At one time, I had everything and my life was filled with happiness and promise. Then, one day I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I fell the first time. Eight months later my husband left me because he was afraid that in time he would have to take care of me as my condition worsened. I fell the second time. Later that year a mugger outside the hospital slashed my palm with a knife, I had to have surgery and it took a long time to heal. I fell the third time. I even fell a fourth time when I became addicted and dependent upon pain killers. During this time however, I discovered a purposeful religious life. I found out that I could help other people and that by sharing my story, I could inspire others. Wrestling with my grief, pain and anger, I found my destiny. The old saying goes three strikes and you’re out but not for Jesus. He got up and kept going. I too had to keep going. I discovered that life is to live intensely. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail or fall, or even how many lives you touch. No matter how many times you fall, courage is found in getting up again. The road of life may be long and hard and strewn with pain and suffering, but the destination and destiny is in living life to the fullest. I thank God that I have the strength to keep getting up and going on because with every turn in life I discover beauty and something worth living for, especially when I discover it is in living for others that I discover that life is worth living.
Thanks to our beautiful prison ministry here at our loving church, I can forgive the mugger, I can forgive my husband, I can even forgive myself for blaming God for the MS. They were all blood stained gifts to the discovery of love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness. They have made me a better person and in turn, helped me to make other people, better people.
O God by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.