“By accepting reality of circumstances, illness, situations, finances, family matters, friendships or all else you can think of, you can face your reality and present life in truth not delusions with false hopes. Accepting gives a place of freedom, freedom to gain strength, gain faith in not knowing how but knowing it shall be, peace in knowing what is for me is for me and a hedge of divine protection hovers around me…..whom and what shall I fear when I am fearfully and wonderfully made as I know I shall live and not perish?” -Mel’O
During the first few weeks of me being diagnosed with Chiari Malformation Type 1 (CM1), I was accepted to a model call that was capturing stages of grief. Ironically, I had just reached that stage with this condition physically, mentally and spiritually. The photographer did not know that until we began to talk some and I told her about the condition, my symptoms and so forth. She was eager to get me in the shoot for this section to represent acceptance.
Having been given many various teachings religiously over the years, I have often heard that you don’t accept illnesses because Gods word says we are healed. What I have came to realize is this, if I’m denying being “ill” to begin with then how can God heal it when I am claiming nothing exists? There is power in the tongue indeed! However, many feel this is giving power to whatever is plaguing you, no, it’s not at all. Until you accept it, you can’t have any control over how it’s affecting you but if you do, you can control how you react to it, you can work on healing methods and watch faith rain more favor in areas of healing. I’ve heard people refuse to say “I was diagnosed with….” whatever illness, disease or condition because it’s “against God” they’d say. Well I beg to differ because Job for example had much suffering and he admitted it and accepted it all while clinging to his faith! Denying “it” will not make it go away. Denying it is denying God the chance to handle it!
Some people will not accept certain physical gifts because they didn’t like it, it was cheap, they don’t like the color, don’t know how to use it, it was a re-gift, it was used whatever…. that’s the same thing for illness in a sense, and no I am not saying illness is a gift but it can be if you turn it into one. Remember, everything we go through isn’t about us, it isn’t for us. Sometimes and quite often in fact it’s about how God wants to use us as gifts for others. There are thousands of people in support groups for CM1, they suffer or a loved one suffers from it. It’s also okay to say “suffer” because without admitting the state of the condition you cannot gain strength to conquer it. Nobody gains strength from lifting pillows, it takes some heavy weight. If we look at this in a biblical place, suffering is necessary and to expect it and be prepared. (2 Tim 2:3, 3:1-4, 13)
Like I was saying, it’s not about us always but even in the midst of whatever storm, God is doing something in us. Me for example, I had to overcome the concept of “people really won’t listen to me because of who I ‘was’ and now people really don’t know who I ‘am.'” Honestly, people closest to me have never really known me because I used to not feel free enough to be completely transparent or open. God changes that in me for the better every day, letting go of what others said I can’t or couldn’t do, wouldn’t do, shouldn’t say because I used to…. when those same people only know who I was not the “renewed” Mel. I have grown in accepting that there’s always going to be a naysayer, there’s always going to be a group of “haters”, shade throwers and mud slingers but as long as they’re listening and watching, seeds are getting planted, deliverance is setting people free and awareness is coming forth. I have felt like people won’t take me seriously because I am always upbeat and happy, even when I feel down or sick.
I had to accept more than this condition, I had to accept me, I had to go back and accept who I was not just admit who I was, I had to dig deeper into myself and deal with those demons that were still whispering about “you know if you do this event at home they’re going to say…..” and I had to let the demons know, everyone has past transgressions and by going through the life I have lived somebody’s going to be free and I am free, I have always touched people in a special way, you will not stop what God has for me to do. I accepted the challenge to follow my purpose. Not only of this condition but of foul treatment, backstabbing, lack of support and gossip old and new. Because without the mess, there’d be no message! The word says to be quick to praise Him and testify to others based on how the Lord has delivered you. (2 Tim 3:11; 4:16-17) I had to accept that when I do not have people I hope to support that I already have the presence of Christ because he never leaves even when I fall (Matt. 28:20) I have the prayers of the righteous- other believers (2 Tim. 1:3) an the fellowship of suffering with other believers who are also facing hardships for the sake of Christ. (2 Tim 1:8; Heb. 13:3; Col. 1:24).
