The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV)
We define ourselves in many ways. Since a little girl, I have been loud, bossy and a leader. I was the one organizing class projects, leading volunteer teams, and taking charge of events. I was also told I was smart and pushed myself to do well in school and in my work. Over time, I have been the class mom, the soccer mom, the wife, the historian, the gardener, the horsewoman, the artist and the writer. And lately, I have been defined by my passion for the Malnutrition Center in Guatemala. I never dreamed when I went scared and shaking on that first trip three years ago, that I would be returning two to three trips a year. My life has been changed as I save money for trips, sponsor a child, collect supplies and tell everyone I can about my boy, Bili, and the other children and workers at the Center. Each trip, I worked myself as hard as possible taking advantage of every moment to serve and help. Even though the last two trips I have gotten sick, I still come back determined to do everything I can. Seeing the children and the nannies each time makes it all worthwhile. Not only do I feel like I am following God’s Will and direction for me, but I am blessed as well. But, I have been wondering if that definition no longer would suit me. Today, as I swept the floor in the Squirrels’ room, I realized that I have been allowing something else to define me. I have alluded to health issues here in previous posts. In December, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The neurological disturbances that I experienced most of last year were finally defined. And with that diagnosis came a new definition of me. A woman with M.S. A woman whose balance is getting wonky. Who is now very careful on stairs. Who is afraid to walk in dark places. Who has to give herself a shot every day that is painful and sore for almost a week afterward. And whose new medication makes her feel worn out, limp and exhausted. I have been allowing MS and the medication to set my expectations for life. To talk me into thinking that I could no longer do mission trips because I am too sick and too tired. Or too afraid to take the risks that might make the disease progress beyond what it has already done. It is true that I am being more careful this trip. I am eating differently, resting more and not feeling like I have to be in control or take charge of everything. I am taking some vitamins and being careful not to be exposed to excessive amounts of germs. But, today, I realized that does not mean I cannot do more mission trips. If God calls me to go, I will continue to keep going. I am not going to let MS define me. I’ll allow God to do that.