A Thorn In My Flesh

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you know I openly share about past struggles and overcoming adversity through Christ’s strength. I’ve wrote about my failures and the reality of how I used to live one hundred percent in the world and not at all in God’s word.

There are times when Satan still torments my thoughts with shame or regret from my past—and it’s in those moments where I have to press into God’s truth, allow the Holy Spirit to remind me of memorized scripture, and spend time in prayer to counteract and push those thoughts away. I want so badly to not only push them away, but to throw them out, entirely…But I think of Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 12:7b and it helps me sort out my ongoing battle, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” -2 Corinthians 12:7b

The Bible isn’t clear on what Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ was, but the phrase was used in a metaphorical state rather than a literal thorn in his flesh. We know this because he refers to the thorn given to him as ‘a messenger of Satan’.

It could have been a physical, spiritual, or mental ailment that Paul dealt with—whatever it was, he was given this “thorn” to keep him from becoming prideful. Paul was commissioned directly by God to spread the gospel and could’ve easily had an opportunity for bragging rights because of it, but the thorn acted as a reminder to not do so.

This thorn must’ve been a constant nagging or nuisance to him. Three times he prayed for it to be removed, yet God refused. (vs. 8)

God had purpose for the thorn in Paul’s flesh and it’s shown as we read and witness Paul’s strong character, humble mannerism, and zealous heart for missionary work.

The fact that Paul’s thorn in the flesh is never thoroughly described (as to what exactly he was dealing with) gives me hope; it makes it easy to relate and apply this scripture-insight to my own struggles.

Further on in verse 9 God drops this unarguable declaration on Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul doesn’t make any attempt to resist, rather his immediate and confident response in verse 10 is this: “That is why, for Christ sake, I delight in weaknesses, and insults, and hardships, in persecutions, and difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Don’t miss those words. A humble Paul sets a perfect example submitting to God’s will, nevertheless, with a thorn in tote and a messy past behind him—knowing his strength is because of Christ.

I know I’m not alone in my struggles. Those words of understanding between God and Paul are as much for Paul’s encouragement as they are for us. Some of you reading this post and these scripture verses right now are suffering mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally just like I do at times and we need to hold onto the promise of hope held in these verses.

Let’s back up just one more time to what God proclaimed over Paul in verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Whew!! Good stuff.

This means that even in my weakness, in your weakness…God’s mercy and grace remain—regardless of negative circumstances.

At times my husband and I want nothing more than to pack up and move away from these old stomping grounds of ours. A chance at a fresh start where no one knows our past. We live in the very place where we once ran wild…but every attempt we’ve ever made toward moving away has always been shot down.

And in the midst of that I can feel God’s leading over our lives: ‘Right here is where I’ve placed you, and here is where you’ll stay. In this place, at this time, is where I’ll use you…even when you feel weak…I’ll use you for My purpose, through My power and My strength.’

…I’m in awe when I evaluate and take inventory of the ways He indeed has used us—regardless of our vulnerability, weaknesses, or insecurities.

I feel grateful as I teach 4th and 5th graders each Sunday morning at church, honored to help lead youth group over a bunch of crazy jr. high kids, and humbled when I take the opportunity to share God’s word with others…all for His purpose…even if it means I must do it with a thorn in my flesh.

God’s power transcends my weakness every time.

Wednesday night Pastor Trevor talked to our youth kiddos about ‘putting your past behind you and moving into the future with God at the top,’ and I want to leave you with the very words he gave them, “Getting past your past, means giving God your present.” …Goodness, I just love the simple, straightforward truth in that message!❤️

I’m heading to a lake-house cabin this afternoon for a relaxing weekend with some good friends from church, looking forward to it!! Hoping you all have a blessed weekend as well!!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Avoiding Fourth of July Freak Outs

I was running late, which is more normal for me than not, unfortunately. The kids had stayed the night at my mom’s and my girls and I were supposed to be involved in a running event that was taking place sooner than I cared to acknowledge.

It happened to be the Fourth of July and my attitude was on the edge of rupturing and popping with the best of any ear-piercing firecrackers.

When I’m running late I just get bent out of shape, and anyone around me reaps the negative results. This was one of those times—one where I felt ready to burst and far from control of anything reasonably manageable.

