Friday, March 25, 2011

God's Power Made Perfect in Weakness Pt. 3

This is a continuation of Part 2.  The remainder of Jessica's story.  

"We all have to grow up at some time or another.  Sometimes it takes a death or a physical ailment or a tragedy... mine took all of that.  And although my story has scars and things I regret, it is beautiful.  It is beautiful because it is signed in the blood of Jesus: forgiven.  

So whenever I get discouraged or when the pain is really intense, I just focused on that.  I just kept repeating scripture.  I kept praying for Japan.  I kept praying for you all.  Pain just reminds my heart that this isn't my Home.  It'll be over one day and then after that, forever with Jesus.  It gives me hope to keep going.  I just want to give this life all I've got because even when I'm weak, God is much stronger.  There are people that need to know about Jesus.  No matter if we're weak, we as Christians find what is hurting the most and run to it with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That's why we're here.  That's why I want to serve.  The gospel of Jesus is enough for us.   There are so many people that need to hear that message.  

That really sums up it all.  I would be nothing without God.  I couldn't get through one day without Him!  Through all of this, He has taught me about joy.  My heart is so content.  It's almost scary just how at peace and how content I am through all of this.  The pain has been worse then it ever has been, but God is closer then ever and my heart is content.  It'll be alright. 

The other Sunday at church, the orchestra was playing with the choir and I saw the violinists.  I could play everything they were playing in my head and know exactly fingers and how it would feel on my left hand fingertips.  I just stopped what I was thinking and started praising God.  I was doing pretty good... just reading my Bible and leaving everything else up to Him!  He is so enough!  Then, someone left the door open to the closet where I packed my violin away and my case was sitting half-way out of the door.  I looked down and I wanted to grab it and play.. play without pain.  But, I just slid it back in and closed the door and I praised.  It's okay.   Then when my sister left for orchestra without me.... ahh. So whenever I get discouraged, I just look up to Jesus.  His love is beautiful.  I am so so blessed.  He is more then enough. 

A couple weeks ago, I woke up to shooting nerve pain.  It was so bad and all I could do was rock and back and forth.  Isaiah 41:10 came to my mind.  I started repeating to myself, “I AM WITH YOU.  I WILL HELP YOU.  I WILL STRENGTHEN YOU”  Oh I just started crying.  It hurt too much to cry but tears of joy were sliding down my face.  Jesus is enough!  He is so enough.  Even at the worst of times, He is there.  He is beautiful.  He is more then enough. 

My physical body truly IS my worst enemy.  I know this body will one day fail.  I will die.  But my soul will live forever.  It's like a war inside.  It's so weird to be in physical pain while being on fire for God.  It's the weirdest feeling I have ever had.  The pain physically hurts so much but my heart is so on fire that it reminds me that one day... all of this suffering I feel right now will be gone.  But what my heart is on fire and what it is on fire for will never die.

Over the past few months and especially weeks as the pain has gotten more intense, God has been closer then ever.  The crying of my heart seems to be drowned out.  When the pain hits, my mind goes right to prayer. I never noticed that until recently.  I thought "hey.  It's working!!!! That's the first thing I want to do when the pain hits the hardest.. I want to pray"  So I started to add something else.... praise.

My mind wants to yell how it hurts.  But the weirdest thing is my heart is content. 

And right now, I don't need to know why. 

God has my dreams.  He has my future.  He has shattered hope.  He has crushed goals.  He has a beautiful plan. 

I  know He could find a way to keep me from the pain.  He could find a way to have me still playing the violin.  He could find a way to have a full day without pain.  But,  He has a plan with this.  His answer is  trust Me.

If I've spent more then a couple treatments with different specialist people, they see I'm a Christian.  I just can't keep it inside.  I talk about God.  All the time.  More then ever now.  I can't get through one single day without Him.  He makes all of this bearable.  He makes it okay.  He makes broken dreams beautiful.  He holds me in the palm of His Hand.  

That is so overwhelming.  It's completely completely changing my life.  I look around... I see all these broken and hurting people.  With my arm, I have seen it more then ever.  Every single person in this world is hurting and broken.  I wake up every morning thinking about how much more I have to learn!  How much more I have to learn about loving God... there is so much to learn... and it's so overwhelming to see just a small little piece of how awesome God is.  

In worship, there was a line in one of the songs we sang that said You, God "are the defender of the weak"... If there's one small line that can completely humble and break me, it was that one.  I started dwelling on just that line.  To think of a just and perfectly holy God defending the weak?  The broken?  The hurting?  Someone so holy... so just... so incredibly flawless... coming to our level. Coming to die on a cross?  Taking on flesh?  To decimate sin?  And He then defends the weak? 

That. is. incredible.

I started to think of my own life.   I mean I've had to start brushing my teeth with my left hand.  Sometimes I eat with my left hand because I just can't do it with my right.  If I have to write more then one page, I can see my hand just grow weaker and weaker with each line.  Every day things are getting more and more difficult to do.  Doctors can't figure out exactly what it is.  Specialists.  Nothing.  To know that God... a perfect holy God would care about that?  Would care about my arm?  

