Sunday, March 30, 2008

Through a Child's Eyes

When our granddaughter was just months past the age of three and we visited, she hadn't seen me for awhile. Maycn lovingly hugged me and as I used my two forearm crutches to walk in our daughter's home, suddenly, Maycn disappeared!

Not seconds later she appeared walking with two pieces of plastic (from some toy) and looking just like she was using crutches. She walked up to me with a grin. My husband, of course, shot the picture of us standing next to each other using "our" crutches.

Children pick up on those who are different!

I used my power chair this past Thursday at a speaking event, which was in a church where the children from the school were also using the same restroom as I. All of the cute little girls smiled. One came over to hug me. Another said, "I'm going to get one of those for me!" and I thought, her mom and dad might have something to say about that!

The point is, children are watching. If we're disabled, we have an opportunity to be a light to them. Or a darkened room without a light bulb.

If we are Christians, we can let the Spirit's light shine through any of our weaknesses for God's glory to these little ones whose minds are ready to pick up on each and every thought or expression we show and word we speak.

I hope to be a light to each and every one of them. They are precious in God's sight!

Have a light-filled day!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Traveling to Africa with Multiple Sclerosis!

Posted by Jo Franz

Well, it looks like my husband and I will be traveling to Lagos, Nigeria on April 28! I've asked for an air conditioned car to transport us to and from the airport, air conditioned hotel rooms, convention center venues--every place I can think of--in order to keep me as cool as possible. I'll take a spray bottle to cool me off. I have a mini fan that is battery-operated. Tylenol taken at intervals will help keep my temperature down. I was given a band you can wet and wear around your neck that keeps you cool due to the herbs/chemicals in it... But it might still be a challenge.

Guess what? It's a challenge we're putting in God's hands! He can keep me cool enough to prevent overheating and exacerbating of my MS symptoms! He can keep us safe in an area where we'll need it.

Excitement grows within me as each email goes back and forth between our host and us. I can hardly wait to minister to teenage girls and women about a love that took God's son to the cross in our place so that we might know him intimately and sense his presence in our lives every single moment of every single day by his power, as we put our faith in him.

Have a blessed Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week

Have you ever noticed when something difficult happens in your life, somehow, something prepared you for it?

During the months when I experienced those first symptoms of multiple sclerosis we had a friend visit from Sweden. On his way across the US, he purchased a copy of a newly released autobiography called Joni. It was about a young woman the same age as me, who became a quadraplegic during the summer after high school graduation. It was during the same time as my very own high school friend became a paraplegic due to a car accident. While I attended the University of Colorado with the help of a voice scholarship, I visited my friend. I lay under her stryker frame on the floor to chat and bring laughter into her life. I tried to do wheelies in her wheelchair and told her about college life, and singing in the band in night clubs and sleezy bars...

Klas gave me Joni after reading it that summer, and while the MS symptoms mounted, creating havoc in my life, I read about Joni's life as a Christian while being paralyzed. I read about her struggle to find a reason and finally accepting God loved her and had a plan for her as she was now.

I had no idea as I read that book that it would prepare me for my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis within a few months, but it did. I wanted to have a faith that could withstand anything like Joni's. As I lay in the hospital bed that's what I told God.

Can you look back on a difficult time and see how God prepared you with some thought, book, friend's words, a prayer...? Can you see right now that God is helping you be prepared for something...and it may be an adventure!

I can honestly say living with MS since 1977 has been an adventure--but I've also had many adventures that didn't involve living with disease, or how to have fun in the midst of it...

More tomorrow... Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week

My journey with multiple sclerosis began in 1977 when dizziness blindsided me. I had to hang onto a counter or table to keep from falling over. Fatigue took me from the 95 mile an hour lane (as if life was supposed to be lived that way), and put me in a 50 mile zone when I had to take a rest after lunch to make it through a day at work. Tingling in my extremities and pain at the base of my skull hounded me. But the symptoms came and went, disappearing for days, making me feel like I must be making them up.

Specialists ruled out one thing after another until a neurologist gave me the diagnosis I already suspected. This was before MRIs, but I had enough symptoms he felt sure--and so did I. I had raised funds for the National MS Society the year before because I'd become friends with a woman who had it. I knew a lot about the disease already: There were no substantiated human cures. It could blind me. Make me weakened, numb, even paralyzed.

The only place I knew to go was to God. I believed he loved me. Somehow he wouldn't desert me now. But why did I get it now that life had taken on such meaning?

More tomorrow...