Wednesday, April 10, 2013


What do babies, Stephen Hawking, and a bad cup of coffee have in common? (Psssst...look at the title...) Yep. They are weak. Opposite of strong. Yeah, I know. Terrible riddle. But I can't think of a better way to introduce this. And on the onset, we think of those who are frail, tiny, and paralyzed as some of the most helpless in our world. BUT...there's this paradox.

When we were expecting our first bundle of joy, we went to great lengths to prepare for her. Rooms were painted, items were pondered and purchased, cribs were assembled, books were read, and there was a great stir in the circle of people we knew- a tiny helpless little baby forever changed our world. Likewise, what an impact "helpless" people such as Stephen Hawking, Christopher Reeve, and Joni Eareckson Tada have had despite their physical limitations. (And I will drive miles and miles to avoid a weak cup of coffee.) Weakness can be a powerful agent of love, power, and change. Weakness can force a reaction.

For close to two years body has been weak. Just typing that makes my face distort a bit in a grimace. I hate admitting my weakness. a rather independent person (I'm sure my husband can attest...he probably just rolled his eyes a little.). I hate asking for help. As my body has been fighting this crazy disease, one of the most frustrating things is just the weakness that comes along with it. And just as I think I'm getting strong again and tipping the scales to be heavy on the side of healthy, I've been sinking into weakness yet again.

It's never a good sign when your doctor's office calls you four times in one day. My routine blood tests came back a bit screwy in mid March, and my doctor had me go back for more to see where I was at right now. The results came last week, and most concerning is my liver function. I guess my liver decided to take a vacation but forgot to tell me. Livers are sneaky like that. I guess you can go a long time without obvious symptoms when your liver is unhappy. Who knew? The best guess right now is that it's a side effect from one of the medications I take. So that explains why I've been feeling run down even though I'm supposed to be feeling pretty good right now. So I was directed to stop taking my meds and did more blood work which came back a little better and now I check in with docs and do more tests and try to figure out what the best course of action is from here. Because I'm sick because of the meds and yet sick without, time to figure that one out.

Honestly, when I was really sick last year, I was worried and scared, but so weak I just had to turn it over to God because I really couldn't do much else. Last week, however, I was frightened and angry. Really? Freak side effect equals possible damage to my liver? Just when things were kind of normal? So I...cleaned. And hung up pictures. And took my kids hiking. (And as a result spent a day on the couch feeling crappy.) But I COULD, at least, and I suppose it's a more positive response than curling up in a ball. And I talked with God a LOT. And I asked my family to pray. But it's difficult for me to share this kind of thing with the world at large. I make all kinds of justifications....I don't want others to worry unnecessarily. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I don't want my situation to take away from others in more dire need. Explaining the whole thing takes too long. I can still do a lot of "normal" stuff.  And so forth. But a lot of times, I just don't want others to know my weakness. I look just fine on the outside. So move along, people...nothing to see here!

It's been hard for me to ask publicly for healing or prayer. I seriously have an aversion to going to the alter at church to pray and I'm sure that's a "whole nuther ball of wax" as one of my former teachers would say...But I pray personally for healing. And if I go into lifelong remission (no real "cure" to ulcerative colitis) due to medical care or miraculous healing from God, I will give all credit to Him. And if I struggle with this disease for the rest of my physical life, in my heart of hearts, I will humbly accept that God has a far bigger plan and more glory will go to Him than if I had a perfectly healthy body. I just keep coming back to this.  Time after time (Cue Cyndi Lauper):

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it (thorn in the flesh) 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 12:8-10)

Paradox. When I am weak, then I am strong. So let this be my first boast: I am weak right now. But my God...He is the very definition of strength and power. I'm not delighting in my weakness quite yet...but I will continue to praise God for the things I'm learning through being weak. And I will praise Him for the countless blessings in my life that far surpass the one obstacle of a not-so-healthy physical body.

I have an ultrasound to check out my liver later this week.  Also about a million and one blood tests that I should get results for soon. I hope my liver is happily back to work and things keep improving (Really, I've been feeling good the last couple days!), so your prayers for healing are appreciated.  But I ask that you pray more that God's power is made perfect in me...and in you...through our weaknesses.


MARSHA said...

Beth, You bet I will pray for your healing, but more than that, that you will become strong through your weakness because you trust in your LORD!!! Being human we don't understand God's ways for our lives. Each of us has a gift to share with others so that they may witness our GOD!!

If you are interested in sharing a wonderful cup of Joe with me, let me know. I happen to be a coffee snob too, and serve only the BEST BEANS :)

I love you dear girl! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I can help with the kids, the laundry, you name it, I'll be there in a flash (as long as I'm not working, or out for a hike). Don't feel like you are showing weakness to ask for help. I too am very independent and despise asking for help......perhaps it will be necessary for me to do so someday. Meanwhile my gift is to love and help others :)

Rachael Phillips said...

I have no idea where you get that independent streak.

Seriously, we're praying constantly for you and loving you muches!