Weaknesses

Many of you know me in real life. I am very determined and usually have a good attitude. But, today I want to talk to you about weaknesses.

My physical weaknesses are obvious. I’m not physically strong, and I’ve tired out easily since the MS became a thing (especially because I always seem to push myself so stinkin’ hard).  I know that there are a lot of things that I can’t do, and I have mostly stopped trying to do them. I could make this a whole big long post about the many struggles I’ve had with this over the last decade, but I don’t want to. Just know that it was a process, and it certainly didn’t come about easily.

The internal weaknesses of every person are unseen and personal. It was a huge mental battle to overcome the fact that I couldn’t take care of Lydia by myself, but I’m finally okay with it. I love the nannies we have that come to help me at home when Doug is at work! I can’t pick Lydia up and move her, but I can entice her to come to this other corner of the room with me. I can’t keep up when she’s crawling away (foot drop), but I can grab her foot and drag her back toward me, which makes her laugh (she laughs when I’m trying to crawl after her, too). I can’t walk around with Lydia, but I can hold her and cuddle her when I’m seated just fine. I can’t manage taking Lydia places on my own, but God always sends somebody to help me. Besides, it’s way more fun for them to get to be my blessing. Another plus? I usually get a good chat out of it.

I manage my energy well. I no longer try to do the things I can’t, but instead be the best at things I can. I am thankful for my physical weaknesses, because they don’t allow me to be the perfectionist at everything I wish I could be. That, in all honesty, is not at all realistic. I’ve done the whole “trying to be perfect.” And it’s exhausting. When I think about how I can’t physically do something, I think about how trying to do it could hurt me more than help me. This is where I am at right now.

This last week, I was talking to God about my hopes for healing one day. His response? “Don’t focus on what I can do. Focus on what I am doing right now.” Since this revelation, my eyes have been opened to random conversations I’ve had with strangers here and there, and how much it has impacted. Maybe it has impacted them, but each time, God tells me, “See? I have a reason for everything. You were needed right here, right now.” Why do I have to go get infusions every month for my medicine? To have wonderful conversations with other patients and the nurses who work there. Why was it taking me so much time and energy at Walmart this week? So that the couple walking past me could help put my groceries into the trunk of my car. Why do I still have my blog, though it has fallen out of a routine and is random, most of the time? So that you, the person reading this post right now, might just be encouraged.

Anna

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Blessings and Thanksgiving with a high degree of cuteness factor

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:24-29

I feel like Thomas sometimes.  I think specifically about my relationship with Dr. Wile E. Coyote.  “No way this is happening, Lord.  Too good to be true!”  And then Dr. C and I pray together and read the word together.  “He’s just a good guy, with a pretty great faith life.”  We go deep (we’re way past favorite colors by now), and we talk about what God has been teaching us.  I pray that God would love him through me, and then God answers me.  “Seriously, God?”  Boom.  A family from his little town in northern Wisconsin was headed to my little town in eastern South Dakota for Thanksgiving.  He got Wednesday through Tuesday off, and even though he could only spend Wednesday through Sunday with me, HE SPENT WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY WITH ME.  “For real?” I ask in wonder.  God shakes his head and rolls his eyes.  “I got this.  Duh.”  The whole time we worry and make excuses, God is holding out his word and his promises.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you though and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

On Friday night, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I danced.  Just music playing on an iPhone and dancing.  After dancing, I flopped on the floor because I was tired.  Dr. C joined me, and then we just held hands and thanked the Lord for all the things he has done and still is doing in our lives and the lives of others around us.  I think that was one of my favorite moments, and it’s making it into my blog not because I want to display my personal life (trust me, you won’t get a lot of that here), but because it was meaningful to me.  It was to Dr. C, as well.  Dancing was like a dream come true for him, and everything was just great.  God is so faithful, and he hears his children and answers them.

God’s faithfulness is so like wow.  Not only in my relationship with Dr. Wile E. Coyote, but in so much of life.  I feel so gosh darn blessed when I look around at my stellar family and when I hear the soft guitar playing of my roommate and the opportunities I’ve had the last few years and just all sorts of things.  (There was a little moge poge of scenes going through my head, and accompanied with Kate’s beautiful guitar playing, it was like a movie.  Just telling you all.  I’m also in kind of a sappy mood lately, but ya’ll can blame that on the holder of my heart.)  Also, my roommates keep upping mine and Dr. C’s cuteness factor, cuz we’re seriously adorable.  And he can be such a romantic and I love it (which totally encourages it, too).  I am SO full of smiles this week.