It leaves me speechless. 

No matter how or what the next road will bring, He will win.  Even if it's hard... even if I get in another accident and I mess up my left arm and both are out of commission... I know God can NEVER give me too much that I can't handle with His Help.  It's okay to get discouraged sometimes.  But God is bigger then the battles.  No matter what, everything that comes into our lives have to go through His Hands first.  This has all gone through God's Hands first.   Isn't that incredible?? So God is here no matter what!

No. matter. what.

I am just awe-struck at the amazingness of my God.  If pain is what helps me to praise Him, then I truly just ask that He brings the rain.  Amidst the physical pain, my heart is just on fire.  So when people ask how I can keep praising Him, I just become speechless.  

His love leaves me speechless.  I cannot even begin to thank Him for dashing away my dreams to remind me HE IS MY LIFE.  He never fades.

But anyway - even after months of a cold hand, nerve problems, shooting pain, aching - it still hurts.  Honestly.  I wish I could say I get used to it.  But I don't.  Before dinner, it made me sick to my stomach.  Shooting pains up my arm will take away my appetite.  So I'll just try and convince myself that I'm hungry so I can eat. 

It usually works.  98% of the time.  It's mental.  It's really weird but it's true.  Then as soon as I get food in my stomach, I don't feel like I'm going to get sick.  It's crazy.  

I mean I'll go sit down on the sofa and close my eyes and start praying.  Pray that God would grow me in His Grace.  Humble me more.  Teach me more about trust.  Not always that the pain will go away (although so so many times that is how I want to pray) but that God would teach me more about worship.  Teach me more about loving Him. 

I lost a friend to cancer, I lost my best friend, our family put the house up for sale and planned to move 1100 miles away, my health failed, the seat next to my Dad in the truck was given to my brother, the horses went up for sale, my violin got packed up and sat in a closet untouched, nerve pain made me not hungry… it killed me.  I couldn’t control my life.  I tried so many things to try and control it.  But I couldn’t.   God used every single one of those things to show me the fact that He never changes.  These things came rapid fire, one after the other after the other after the other.  Right when I felt like I was going to be okay, something else would decimate my fragile hope.  I saw a lot of things were going wrong in my life.  I was so broken.  Scared.  Afraid.  I was fake.  I put on a fake smile.  I struggled layers and layers deep beyond what people could see.  God found me where I was at.  He changed my life.  I cannot at all even begin to explain how that has changed my life.

It’s not me.  It’s all Jesus Christ.  He has pulled me through.  He is more then enough.  When I have been feeling the worst, He used the times when I was weakest to remind me He is the strongest.   He has used all of this to be a huge opportunity to share the love of Jesus.

You know what's totally beautiful about suffering?  It's Jesus Christ.  Because every day when we stand, it is because He is here with us.  The most beautiful thing about walking through the fire is just seeing how God is closest.  He uses the broken and the weak!   When lots of things are going wrong, our trust grows.  It is incredible when things we love, dreams we have, break into pieces onto the ground that God is always doing it because HE loves us.  In all reality, He is picking up those pieces and making them into something more beautiful. 

There's something about raising your hands to the sky knowing that you can't get through a day without God's help.  He is so beautiful!  His love has radically changed my life!  He has taken what I was so angry about and turned it into something that I just want to praise Jesus!! 

I am just so overwhelmed that God is bigger then our sufferings.  He is bigger then everything we can see.  He is bigger then any struggle.  I've just finished 1 Corinthians yesterday and a verse in chapter 9 caught my eye especially. 

Everyone who enters an athletic contest practices self-control in everything. They do it to win a wreath that withers away, but we run to win a prize that never fades.

 We're running for a crown that will last forever.  God is with us on the run.  This world is passing away.  When you think about it, it's so short.  But, we are not our own.  We were bought with a price.  We have a race to run.  We are running for the Glory of the cause of Jesus Christ.  He is sufficient.  That is enough.

When we swim in the deep, He is right next to us.  He's always with us in the eye of a storm.  We endure.  We overcome.  Because Jesus Christ is the reason for everything.  He is the reason for hope.

Truth is, I don’t know how all of you feel.   I have my story, yes.   Even though I can’t understand all of your stories and exactly how you feel, I know that God can.  Remember that.  Nothing can separate you from His Love.  Nothing at all in this entire world. 

God has a really great reason for my arm.  He gave me my arm.  I've seen how scars and injuries are platforms where we can either glorify Jesus or complain.  I don't want to complain.  I want to use it for God's Glory.  Because rejoicing in suffering is like stepping on Satan's toes reminding him that he has not and will not win.  Yes.  It doesn't make the pain go away, doesn't change the fact that I can't play the violin much right now, but it does change my heart.  It reminds me why I'm here.  I'm not here for me.  I'm here for the cause of Jesus Christ.

