Resilience & the Bible: How to Use Scriptures to Bounce Back From – Stiff Person Syndrome

Hello World,

Y’all, I know. It’s been a minute since I last blogged. Things are happening in my life that have made it challenging to blog on my regular schedule, but I’m attempting to get back in the groove as of right now.

Anywho, on today’s post…so in 2015, I started a  seven-month interview series entitled “Resilience & the Bible” which is about how Scriptures can be used to bounce back from the trials we all have to go through from time to time. The last post in the series was published in 2016, but I only posted five interviews. So I owe you two!!! Since I’m getting back in my blog groove, I’m trying to make sure I follow through with important blog content for you my dear readers. In 2020, the concept of resilience is more important than ever as I am guessing that we’re all bouncing back from trial during this trying year.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to the courageous Tisha Foster , author of a book titled My Journey With God Through Stiff Person Syndrome. Tisha, who is also a mother, hopes to inspire others through her journey and create more awareness around the rare syndrome which affects one in one million people. Please see my interview with Tisha below…

1. What is Stiff Person Syndrome, and how were you diagnosed with this condition? It was thought that you had multiple sclerosis. How is Stiff Person Syndrome different from MS? 

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is a “rare neurological disorder with features of an autoimmune disease.  SPS is characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms.  Abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened, are characteristic of the disorder.  People with SPS can be too disabled to walk or move, or they are afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger spasms and falls.”

I was diagnosed through extensive blood work and MRI in 2011.

Both MS and SPS involve the immune system, and both attack the nervous system. But MS doesn’t attack the nerve cells – instead, it attacks the supportive cells. Stiff Person Syndrome doesn’t. Symptoms of MS include dizziness, vision loss, and numbness. Stiff person symptoms include spasms and back pain, and it always comes with something like hypertension, Graves’ disease, or cancer.

2. Describe your lowest point with Stiff Person Syndrome

My lowest point was when I was just lying on my bed, feeling worthless. I felt as if I had lost my faith and, therefore, my battle and was contemplating suicide. I knew that it wouldn’t be fair to my parents being an only child, and it would have been very selfish of me to my kids who didn’t ask to be here and for their mother not to love them enough to want to be here for them. Life is way too precious just to cut it short on my own.

3. What Scriptures did you use to lift yourself from your lowest point? And how have they helped you? (Why did you choose them?)

Psalms 40:1-3 

I waited patiently for the Lord;  He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.

I chose those because they were very uplifting in what I was dealing with, and I would just go with what the Holy Spirit was laying on my heart. There were lots, but I just named a few. Every scripture that I used helped me in one way or another.

4. Are you a member of a support group and or do you know anyone else with Stiff Person Syndrome, and how has a support group or knowing someone else with Stiff Person Syndrome helped you? Do you have a church family? Where do you attend church?

I have a church home called Community Church in Mount Poconos, PA. Also, I’m affiliated with the support group called Ashley’s Fight With Stiff Person Syndrome

A woman who was newly diagnosed woman purchased my book. After reading it, she reached out to me. She and I stay in touch. She gets to those low points as well and she’ll call me for comfort.

5. You prayed for two things at the start of your journey with Stiff Person Syndrome: that you would be able to take care of your youngest son and that you could wear heels again. How did you explain Stiff Person Syndrome to your children? Why these two prayer requests? How has God answered these two prayer requests? 

I have two children. At the time the disease attacked my body, I had a four-year-old and a young adult. I felt like my youngest son needed his mom, and my oldest son was already with my mother (his grandmother). I was asking to wear heels again because I was once a model and never wore sneakers. When wearing heels, I felt empowered and elegant – everything that is the essence of a woman. At that time, I didn’t feel pretty anymore and struggled with self-worth. So, that’s why those two prayers stood out for me.

When explaining the Stiff Person Syndrome to my children, my youngest son didn’t understand at first, so I had to walk him through the fact that my antibodies were attacking my muscles. My oldest son would attend doctor appointments with me, and the doctor would also explain it to him. My first main concern was that the disease was fatal, and once I found out it wasn’t, I knew I found myself in a battle I couldn’t fight on my own and needed God’s help.

So while resting,  bed-bound, God answered me. I got out of bed, and He said: ‘Live your life, go be a mother to your child.’ I slowly got back into heels that I would never throw away – and I will continue buying them. Always the day before church, I would ask God: ‘Can I wear these to church on Sunday?’  I would get a granted yes. God has definitely answered my prayers. 

6. Why did you decide to write your book My Journey With God Through Stiff Person Syndrome and was it difficult to share your story with the public?

