Tag Archives: strength

The Way of the Ant

Image

“Go to the ant…consider its ways and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6 NIV)

Not too long ago, I read over some old journal entries. One of them was from a few years back. I wrote it after spending time outdoors with my son. That day, we had worked on homeschool lessons while enjoying a pleasant and sunny afternoon. We took a break and ate banana-nut bread.

Joshua dropped a small piece of bread on the ground. Not long after he dropped it, he pointed to the line of ants around the bread. Each ant crawled over the bread and left with a tiny crumb. The ants continued to get pieces of the bread, carrying them away their ant hill, and repeating the process all over again. There was one line going to the bread and one line going away from the bread. Back and forth they went. Until, finally, the bread was gone.

Joshua and I had amused ourselves as we watched those ants working slowly and methodically.

Thinking about those ants reminded me of the many times when I have been forced to schedule my day in sections. Sometimes in hours, others in minutes. Like the ant, I move painstakingly slow, often wondering if I will be able to cross at least one thing off my “to do” list. Even though my rheumatologist had already warned me about the hazards of my “Type A” personality, I still had trouble breaking the habit of organizing my days, setting goals, and working hard (stressing) to get each thing done.

I have to constantly remind myself that God remains faithful. He has given each one of us everything we need to make it through each day, each task, and each challenge – even when we have to make it five minutes at a time.

There are still times when I have to break my day down into increments of activity and rest. The moment I open my eyes, I know whether or not I will have to fight to get things done, or whether my day is going to be easier to manage. On those fighting days, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed if I think past my morning shower! I’ve learned that as long as I focus on one thing at a time, and then stop to rest, I can accomplish so much more! At the end of the day, I become excited when I realize all the things I got done – those very things that I feared would be left undone.

So no matter what challenge you may face today, look to God to be your strength. He will give you the wisdom you need to make it through. Don’t beat yourself up over the things you can’t get done, celebrate the things that you can accomplish.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the example of the ant. Help us to break our tasks into manageable pieces. Help us to organize our day and maximize the times when we have the most energy. Help us to understand that we really can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Amen.

GOD’S HAND UPHOLDS ME

hand2

“So do not fear, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41: 10 NIV)

I left the doctor’s office stunned.  Dread weighed heavily in the pit of my stomach.  Five years earlier, I was told that was in remission.  I stopped all medications and thought I was free.

I finally learned to let my guard down and stopped defining myself by illness. I became accustomed to planning events, having energy to do things with my children, managing the household, and being available to friends.  

How could it be possible that I was coming out of remission after all this time?  What did this mean for our family?  What would my husband think? 

We had relocated across country, far from our support system.  Would we be able to manage without our extended family stepping in and helping whenever I had a flare?

I hated the thought of going through a barrage of tests, blood work, different medications, and weekly doctors’ appointments.  The scar tissue in my veins resulted from all the previous poking and prodding I had endured. The osteoporosis in my hip and spine was a lasting side effect of prolonged steroid use.  What would this new phase of illness do to my already depleted body? 

I felt discouragement, mingled with fear and apprehension, rising inside of me.  Would I find the strength to go through the highs and lows of this sickness all over? 

“Help me, God!” I cried.  “I can’t face this again.”

Then in my devotion time, I came across this wonderful promise from the Lord.  It helped me to reflect on the other promises from Him to be with me and help me.  “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” (John 14:16 NIV) “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 – NIV) “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

It has been twelve years since I walked out of the doctor’s office in shock.  As I recall my struggles with this illness, I have learned to rely on God’s mercy and grace.  Even in the midst of the many trials I endured, I have watched my faith in God grow. 

The intense levels of pain stripped away all pretenses that I tried to uphold.  My immobility exposed my prideful desire to be self-sufficient.  And when my joints stopped cooperating, all that remained was my hope in God.

Now, I can state with confidence that God has enabled me to endure the difficult days.  I realize that if I’m not careful I will resort to fear and discouragement.  I’ll believe that the obstacles mounted against me are insurmountable.  I must remember that looking away from God causes the opposition to seem victorious. 

God has strengthened me on the days when I wanted to give in to despair.  Living with the physical and mental pain of chronic illness has the potential to numb me to the core.  However, when I remember to look back and witness the Lord’s hand on my life, I find encouragement and the strength to carry on.  I am thankful for the Word of God, which is a constant reminder of that God is merciful, loving, and kind.