Take your place in the line-up

Take your place in line

I AM STRUGGLING

You probably are too. I am struggling with lack of strength and the ability to do daily tasks, stolen away by a rare disease. I suppose you are struggling with your own issues. Perhaps you are dealing with a major issue compared to myasthenia gravis, or maybe your struggles are relatively minor, but it’s big to you. Whatever your troubles, the burden is lighter when you share the journey with someone understands first-hand.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5, “All praise… to the God of all healing counsel!  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.  We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort-we get a full measure of that, too.”  MSG

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

We raise our hand and say, “Me too!” when we encounter someone who shares our diagnosis, addiction or heartache. Only one who has walked the same road of hardship we are traveling can relate. Watching a survivor who is a little farther along gives us hope to endure. Proof someone has been exactly where you are and survived makes us thrive. A victory parade!

2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.”  MSG

REACH OUT

Don’t try to go it alone. Reach out and take the hand of one who is a little farther down the path and allow them to pull you along. When you experience success, extend your other hand to someone who is a little behind you in your journey. Pull them along toward victory. Your unique circumstances may give someone hope. Together we are a parade. Some ride on floats, some march in the band, others are clowns on bicycles. Whatever your role, you are meant to be with your group. It doesn’t matter if you are leading or near the end. Take your  place in the lineup.

2 Corinthians 1:5, “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

THE GREATEST BENEFIT

I am strengthened if my weakness encourages people. Otherwise, it is wasted. I really need to know it matters. I need to know it makes a difference for someone, somewhere. Your struggles are unique and they uniquely equip you to help others. We are allowed to suffer so we can effectively minister to others. Don’t waste your experience.

God uses adversity to bless #MyRightSideUpLife Click To Tweet

I have experienced that truth. God multiplies blessings by blessing others through us. Can you use your hardship to encourage someone else? Gather round those who raise their hands and say, “Me too!” Sometimes it is not easy for any of us to see the light of day.  Is someone giving you hope?  Take their hand, then turn around and extend your hand. Let’s all be a continuous victory parade!

Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” NLT

It has been said, “No pain, no gain.”  I say, “Make your pain someone else’s gain.” Pass it on. Parades are fun, unless you find yourself behind the horses.

32 thoughts on “Take your place in the line-up

  1. I get excited when I check my phone in the morning and you have a new blog. I hopped up this morning, quietly slipped into the kitchen to get my coffee and ran over to the computer so I could read your blog. I knew from the first moment I met you at the clinic that Jesus lived in you. Most of the time when I meet someone new they have to tell me they are a Christian, and then I am surprised. You didn’t have to tell me anything, I could sense the Holy Spirit working in you. We should all strive to live in a way that allows God to shine through every fiber of our being. The world needs to look at us and just know.

  2. I’m part of your parade. You may not see me because your parade is massive, but I’m there. I play the kazoo! And you’re me smile.

  3. I am 1 1/2 years further along in the MG disease. I can promise you that it will be better. It took me 2 years. I just started feeling stronger in January. I am going to physical therapy twice a week and it helps. I am off prednisone and my fat cheeks have disappeared, I am off of glypiside for diabetes. You are an amazing person and I love reading your blogs. You have put into words the thoughts in my head. Just keep doing what you are doing, there is a rainbow up ahead.

  4. You know my circumstances of almost complete loss. Our family lost every single material possession except the clothes on our backs. I happened to have 2 friends, one fairly close, one a Facebook “friend” I had never met in person.

    The Facebook friend had just lost everything he owned in a tornado. His family was spared like us, so he felt blessed, but it was still such a terribly tragic time. He got through it because of God though. He has such an amazing positive outlook on life. He basically journaled everyday directly to his wall, and I eagerly looked for his post because he dealt with everything with humor and grace. When he talked about the onion living ninjas that had snuck up on him, I knew he meant that he had been crying. This huge older man wasn’t afraid to show his vulnerabilities to the world. He just happened to do so with humor. When our fire happened, he would share private messages of encouragement. He was the one who probably understood best what it felt like to start over. Even then though, we both shared how that was a blessing.

    I did my best to be strong for my family. I knew that my wailing and gnashing of teeth would lead the rest of my family to follow suit, so I kept the few tears I had private and just suited up each day with determination that we wouldn’t just get through, but thrive. Vicki, you were one who offered support when we needed. I didn’t take you up on it, because we had a close friend lend us a car for 6 weeks, but I did greatly appreciate your offer, as well as all of the offers, support, money and encouragement from friends, family, churches, schools and even complete strangers. The generosity was an amazing outpouring. God has truly blessed us.

    My other friend happened to be a hair stylist/Pentecostal, holy-ghost filled minister! She also has a special-needs daughter, age 11, who is blind, in a wheelchair and at the developmental stage of about 6 months old. At 100 lbs, her dealing with the daily needs could be overwhelming. Not to mention, I know her heart hurts for her daughter. As parents we would love for our children to be “perfect” and never have to experience pain, illness…we want to see them grow and thrive and my friend is no different. She has continued hope of healing for her daughter, but she also knows that she will she her daughter walk and sing in a perfect body when we all get to Heaven one day.

    I know this friend occasionally sheds tears. She would be a robot if she didn’t have to occasionally have a pity party. But at the same time, she is one of the most amazingly positive people I know and Christ’s light shines through and out of her like the sun. She walks the walk and believe me talks the talk.

