I ran across this devotional I wrote before I was diagnosed. In honor of MS Awareness Week I wanted to share it with ya’ll. If I could go back and talk to myself back then I think I would say one thing. “Don’t worry. Be joyful. God supplies perfect joy even when life isn’t perfect.”
“You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
Psalm 30:11 (NIV)
I love to write. I love to sit down in the quiet dark by the candlelight and scribble my heart out. I love that it’s God and my special time together. I love that He trusts me enough to tell you who He is, and I love to tell you how great He is. I love to tell you how much He loves you (because He does, you know!)
But what you may not know is that I also love to dance.
And that’s something that my kids say that I should never do in public! I have to tap my foot to any up-tempo old hymn. I can’t resist when Land of 1000 Dances comes on the radio and I can’t fight the urge to dance with the broom to anything Sinatra. Dancing has just always made me so joyful. After all, it’s really hard to take yourself seriously when you’re dancing . . . especially when you dance like I do!
In fact, I was dancing when it all started. My leg started going numb and weak about two months back and it stopped me in my tracks. At first it was just a nuisance until it became a burden. As dancing grew harder I become more and more disheartened, especially when I learned that the doctor was looking for MS. If it turned out to be MS I worried that the things I loved most would eventually be too challenging.
Would I be able to write? Would I be able to spin around and around until I got dizzy?
Test after test, day after day with no change. I began to give up on dancing around the house in my pajamas. My left leg was significantly slower than my right. I was too unsteady to spin the baby in my arms as Brown Eyed Girl blared through the speakers. Before I knew it, I’d fallen into hopeless mode. If the doctors found what they were looking for, this could be only the beginning of losing the thing that made me joyful. If the doctors found what they were looking for, I’d be forced to watch it slip further and further away as my body refused to do the things that once came so freely.
I’d been a little too worried to look at the problem from any other angle than an intrusion in my life. I had become so busy trying to predict the future that I’d stopped trying to find new ways to dance here and now: both physically and spiritually. Test after test, I am still walking through the uncertain, but day after day I’m learning that in order to keep my joy and my hope I must keep dancing: In my own way, and in new ways.
Everything I’m going through could turn out to be something so simple. Even if it isn’t, worrying does nothing to solve it. The same is true for whatever you are going through. God doesn’t desire that we worry or that we only give Him the things that are too hard to carry. He asks that we give Him EVERYTHING. He asks us to free up our arms of burdens, allowing them to flow free, to twirl and spin around and around until we get dizzy with laughter.
Maybe indeed you are walking through uncertain times of your own. Maybe you are left unable to do the things you once loved or maybe you wish you could the thing you loved better. As life changes and we are left to deal with the trials that cross our paths, we must find new and innovative ways to dance. When we cannot travel the world to help the hungry, we must love from where we are. When we cannot sing with the voice of angels, we must lift our voice in ways that make the angels sing. When we are not being embraced, we must embrace others. When we cannot dance . . . we must learn to dance again in new ways.
When we choose to be joyful amidst adversity or circumstances, we have exercised faith. God delights in our joy and He smiles when we dance . . . no matter what “dance” means in your life. Have you danced today?