A Thorny Presence

 Paul had one do you?

A thorny presence, my weakness made strong…..Do you have something in your life that you simply have to hide at all cost? Is your secret so terrible (in your own mind of course) that if anyone knew about it, they would just walk away from you? I had one of those “things” once, I had what Paul called, a thorny presence in my life that was relentless. I let something in my life get so big that it consumed my thoughts, my actions and my time. I was putting on that “really I’m great” face to the world when in reality I was a big fat phony! I felt isolated from my ministry group of women because I couldn’t (wouldn’t) share my deepest struggle with them. I felt ashamed because this “thing” in my life held so much power over me, the chains were just to tight. Yet here I was, teaching in the Youth Department, singing at ladies events……I spoke of God’s power for everyone else, while all along I held onto my “thing” that was so ugly in my own life. No matter how hard I prayed, no matter how many times I asked for the strength to get over this mountain I would always get sucked back in. Until one day………..I was Coaching/Teaching at a Christian school and I had my group of Varsity Cheerleaders in our bible study time, which was right before practice. We would usually spend about 15-20 minutes doing some sort of studying and sharing about what God was doing in their lives and how they could let Him work more freely through them.  One of the girls was speaking when I got this overwhelming urge to share my secret with them. You know the feeling you get when you know the Holy Spirit is asking you to do something you REALLY don’t want to do? Heart pounding out of your chest, can’t breathe very good, a little trickle of sweat starts to form….I had a decision to make right there and then.  Was I ready to start allowing God to use my “thing” to minister to others or was going to continue to allow Satan to keep me in the cycle I had come to know all to well?

God had saved my biggest, baddest secret for this very moment of ministry. I still don’t know why I let Him work in me that day over any other, only that He ordained it to be so. So, I shared my eating disorder story with my girls, the whole ugly truth and you know what? It was a feeling I can’t really describe, except to say it was like a huge boulder had been lifted off my chest. To my amazement, God used my 20 year struggle, my secret, my thorny presence that day in that room. 2 Cor 12:7-10 says it best, so please go to your bible and read the exact words, but I will give you a taste.  “God’s grace is enough for you (me), for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Several of my girls came to me after that study session, so I know God used what I wanted to hide above all costs to help someone else in the trenches of their struggle. Do you have a “thorny presence”? If so God is dying to use it to free you and minister to others. His Grace is enough…….