    About a week after our fire my hubs needed a haircut, a chore I usually took care of. In almost 18 years of marriage, he’s probably had 10 hairs at salons, but I no longer had clippers or even scissors, so I took him to my friend, warning him that she would hug him, lay hands on him and pray for us right then and there in her shop. Of course she did! I laughed and cried a bit over it, but if you can believe it, her 2 vocations go hand in hand and she gets to share God’s word with people constantly.

    These 2 people in particular made up my parade. There were others, but these are the 2 that stood out, along with my faith in God to always be in control and watch over us. I looked at their perseverance-through-adversity attitudes, their search for joy despite terrible circumstances and their constant effort to lift others up. They were a source of strength and inspired me.

    I’ve been told by more people than I can count that my positive outlook and willingness to talk about our struggles helped and encouraged them. I make sure to let people know that we are truly blessed by God each and every day and that God sees the big picture, while we only see small parts of an image.

    Without going into further details, I believe that our fire potentially saved us from a different more deadly circumstance that could have potentially and hurt one of my children terribly and broken my spirit. I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe in God. When an obstacle is in front of us, we are often challenged to immediately go around it or over it, to make it go away. Now, I stop and think a bit more…Is it there to slow us down? Maybe would shouldn’t be so quick to try to go around it, to conquer it. I even look at these struggles as blessings, because I know that I learn valuable lessons each and every time I’m faced with one.

    Ok, enough of my own blog on here. Please forgive the many mistakes in this. I typed it on my phone. Just know Vickie, that you are a huge inspiration to me. I pray for you daily, but I also know you are on this road for a reason!

  5. I Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. I love and appreciate you – all the encouragement you have been to me– thanks for letting me be a part of your parade for God..

  6. Vicky, I found the time today to catch up on all the wonderful blogs you have written. Thanks for being an example and encouraging all of us, no matter what we are dealing with!

  7. I am very thankful to be in good health. I am 73 years old and still work 28 hours per week. I am so blessed in so many areas of my life. I just want you to know I am praying for you and I am encouraged by reading your blog every few days. God Bless You.

    Sue Finley
    Russellville

  8. So true. Just yesterday I was at the hospital getting plasma exchange and the nurse asked me if I would talk to another patient who was just diagnosed with mg. She called him and I spoke to the man’s wife for maybe 20 minutes answering het questions, helping her to understand what to expect and giving her some idead about how to cope with mg. My nurses at the hospital and my neurologist frequently ask me if they can refer new MG patients to contact me. I view it as a privilege and responsibility to help those who are new to the disease. MG is unpredictable and can be terrifying at first. I wish I had somebody to show me the way when I first got sick 20 years ago. However I am thankful to be able to share my experience with anybody who needs it. The Lord has turned a terrible thing into an opportunity to love and help others.

  9. I’m joining your parade too. I’ve been following your blog from the beginning almost and find you so inspiring. You were my doctor and I was in the exam room, I think the next in line to be seen the day you left practicing. I always loved you as a doctor but you have definitely another calling in this blog. I anxiously await each post. God bless you, Vickie. You are helping so much by sharing your journey.

  10. Many years ago I struggled with lots of pain you were the Grand Marshall, the parade has marched on down the road but some days it feels like I’m behind the horses. Last year another problem cropped up and it was very comforting to have someone with the same problem to help me to keep marching in the parade. It’s more like baby steps than marching but I’m still moving. As we move on down the road I’ve gotten some relief with many prayers and meds. This year I’ve been lucky enough to reach out to a friend that is struggling with a health problem different from mine but she knows she’s not alone and she too has joined the parade. I know my struggles have helped her also. Your blogged has been so encouraging to me and has helped me encourage her. Your struggles have not been wasted, you have many parades like at Mardi Gras, one parade isn’t big enough for the encouragement, love and celebrations you have given to everyone whose path has crossed yours. I love parades and I love you.

  11. Love you Vickie. Thank you for such a beautiful description of how and why it is so necessary to be connected in the body of Christ. Each of us need others to hold us up, hold our hand, and to encourage us to remember the “Hope” that is in us. I will now start thinking about Jesus being the head of the
    “Victory Parade.”

  12. When you’re first diagnosed with MG it’s so easy to get lost, to be lost, to travel down the wrong road. For me, initially there was no parade, no one to talk to let alone follow. I turned to the internet, I looked up MG, I read all the various symptoms, treatments, etc. I read and read and read, still I was lost. Then I found the MG support groups and a fellow MGer reached out to me from across the country and finally I had someone who cared and more importantly someone who understood. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing your blog, for sharing your experiences and feeling. You have reached countless people and your blog is honest and up lifting. God bless you!!!

  13. Oh, yes.
    Last week my friend suddenly lost her husband of only 7 years. He was 48. They had a 4yo son.
    It’s why I didn’t comment until now.
    She has no mom and just needed a mom to come in and take over while she fell apart. God arranged it all. Even got me off jury duty. And I moved in with her and took over until the funeral. Then her older sons were home and she was beginning to surface. We are keeping the little son this weekend while she travels to take care of important business. I don’t know how much more help she will need, but I know it will be a lot. She has a good church and good neighbors, but needs like hers can only be met by those who’ve been there, as you said.
    So many are telling her how to grieve. I get angry about that. But she knows where her friends really are. It’s amazing how many people turn up with empty advice, and how many with good advice just wait their turn.
    The poor dear. I am so glad she can hear God.

  14. I am a new follower, and blessed to be a follower of your blog, although I don’t have MG, I have RA and a host of other autoimmune craziness that has changed my life. I caught your blog from a colleague, Janet Cantwell. Looking forward to reading more. You are a light on a hill, not to be hidden under a basket!! (Matthew 5:14)

    Keep it up!

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