Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thorn and My Best Friend

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12 :7-10 NIV)

On one of our last Bible Babes studies, we studied this scripture in regards to our personal idols and how God is made perfect when we "give up" to Him. This is a great lesson, however, this verse holds special meaning to me.

I have mentioned my "Evil Twin" before. Let me introduce her to you. She is my best friend Debbie. Debbie is an avid reader. She is married and is a mother of 2. She runs a day home. Debbie enjoys cooking. She attends a weekly morning ladies group. Debbie is legally blind and losing her sight more and more every year I have known her.

When I first met Debbie 10 years ago in Alpha, we immediately clicked. We had many common interests and the same perverse sense of humor (we both love to quote Acts 2:15). We became so close that our husbands referred to us as the "evil twins." There is not a day where we don't talk to each other.

Debbie started going blind in her early twenties. She suffered from chronic iritis, which led to glaucoma. At our meeting Debbie could see the large "E" on the sight chart. Now she can only see shadows.

Debbie has prayed over the years for complete healing. At different stages of her vision loss, she has prayed for it not to progress. God in His infinite wisdom has not answered those prayers. I know some believe that if a person is not healed it was due to lack of faith, but Debbie has never given up her faith and God's ability to heal her. She knows that He alone has the power to heal her. He just has other plans.

God is using her. Using her "weakness" to show His strength and grace. God uses her as a discussion leader in B.S.F., an organization she is passionate about. Through her disability, she has become an advocate in her church for people who suffer from ALL disabilities. She is the first person to volunteer when bringing meals are mentioned. She continues to show God's strength to others who think she is not able.

Over the course of the years, Debbie has had to "give up" most of her independence and become dependent on others. She has had to lay down her pride and her sense of identity, trusting that God has a purpose and a plan for her. I often ask myself have I surrendered to God. Is His strength and grace truly enough for me.? Do I boast of my greatness or God's greatness.

Debbie will never see my baby the next time we are together. She won't get to read to her children. She won't see her daughter's wedding dress. She won't see her son's first child. However, she will God in His infiinite glory. The God who has carried her through her "weakness." The God who's grace is enough for her. Is it yours?


Pat said...

I can relate so much to Debbie being on the other side of a loved ones disability. Having to watch my husband have to give up his independence and have to rely on me or others is really hard. I'm not sure if he's at Debbie's point of acceptance as his vision is better but she is a great inspiration to all, not just those with disabilities but all of us could be a little more reliant on God's grace to sustain us. Thanks so much for sharing her with us.

kellyjo@chef.net said...

Thank you for sharing about your dear friend. I love the perspective you explained about healing, and God's plans. Her attitude is beautiful, and my heart goes out to her.

My dad is legally blind due to years of Type I diabetes. He can still see, but has many blind spots. He really struggles to stay positive, and hates that he can't drive. This obstacle has gone on for years. Though he is a man of true faith, he cannot seem to find contentment in this struggle.

Donnetta said...

What a great reminder that if we will surrender our weakness (thorns) to God, He can and will use them to display His power and strength all to and for His glory!

Not always the easiest thing to do...

Anonymous said...

It's so hard for us to understand that God sometimes allows us those thorns for a purpose. What a beautiful example of trusting in His plans Debbie is. (And you can tell her you made me cry! :P )

~Rain``` said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend.

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I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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