Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Thorn

After reading a friend’s blog today, I was inspired to revisit a particular passage of scripture that was once so dear to my heart. Even as I write this now, I find it becoming so comforting once again.

"To keep me from becoming conceited
because of these surpassingly great revelations,
there was given me a thorn in my flesh,
a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord
to take it away from me.

But he said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Therefore I will boast
all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.

That is why, for Christ's sake,
I delight in weaknesses,
in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.

For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 NIV


There was a time in my life when I went through a deep identity crisis. I was about 19-20ish and unfortunately, my self worth had become entangled in silly things such as social status, boys, etc. I made some poor choices and thus, a “thorn” was placed. Why would a loving God give anyone a “thorn” you ask? Simply put, to keep me from becoming conceited. I believe that God has a plan for me, for my family. I know that God has revealed to me a mystery, a unique glimpse of the love He has, a hope that can’t be taken away.

I love that Paul never tells us what his thorn was. I imagine it could have been so many things but the Lord makes this so vague on purpose. It is more customizable that way. I learned to trust the Lord during this time in a way that I never thought I would need to. I had been saved. I never truly knew the meaning of being saved until I had something to be saved from.

Myself.

This thorn from my past is long gone, no longer lodged in my hearts flesh. The Lord used a certain boy named Brett to help dislodge it. Through that, we have an amazing connection, friendship and marriage. He is my best friend. I wouldn’t change anything about my past for a second. I believe that my life is overwhelming blessed because of these past trials and that I have a hope and a future that NO ONE can take away. I have a VERY optimistic view of life, how can I not with the incredible blessings that have been bestowed upon me?? My glass isn’t half full honey, it is OVERFLOWING.

However…

A thorn has reappeared. It is a different sort of thorn, very different in fact. Still similar in it's painful prickly-ness. It is something the Lord wants me to let go of so that I can delight in His strength through my weakness.

And I will.

I just didn’t realize that’s what it was until today. Silly me, I thought this was something bigger, a life issue, drama. Nope. The Lord wants me to not become conceited in my own confidence. He wants to make sure that I know who is in control and have my self worth be wrapped up once again in Him and not what others think of me. I will not be defined by what other’s think of me. That whole self worth issue creeping up again. I am not valuable because I am Brett's wife or Emersyn's mommy. I am not valuable because my kitchen is spotless (which it isn't), or because I make my husband lunch every day (working on that), or because my daughter is the most amazing beautiful sweet and lovely child that ever existed (which is 100% true). I am valuable because of whose I am, not because of who I am.

Therefore, I choose to look at this situation differently.

"But he said to me,
'My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.'

Therefore I will boast
all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.

That is why, for Christ's sake,
I delight in weaknesses,
in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.

For when I am weak, then I am strong."

What a loving God I serve. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in my weakness. When there is less of me, there is more of Him. There isn't enough room for the two of us to be in the driver's seat. How perfect. I struggle with feeling inadequate every.single.day. I am going to look at it a little differently. Being weak makes me strong. I am my own worst enemy at times.

How refreshing.

I am grateful for this thorn.

In the words of my wise friend, “what in the world would bring someone to be grateful for a thorn in their flesh? How sweet could that communion with the Lord have been? Couldn't you just encounter sweet communion with the Lord without pain?

And yes, you can encounter the Lord in depth without pain. Thank God, you can! And remember that I did not pray for the pain... but for the communion.”

I have been praying that God would give me more substance. More of Him in my life. Make me a woman worthy of Emersyn’s affection and trust. Make me a wife worthy of my husband’s adoration. Make me an influencer, use the story He has given me to bless others.

"Because of the extravagance of those revelations,
and so I wouldn't get a big head,
I was given the gift of a handicap
to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.

Satan's angel did his best to get me down;
what he in fact did was push me to my knees.
No danger then of walking around high and mighty!

At first I didn't think of it as a gift,
and begged God to remove it.
Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.
I quit focusing on the handicap
and began appreciating the gift.


It was a case of Christ's strength
moving in on my weakness.

Now I take limitations in stride,
and with good cheer,
these limitations that cut me down to size—
abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.

I just let Christ take over!

And so the weaker I get,
the stronger I become."

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message

Guess He’s still working on me. And for that, I am grateful.

4 comments:

sister sheri said...

Patti, what a beautiful post. It's nice to know I'm not alone out there... that others struggle, but they look to the One True God and rely upon Him for His strength. It's all we have, isn't it?

And that your past thorn issue is helping you through your current thorn issue... how very true! Thank you for sharing from your heart.

I'll be praying for you!

Katie said...

Beautiful post! I've always loved the scripture about the virtuous woman in Proverbs. (31:10-31) When my Mema died I read those verses at her funeral, and it's something I've always looked at as the epitome of what a Godly lady should be.

I love to learn about different verses that mean something different to people- how they give you strength, etc. Sometimes I can read a verse over and over again, but it doesn't mean anything to me. Then I hear someone else read it and apply it to their life, and all of a sudden it clicks. Thanks for your post :)

David and Jen said...

Patti!! This literally made me tear up. I have the lump in my throat and everything. I am so grateful that we have come into each others life (thank you David for falling in love with me) because I really do look up to you. You have so much to offer me and so much wisdom in your words. I look forward to more posts like this because it is these posts that helps put things into perspective. Thank you Patti :] You are an AMAZING person. Love you!!

JEN*

Matt and Melissa said...

I love reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your heart. This post was such an eye opener and made me look at myself through this verse.