Yes, because in a mix of the prayers I said to God, there was this: ‘If you can allow me to walk again and be a mom to my son, I will tell the world how good you are,’ and I wanted to keep my promise. The only way I would be able to tell the world is to write a book. Yes, it was very difficult to write this book and expose the trauma my body has gone through, but it actually humbled me.

7. What is your life like now? 

My life today is almost the same – in the sense that I am still the same person. I’m still very bubbly and outspoken. I am loving and giving. I just learned how to live with God. Being first and foremost, I seek Him at all times for everything. I travel, I get family time, I’m very much loved. I  just know today always to make sure God is first. I didn’t allow this condition to control my life. God is in control, and eventually, I’ll have my completion of healing.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

After being diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, I truly believed life was over for me, but with God’s help, I continued to not only live but also enjoy life. Travel was one of the adventures I’ve undertaken despite being told I would be bed-bound for life. My book is a testimony on a hidden disability that affects millions. Check out more here:  godsangelinstilettos.org.

Also, I would like for people who are in a dark place and looking for God to guide them to know that He’s there and He would never leave them or forsake them. That He is who He says He is, and He does what He says He can do. God is so real, and I wish that I can just tell everyone. 

Below are the previous entries in the “Resilience & the Bible” series:

Resilience & the Bible: How to Use Scriptures to Bounce Back From – Rebellious Teenagers

Resilience & the Bible: How to Use Scriptures to Bounce Back From – Losing Your Home

Resilience & the Bible: How to Use Scriptures to Bounce Back From – Losing Your Voice

Resilience & the Bible: How to Use Scriptures to Bounce Back From – Racism & Prejudice

Resilience & the Bible: How to Use Scriptures to Bounce Back From – Domestic Violence & Divorce

For more Bible scriptures online, go to BibleGateway.com.

Any thoughts?

Victoria Christopher Murray’s Novel ‘The Ex Files’ To Be Made Into Lifetime Movie By Executive Producers Tracey Edmonds & Shaun Robinson!

Hello World,

I’m always happy to see authors branch into new arenas, and my fellow novelist (although I’m totally brand new to fiction) and sorority sister Victoria Christopher Murray, who I’ve featured on After the Altar Call before, is branching into new arenas! As announced on the Instagram page of Tracey Edmonds, she and her fellow co-executive producer are bringing Victoria’s novel “The Ex Files” to Lifetime!

Here is the announcement below!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I CAN’T WAIT to get to work on this one with my AWESOME Producing Partner/Sis @msshaunrobinson 🔥and @lifetimetv! 🙌🏽🙌🏽 For anyone who has been through a difficult break up… #EXFILES will be YOUR MOVIE! The @VictoriaChristopherMurray book was SO GOOD, juicy, and drama filled!! Get ready to grab the popcorn! 🍿🍿🍿 We are also BLESSED to have an amazing NAACP nominated writer and my longtime friend @patrikianpolk writing this for us! Please click the link in my bio for the full article. Thanks you for supporting us @shadow_act! #edmondsentertainment Sending out Tuesday Night Love! ✌🏽❤️ #edmondsentertainment #sistersinaction #girlpower #thisishowwedoit

A post shared by Tracey Edmonds (@traceyeedmonds) on

If you haven’t read “The Ex Files,” below is the description:

There are four ways a woman can handle heartbreak: she can fall apart, seek revenge, turn cold, or move on. In The Ex Files, four women find faith, friendship, and healing under the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Hailed as “an excellent storyteller . . . one of our best” (Eric Jerome Dickey), national bestselling author Victoria Christopher Murray proves it so with this powerful, faith-filled novel of four women and the different ways they handle heartbreak.

Kendall, Asia, Vanessa, and Sheridan each have an “ex” in their lives. Whether from a broken marriage, the shocking loss of a loved one, or a shattered bond of trust, the pain is real and the wounds deep. Will they ever heal? When their pastor asks the foursome to meet weekly for prayer, they can’t imagine they will have anything in common. Then a devastating tragedy strikes and these strangers are forced to reexamine their choices. Will they find true friendship? Or will prayer— and their circle of support—be enough to see them through?

Any thoughts?

Kanye & His Sunday Service to Appear at Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Today & I Don’t Know How I Feel About It…

Hello World,

Imagine you’ve entered into my prayer closet…This is what is what you will hear today…

Dear Lord,

Your child Kanye is back in the news again (not that I really needed to inform You of this because You are omniscient)…as if he has ever been out of the news since his first album “The College Dropout” dropped in 2004…I loved his song “Jesus Walks” Lord because it glorified your son and it was banging…And although he didn’t seem like a usual Christian artist based on his repertoire, I knew that song had to mean something to him. It was so in your face. And then he was dating a Delta at the time (“Through the Wire” – “She was with me before the deal she been trying to be mine. She a Delta so she been throwing that dynasty sign.) And he was cute.

