When Multiple Sclerosis Strikes, God Still Has A Plan

When Multiple Sclerosis Strikes, God Still Has A Plan

Past into Purpose Series, Post #12: This series is intended to introduce you to the women on the Your Life Still Counts Contributor Team whose inspiring stories of pain into purpose were selected for inclusion in the book. To read the full inspiring story of each contributor, click here to purchase your copy of Your Life Still Counts and be inspired to allow God to turn your past into your purpose too.

Meet Maxine Young 

Picture0024c[1]

Maxine Young lives in Queens, New York and has discovered that her purpose based on her past experiences, which are also still her present circumstances, is to connect with women who feel their lives are over due to devastating illness diagnoses, or because of the unexpected twists and turns that life sometimes takes, and to give them hope for the future while reminding them they are not forgotten. Maxine published her Ebook titled The Wait: Seeking God When Your Health Hits Life’s Pause Button.

My Interview with Maxine:

What made you want to contribute your story to Your Life Still Counts?

Maxine: At first, I didn’t believe I had a story to contribute, because I have Multiple Sclerosis. My sister assured me that I did, and that was the reason she told me about Your Life Still Counts. After reading about the project, I was still not convinced, but I told her that I would pray about it, and be open to whatever God said. Within about a week, I stumbled upon something I wrote in my journal – a story that I’d forgotten about. When I read it, I felt encouraged by that memory in my faith walk, and Your Life Still Counts flashed in my mind. I began to wonder, What if there was a woman who received a devastating diagnosis, and thought her life no longer counted, just as I had come to believe? What if the story of how God let me know that my life did still count, could be an encouragement to her? It was these questions that nudged me to contribute my story.

So many of us feel that way Maxine. We think our lives don’t matter and that we can’t make a contribution in this world because of our circumstances or past experiences. What an inspiration you are to so many now, especially those struggling with illness or limitations, as you live as proof that God can use every person to impact the lives of others.

So how has God opened doors for you to do ministry or touch other’s hearts since you stepped out in obedience to share your story with me?

Maxine: When I first received the interview questions a few months ago, my heart sank upon reading this particular question above. Nothing had really happened except my MS giving me more trouble. In November, I had to undergo another round of therapy in order to help my legs get moving again. I wasn’t feeling very well, the holidays were on their way, and everything seemed bleak, but God is always on time. In December, the administrator of a website I wrote for previously invited me to write for them again. I am now part of the Ruby for Women Blogger team. I had not written for them since the beginning of 2012. Keeping a daily or even weekly blog just became too difficult, and I hadn’t kept a regular blog since 2006, but when you’re a part of a team, it’s more manageable.  I’ve also been able to update my encouragement booklet for people with illness or disease titled, The Wait: Seeking God When Your Health Hits Life’s Pause Button.

Thank you for being so honest Maxine. Sometimes we all go through seasons of feeling like God is doing nothing in us or through us, and that problems are all we have, and it can be very discouraging. But what an awesome example of how God knew the longings of your heart, and was just waiting for the perfect time to open up a new door for you to bless and reach out to others. Aside from these new opportunities you just mentioned, do you feel He’s blessed you in a special way as a result of walking in obedience through the sharing of your story in YLSC, and your other writings? 

Maxine: I would say that my faith has definitely been strengthened, and that is a blessing in itself. But when I share my personal story with someone and the story of it being chosen to be published in your book – it’s a wonderful blessing for both me and the person I’m speaking with.

I want to share part of your story today, so people know where your heart was at one time, because I know there are people reading this post who feel the same way right this minute.

Several years ago I was given a devastating diagnosis – Multiple Sclerosis. I quickly realized that having an illness that causes disability is brutal. I often felt worthless, and felt that society thought I was as well. So it didn’t take long for me to begin believing that lie, doubting that God could ever have a purpose for my life or use me in a unique way. I prayed words like “Lord, what could my life possibly be at this point? I feel cheated. I finally have a relationship with You, and I can’t do anything.” I then heard a still small voice which said “Who told you that you can’t do anything?”, then the verse Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind.

