When People Cannot See Your Invisible Symptoms

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.” (Psalm 34:15)

The alarm clock signaled it was time to wake up. The first challenge: get out of bed. Multiple sclerosis (MS) made my legs weak. So, I gave my legs time to support me before I took a step.

I fixed my hair, ignoring the pain in my feet. Raising my arms was like lifting barbells. But I wanted to look presentable–to reflect His love, not showcase my pain.

My husband walked by and said, “After church we have to. . . ”
The sleepless night made it hard to process even one sentence.
“Please say that again slower.”
Lovingly, my husband obliged.

As we entered the sanctuary, we headed to “our” pew. Before I arrived at my seat to rest, a good friend spotted me. I stood there talking to her. My feet began to hurt worse, my energy drained.

I thought to myself, Smile, Vicki. Ignore the pain. Listen.
Then she said, “You look so good.”

Why did that comment bother me?

I knew each person who said it meant to say they were glad I didn’t look sickly.

Still, it bothered me every time I heard it. Why?

Was I afraid they thought I was exaggerating my discomfort or faking it? Was it pride? Did I desire attention? Did I want pity? Certainly not.

So, what was it?

I wanted them to understand.

The message that morning was from Luke 13:10-12.

“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’”

“Eighteen years” jumped off the page. That’s how long I had MS! In the midst of His teaching, Jesus noticed the woman who suffered an infirmity. Likewise, He notices me. His eyes are on me and His ears are attentive to my cry.

Psalms teaches about God’s compassion. Jesus healed the blind, deaf, and lame. Surely He cares about me.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You understand my suffering. You know my every thought. You hear my every cry. You are my Good Shepherd; I shall not want.

About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her online community she reaches out to other parents of children with special needs. http://theblogfrog.com/1505794

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Do you have hidden symptoms? When someone says, “You look good” how do you respond?

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