I rushed into my mom’s house to grab my daughters so we could quickly make it to the park where the race was to begin in ten minutes. My sass-tude finally caved and wildly flared when I walked in to everyone still sleeping!

Like a string of black-cats that had just been lit, I set fire with my words! “Why in the world are y’all still sleeping?!! We have to be there in ten minutes!! If you’re coming with me then get up and get going!! Hurry up!!!”

You know the saying ‘dynamite comes in small packages’…that was me right then—except I’d bypassed any caution tags and went full on explosive. Continue reading “Avoiding Fourth of July Freak Outs”

Worth More Than Diamonds

For almost three years straight I hadn’t been able to find my wedding ring — which didn’t really surprise me because I was always misplacing it for a few days at a time prior to that.

I’d place it on the bathroom counter or leave it on my mom or mother-in-law’s kitchen sink and it’d sit there for days until someone would pipe up and let me know they found my ring…again…meanwhile I’d be frantically searching everywhere it was not, hoping to find it!

At one point I even went extreme and had my husband’s first initial tattooed to my finger during one of the many times my ring was missing. Now I have the letter N permanently tattooed to my ring finger, which is fine…BUT I live in Nebraska (Husker nation) and I’ve actually had several people ask me if the N was for that reason….umm no….I’ll keep from further commenting so no sassy comments come out.

Last week I’d really been thinking heavily about my real, original wedding ring. I even ‘re’searched spots I’d already checked a thousand other times. Continue reading “Worth More Than Diamonds”

Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you Vivian from God’s Whispers of Truth for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I always enjoy reading your blog for sweet inspiration and encouragement!

Be sure to check out Vivian’s blog if you haven’t already. Click on the link above and then read her “my story” page under the menu option and you’ll be hooked—you’ll see for yourself what a brave warrior she truly is.

About the Sunshine award:

This award is given to creative, positive and cheerful bloggers by other bloggers as a token of appreciation and admiration.

Here are the rules:

• Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.

• Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.

• Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

• Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.

I’ll answer the questions Vivian had for me first:

1) What is the bible verse/passage which you turn to the most for comfort?

I’m obsessed with Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength‘….probably because it was the first verse that spoke to my broken, lost heart at the time, it grabbed me and directed my attention to God, and still has a grip on me. It was also the first verse I memorized on my own without someone else’s input or influence. Continue reading “Sunshine Blogger Award”

I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 2)

Losing someone unexpectedly is one of the hardest parts of life.

There’s the ‘what if’ questions…

What if (he or she) was still here? What if I could’ve told them what I didn’t get to? Or what if I’d have been more present?

I wrote in PART ONE of this post that my dad, in his helpless, quadriplegic body, looked my mom in the eyes the day he died and said, “I’m so glad you’re the one taking care of me today.”

What if, like my dad, I looked at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty?

What if I focused on the sweet memories I have of my dad? What if I held onto the time I spent with him, rather than dreaming of times that never got to happen?

Well, what if???Continue reading “I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 2)”

Proverbs 16:31 Hair…Glory Found in the Grays

Last year (August 2018) I put out a post titled Get Real. I wrote about my colored-over gray hairs, and created a parallel in the way we sometimes cover gray areas of our life—making it appear like we have it all put together.

Okay, so while that post was meant to encourage authenticity in a person—to bring light to those gray areas…remaining open, honest, and real with others in an emotional sense—well for me, the words of that post (when I reread it) tangle me up on my increasingly graying hair, concealed under shades of dark hair dye…complete dishonesty with myself and anyone else who’s been fooled by my false-dark tresses.

Why in the heck would I encourage honesty and openness, when my hair color isn’t even real?! Continue reading “Proverbs 16:31 Hair…Glory Found in the Grays”

I’m Being Weird

All over scripture we can find the words, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’…

Leviticus 19:18, ‘You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.’

Matthew 19:19 says, ‘Honor your father and mother, and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

And James 2:8 reminds us, ‘If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.’

If I noted each of the many times scripture encourages and directs us with, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ then writing and reading this post may be the only thing you and I do today. Some verses note word-for-word, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ and others simply offer heavy implication of the idea. It may sound exhausting to think of repeat instructions, but the beautiful thing about that, is the fact that when something is repeated over and over it’s often for our own good and to navigate us in the correct way. In this case, through God’s word, it’s so we don’t stray wayward of His perfect intentions in calling us to love one another. Continue reading “I’m Being Weird”