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.

His Work Was For You And Me

Over the past few weeks I’ve been substitute teaching each afternoon for a woman who’s out on maternity leave. I’ll finish out the school year as long as the kiddos don’t scare me off!

Wednesdays are still my hair day where I go to the nursing home and doll up salt and pepper colored hair, so I’m not at the school that day.

Interestingly the class I’m teaching is music class and my knowledge is slim but growing. I tell the kids I’m learning right along with them. It’s been fun. They’re fourth and fifth grade and easily humored, but can also be a handful some days. Continue reading “His Work Was For You And Me”

That’s Just What I Needed, Thank you!

I was trying to figure out what woke me from a deep sleep this morning at 4:15. And then I heard the loud cry of our rooster crowing on the front patio, which happens to be located next to my bedroom window.

Yesterday afternoon our rooster (Blackie) flew the coop, literally. He must’ve had enough of the hens out there and decided to relocate, hence the reason he’s now been perched out front of our house for the past day.

After about a dozen crows this morning before 5 A.M. I finally turned to my husband, “that’s it, I’m gonna go outside and talk to him!!”…surely my husband questioned my awkward statement but nevertheless I stepped out front (barefoot and nearly frozen immediately). I stooped down to eye level with the rooster and calmly stroked his back and spoke softly to him. He nestled down closer to the table he was sitting on and relaxed as if to say, “that’s just what I needed, thank you!”

I tiredly went back inside and crawled into bed and got a few more hours of sleep—beautiful, quiet uninterrupted sleep. It wasn’t until after 7, the sun was beginning to light the sky, the rooster let out a few more crows. This time his noise was gladly welcomed, with the 7 o’clock hour seeming a bit more fitting.649C1F7D-178A-4F25-9DFA-0EFC19F7F366

Not only have Blackie’s crow-times been off lately, he’d also flown into our living room window several times yesterday. And today as we’ve had wind gusts of 35 miles per hour he still insist on sitting out front in the blistering openness of frigid cold.

Although he has a warm home, plenty of food, and many lady friends to keep him company something out in the chicken coop just isn’t quite right for him.

I think of the many times I can relate to the odd mannerism of my rooster’s—the times that I’ve been confused, unsettled, and distressed much like this new adopted behavior of his. Continue reading “That’s Just What I Needed, Thank you!”

Healed Through Forgiveness

Warning: This post may contain emotional content for some. I know it’s long but I’m putting it out here on the chance that it provides help to someone who might be struggling.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. —Martin Luther King Jr.

I had just finished giving a presentation of my life story to a group of ladies. As I packed up my notes and props I noticed a girl whose face was covered in a stream of tears.

Oh no, was it something I said?? Way to go Alicia…My self-conscious way of thinking began to prod away.

Slowly the melancholy faced girl made her way toward me while the noise of music quietly played in the background.

My heart raced forward as I thought about what words may come out of her mouth…would I be prepared with a response or an answer..I’m just a woman who loves Jesus and wants others to know about Him….what if she needs help and I don’t know what to say…God you know I’m a writer, not a talker…

I felt incredibly unprepared for this moment. I hadn’t considered I’d be doing more than simply sharing my testimony, so the thought of anything beyond that certainly overwhelmed me. I quickly pleaded with God in my mind..I did my part God, I shared my story in front of these women, I’m not prepared to further speak—much less counsel someone if this is what’s about to happen…

She now stood right before me. My eyes met hers and I could see there was hurt deep within…she had my full attention…

“How did you do it?” she pushed the words through trembling lips without hesitation….How did you do it??? The words echoed throughout me. I paused long enough to collect my thoughts…

“How did I do what?” I asked with an empathetic whisper.

After-all I had just shared the disarrayed story of my life—starting with the responsibility I felt being raised by an epileptic mother, to experiencing life with a loving but drug and alcohol addicted father; and not failing to include childhood stories of a homicide in front of our California home, sexual abuse, and my own substance abuse as a teen and young adult and the poor choices I made in all of that. I had shared the pain I felt with my dad’s death and then how I finally had my come to Jesus moment in my late twenties.

I had covered many life lessons and emotions just moments before as I gave my testimony in front of this group of women so to pinpoint the one thing she was searching an answer for, would be a challenge in itself.

But it was the sexual abuse that she was referring to…“how did you get past the sexual abuse?” she managed to bravely stutter the words out. Continue reading “Healed Through Forgiveness”