Gratefully, I understood what God was saying in that moment – I simply needed to trust Him. Within a year of that prayer, I felt called to write a publication of encouragement for people with chronic illness, but I was terribly uncertain. I became overwhelmed with fear, doubts, and self-defeating thoughts which hindered my progress. I wondered what advice or encouragement I could have to offer anyone, and assumed that nobody would want to listen to me. Yet eventually, I grew tired of being a coward and asked God to help me move forward with confidence.   I asked God to help me with my fears and to reassure me of His plans. I said Amen, and opened up my daily devotional – which was a story about a woman who had been called to write a book but lacked confidence. She described all the emotions I had been juggling and how she had overcome them through Christ and I knew God was speaking to me!

Despite a few obstacles that my illness caused, I completed my encouragement booklet eight months later. I realized that God didn’t need to cure me to use me. He called me exactly where I was and how I was, and my illness is what qualified me to serve a unique purpose.

So inspiring, no matter how many times I read it Maxine! God is so good when we give Him a chance. What an incredible example you are of pushing past self doubt and really trusting that you are valuable and loved in God’s eyes, but also that you have a divine purpose and can positively impact the lives of others, despite the limitations your illness has caused.

Have you felt called to do anything new lately, like a new project or ministry endeavor?

Maxine: Well, it’s really more of an unexpected endeavor. In October there was a writing challenge that encourages writing (on any topic) for each of the 31 days in October. I was hesitant to start, but was actually able to complete that challenge and increase traffic to my own devotional blog since I linked it up to the winning blog entries. I believe that being able to complete that challenge gave me courage and hope, and as a result, God opened the door for me to become a blogger again. What started as just a fun and challenging project for me, was a stepping stone for God. I had never done the challenge before – I didn’t know it would be possible for me.

My topic focused on the importance of writing down important things that we often forget, or become too busy to note.
I hope that anyone who reads the blog will take the time to remember what has been and appreciate what currently is. Life as it is right now will not always be. Your great grand-children might want to read about your take on things one day. Maybe you need to share with them and someone else what God has done/is doing for you!

That’s awesome! I’m assume that was out of our comfort zone?

Maxine: This entire experience has been out of my comfort zone. As close as I feel to God when I write, I would feel perfectly fine keeping everything I write down private and between us. That was not God’s plan for me. Although it is not new, this is out of my comfort zone for sure.

Do you have anything else you are involved with right now? 

Maxine: Lately, I have focused on sending uplifting cards and notes to people in my circle of family and friends and sometimes just people that I have seen or have been mentioned to me. I’ve seen how sometimes a short encouraging word can go a very long way.  I do hope it helps someone else see Christ.

If you had to name one thing that you are most thankful to God for, what would it be?

Maxine: His patience and my family. I’m sorry, I know that’s two, but I can’t name just one!

What are you most excited about regarding how God has turned your past into your purpose?

Maxine: The idea that someone could see themselves in the story that I wrote down is exciting. The idea that someone who felt that they were inconsequential in life might begin to understand just how important they are to God, simply because my story spoke to them, is thrilling. And the idea that after they have understood God’s love for them, they might reach out to someone else, sharing the good news of the hope that a life in Christ provides – is electrifying.

That answer almost makes me want to cry. Thank you for being a vessel of hope for others. So how can people pray for you today?

Maxine: I would be grateful for prayers for my health and prayers for transformation, guidance and obedience.

_______________________

If you struggle with the discouragement and frustration due to the limitations or challenges of an illness or health issue, and could use some encouragement from someone who truly understands, I want to encourage you to check out Maxine’s blog at His Work In Progress and/or her 31 Days of Meaning Blog.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 4.22.57 PMYou can also purchase her E-book of inspiration on Amazon for only $1.99. 

If you struggle with the frustrations of a debilitating illness, how does Maxine’s story encourage you today?

