Let me start by saying...
I have wrestled with God about being vulnerable and sharing the struggle with you that I'm about to describe. Mostly because I fear being hurt or patronized.
However I've recently watched a few dear friends, going through a difficult time, allow others into their struggle. As a result, God received so much glory. I do fear vulnerability with you BUT, at this point, my greater fear is that my silence and isolation will rob God of the glory He should receive.
I could wait until my struggle is over or I could allow you to walk the hardest part of the journey with me. I will choose the latter. With that said, I will trust in God's protection over me as I let you all in. And I thank you for caring enough to even take the time to read the following words I wrote early this morning.
Here I go...
It's 4 AM. I cannot sleep. The physical pain gnaws at me, robbing my body of rest.
For the past two and a half months I have been struck with severe cystic acne. Not small breakouts that heal in a week. I'm talking deep, painful cysts which ache and throb and take weeks, if not months, to heal. No matter what I've tried, and trust me I've tried a lot of different things, they haven't gone away. In fact, they just keep getting worse.
It is now to the point where my face hurts so bad that it is hard to talk, eat, and sleep.
Here is a picture of what I'm dealing with. I apologize. I know it is rather disgusting to even look at. And to think this is only one side of my face.
Not only am I experiencing physical pain, but emotional pain as well. I'm embarassed, anxious, fearful, and very much heartbroken. The severity of my physical pain has made it difficult for me to wear any make-up and, thus, I have begun to isolate myself from others for fear of ridicule, pity, or judgment.
I've reminded myself things could be worse. I'm very much aware that I'm not the only person in this world with a physical flaw and an emotional heartache. Many have gone before me and survived worse. Many are presently enduring MUCH worse.
Nonetheless, I AM hurting and struggling. I can't deny this and I can't tell myself to get over it. It's real. It's hard.
YET, as cheesy as it may sound to some of you, BECAUSE of Jesus I am NOT alone and I am loved without condition.
Though I may be hardpressed on every side, I am NOT crushed.
Though I am perplexed as to why, I am NOT in despair.
Though I am physically and emotionally struck down, I am NOT destroyed.
For the life of Christ is at work in me. Outwardly I may be wasting away, yet inwardly the sacrificial love of Christ is renewing me each day.
Thus, I will NOT lose heart.
For this light and momentary trouble is achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs it all. Living in light of eternity with my God diminishes the importance of this trouble. Because of Christ, my soul has life and death has lost its sting! So, I must fix my eyes on Jesus. For what I see on my face is temporary, but the unseen glory of my relationship with Jesus is eternal. [2 Corinthians 4:7, 9, 12, 16-18]
Dear friends, whatever your trouble...whatever your heartache...Jesus is the answer.
As I've cried out to Him throughout this struggle, He has tenderly given me strength for each day through His unconditional love.
And to add to His tenderness, His love has been demonstrated to me so faithfully through others.
Through the loving affection and unwavering support from my husband,
through the compassionate truth from my dear sister and mom,
and through the faithful prayers of dear friends...
I HAVE BEEN LOVED WITHOUT CONDITION.
A love that is only known to Jesus and can be extraordinarily demonstrated through His faithful ambassadors.
Oh how fortunate I've been that Christ's love compelled them toward me. Through their demonstrations of His love I am lifted up, held close, and reminded of my worth and value!
[2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 19-21]
This is what we want for our children. Whether they are on the receiving or giving end of Jesus' love. Either way...we want them to experience a love that is so full and so life-giving that no struggle can minimize its majesty. And that they would give and receive this LOVE WITHOUT CONDITION.
Join me as I pray the following today:
Jesus, I pray that my children would be so compelled by Your love that they would faithfully represent and tenderly demonstrate it to the hurting in this world. Likewise, in the midst of their pains, may they know and receive the unconditional love of Jesus through His faithful ambassadors. And may they fix their eyes on Jesus and be renewed each day.
2 Corinthians 4:7, 9, 12, 16-18; 5:14-15, 19-21