Welcome to “Grow”! These stories are from the hearts of regular, everyday women just like you in the GT Community. They are boldly sharing how God has grown them, met with them, strengthened them, and taught them solid truth as they have discovered anew that Jesus is our everyday Savior! Today’s story is shared from the heart of Joy Colmar.
I never thought I would identify with Paul. My trials and tribulations are no comparison to his. Nor am I a Jewish man in the first century.
But, I do identify with the “thorn in the flesh” he references in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:
A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We never learn the exact physical nature of Paul’s physical ailment.
What we do know, though, is that Paul prayed for healing and never received physical relief. It reminded him of his need to depend on God.
It kept him in check.
Last January I visited my family doctor for a painful hip-flexor. I had been running 12-15 miles a week and had this continuous hip pain after running, along with low back pain. Long story short, the two issues were related and after some tests,
I was diagnosed with spine and disc injury.
The doctor told me to stop running immediately and I began a series of painful steroid injections, physical therapy, and some medicine to manage the pain (which was getting progressively worse).
Without the outlet of running, both my stress level and my weight went up. Basic daily activities became exceedingly painful and I quickly felt like I was losing my much-prized control in the midst of a hectic job and busy home life.
I was trying to use things of this world to fix me without seeking God.
So, I prayed.
And I prayed.
I finally gave up more control (and pride),
and confessed my condition to my church friends.
This was difficult, because I do not like to not show weakness.
What I immediately found, however, was how wonderful it is to feel the love and comfort of fellow Christians as they prayed on my behalf.
This was an amazing thing for me!
I was encouraged and began devoting time every day to reading my Bible and devotionals.
As my physical condition failed to improve, and even periodically worsened,
I learned to smile at it. My pain reminded me of my humanity, my dependence on God, and interdependence with my church family.
Every day when I read my devotional, it’s as if it was written especially for me.
God knows just what I need, when I need it.
He is my personal, everyday Savior!
I have come to enjoy the intimate conversation that happens when I allow God to have control as He cultivates a relationship with me.
I have learned that a relationship with God is similar to any friendship:
if you do not invest time and energy, you only have superficial acquaintance.
But, if you make an investment of time, energy, and love,
God will be your best friend.
He has become mine.
My injury has drawn me closer to God.
Like Paul, I continue to pray for healing. I will not stop.
However, I also give thanks for my pain.
It reminds me how glorious God is.
It reminds me to stay in His word and meditate on it.
I am getting better about listening to Him as I go through my daily life.
He guides me in even the smallest decisions and helps me to keep my priorities in order: God, husband, kids, church, family, friends, work.
I still mess up.
I will always mess up.
But, I know my Heavenly Father will not leave me.
My encouragement to you is to read and study the Bible,
Find a simple devotion that interests you and follow-through with the whole series.
It will open up other questions and stir your thoughts on other aspects of God and His Word. This curiosity will encourage your personal conversation and prayer with God!
In time, as you pray, read, and learn, you will learn to feel His guidance in your life as you apply the Biblical principles you learn.
Realize how much you have to be thankful for.
Our culture pushes us to accumulate things and accomplishments.
It criticizes and sensationalizes.
Realize the blessings around you.
Once you begin to filter out the negative,
you will see the beauty God has placed in your life.
Remember, though, this is not a one-time effort.
You must continue to spend time in the Bible and pray as you give thanks!
Become an active servant.
Whether it is mowing the grass, helping in the nursery, or singing in the choir, actively serving your church community lets you see God in action in the lives of others.
You will learn to speak openly and confidently of your relationship with the Lord.
This will prepare you to share with people who are seeking God.
Never stop praying.
My prayer with God is continuous; an ongoing conversation that merely pauses from time to time as I walk through my daily activities.
Colossians 3:12-17 is one of my favorite passages, also from Brother Paul,
and it pulls everything together that God has been teaching me this year.
Soak in these truths!
Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved,
put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another.
Just as the Lord has forgiven you,
so you are also to forgive.
put on love,
which is the perfect bond of unity.
And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body,
rule your hearts.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!