The following post was written on February 25th just two days before my husband’s brain tumor was discovered. I’m just now able to publish it.
Raising awareness of many illnesses that are diagnosed is a crucial part of helping to bring hope to a community. We use colors of the spectrum to show how we support and acknowledge the cause of awareness which brings so much comfort to those who suffer. I have two brave friends who have bravely fought the scary color pink. Many more, myself included, struggle to heal with the vibrant TBI color green. I know a few beautiful ladies who battle purple which waves bravely as it fights chronic illnesses. My very own grandmother wore the purple hues of lupus for many years. But there is a new color I see now. A color I too am currently aware of as blending into the fabric of my days. It was the color of my favorite oversized BUM Equipment sweatshirt I wore as a teen. The color of my husband’s favorite polo he wore to church almost every Lord’s Day. The color of sunrises, and sunsets that give each day’s start and end rays of hope. The color of the kingly butterfly which soars into the sky every summer to keep our heads and eyes looking up. Today God is giving me hope as I wear this color. And today I’m wearing….
The color orange.
Friends, after 4 MRI tests, I have been diagnosed with a significant case of relapsing-remitting MS. The amazing MS specialist believes I’ve been suffering from it for over 5 years now, along with the difficulties of post-concussion syndrome. I’m so thankful that God heard my cries for help and answers. It’s a tough diagnosis but at least we know the core of what’s been wrong and why my health issues are worsening. Because I went so long undiagnosed or treated my MS has progressed to RRMS which has effected my ability to walk and my vision. Please pray for my family as we have a lot to think about and process as we carry on in our journey together.
I woke up a few mornings ago with these verses on my heart. Romans 8:28, Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11. God is so good.
A few years ago, I had the priveledge of getting to know Bill Sweeney here on WordPress. Little did I know then, that our brief time here on this blog would bring life-changing comfort at a most challenging time for me personally. I looked forward each month to what Bill had to say and always cherished his words.
Bill was on hospice due to decades of living with ALS. He defied the odds. Decades……catch that? Most people who have that horrible disease die within 2-5 years. But not Bill. He was a fighter, a warrior and persevered until the day he went home to Jesus, Dec. 30, 2020.
Bill made the world a better place. His attitude in the face of extreme suffering was something only few of us could ever have. Not being able to talk, walk, move, eat, and being hooked up to a breathing machine yet maintaining his faith and sense of humor, was a God thing. I loved the way he always seemed to have a chuckle within that he wrote on his blog for us to enjoy. Bill used an eye tracking computer to write his posts which was absolutely amazing! His blogging mission was to a preach the gospel which he always wrote committedly in each blog post while leading others to Christ and helping believers in Jesus who also were suffering. He never mentioned his disease in a sorrowful way, he simply wrote about his life with ALS and the hope he knew in Jesus. His determination to never give up and keep on fighting was personally contagious and I strongly suspect many could confirm the same. Many times I felt as long as Bill was fighting and breathing….. then I could fight too.
Summer of 2020, I reached out to Bill in a message hoping for his address so I could send him and Mary a card. His response to me blew me away. In his email he took the opportunity to encourage me in a way no one ever had. Here’s what Bill wrote…..
Hello, Vivian, I hope this email finds you well, relatively speaking, of course. I will give you our address, but let me tell you something that relates to you. I told you about my friend Les and his horrible TBI. As a result, he has mental, emotional, and physical problems. One of his physical problems is blurred vision and double vision. We know that the Apostle Paul had bad vision and other physical problems. We also know that he had been stoned and beaten several times. I think his blurred vision and other physical problems were likely the result of a TBI. Some scholars believe that his bad vision was his “thorn in the flesh.” We can’t be sure, but… Little sister, His grace will be sufficient for you until you get your healing. Don’t give up on believing for your healing. Let’s agree in prayer, Father, Your daughter Vivian and I come together to ask for you to heal her brain injury. We stand together in believing that You heal her. We ask You this in the name of Jesus. I am praying with you! Bless you, my friend, Bill
This note meant the world to me at a time I was very low physically. I was so humbled that he took the time and used his eyes to write this encouragement. He didn’t have to, but he did. The words he used came at a time I was feeling rather defeated. God knew exactly how to use Bill to help me. And that was Bill. He lived to help others. He prayed with others and supported others. Bill was a global missionary with profound purpose: furthering the Kingdom of God.
I strongly believe that was why God brought Bill into my life and countless others. Bill was God’s tool to grow, encourage, and support His church. Bill was a gifted man who loved God like no one in his condition could. God gave him supernatural grace to push through and finish the race that was set before him. Bill was a miracle.
As I think back on all the interactions I had with Bill, I feel deep gratitude. He understood my TBI and even went as far as to equate my suffering with the apostle Paul’s! No one’s ever done that. He would also check on my posts from time to time telling me he was praying for me which meant the world… I’m honored to have known dear brother Bill and as new tears flow down writing out this post I’ve gained a bit of healing as I have had to say goodbye to a dear friend. It may be sooner or later but one of these days I’ll get to meet dear brother Bill as we worship our Saviour forever in glory.