I was excited to do some of my favorite things: spend time with family and go to the beach. But there was the little wrinkle of the fun being in the middle of the day – that time of day when the fatigue is so thick I can hardly function, also the critical time when not resting can trigger my head-crushing migraines. “It’ll be OK,” I told myself, “I’ve missed my nap before. I’ll just rest in the morning instead.” It may have been a self-fulfilling prophecy because my worrying led to further physical strain which resulted in the beginnings of a migraine before we even got to the beach.
“Ugh! Why can’t I just enjoy time with family!?!”
Needless to say, with fibromyalgia and chronic migraines, the rest of the afternoon was a straight nose-dive into pain, for hours! (I had laughs and good family time too – but pain!) Once family had left and I could officially unwind, the throbbing and nausea intensified. “It’s OK, I’ve done this before too. Take these medications, you’ll relax and the pain will get better.” Not this time. One hour turned into two, turned into three, turned into eight before my body finally calmed enough to sleep.
I hardly felt better the next morning. Of course, because of work deadlines I couldn’t just call-in either (even though I only work 3 hours a day, in the finance department the end of the month is still a big deal). So, I dragged myself through, again. Yet, what weighed on me more was a family wedding the next day, which included a schedule that didn’t allow for a mid-day rest and meant activity that only increased as the evening went on (the reception really turns fun about the time I normally crash into bed). The thought of doing that kind of damage to my body was excruciating. “There is no way this will work. I need to cancel, I can’t go.” But that wasn’t an option, for many reasons I had to be at this wedding.
So I did what I always do when I’m heartbroken and in desperate need of courage – I went to my prayer place and cried, literally cried, to the Lord. Through many tears and much prayer, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the part in 2 Corinthians when Paul describes asking the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh. The Lord responds, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).” This verse has long brought me comfort. Yet there is a second sentence to it that I’ve never understood:
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9b
“Boast, be glad for my weaknesses?” This is exactly what the Lord wanted to show me, how to boast of my weaknesses. Throughout this afternoon of crying out to Him, the Lord gently replied to me over and over, “If you don’t even try to go, I can’t glorify Myself.”
Wow – that’s a strong test of faith! Thus, with courage not of my own, I went. And how He provided! I got to spend good, quality time with our newest granddaughter, danced with family, including my husband, laughed, and took great photo memories. Even the traveling was enjoyable. Through it all, the Lord equipped me with stamina and an open heart. Plus, the same medication that didn’t help two days before, worked exactly as it was supposed to, and I wasn’t a total wreck the next day. His provision just rained down on me – praise God!
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned, though, was of the power of the mind. We’ve all heard of “capturing our thoughts and surrendering them to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).” In my experience, that is much easier said than done. But, in order for me to remember that “my weaknesses meant the power of Christ resting upon me,” I had to consciously speak that truth every time my body expressed pain, fatigue, or the beginnings of a migraine (which was often). I believe that this was the power of the Holy Spirit within me, showing me how to turn negative, trapping thoughts into expectation-shattering, victorious-in-Christ thoughts. Therefore, I’m thankful for the beach day with family that brought such physical and emotional pain, because without it I may have missed the power of Christ within me.