Also, Thanksgiving Day was my birthday, and my mom wrote this post about me in her “30 Days of Thankfulness” month of November blog series.  I’m kind of a lover of words, and this was an awesome birthday present.  Also as a lover of words, I pretty much love encouraging things from the Word and things that Dr. Wile E. Coyote tells me and anything encouraging at all.  My love language is words of affirmation, you see.  Wow.  This blog post began with a verse and just took off.  Thanks for sticking with me.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Anna

A Little Encouragement about Encouragement!

Encourage: verb. 1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence: She could hear me from the bleachers as I encouraged the runner with obnoxious shouts.  2. to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.: Sometimes, I write “happy-fun-notes” to encourage my friends. 3. to promote, advance, or foster: When she is up to no good, laughter only encourages her.

 

So, I’d been feeling down earlier this summer, and my feelings of lowness keep trying to come back.  But stealthily, God has been encouraging me in so many different ways, as he has this wonderful tendency to do when we need it.  Last night (at an hour I so should have been asleep), I looked up “encourage” in the Bible.  It was awesome!  Here are some of the things I learned:

God has given us eternal encouragement by grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16), and continues to supply us with endurance and encouragement (Rom 15:5)!  He grants us this encouragement that we might be toward each other how Christ is toward us.  Because, if you remember, the goal, as a Christian, is to be more like Christ (duh).  But don’t worry, if you feel like you just can’t, God is right there to pick you up, wrap his arm around your shoulders, and encourage you!

When we find a community of believers, we are to be encouraged by each other’s faith (Romans 1:12).  This does not mean go to church and look at the cool shoes your neighbor is wearing or talk about the latest Olympic gold the US brought in.  It’s about finding a community and talking about God with each other, what he’s been doing in your life and what he’s been doing in theirs.  These communities don’t have to be just church or Christian organizations on your campus, but authentic friendships.  And yes, it is so encouraging!

In Paul’s letters to the churches, he continues to encourage them and tells them to encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).  In conjunction to the one before, you may build someone up by seeing other things that God is doing in them and through them that they may not see.  Or you may have found a Word that pertains to another person’s life at the given moment.  When you share it with them, God uses it to encourage!  It’s awesome how all these bolded statements tie together.  But I’m not done yet!

God uses OTHERS to encourage us and uses US to encourage them!  All through the book of Acts, the apostles traveled, visiting churches they had at one time planted or found and ENCOURAGED them.  Paul does this in his letters, as well.  Others encourage us all the time, whether it’s a compliment for practicing that week (which encourages practicing next week) or applause at the end of a performance (encouraging the conductor to take too many bows to acknowledge his orchestra or band or just encouraging the players that they really did a great job).  The audience cheers during sporting events and friends in the back seat encourage you to try and make a light as it’s turning yellow.  This is kind of a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said.  =)

Encouragement is a spiritual gift (Romans 12:8).  That doesn’t mean that you can’t encourage if you don’t have this gift.  It just means that some do it more than others effectively?  Not quite sure how to say that nicely.  This website has a spiritual gifts test and explains the different spiritual gifts there are.  They explain encouragement:

Encouragement (Speaking Gift) – The special ability God gives some to offer comfort, words of encouragement, hope, and reassurance to discouraged, weak, or troubled Christians in such a way that they are consoled. People with this gift: – come to the side of those who are discouraged to reassure them and give them hope – emphasize God’s promises and confidence in his will.

And lastly, the Word encourages (2 Timothy 4:2)!  This is really awesome, and God uses this LOTS.  My personal encouraging verses/passages right now include: Joshua1:9, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Jeremiah 29:11-14a, and Philippians 4:13.  Any verse cam speak words of encouragement to me if the timing is right (which, thanks to God, the timing’s usually perfect)!

God never ceases to encourage us.  He sent Christ, his only Son to die for us, that we may have eternal life!  What is more encouraging to live this life than the promise we’ll be with God in paradise eternally?  His riches and promises as we live in this world are encouraging and never-ceasing.  His wondrous deeds and the way he works so mysteriously are encouraging!  You just have to see it sometimes.  How has God encouraged you recently?  Are there any encouraging Bible verses that would go on your list of encouragement to look back on?

 

Smiling and being encouraged by all God’s encouragement, Anna =)^2