A few months ago I was asked to give a talk at a fireside held for the youth of our church. The subject was "overcoming adversity". Needless to say I shared some of the experiences I had while adjusting to my onset of Transverse Myelitis and the resulting paralysis. Focusing on how I overcame those trials turned out to be pretty easy since I was looking at them in the rear view mirror. I know with unwavering certainty that Heavenly Father was by my side, actually is by my side, through every trial and tribulation. And looking back at the years surrounding my initial diagnosis and the ensuing growth from surmounting the challenges, and even thriving from them, I can see His hand in everything I went through. It wasn’t a problem sharing those experiences with the group attending the fireside. It was a fairly calm time in my life with no major storms on the horizon. Two months later I was faced with a few new trials and had concerns (fears) about how to deal with those challenges. I suddenly realized I needed to practice what I had preached to the youth. Although I know I have a strong testimony of the love that Jesus has for me and His willingness to lay down His life for me. I also know from experience He will guide me through the storms, but the feelings of fear and doubt crept into my thoughts and caused me to question my faith. I fretted and tossed in my sleep with anxiety over how I was going to handle the upcoming problem. I constantly reminded myself that God was in the detail of everything in my life. The thought comforted me, but I still felt anxious.
Practicing What I Preached
My husband and I both required outpatient surgery. Mine was scheduled a month prior to his, in order for me to regain my strength before I was without his care. Though my surgery went well the doctors found a minor complication. No big deal, it was a good thing they found it and remedied the problem. Unfortunately, the little complication required several additional doctor’s visits and a longer recovery time putting a kink in my husband's and my well timed out plans. I was almost back to my old strength four days prior to Guy's surgery (instead of four weeks). The next hurdle was how to deal with his surgery and a two-week period in which he couldn't be my caregiver. Not a problem, hire a caregiver. After a little research, we lined up a company to assist with the bigger challenges, but we discovered that home care is not covered by insurance (and it’s pricey). We could only pray that his recovery would go better than mine had so we could keep our reliance on home care to a minimum. The day of Guy’s surgery was one of my most stressful concerns. With the pandemic I was not allowed to accompany him into the hospital. It hurt to not be there with him, but he was perfectly capable of handling it on his own. I however wasn't sure that I was perfectly capable of handling my care on my own. He would need a ride to and from the hospital and we live quite a distance from it. We were amazed and felt blessed by the offers that came pouring in from friends and neighbors offering assistance with his transportation, but I wanted to be there when he got out of surgery.
I lined up a couple of my beautiful nieces to have lunch with me and help with my bathroom needs while waiting for Guy’s surgery. The day ended up being a great deal longer than we had anticipated. He was scheduled to be the first surgery of the day and ended up being the last. I was tired and doing more than I usually did in a day, but I had the strength and support of my nieces. And in my rearview lens I could see God performing miracles every step of the way. All the worries and concerns that had been bottled up within me were put to rest. I was given time with people that I adore, was reminded of the generosity of others and I was able to be there when Guy walked out of the hospital.
Overcoming adversity doesn't feel easy or comfortable. Adversity is exactly that. It's not fun and it's not a walk in the park. It does however cause us to grow, rely on our Savior and help us recognize His hand in our lives. No my experiences overcoming my initial diagnosis of TM wasn't as easy as I made it sound when speaking to the youth. It took a huge step of faith. When we look to Him we can see the steppingstones He places in our path. We can see his hand holding ours. He will help us overcome any adversity that arises in our lives. I guess what it comes down to, despite the fear and trepidation, continue to prepare for and move toward the trials in front of us. And always rely on Him.