North Star Stories
Melissa: Looking up from the bottom ~ I met God
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about ten years ago, but I lived in denial. I was young, energetic, I felt fine, so I pushed the reality of what the disease could do and cruised in the fast lane. I'd have an "episode" once in awhile, but nothing that a week of intravenous medicine couldn't handle. Until this past May, May 15, 2016 to be exact. I felt the episode coming on, but had no idea that this was "the BIG one" until I woke up in the hospital, totally paralyzed on my right side, unable to walk, sit up, scratch my head, sometimes even breathe. My right side was nothing but dead weight. The doctors confirmed it was an MS exacerbation, with the possibility of an MS induced stroke.

I was 33 years old and handicapped. I needed to learn how to pronounce words again, wiggle my toes, bend my finger. I couldn't go to the bathroom by myself, take a shower, wash my own face. If someone didn't open my food container or cut up my meat, I didn't eat.  Everything I knew as "normal" was gone.

I was in the hospital for 1 month and during that time, with maximum assistance, I learned how to bend my leg, move my right arm, and eventually, after being lifted to my feet, put one foot in front of the other with the help of a walker, but it was the wheelchair that became my best friend.

After being released from the hospital in June, I was admitted into a nursing home. Here it is October, and I'm still here, living among those who only exist, are half in the real world and half out, and those waiting to die...but me, I'm finding my "new normal."

My mom's first book, White as Snow was published in 2005, and although I have the whole set, I never took the time to read them...until one day in August, when I had nothing else to do. Once I started, I couldn't stop. Now, please don't think me bias, I'm sincere about this because it is very personal. I wasn't reading the books because my mom wrote them, I was reading them because I needed what the story was saying...I needed to hear about Jesus in such a way that I could relate to the circumstances, that I could feel God's presence...and these books did just that.

Twenty -five pounds lighter, but stronger than I'd been in months, I'd finally reached a point in my rehab where I could take a shower by myself and it was in the shower, when I was alone, with the water pouring over me, I started thinking about Charlie and Jess. I turned off the water, wrapped a towel around myself, and sat down on a blanket on the shower floor. There I was, a young adult, but with no clue where life was going to take me next. What I did know though, was that I didn't want to go it alone anymore. Sitting on the shower floor, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and cleanse me of my sin. And he did, right then and there.

A couple weeks later, on September 25th, my mom, who is also an ordained minister, baptized me in  my oldest sister's brand new swimming pool in front of my whole family. Tears streamed down my face and the pool water shocked my muscles so badly I was almost paralyzed again, but I immediately thought about where I was and where I am now and the spiritual strength that I felt gave me physical strength to walk a few feet and sit down on a patio step to warm and dry in the sun.

I know the good Lord is with me and I'm taking each day with new hope, waiting to begin the next chapter of my new life. All of this came about because one day, with nothing better to do, I picked up White as Snow and started to read. I was at the bottom. All I could do was look up, and when I did, I met God and he changed my life.