"Weakness…" By Nancy Alexander
A Very Important Lesson I Learned This Morning…
You may be wondering why I am calling this post "weakness". I learned a very important lesson in church this morning. It was one that I needed to hear, and it was one that was very enlightening.
You see, I spent over 35 years of my life fighting "weakness". For me, this consisted of several different physical conditions such as Celiac disease, fibromyalgia, and fatigue. There were also mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Low self image played a big part in all that I attempted to accomplish for most of my life.
Doctors, professionals, and even my husband could not understand that I was really sick (and I mean REALLY sick!). And, yes, of course this caused marital problems we both had to face along with the illnesses which plagued my body every single day. My prayer became "Lord, PLEASE heal me! If you want me to learn something, I will certainly learn it. Just PLEASE let me know what it is." I prayed this prayer over and over so many times as I searched for verses in my Bible which held an answer. I found comforting verses. I found verses of God's love for me and of His promises. Although these verses are still ones I cling to, they didn't make a difference in my life. They didn't help, although I would cling to them with every ounce of strength I had left within my body.
I have fought my way out of that pit through my faith and dependence on God — finally being diagnosed by the right doctors. Many of you know that because of Celiac, it was only around 6 years ago that I was found to be allergic to most of the foods I was eating. So, now I happily leave off ALL gluten (wheat), milk, soy, most spices, preservatives, canned foods, and processed foods just to name a few.
I can do things now that I have not been able to do in well over 35 years. My husband and I now share a closeness filled with love and joy that only dreams are made of, but I am not completely well. I don't say those words often, because I have come such a long way. I could live the rest of my life basically hiding my insecurities as well as the health issues which still cling to my body, from each of you.
Unless you lived with me day in and day out, you wouldn't notice the weaknesses I still fight. I have felt that until I conquered ALL of these issues, I would not have succeeded. I would not have made it. I would not have run the race successfully that God put me on this earth to run… that is… until this morning.
So, back to our sermon in church this morning about 'weakness'. Today I learned that it takes a very strong person to expose their weaknesses… not to hide them. We grow up wanting to show off our successes. Our culture avoids weakness. But, and this is the exciting thing! In God's kingdom, our weaknesses are a magnet. If we show our weaknesses to others — not trying to hide them, then God's work in our lives is glorified and magnified by God's glory. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God said to Paul: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Do you see? I finally do — finally!! When I am weak, I am strong. My weakness has really been used by God to reach others who are suffering from the exact same problems as me. It is not a sin to be weak; it is nothing to be ashamed of; it is nothing to hide from others; it is an honor to be able to use this weakness I have experienced for so long to help any of you that I can by living my life as an example, the very best I know how.
All those days, for all those years when I prayed over and over that God would heal me…that He would remove this illness from me, it was not His will. When we know that we're weak, we're strong! God used my illness — my weakness — to shape me into a person He could use. He has been shaping me into the person He wanted so many years so that I can reach the thousands of women that I come into contact with over the Internet every day. I really care, I sympathize, and I understand what you are going through. If I can encourage or inspire you in any way at all, it is worth it.
I am happy! I have a husband that I adore and who adores me. We enjoy the most wonderful family that anyone could ever desire! The few problems which I do still face are just hindrances, which I can live with for the rest of my life if necessary. I no longer feel like I am running a race trying to make up for 35 years which I felt were lost. THEY WEREN'T! There were important years which led me to an important purpose.
God was not punishing me as I sometimes thought. He was pruning me so that I could bear fruit (John 15: 1-2) "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
C.S. Lewis: "Pain is God's megaphone to a wounded world".
Rick Warren: "The secret to success is failing fast, over and over again…"
Thank you, Pastor Clayton King for a message this morning that opened my mind and my heart to God's dreams and goals for me and my life. These dreams are being fulfilled right now, maybe not as I had always thought — only after I was totally and completely well. Those days may not ever come, and that is okay, as long as I know I am where God wants me to be.
In Heaven there will be NO weakness, NO pain, and NO suffering. While I am on this earth, I will praise God for each and every weakness as well as each and every strength for I now know that is my 'reason for being'.