And it’s true that his first album was his best album to me anyway, but everything ain’t for everybody and that’s fine. And then he dropped his woman who he was with before the record deal and the fame and fortune and got with different women. But you don’t have to be a famous and fortunate man to have a revolving door of relationships and with fame and fortune, the revolving door probably turns at whiplash speed. And I appreciated his outburst about Hurricane Katrina. It may have not been true, but I respect the sentiment behind his delivery…He spoke from the heart and used his platform to highlight a critical issue…

And Lord, I really don’t understand why his mother had to die when she did in 2007 and so tragically too. I don’t care how famous someone gets and how much fortune someone amasses, nothing compares to having a loving family including your parents in your corner…And let’s be honest Lord, that’s when he started being in the news for not-so-good stuff. I mean it’s been 10 years this year since your child interrupted another one of your children Taylor Swift during one of her first big moments at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 and people are still talking about it…Even then your child President Obama, who is from Kanye’s hometown of Chicago, had to weigh in on your child’s tomfoolery…

And Lord, correct me if I’m wrong, but do you think that then President Obama’s rightful critique of Kanye has caused him to latch on to current President Trump, who is also your child, like he has? And then, your child allowed the words slavery was a “choice” to drop from his lips. He may as well dropped a bomb on the black community with that hate speech! But I did feel compassion for your child again when he opened up about his bipolar disorder.

And then Lord, your child seemed like he was trying to return his first love…Your son Jesus…with his new Sunday Service. And yeah, I was a bit put off by the high-behind Sunday Service merch…(By the way, Lord, did you know that I was yesterday’s years old when I realized that ‘murch’ was actually ‘merch’ and short for merchandise. Why didn’t you reveal that to me sooner? All this time, when I would hear people saying ‘murch,’ I wanted to ask, ‘What is that?’ But I didn’t want to look stupid.) But on the other hand, nobody can force me to part with dollars unless that’s what I already wanted to do.

And then Lord, after your child took his Sunday Service on the road, he finally came to the capital of the Civil Rights, Atlanta, and brought his Sunday Service to New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. I didn’t make it, but I read the glowing reviews. I heard your child had folk waitin’ in line for hours just get into church. Ain’t that somethin’ Lord?! That’s what you been tryin’ get us to do. Spread the word that Jesus is King. But we are so disobedient some time…And by the way, thank You God, he no longer refers to himself as Yeezus. Lord, You stay forgiving us when we falter… Lord, your hashtag should be #GraceandMercy…I kid Lord, You know and I know You’re above all of that, but I know You’re cracking a smile because I’m one of your favorites…Just kidding…all your children are all blessed and highly favored…

And then Lord, your child acted like he didn’t even visit the civil rights capital of the world when he made some controversial statements following his visit…Your child New Birth Pastor Jamal Bryant, who once welcomed your child Kanye to New Birth, had some thangs to say ’bout that too…although his “Jesus Is King” album is spreading your word in a way that many other Christian artists aspire too…I mean, when was the last time You saw, “Jesus is King” as headline in the New York Times?!! (Here’s the exact headline…Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Is No. 1)

And Lord, the American Bible Society has informed me that over 6,000 Bibles have been given away to Kanye fans!!! According to the society, his album generated more than a million queries on Google alone and prompted fans to search questions such as “What do Christians believe?” And now the American Bible Society will continue to give away free Bibles to Kanye fans through Nov. 22!!! Lord, I’m scratching my head on this one. What am I supposed to do with this? One one hand, he is making controversial statements that hurt the black community and on the other hand, he is reaching the masses for You…

And then as I was cooking this morning, I heard he performed in a prison on Friday and some of the prisoners became believers…(And You know that the average your child, me included, aine really standing in line to volunteer for the Prison Ministry)…I know You know this, but here’s the video anyway…

And in just a few hours, your child will be at Lakewood Church, which I’ve heard is the largest megachurch in the country…I just don’t know how I feel…

But although your child President Obama jokingly referred to your child Kanye as a “jacka$$,” it’s true that you definitely used a a talking donkey to convey your message in your Word

And then Lord, I know you also said that not everyone who calls your name really knows You

So…I’ma just end my prayer right here Lord. I’ma let You sort through it all. In summary, help me stay on the narrow way to Heaven because You know I want to wander off from time to time. And Lord, guide all of your children because You created them and know their ways and how they wander off. May we all make it there, some way, some how and some day…

Amen….

Any thoughts?