Strength Training

god is all you haveI have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” Philip Yancey 

There is something about fall, back to school, back to routines, cooler weather, and brilliant blue skies that makes me introspective and reflective. And so, as I sit in my very favorite coffee spot, with a steaming cup of coffee by my side, I am lost in days past. 

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” John 14:8 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 as I drove to pick up my kids from school I started having heart palpitations, two echocardiograms,  a 24-hr halter, a stress test, two ultrasounds, six MRIs, two PET scans, numerous blood draws, and countless doctors appointments, the fear of an unknown diagnosis and then the reality of an actual diagnosis later I sit here today a different person.  I still get squeamish at blood draws but at least have gotten better at remembering medication on a daily basis (our medicine cabinet looks like a pharmacy), and more importantly remembering to eat when I take it.  Otherwise, I pay for it for the better part of the day with nausea.  I have started running, eating better, and made taking care of myself a priority. 

It is hard for me to believe that it has been almost 6 mo since my last MRI, with another looming on the horizon,  and almost two years since this whole journey began.  In a month I have another MRI presenting another opportunity for God to show his miraculous power through complete healing.  I rest confident in the knowledge though that whatever happens, my God is in control and has a magnificent plan that continues to unfold.

Thank you to ALL for your continued support though reading my ramblings and sharing in this journey with me.  Your continued dedication buoys my spirit in ways I am not sure I even grasp.  I am so thankful that I am not going this alone, I can’t even imagine what that would be like.

I want to just take a moment and, if you will indulge me, share with you the greatest lesson that I have learned in all of this.  The most difficult, humbling lesson for me.

The lesson is straight out of 2 Corinthians, Paul’s second letter to the people of Corinth, written after he had to sneak out of the city of Damascus.  Paul says,  “As I look back upon that night, when I was so discouraged, so defeated, I can see that then I started to learn the secret of effective, victorious living, I had thought my learning and my intelligent understanding of the Scriptures, my Hebrew background and all my qualifications would be the keys that would open  the hearts of these Jews in Damascus to me, but I found they weren’t.  I had to leave like a common criminal.  There and then the Lord Jesus began to teach me the wonderful lesson that out of weakness I am made strong; that when I am weakest, he is the strongest.  That I can do nothing on my own or through my own power.  Out of that,” he says, “I have learned the great lesson of rejoicing and glorying in my weakness.”

For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)  Paul speaks of his experience of a “thorn in the flesh,” something I can greatly identify with.  This ugly thing that kept pestering him, prodding him, aggravating him, and hurting him.  He begged to have it taken away, but the word of the Lord came, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in our weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b)  Paul’s “thorn” was never removed and mine my never be either.  That thorn, ensures that every day is lived fully within the grasp of His grace.

That is the secret of strength: not outward impressiveness; not great prestige, pomp and favor.  Neither does strength lie in a brilliant, impressive personality, nor in ability to speak with eloquence.  Strength, true strength, lies in a heart that realizes that it can do nothing apart from a complete dependence on a living Lord within.  The weaker you are, the stronger Christ can be. 

Isn’t that encouraging?  Doesn’t that strengthen you?  I know it has, and continues to strengthen me.  The things that I tried to do on my own before, didn’t and never would have amounted to anything.  But He can do all things through me.  In and through all of this, that is the greatest lesson that I have learned.

Out of weakness comes an unbelievable strength…

Father God, I pour out my heart to you this morning.  I am filled with a sense of awe at how You can take something unimaginably painful and turn it into something beautiful for Your purposes.  I have seen You, Father.  You have continued to show up, at every bump and every stumble.  Please remind me on the days that I have trouble seeing You that it isn’t because You have left me, but instead because I haven’t slowed down enough to let you catch up. Remind me Father, that I don’t have to be everything to everyone, that there are no appearances that I have to keep up, and that plastering a fake smile on and acting like everything is ok when it isn’t rob you of an opportunity to pour your love and strength into my days.  Remind me Father, that you desire a weak and broken spirit, for it is then that we are able to be used greatly for Your glory.  I want so badly to be used…Amen.

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