LEAVE A COMMENT

 

** The winner of Linda Kuhar’s 30 minute life coaching session is MS, with a twitter handle of @FavorofGOD365.**

21 Comments

  1. dogear6 on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Maxine and I became friends last fall with a 31 Day Challenge. I really enjoyed getting to know her better in this post and seeing a picture of the real her!

    As hard as the MS is for Maxine, I can see where she is able to use it to help others. It’s hard somedays – many days – but she hangs in there.

    Thanks for encouraging her to share her story here!

    Nancy



    • Maxine on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Thank you so much Nancy for reading the interview and leaving a comment! I am so happy to have met you during the challenge. Your friendship is truly a blessing to me! *hugs*



    • Tracie on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you for being an encouragement to Maxine Nancy! 🙂 So glad God brought you two together through writing.



  2. Lisa on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 11:43 am

    This is my sister and I’m so proud of her. She has allowed God to use her. I know that He will continue to use her. Thank you Tracie for letting her share her story!



    • Maxine on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 11:10 am

      Thanks Lis! Look where God has taken your suggestion and encouragement. Thank You for letting God use you to minister to me with your ability to see things, I haven’t quite grasped as yet. *hugs*.



    • Tracie on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      You should be proud Lisa! It’s take a lot of courageous and bold faith to step outside our comfort zones, and realize that God can use us in special ways from right where we are. My sister too has MS, so I know about this illness all too well. Praying for Maxine and your family!



  3. Matthias M. Hoefler on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Yeah, that paragraph toward the end, the one Tracie found tearful is really beautiful. I could picture vividly the gentleness and love in your desire to share what had been broken. And it was moving. I think I saw Jesus there, the one who on some level suffered all the kinds of things that can be suffered, but didn’t give out.

    Thank you so much for finding a way through what you faced, and then being willing to help others who have suffered like you have.



    • Maxine on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Hello Matthias! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this comment. It was so encouraging to me. Thank You. *hugs*



  4. Christine Dietz on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    This comes at such a right time! I have been living with MS for over 20 years, and after a period of grieving, prayer and seeking information, life breezed by fairly normally, with bumps here and there. Disability time came with some saddness, but trust in God. I was tired and ready to stay home and enjoy. That was 12 years ago, and over the last 2 year’s,the old damage has caused major problems. I have become a hermit, worthless in my own eyes. I can’t wait to read your book! Thank you.



    • Maxine on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Oh Christine, God Bless You! I understand how it becomes easy to feel worthless in this society, but I want to remind you that this world is not our home – it’s just a pit stop. An at times trying one, but a pit stop nonetheless. A man named Alistair Begg once said Nobody is a Nobody in the family of God, and that is the absolute truth. Thank God that we don’t have to rely on our feelings or circumstances to know how God feels about us. I hope something in the book proves useful.



    • Maxine on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      *hugs*



    • Tracie on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Christine, I so understand where you’re coming from. It is so hard to face so many challenges, and not get completely down on ones self, especially if you feel isolated from other people. I’m so glad Maxine’s story spoke to your heart and I have prayed for your health today. I am also praying that God would give you the ability and courage to do something new and exciting, for Him and for you, and that He would fill your life with people to lift your spirits and remind you of how valuable are to God, but also in this world. We all have something to offer, born with innate talents and skills that can be used for great things, sometimes we just have to seek a little harder, and pray a little longer, to figure it out and see the doors God opens. And I love what Maxine said – NOBODY IS A NOBODY IN THE FAMILY OF GOD! Praying for you friend!



  5. Janelle on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you for letting my cousin Maxine share her story here! She has been such an inspiration to me. Her faith in God and her words of encouragement over the years have helped me through many rough patches in my life. I still pull out the little book of God’s promises she made for me ever so often, whenever I need a reminder. Thank you Tracie and thank you Max! 🙂



    • Maxine on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you Janelle!! I’m so happy to know you still have that little book. *hugs*



    • Tracie on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      Its my blessing Janelle! I’m so glad you all encouraged her to submit her story and see how God is using it. This post has been shared from my blog over 120 times so far, so God is at work and being glorified through her! 🙂