Notice that none of these things have to do with me except me intent wise except finding myself, accepting myself. Until you can accept even your deepest flaws, failures, heart aches, wrongs, misfortunes, poor choices, not being the best person along with acknowledging your growth, potential, victories, fortunes, success, fruits of your labor, abilities, gifts and talents, there is no finding acceptance and without acceptance in all areas of yourself, you cannot help anyone else accept themselves or their circumstances. None of this is to receive an earthly reward or recognition on my behalf because all of your suffering, efforts, labors and faithfulness will be rewarded on “that Day” when believers stand before the Father. (2 Tim 1:12, 18; 2:12; 4:8; Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:16; James 1:12). If this illness were to be the gateway that God calls me on, I want my cup to be empty, I want to be used up, I want every part of my life to be a stepping stone for others, I want others to know there’s hope, there’s always a better day ahead and just hold on in the press.
If Chiari has done anything, it has opened my eyes spiritually more on myself. Lots of fear of failure leave my body daily. Just because someone says you can’t, you shouldn’t, someone else will be better suited for the job, you keep getting passed over and you may even feel discouraged, you might be sick and feel like you aren’t getting well, you might hate to mention you are ill and might even have something people don’t understand or something you feel ashamed about, let every trial become a chapter in your testimony. Everyone will not understand your journey, everyone is not meant to be a part of your press, many will turn against you, many will linger along just to watch silently hoping you fail just to talk about you but REMEMBER, they talked about Jesus straight to the cross up until the moment he hung his head and died! So pick up your cross, look onward to him by faith and keep on going up the Kings Highway!
Here’s me in the moment of acceptance, after prior morning meditation and fellowship during the session with the photographer. I was shaking and trembling during this shoot, not because I was nervous but because of symptoms onset. I was not balanced and had to stand in different positions several times to try to capture as many photos as possible. By the time I made it home, I was totally out of spoons, I was done for. Yet beforehand, I claimed my peace over this that morning and I refused to hold on to the “well the Dr said I shouldn’t work, drive etc until….” I know my limits and I pushed them a little that morning but never will I allow this to discourage, only to encourage and make people aware that there are many people with chronic illnesses that don’t look sick, you cannot visibly see all illnesses so don’t ever think for a second someone is just over exaggerating or being dramatic. There are many illnesses that cause suffering, Chron’s, Lupus, IBS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sickle Cell Anemia, digestive issues, gallbladder issues, pancreatitis, migraines, depression, bi-polar disorder, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases, asthma, allergies, alcoholism, drug abuse and/or addiction, hypertension, thyroid disease, liver disease (not related to alcohol as well), HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and the latter two mentioned are not always contracted sexually, from having many sex partners or sharing needles, some contract from one partner, a blood transfusion or a baby born into it.
So with all of this said, I would appreciate anyone aiding in planning the 1st Annual Conquer Chiari Walk Across America 5K on September 16th, 2017 from 1p-4p at The Track at Dunbar, 286 Learning Way, Forest City NC. The goal set is not only to reach my monetary goal of $2,500 but also to raise awareness about as many health matters, drug use and abuse, mental health, community unity all in one place, together as one band of people supporting not only the Conquer Chiari Foundation as center stage but other conditions as well because Chiari comes with many other conditions as well. What matters is everyone feeling like there’s something for them. I am also seeking food vendors, ministers and pastors from community churches to join in leading prayer, a DJ that is willing to donate his/her time complimentary or a small fee, medical offices that are willing to come out and provide BP checks, blood sugar testing and information. I also hope to obtain a Mobile Red Cross Blood Drive on site, would love to have vendors selling their products and promoting services for a donation that goes directly to the foundation. All donations can receive a charitable donation receipt. There is also a need for prizes for raffle, if you own a hair salon, massage parlor, restaurant etc and would like to donate a gift certificate, hardware store or business to donate an item for raffle as top prize would be greatly appreciated as well.
The face of acceptance. Walking in purpose. Bringing vision to life.