MS, Religion, and Spirituality: Why I Believe In God

MS, Religion, and Spirituality: Why I Believe In God

Patiently Awakened
Religion and spirituality are personal, delicate issues for many. Various schools of thought exist, and I haven’t the desire or the ability to deem one more important than the other. Writing about religious and spiritual matters is at times taboo in an often secular world. I can, however, express my personal opinions and beliefs regarding this subject because this is a patient column detailing my personal life experiences dealing with and surviving MS and chronic illness.

Most of you have already determined that I am a woman of great faith. I have a solid Christian background, and I am deeply spiritual. I believe in God, miracles, heaven, and many other ideals that are often challenged by humans and science. My inspiration for this week’s column emanated from a conversation I had with an acquaintance.

The person did not understand how I could believe in God at all. They asked what kind of God would allow me to have MS, heart disease, and all of the other tragedies that I have faced. They asked what kind of God would allow illness, poverty, war, suffering, and all other societal ills. The individual adamantly denied a belief in any God and attempted to belittle and demean my values. I believe that many people occupy this position, and have silently asked these questions. This person was actually audacious enough to ask me directly.

I must say that my initial reaction was one of shock, coupled with a fragment of anger. I thought to myself, “Who has the audacity to question my religious tenet?” I then remembered that everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs and opinions. I told the person that I most definitely believe in God and he exists in my heart, soul, and mind. God for me is ubiquitous, he is in me and all around me. I further explained that illness, tragedy, and societal ills are troubles of the world we live in. However, believing in God strengthens me, gives me hope today and beyond, and fortifies my purpose here on earth.

I believe that I am always in the presence of God, and every time I look over my life, I have several reasons of why he is real to me. I reminded the acquaintance that just as she does not like for anyone to impose their beliefs on her, she should not impose or attempt to discredit what anyone else believes. I avowed that she does not choose that.

Religion and spirituality are pivotal components of my life. They will always be. I am not afraid to admit that. My belief system personally challenges me to live more humbly, with grace and gratitude. I am also cognizant that everyone does not believe as I do and for me, that is okay. I have very close friends who identify as atheists, yet they have the most genuine and loving hearts. That is enough for me. I don’t sit in judgment and debate why they should believe in God. I accept them as they are, respecting their beliefs and boundaries. They do the same for me.

My religion is a learned behavior that I have practiced and studied, yet my spiritual journey is a process. I am often offended when I see or hear others disrespecting or demeaning something that is so important to me. However, I realize that I do not have to attend every argument. Some battles are not mine to fight. My position is nonnegotiable, and I will continue to believe regardless of the opinions of others. As a matter of fact, I pray to God for anyone that is going through adversity. Why? Because I believe, even if others don’t.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.
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Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.

21 comments

  1. Shaf says:

    Beautifully said Teresa!

    I have MS too, lost my job, then my wife left me.

    But my faith in Allah is greater than ever.

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Gale,
      Thank you for reading the column and responding. You are more than welcome. Best wishes to you!

  2. Yoga says:

    Thank you for your inspiring writing.
    My five time prayers a day become my “religious exercises” to move my body and soul. Now I can’t stand too long for my MS so I take a seat on the floor while praying. That’s permissible because of my illness. That means everything to me because I can get closer to do ‘sujood’ i.e. prostation to Allah. Literally or illiterally, I should be closer to God and sure He is The Best Planner and The Almighty. May God bless us all. Love.

    ♡Btw my nickname is Yoga, a part of my long full name that sounds Sanskrits because Old Javanese language does sound similar to Sanskrit. And my parents are Javanese and love that 🙂
    I was born muslim in Indonesia, a rich and multicultural country with many faiths and religions. My first place to learn diversity and peace with my neighbours, friends and big family.

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Yoga,
      You’re welcome. I thank you for reading the column and sharing you thoughts and exoeriences. Bless you.

  3. Alyssa says:

    I couldn’t have expressed this any better. I know my faith keeps me going even when I feel like giving up.

  4. Liza says:

    I just want to tell you GOD is good and will heal every body if we have faith. I’m following the miracles all over the world and yes! Exist the person they can heal you one is Saint Charbel.
    Google or go to you tube and have faith.

  5. Jen R says:

    I completely agree with you…having ms for over 25 yrs, I believe in God’ and His plan for me and I do not question it. I have an amazing family and great coworkers that put a smile on my face every day no matter how disabled I may become ?