  6. Ginger on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 10:27 am

    So very thankful for your story and your courage to reach out and share love and compassion from your own life experience! Honestly, I’m not sure how I ended up seeing this post yet your interview was beautiful and I am very anxious to read your book. I think this is how God touched me through your gift of sharing. 🙂 I truly needed this. I have rheumatoid arthritis that has been very difficult and most recently have been dealing with the struggles of a CSF leak from my brain. It is been overwhelming and I truly empathize with others that live with chronic debilitating diseases. Lately it just has been really tough physically and emotionally. I’ve been facing losing the quality of my life and still trying to be a mom to our six kids and a wife. Most recently and perhaps more divinely planned, I am on bed rest for four weeks to try to help the CSF leak heal before I would have to face more invasive procedures. I’m going to use this time to read your book and it will certainly be a time of prayer and reflection. I’m sure the rest will do my soul good. God blessed me so beautifully with two wonderful ladies to help in my home. It all has been beautifully timed to fit with the care that I’ve needed. These things are reassuring and yet the walk really truly is a walk like no other. Suffering is truly a very hard thing to understand with our human hearts. Yet I read this devotion recently which really spoke to me and I’ll share here. These are just a few lines that particularly spoke to my heart and perhaps they may speak to yours.

    Are you hurting today? Take heart. Dare to see God, right now. Dare to believe the things you’ve been taught are true, that He’s beside you, and His hand reaches out for yours.

    Are you maxed out? Not at all equipped for the task you’ve been dealt? Not even close to faithful enough, and far too grumpy? Let’s link elbows, because I’m with you.

    His preferences are for the small and unworthy. Unusual? Maybe. But they fall in our favor.

    He keeps wanting us, never stops chasing us, leads us to hard places, and holds us there.

    He is God and we are not. Any safety or comfort we’re meant to hold waits in His hands.

    He is reason enough.

    Much love and prayers and thank you again for sharing your story. To know you are not alone is very powerful. This is surely from God!

    Blessings,

    Ginger



    • Maxine on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Ginger, thank you so much for sharing your story and that devotional. I love when I can read something that whispers, but it hits my heart as if a megaphone has sounded. I’m always grateful for the reminder that through it all, we must trust and believe in God. He can and will see us through. You said that you truly needed this, but I truly needed the words that you wrote. Thank you. Much love and prayer for you and your family also. Your words touched me today and I am so grateful. *hugs* Please cling to God. He’s our greatest hope. For so many situations He is our only hope.



  7. Yvonne Wilson on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I’ve begun the process of diagnosis for several systems I have . My family doctor couldn’t diagnosis me. When I had a fall and hit my head I went to the ER. The doctor at the ER. WOULDN’T diagnosis me and told me to see a neurologist. He also told me to use a walker and I wasn’t to drive. Obviously something was wrong. .. I went to the neurologist, she examined me. Took me through a few tests and told me she wanted me to go for an MRI and a spinal tap. She’s said,”Ya know Yvonne, your symptoms are very similar to symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. ” Then I will go for a follow-up appointment on the 17th of August. My faith has always been strong though my life has been difficult. So much so I wanted to change my name to “Job,” If I am diagnosed with MS I will NOT survive. Sure, I have family and friends who love and support me. God? Well, let’s just say I won’t have much to say about God. I do know my faith will be gone. I am not bashing these writers at all. I’m sure they’ve helped many be hopeful. I just wanted to give my view of how MS will affect my life. I wish you all the best.



Other Posts You May Enjoy

Headshot Flipped 2

Tracie Miles is a bestselling author and the Director of COMPEL Training with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  She helps women grow stronger in their faith, pursue the life of purpose God designed them for and live a life of peace, joy and happiness despite their circumstances.

Living-Unbroken-3DwithShadow

Available Now!

Subscribe to Tracie’s Blog

Receive the Living Unbroken Battle Plan Workbook for free if you subscribe to Tracie’s blog today!
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Sign Up for Tracie’s Free Devotional Challenges

Tracie's Books