find it here: Bethany's Story Part I
Now on to the rest!
How do you deal with the hurt that comes when people either don’t know what to say or don’t say anything at all?
It was a comfort to know that the very godly Amy Carmichael struggled with the same hurt. But the Lord showed her this comfort that she repeated to herself often: “Let it be. Think on Me.” She also found that our peace doesn’t have to depend on the words of others.
It’s when I’ve longed for others to comfort and been disappointed that I’ve found the Lord to truly be the “God of ALL comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).
What is your best therapy?
Reading a good biography.
I was never into reading before I was diagnosed (too busy exercising!). But two very godly older women gave me books or let me borrow theirs that literally changed my life. It seemed when anybody tried to comfort me or “say the right words,” they would just go in one ear and out the other. But when I would read other’s life stories, they were the “counselors” I either didn’t have or wouldn’t listen to. The Lord used these biographies in a major way.
The reason I still find it to be good therapy is because I feel the worst when I’m focused on my circumstances – what I don’t like, can’t change, hasn’t happened in my life, and likely never will. But when I read a biography, I’m immersed in someone else’s life. I can see the “big picture” of their life, and I’m able to watch what the Lord was doing in the everyday hard and happy things. It reminds me that my God can also see the big picture of my life, and that today is very fleeting but also important in the big picture.
I found out early on (because MS is a disorder of the nervous system and is greatly affected by stress) that feeling bad sometimes is the result of (or worsened by) how I’m dealing with everything. I found that it’s imperative to my health that I’m not just resting my body but my spirit. For me, a good biography helps me do that.
Did you ever struggle with the question of whether God was punishing you for something by allowing this disease into your life?
Absolutely. Until I realized that this questioning was my poor understanding of the gospel. If I were being punished, Christ’s death was in vain. He was “bruised for our iniquities. . . and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). God has used these years to correct (discipline) me out of His great love (Hebrews 12:6).
Many times, my limitations have been reminders to me that I can’t do life in my own strength. Like Jacob’s thigh he limped on the rest of his life, it’s a constant reminder to me that I’m weaker than I was willing to admit . . . in many areas of my life. My default is to try to trust myself. My health needs keep me mindful that I need Someone Else.
The Lord uses different kinds of “training” for each of us. But that training should never be misunderstood as punishment. ALL of God’s wrath was satisfied in the death of His Son. If we are in Christ, there is no more punishment left for you or for me.
What verse has helped you most regarding your condition?
Psalm 18:30 has been my comfort since the very beginning: “As for God, His way is perfect.”
I find I’m most at peace with my condition when I choose to believe that all He has allowed is just as He says it is: Perfect.
What advice would you share to someone who just found out they had a lifelong condition?
NEVER entertain the idea that God has forgotten you. There will be times when it feels like it, but He has promised many times that He never does, and He actually can’t.
Darkness is just the shadow of His presence (Psalm 23:4).
And silence means He’s resting in His love for you (Zephaniah 3:17).
Thank you, Bethany, for sharing your story! Here's how to find out more about Bethany:
Bethany Hayes lives in Portland, Oregon and holds a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies. She has taught women’s Bible classes for teens and adults since 2004 and is a regular contributor at various online devotional ministries. Listen to Bethany’s lessons on the Women of the N.T. or the Jehovah names of God, or read more of her story at www.CapacityCorner.blogspot.com.
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