, but we are learning to hold on and let go. We let go of things in our lives that hinder and distract us like worry, fear, un-forgiveness and regret and hold on to things that enhance, beautify and bless our lives like faith, hope, and love and all the other wonderful outpourings of the Lord.
Good things come from bad things all the time. That's how God works. He redeems things. God has done it with ALS in our lives a lot. I am constantly reminded of a popular Bible verse from the book of Romans. It goes like this: "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." Another version I really like of the same verse goes this way: "And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans."
We all have trials in our lives...we all have troubles...some more than others...its part of life. What I have learned is that the trials in life accelerate growth and learning. And without adversity you never really grow. It's a "good" thing. For us with ALS, it's been an opportunity to not only grow more, but to know more, to love more, to give and to forgive more, to serve more and to live more.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Mike enjoys his Wednesday afternoon hot soak in the tub at the hospital. It's not necessarily for washing purposes because he has a shower almost every day; it's more for therapeutic purposes. Mike would say it was well worth the eight month wait to get into the bathing program.
When I was gazing at the content look on Mike’s face in the rear view mirror last week, I thought about a blog post I wrote a long time ago. It’s called: Mike’s Glass is Half Full…still so true!
Here is some of that post, Mike’s Glass is Half Full from October 2011:
Today Mike said to me that there was a positive side to taking so many pills…he gets the recommended eight glasses of water a day. The guy always looks on the bright side. When the big 'horse' pill goes down sideways and he gags it back up, he says he’s fine and tries again. He never complains.
Mike’s glass is always half full. He is a positive person. When he was diagnosed with ALS on March 7th, he remained pretty hopeful that he had been misdiagnosed. When the doctor recommended that he stop working and go on long term disability, he said he could use some time off. When his right hand continued to weaken, he said, “It’s a good thing I’m left handed.” When he was unable to run anymore, he was glad he could walk. When he gave up the walks, he was thankful he could still ride his bike. When he fell off his bike and landed on his face (again) and broke his nose, he said that the accident taught him to be more careful next time.
Mike prays that he will learn what he is supposed to learn from the very humbling experience of being diagnosed with ALS. He said that the “humbling experience” will cause him to rely more on God.
"Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Him." Oswald Chambers