Whatever you’re going through, know you aren’t alone.  God never fails.  I am praying for each of you.  May His Love wrap you and overflow your heart in peace.  Keep up the fight.  I can’t wait to meet each of you in heaven.  Keep the cross as your focus.  You’ll make it.  He is enough." 


Me said...

WOW!!! What a story... a story that I needed to hear. Today, of all days, this face downcast day, heavy burden day, hands laid down in prayer day... your words have brought healing to me today...

What you say here is like the song of my heart:

"There's something about raising your hands to the sky knowing that you can't get through a day without God's help. He is so beautiful! His love has radically changed my life! He has taken what I was so angry about and turned it into something that I just want to praise Jesus!! "

Thank you Joshua!!!

Joshua said...

That was not my story. It is a continuation of Part 2, which is a story about a young women named Jessica. Her blogs name is Far From Perfect. And, this is the link:

But, I am glad that God used it for His glory. Praise Him!!!

In Christ,
Joshua :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this guest post. The LORD has been trying to speak to me lately, and I've been trying to ignore him. This woke me up. God has something for each of us to do. If he can so mightily use and shine so brightly through a young lady who has been forced to lose her dreams and lives in chronic, crippling pain, why can he not shine through me, a person who, in the eyes of many, "has it all?" Why will I not let him in? Why will I not allow myself to be used of him? Thank you for this wakeup call. God just told me that it wasn't too late for me to turn around. Now, if only I could just stop crying enough to see the screen clearly....

An Anonymous Christian Standing In The Need Of Prayer.

{Far From Perfect} said...

Dear Anonymous, I am praying for you!! Praying so much for you. May God's Love overwhelm your heart tonight. He never fails. God is bigger! Philippians 3:7-10

Grant said...

That story is amazing! It really touched my heart.
P.S. I added myself as a follower.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jessica,

Oh, thank you so, so much! I wish I could tell you how much your prayers mean to me. And you don't even know my name, yet, you care enough to lift me up. Thank you so very much.

Same Anonymous Christian

Debbiehere said...

Jessica, Thank You for sharing your inspiring story. I will be praying that you remain where you are today (Spiritually - Physically I'll be praying for healing)!

I have a great many people praying for my own thorn in the flesh (including the best family EVER - including Joshua :)

I've been told several times that my prayer warriors believe that I will be healed. Of course they're right - we will ALL be healed one day! I can't wait to meet you in heaven either; all pain, sorrow, tears, and (best of all) sin will be stripped from us as we hear from our Savior, "Well done my good and faithful servant!"

<>< Debbie

Dakota said...

"A couple weeks ago, I woke up to shooting nerve pain. It was so bad and all I could do was rock and back and forth. Isaiah 41:10 came to my mind. I started repeating to myself, “I AM WITH YOU. I WILL HELP YOU. I WILL STRENGTHEN YOU” Oh I just started crying. It hurt too much to cry but tears of joy were sliding down my face. Jesus is enough! He is so enough. Even at the worst of times, He is there. He is beautiful. He is more then enough. "

I think this is the first time a blog post has ever brought tears to my eyes. Today my grandma asked if I knew 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, and so I rattled it off without really thinking about what it means. But you've given me a vivid reminder, Jessica, of what it means for Christ's strength to be made perfect in our own weakness and to worship Him despite our circumstances. Thank you.

In Christ,

"...the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
-Joshua 1:9

Lilac Bud Gal said...

You have no idea what your story did to me. I wish I could just reach through the screen and hug you, cry on your shoulder, and say 'thank you!' again and again. Your story was inspiring.. no, it was more than that.
My family has been going through a lot lately. I felt like we were the only ones in the world. That no one could understand (except God), but that no one really cared. I felt like we were going through the worst possible thing. And then I read your story. It makes me realize that our problems are SO small in comparison to yours... and yet you are SMILING and PRAISING God!! On most days I feel like God is in control and that I can TRUST Him completely, but then on other days satan likes to come in and tell me otherwise.. and you know what? Sometimes I listen to him. I get down and feel sorry for myself instead of looking up to Christ and being excited about what He will show me during this time in my life.
I want to be like you. To just praise God anytime I feel down! What could possibly be better? When Satan is tempting you, you don't listen. You must turn to God and listen to Him only. Learn His voice.
I am sorry for rambling, but I just want to thank you SOOOO much for being willing to do this guest post. I seriously needed to hear that tonight. I know this was posted days ago, but I hadn't gotten a chance to read it until now. Thank you again and again.
May your King bless you in everything you do, sweet Princess, as you praise Him through everything.

Praising and Singing to God,

Rebecca said...

What a story!
Thanks so much for sharing Joshua.
I needed to read this.
I guess I have always taken it for granted that I am healthy, and don't have any pain like that!
But, after reading this, I realize how blessed I am!
Thanks again for sharing.
In HIS service,