CBN to broadcast story of local family’s battle with Lyme diseaseWritten by David Yonke Editor, ToledoFAVS.com | | David.Yonke@ReligionNews.com
After several years of suffering from the painful and debilitating illness of Lyme disease, young Mary Rose Takacs’ faith had worn thin.
“I kind of got fed up and basically told God off, in a sense,” she said of that physical and spiritual low point.
“Nothing was getting any better. It was one of those scenarios where for about six months I would take a step forward and two steps back, five steps forward and six steps back.”
She was 10 years old and less than halfway through what would become a five-year battle with the tick-borne illness, suffering physical and emotional pain, memory loss, and, for two years, being unable to walk.
She said she had a frank talk with the man upstairs.
“I said to God, ‘I don’t think you’re listening to our prayers or answering them. I’m just going to take over and do it on my own. I think I can do a better job than you can,’” Takacs, now 25, said in a recent interview.
Her plan didn’t work out very well.
“I got to the end of the day and of course I felt horrible,” she said. “It was actually one of the worst days during the illness. Everything that could go wrong, did.”
With things going so badly, Takacs decided to change her outlook.
“I made a decision basically to believe in God no matter how I felt,” she said. “Sometimes in our walk with God you have to choose to believe it even if you are not sure you feel it. That’s where our faith really comes into play.”
Takacs, who last year married Joshua Gajewski, wrote a book with her mother, Marianne Takacs, about their ordeal, titled “Hope in the Midst: 30 Devotions of Comfort and Inspiration.” It was published in 2011 by WestBow Press, a division of the major Christian publishing house Thomas Nelson.
Their goal was to offer hope and encouragement to people who might feel abandoned by God, they said, and on Oct. 11 the mother and daughter shared their story in a new medium — before a national television audience.
The two were interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) for “The 700 Club,” which was broadcast on the ABC Family channel and Toledo’s WLMB-TV (Channel 40). The interview, titled “Living Proof,” will be available after the broadcast at cbn.com.
Marianne Takacs had submitted the story idea to CBN earlier this year, and, after a few rounds of phone calls, a TV crew arrived at her home in Temperance, Mich., in June.
Mary Rose said she has been a “nervous wreck” about the CBN show but once again felt, as did her mother, that talking about the suffering and the healing can help people who are losing hope in tough times.
“The whole purpose is to encourage everyone to grow in their walk with God,” Mary Rose said. “It’s not about us.”
“It’s for people to know they’re not alone,” Marianne added.
The mother and daughter also want to help people through some difficult questions that accompanied their struggles, such as wondering if they “did something wrong” and were being punished by God.
Mary Rose also had wrestled with why an all-powerful God didn’t reach down from heaven and heal her. “Why was he letting me go through this? What is the deal? I thought he loved me,” she asked herself.
Such questions were “heartbreaking” for a mother to hear, Marianne said, but she told her daughter that “God is good and faithful,” and they were going “to believe and trust him for that, no matter whether you stay here on the earth or you go home with him.’”
Through their ordeal, the Takacs family called their church, CrossRoads Community Church in Ottawa Lake, Mich., many times asking for prayer.
“Prayer is the only reason I’m alive today,” said Mary Rose, who shows few lasting effects of the Lyme disease.
Mother and daughter are now focusing on “the good God’s been able to bring out of it,” Mary Rose said, such as learning to not let their faith be affected by life’s circumstances.
They believe their journey allows them to minister to hurting people. They are finishing up a second devotional book, this one on the “tangibility” of an intangible God, and are writing regularly on their website, HopeInTheMidstMinistries.com. They also are available for speaking engagements to churches, women’s groups and other groups.
“We want to help others by sharing the story and the things we have learned and how we came to find hope in God in the midst,” Marianne said.
David Yonke is the editor and community manager of Toledo Faith & Values (ToledoFAVS.com), a website that provides in-depth, nonsectarian news coverage of religion, faith and spirituality in the Toledo area.