My Faith Journey With Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
How reaching out and 'coincidences' have led to change since a diagnosis
After being given the most life-changing, devastating news I’d ever heard — “Mr. De Marzo, you have textbook MS. As a matter of fact, you have PPMS [primary progressive multiple sclerosis].” — the emotions and pictures that ran through my mind were vivid, horrific, angry, and upsetting, to say the least. What? How? Why? These were a few of the numerous thoughts that ran through my mind. I didn’t know how I’d cope.
I grew up in a multireligious household without a defined path. We were encouraged to discover our own way and journey wherever that might lead.
After my diagnosis, I experienced a series of thought-provoking encounters. The first involved a pastor from a local church. I wanted to learn how to pray the rosary because I believed it was a powerful prayer that could help me understand what was happening to my life. This pastor told me not to pray the rosary, but rather to pray as if I were speaking directly to God. We prayed together for me to have strength and accept guidance in this life-changing time.
It was an emotional and spiritual breakthrough for me.
After that experience, several customers of mine who have deep faith and conviction came to my farm to see how I was doing. We all formed a circle and prayed. These were powerful moments; my emotions were on full display.
Throughout 2021, these impromptu prayer sessions with complete strangers happened at least four times. I started believing there was a bigger player involved, and I found this belief to be quite comforting.
In mid-October, a church with which I’d never done business came to the farm and asked me if I wanted to include the farm as part of its Halloween scavenger hunt. The pastor listened to my story of living with MS, and he prayed with me. This prayer session stirred me to wonder about these interesting coincidences.
But actually, there are no coincidences. Follow the crumbs.
In November, I crossed paths with another pastor, who led a Baptist church in a town close to mine. We had a conversation about vaccines, my condition, and the Gospel. I was fertile ground because I was searching for how I could and should be dealing with this diagnosis spiritually.
The Sunday after that meeting, my wife and I attended our first service at Bible Baptist Church. We haven’t missed a service since.
The height of my faith exploration came when my sister-in-law became extremely ill. All of my physical issues were put aside as my focus became her. I prayed daily for her well-being and looked for ways to help. My prayers were answered through subtle and random opportunities that had no other reason to be there except to direct me down a path. Follow the crumbs! My faith and my belief were growing!
I find reading and listening to the Gospel to be very powerful and comforting. The Bible is filled with references to the daily life struggles we all experience, which I never knew existed. One guest pastor discussed some of the everyday challenges we go through and asked the congregation, “What does God teach you about struggles?” Patience! Slow down! Make time for faith, family, and friends.
Pre-diagnosis, my life was ruled by the clock since plants don’t care what’s going on in the world. I tended them 24/7 and made no time for church or prayer. In a roundabout way, this disease has given me patience and time I’ve never had. This led to a renewal of my faith.
I’m a novice in this arena, but I know it’s OK to dive deeper into my faith. It offers me great comfort, answers my many questions, and can assist in removing burdens that encumber me. My journey continues.
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.