Friday, November 30, 2012

In the Middle of it

When I read the words in the picture, something struck me and I've been sitting here for the past 10 minutes trying to figure out how to put that in to words.

In the chronically ill circles, strength is something to be admired. On a consistant basis the words, "You're so strong!" are heard from a number of different types of people. The answer that usually comes is, "Really, I'm not."
Because I'm not. I'm not that strong, I'm not that brave, I'm not that courageous.
Also, strength is a kind of a label. You become the strong one, and with that label comes the feeling like you aren't allowed to fall apart or be emotional. My life is about what is needed from me. It's about holding things together. This is my job, that's what I do. I do what needs to be done. And maybe that does make me strong and brave but it's just my job, it's what I have to deal with because I don't have another choice.

The words "Where your strengths are irrelevant" really struck me. My strength has nothing to do with how I get through the day, or how I put up with everything I do. When people tell me I'm so strong and I tell them I'm not, besides just saying that I'm just doing what needs to be done, it's kind of my way of saying my strength is irrelevant here. My strength has nothing to do with how i get through every day.
On those days when I don't want to be strong anymore, or when I quit, it's not my strength that gets me through those days. There are so many days when my strength is gone and I can't take this anymore, and it's His strength that gets me through those days.

It is in this valley of the shadow of death called chronic illness that my weaknesses are evident. I can't hold the world together, I can't hold my life together, I can't control the reactions and emotions of people around me in regards to their response to my situation. When the Glycosade Trial didn't work it was my fault, it was my body that couldn't get it right and accept the drug. (I know this isn't true but that's how I felt.) Every time my body refuses to adadpt to a new treatment, or every time they can't get an IV in or every time I am in so much pain I can barely breathe my weaknesses are glaringly evident.

But it is in these hard times I have learned to trust. I was thinking the other day maybe that's why the loss of health due to another diagnosis is so hard to deal with, because you have to learn to grieve in the storm. There's no when this is over, you deal with it in the middle of the storm. You learn to trust God in the middle of the storm. And that's pretty crazy, and really hard sometimes. There are so many times when I've wanted to say, "Ok, God! Just give me a break here and I'll trust you. Just let me catch my breath and stop for a minute and get my relationship with You back on track and we can keep going." But there is no stopping in the valley of the shadow of death; I must keep on walking.
And it is in the middle of the storm where i have found some of the most beautiful things. It is during these storms God has drawn me closer to Him.
Sometimes I take my eyes off Him and look at the winds and the waves surrounding me. They are big, and scary, and it's easy to become lost in the storm. I begin to sink, my strength not enough to sustain me and keep me from drowning.
"How many times will I have to scoop you up before you just learn to follow me?"

Here my weaknesses are evident. My strength is irrelveant.

Eyes on me, I've got you, I'm not going to let you drown.

Because when my strength isn't enough, His is always enough.

1 comment:

Alyson Schroll said...

I have wanted to tell you this for some time. I am working on my second book and one of my characters has an invisible illness. She doesn't have much time left and she has to overcome her fear of hurting people and share how God has helped her. You are my inspiration, for her. I thought you should know that you have impacted my life so much. Whenever I have writers block all I have to do is think of you and how you have leaned on God the whole time. Like you said, you may not be strong, but He always is. And, that's what matters.