Dear friends and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ:
There is a call to my heart to share this special message with you. I am posting this piece because something deep within me says many people need to read it. I felt it was also important to share it because of how you have been so faithfully praying about my health.
Today, I feel so wonderfully blessed to be alive! I thank God for the gift of life.Recently, Karen and I received some great news best summed up in a lab report stating that: “Features of bone marrow involvement by systemic mastocytosis are not identified.” This is fantastic news! It means that the possibility of improvement in my extremely rare auto immune condition of mastocytosis is much greater. The condition has not invaded my bone marrow, which would have caused its systemic damage to spread more quickly throughout my body.
Karen sums it up quite well. It is the difference between having an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis in terms of the severity of my mastocytosis. This gives the specialists, doctors and the naturopathic interns more time to bring my condition to stability.
I am still Mr. Rare. I have negative serum tryptase mastocytosis. Specialists and doctors tell me this is the rarest form of mastocytosis. It essentially means that my mast (immune & systemic) cell reactions can go on for several days at a time building from low to moderate and then from time to time severe attacks that result in anaphylaxis. I have been intubated nine times.
Please continue to pray for the healing of my neuropathy at the level God wants for His glory. If it is not God’s will that I be healed of this then I ask for my love for Him, Karen, my family, friends and others to grow greater through the challenges. I am thankful that medication is helping me to deal with the tingling and burning sensation of my feet into my legs as well as in my hands and arms. Please especially pray for everyone who deals with neuropathy. Be there for them. Love them through their pain.
Why do I not have systemic mastocytosis? I don’t know. That is one of life’s great mysteries. Why do some get ill and others are healthy? Why are some people like me born with physical and developmental challenges and not others? I don’t know. What I do know is that each of us has our own cross to carry whether visible or not so clearly seen. We all have our challenges.
We can all learn from one another. We become better people as we help those we can, as we love as Christ calls us to love one another as He loves us.
We can all help make the carrying of our cross easier by being willing to offer our hearts to make the lives of others who have struggles easier.
Whatever your heart says to do for others do it. Offer to help pay for the medications the government won’t provide for someone who is sick and has no money to pay for their own.Volunteer some of your time to your church, community, a food bank or local charity. They are looking for caring people like you. Be an advocate for those with chronic and rare diseases, who have been worn down by a system that feels indifferent to their needs. Offer a job to a person with physical and/or developmental challenges.If the Lord says you need to then change your perspective of those with disabilities to that of those who are specially abled, who have much to give. They ask only for that one open door of opportunity.
Each day give prayerful deliberation as to how you can make the lives of those around you richer for your presence. Be that extended strong hand of hope at the end of your sleeve. The poor, sick, lonely, addict, prostitute and that stranger you may only meet one time are waiting for someone, anyone to love them. You can be that someone. You can change a life with a smile that says, “I care. I will not go away. What can I do to help you?”
As I celebrate the gift of my life today with my Lord, wife, family, friends and colleagues, I know that God expects much from me. He did not have me go on such a challenging journey through illness, physical and developmental challenges and poverty without a purpose. As I pray and reflect on my life this one declarative word keeps coming: available. My life has been a call to be available. This is all God asks of any of us.
Everyone’s calling is different because our experiences have uniquely shaped us for it. Having suffered and still on that journey, I am called to be a servant to the suffering. I am called to be a pastor to other struggling pastors. I am called to be an advocate for the poor and those who are specially abled. I am called to be a voice among many for those who have been abused and still are in spirit, mind and body.Most importantly, I am called as a sinner saved by grace to reach out my hand to the suffering and say, “Here I am. You will no longer fight alone because God and I will fight for you.”
I am not special. I am available. I pray you will be too.
Kevin Osborne, B.A.,M.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, BTh. Canada Christian College & Graduate School, postgraduate student Applied Theology with a major in Clinical Christian Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, D.D., D Sc., Diplomate in Traumatology American Board of Traumatology Examiners, St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, Diplomate in Creative Ministry St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, is a certified Christian counselor. He is a member of The Word Guild, a Christian writer’s group in Canada.