I had to realize that God was my true source of strength.
Eleven days ago I left work early with the worst abdominal pain that I had ever experienced. Coupled with that pain was a horrible feeling of vertigo that left me unable to eat, think, or do anything other than sleep. As soon as the pain hit me, I knew the cause- gluten. In addition to enjoying a plant-based lifestyle, I am also supposed to endure a gluten-free lifestyle, both due to health and intolerance issues. Problem is, being vegan is hard enough so sometimes I might make that gluten-free “mandate” more of an option, choosing to indulge in items that I know my body cannot tolerate. That seems all well and good in theory, until, that is, moments like 11 days ago come, rendering me completely ineffective at completing simple activities of daily living.
For those of you who may not know me personally, let me formally introduce myself by saying that when it comes to sicknesses and illnesses, I am a big baby. I whine and pout around, texting anyone who will answer to let them know that I am in a horrible way and I need their attention. You read that correctly; seldom do I need anything tangible when I am sick, I just need attention. However, when I am in pain, all I want to do is crawl into my bed and be alone. I don’t care for attention and would rather be left alone to sit and reflect on the cause of my pain. And 11 days ago was no different. I came home from work, showered and found my way to my bed with little fanfare, opting for my bed to give me love and affection.
For two days I ate nothing of substance. I had toast and grapes, and drank vegan protein milk and my daily veggie smoothie, but other than that, I ate no real food. The area where my gallbladder once resided was hurting, too (for reasons I still don’t know since my gallbladder is almost 15 months removed), and I didn’t want to further irritate my body. In the days that have passed, I walk, teach, smile, and do everything as normal, all while holding my side in pain. But let me hurry to the real reason for this post today. You see, this pain that I experienced/am experiencing is the most humbling pain that I have ever been blessed to experience. This pain, Beloved, is saving my life.
I have read many books by renowned author Lysa TerKeurst, so many in fact that I cannot remember which book I am about to reference. Yet in one of her great writings, she talks about how God allowed a pain in her body to persist until the point that it hospitalized her and that’s when she learned that she was experiencing a major, life-threatening health concern. The pain that persisted, is the very pain that God used to save her life! How great is our God?!
Truly, I have such a love for Lysa TerKeurst and I am so grateful for every word that she writes and truth that she shares. Thinking about that part of her testimony allows me to see that God used my pain to save me… more than once. Speaking specifically of recent events, the pain that I experienced allowed me to push deeper into God, desiring Him above all else. My hunger for Him allowed me to sign up for my church’s 21-day Corporate Fast, a time to commune with and draw closer to our God. Yes, that pain helped me to realize that I can no longer feed my body whatever I want to, consequences be as they may, but it also helped me to see that I cannot feed my mind and my spirit just anything, either… they require nourishment from the Lord. Friend, that pain caused me to truly see my purpose in Christ and now allows me to walk unafraid and unashamed in His divine calling. I am walking in my purpose because God sat me in pain!
Funny story time, I once had a former colleague tell me that my blogs were so good and would be better if I just stopped talking about God so much. This particular person had grown up Jewish and was beginning to lose faith because of so many things happening in their life. At the time, I just dismissed their comment and kept writing what I felt led to share (which, can we just pause and acknowledge how HUGE that is for someone from Baltimore?!?). Today as I think back on the comments of that colleague I can’t help but softly chuckle. If you try something or eat something that you LOVE, don’t you share that good news with other people? Maybe you’ll write a rave review or post it on your socials with a clever hashtag…
Well, in a sense, that’s all I’m doing, too. I tried Jesus for myself and I LOVE Him! My life has never- not once- been perfect, but my God has been perfected in it all. As 2 Corinthians 12:9&10 say, it is in my weakness that God is perfected and I am then made strong. Beloved, I now rejoice in the moments that are meant to cripple or destroy me, because it is in those moments that others can see the glory of God and His strength shines brightly. Unlike my previous thoughts, I now realize that my strength does not come from the food that I eat in the physical sense, but instead it comes from the Spirit of the Living God Who dwells within me. Say it with me: God’s grace is SUFFICIENT!
For the record, I will never stop talking about God. I will not stop writing about His grace, His love, and His mercy towards me. I will not allow the thoughts of one person (or several people) to change how I view the omnipotence of my God. Our Lord is bigger than just me so even if I stop, His truth and message will live on. Simply put, stick around here because I perfectly complement some funny moments with my sassy Baltimore flavor and my true love for God.
Beloved, this is the season for you to push in deeper with God as He is the source of your strength.