It’s 4:49am Christmas morning 2016. The girls (being my cat and dog) have me up early for their breakfast. This is not a holiday ritual, mind you. This is an every day occurrence. We bring in the day nice and early and usually plop our tired bodies back into bed by 7:30-8pm. Sometimes even earlier.
The house is quiet, the tree is lit and I am ready to slink into my “redneck” recliner to snuggle with the cat while Cricket, my dog, adjusts daddy’s blanket on the couch to her liking. Back to sleep they go. Content with their bellies singing praises.
You’re likely wondering what my redneck recliner looks like. Maybe not, but if you’re reading this you’re going to find out. It’s an old red chair we bought at a yard sale two years ago with an old typewriter crate pushed up against it that is topped with two feather pillows, a quilt my daughter made and a Walking Dead fleece throw. Granted, it doesn’t recline, but it’s where I do some of my best creativity on days when getting around is not so easy.
With the living room lit by tree lights alone, I can quietly assess how I will stay sane today and what I might possibly accomplish. I always keep my expectations low so as not to disappoint myself when it becomes too much. This has taken much time to become accustomed to as my mind still tells me to be better than my body will allow. This is when prayer happens and God intervenes. I still struggle with not pushing my limits, but my limits are decreasing as MS insists on being a part of my life. I have given up so much and with that everything has changed. How my time is spent, who I spend it with, the things I can no longer accomplish amongst a myriad of other interests and hobbies needed to change in aspects or stopped all together. I dabble with keeping up my physical strength, however, the mental aspect of a chronic illness can be overwhelming. With a decrease in my activities and hobbies my time has increased. Slowing down has not been easy, but in these quiet times God has shown me how to reassemble. Mindfulness, meditation and prayer have given me a new appreciation and a cleaner perspective. What matters most is no longer smothered by the ideals of this world. Peace and rest are a result.
These quiet moments are when I can feel Him the most. As the sun begins to rise on this Christmas morning I allow my heart to be thankful for my trials and my desperate need for a Savior. I feel LOVE. His love. How could I not want this for my family? Their resistance will weaken. I pray this as the horizon turns a bright pink/orange through the bare trees. The evidence that family has paid their respects and ripped through some wrapping paper has disappeared, save the doll that sits in a chair by the tree. My memories are worth holding onto as long as I don’t get consumed by trying to recreate them. Let it all unfold as it will, pray about the situation and accept it like a Godly woman.
I took on some pretty big things in 2016. I survived. I spent much time in pain and mental distress, but it has strengthened my soul. God has done wonders and blessed me with much. I find my thoughts more energetic and kinder, my gestures a little more hopeful resulting in a kindness that is beyond my norm. I am learning, slowly, to rise above the pain, while remaining seated and roll with Gods assignments. Perspectives change when you place your entire belief system in God. It’s a lifelong process.
“Many are saying to me, ” God will not deliver him.” But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain.” Psalm 3:2-6
By Allyson Collins