Thank you, Janet, for joining InScribe Writers Online as our Guest Blogger today.
“I’m so glad your husband is coming to the retreat,” wrote Doris in her email. “It means that I won’t be the only one there with mobility issues.” Her words surprised me at first, but then I understood.
My husband suffered a major stroke in 2004, and along with the loss of speech, came the loss of the ability to read and write. He now walks slowly with a cane. A life-changing event for both of us, the stroke suddenly threw me into the role of caregiver and turned our world upside down.
At the conference, Doris and I greeted each other warmly. I knew her from one face-to-face conversation, but mostly from short emails, since she lives in another province. In her early 50s, she now uses a walker because of a mysterious, undiagnosed illness that is gradually stealing her motor skills. Her life has undergone a dramatic change in the past few years.
“People just don’t understand,” she confided, as she freely shared with me at coffee break some of the challenges she and her family are facing. She instinctively knew I would understand, and I did. There was an automatic bond between us. And I was able to tell her how the Lord has been faithful throughout the years in spite of numerous difficulties our family has been through.
Later, I reflected on the retreat with Laura, a friend of mine. "When I look back, I think the most valuable thing I have to offer others has come through the difficulties the Lord has brought me through—especially my husband’s stroke and the bipolar mood disorder in our family,” I told her. “Those very things that were so painful at the time are what the Lord has used to enable me to relate to and comfort other people.”
Laura was intrigued.
I went on to explain how when my husband first had his stroke, a friend told me, “What a tragedy.” I thought about it for a while, and said to myself, “I’d rather see it as a challenge.” A tragedy looks back at what used to be, but challenge looks forward to the future, giving a person a reason to hold on to hope.
And challenges we certainly have had . . . but the Lord has never abandoned us. He has given me joy for the journey, and His peace and presence. And for that, I thank Him. He has also enabled me to be a comfort to others going through struggles.
As a writer, I’ve been able to share with others that hope I have in the Lord and how the Lord met me in the challenges I’ve faced. Some of my stories, floating around on Internet, have encircled the globe and I’ve had emails from people in various countries who have been encouraged because I’ve been willing to share.
As fellow writers, we all have the opportunity to be encouragers. May each of us use the ability the Lord has given us to reach out to others in need. And may the Lord be glorified as we use the skills He has given us.
A long-time InScribe member, Janet writes for 'Prayer Alive' and 'Word Alive', two Wycliffe Canada publications. Married to Dennis for 37 years, she is the mother of two adult children, one of whom is married. She enjoys being a grandma to five-year-old Andrew. www.inscribe.org/janetseever www.caringbridge.org/canada/janetseever