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Jen,
      Thank you for your response and for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Support is a blessing and I’m happy to know you have a great support system. Keep the faith and bless you.

  6. Be Honest says:

    Hi Theresa. I respect your views and your strong belief in God. I was diagnosed with MS in my thirtys, so my view on faith and religion have been with me since I was a young boy! I was raised in a large Catholic family, we went to church every Sunday and attended Catholic school’s. My family all believe the same way as you. My mother refers to me as a Doubting Thomas! As you mentioned, your religious beliefs and faith was learned, studied and is a lifestyle. I on the other hand have not been able to accept that path ever since I was a little boy just because I was taught that my whole childhood. I have always excepted life and reality for what it is. There is good and there is evil, to me these are by-products of our society all around the world. These are all learned behaviors that we have created ourselves just like the different religions around the world. This is one good example of how can there be a different God for every different religious organization in the world! I have found for me, it’s easier to understand and except what happens in life and around the world as the reality we created and live in. Faith in whatever form has always been difficult to embrace and except since it’s a learned belief system. I hope I’m not offending anyone, I’m just sharing my view and hope to see other opinions. I hope if you choose to comment, you offer an explanation and not just your religious views. It’s for those of us who want to better understand the views of one another. I wish everyone the best in your health and happiness!

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Be Honest,
      First let me begin by saying thank you for respecting my views and for your honesty. I am definitely not offended by your response because again, I am aware that we all think differently. This column was more of a personal explanation as to why I believe in God and what my faith has brought me through and led me to. As mentioned, the column was written after a stirring conversation I had with another person. In addition, I wanted to emphasize that even if we believe differently, we can do so with respect and dignity, not insult or degradation. In reference to understanding my views, I would just say that my Christian foundation began long ago however, my spiritual process is ever evolving. My process, as many others, is a personal, unique journey that often transcends human explanation. Faith of course is believing in the things that I hope for yet cannot see. It is in my life’s occurrences that have become intimate revelations. This is just my experience. I believe that we each must figure out our lives the best way we know how and we must employ whatever method works best for us. I am neither judge nor jury on what a person believes and how they process the world around them. We each have our own paths. I am busy trying to walk mine as best as I can, with hope, clarity, tenacity and faith. My belief in God fortifies me to do so. Again, I thank you for your candor and I too wish you the best.

      • Be Honest says:

        Thank You Theresa, I wish you only the best as well. I wish I could make myself feel the way you do. With all the ambiguity, unanswered questions and evil in our world, I just can’t see things the way you see them. There are many great things in life and this world but, ever since I was little I could not see things that way. My family as well as myself, we do not understand why I am the different one. Most things we are taught as children stick with us. My Mom and I are waiting for that special sign as she puts it. I know this can go on forever, so I’ll just say thanks again.

        • Howard Parks says:

          I can understand your frustrations with the ambiguity and unanswered questions! I feel and have those too. You’re right, just like good, there is evil in the world. These afflictions like MS have come into the world as a result of “man’s” fall into sin; which goes back to Adam and Eve. Even so,faith in Christ does not necessarily eliminate illness and affliction from a Christain’s life. All things happen for a reason. That would be God’s plan for us. I don’t know why I got MS, but I pray daily that if it his will, that this disease be lifted from me. All I can do is try and use this disease to show my faith in God to others. I know this doesn’t help a lot but, I’m sure you can get more answers from a pastor.

  7. Howard Parks says:

    God Bless you, Teresa Wright-Johnson! My faith is all that keeps me going! I know that I, and hopefully many others with M.S. will be in heaven with me; restored, healed, running and jumping!

  8. Frances says:

    I understand what you are going through but I agree with you in speaking with boldness of your faith, cause Christ Jesus dyed for all who believe in the son of God. & I will not let anyone try to make me think otherwise. Cause I have Multiple Sclerosis and my God is my strength in Christ Jesus amen.

  9. Steven Koutsodontis says:

    Hello to all, my humanity is immersed within the love and hate this world creates for all of us. I try to understand the why with science and it helps to a point. To view the world in a holistic way I also require the help of Christ and His teachings. I too have M.S and acquired it when I was 16.
    I think this was part of God’s plan for me and I do live as an eternal optimist, knowing that I can influence others to do the same. I have chosen to own my disease with the support of my loving wife and children. I understand one day my journey will come to an end on this beautiful planet, I hope my children remember me as a champion of this disease MS and a devoted father not as a victim.

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