“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 

Easier said than done. We’ve been through a very dark time. Mary Addison has had seizures almost daily for 23 years, but recently, she would come out of seizures unable to walk, talk, even swallow. Just when she was making a little progress, another wave of seizures would hit, rendering her incapacitated again. We actually thought she’d had a stroke. Terrifying to say the least.

During this scary time, our regular caregiver had to leave us due to government red tape. So our normally active world shrunk down to my husband and I taking turns sleeping in the armchair beside the sofa where she lay, unable to even turn over on her own.  We did countless loads of sheets, bed pads and pajamas soiled by her inability to get up and get to the bathroom. We prepared liquid meals for her to sip through a straw. We backed out of social obligations and hunkered down, watching hour after hour of Gunsmoke with her. We prayed. We cried. We got mad. We wondered if this was the beginning of the end.

Then, through a series of teeny tiny miracles (including intense prayer time with friends and an amazing tea), the shroud of seizures began to lift. She smiled. Oh how beautiful was that smile from a face that had been blank and drooling. She regained enough strength to be assisted from the sofa to the porta-pot. No more wet sheets and diapers. Yay! She ate yogurt. Hooray! We knew we had turned a corner when she was able to go to the park again in a wheelchair. Oh, thank God for that wheelchair! Every little thing became a celebration. It was like cheering for a marathon runner who was coming into the home stretch, wrung out, but determined. Lots of high fives and “You can do it!”

We are still on the journey back from the brink, but she is walking and talking again. The wheelchair is now back in the garage. It is a reminder of how far Mary Addison has come.  It is a reminder of how much we have to be grateful for. It symbolizes the trials and difficulties that can arise any time in our carefully organized lives and wreak havoc.

But the beauty of these experiences is that we have learned where to turn for hope and strength and we KNOW that where there is hope, there is joy.  So now in all this we can greatly rejoice, though now for a little while we may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. We know these have come so that the proven genuineness of our faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)