Monday, April 6, 2015

My low, His High

I believe that it is when we are at our lowest that God can display His highest. This is a truth I am abundantly thankful for and one that I am holding onto with a death grip this morning.
Low is a kind word for my current state of physical being. As has been my dilemma for the past five years, my body's ability to understand what to do with food, how to digest and process it and most importantly, use it, is at one of its all-time lows. For the past week I have been in a state of severe malabsorption and the affects are taking a toll on my already tiny body. It doesn't take many days of malabsorption to start stripping away at the little cushion I have left. Already I have seen the gains I made disappear and the bones on my back reappear. It is beyond discouraging to have no control over such fundamental processes of the body like digestion, absorption and weight. One day my body will be processing food at least semi-normally and then, as if a switch goes off, the whole system is thrown into a state of fritz and my body has no idea how to handle its energy source. My body takes a nose dive as a result.
For me, this is what low feels like. Not everyone will experience low in this form. Having low be a low number on the scale, low energy level and low vibrancy of health is a very visible, physical low. I used to lament that this was my case of "low" because it is so unpredictable. I never know when the next shoe is going to drop, so to speak, and so I live with a perpetual question mark following me around like a shadow.
When the lows do hit I become a former shell of myself. I lose my energy and will to be active and involved in life. I go from wanting to volunteer, serve and be out around people, to wanting nothing more than alone time and separation from the outside world. Even the idea of being out mingling with people is enough to give me anxiety. I just don't have the energy to put on a smile and be the lively, spunky Stephanie that my friends and family once knew. When I'm low, I'm too low to pull that girl out of me. So instead I retreat into a shell like a hermit and wait out the storm.
And wait I do. Wait I have. Wait I will. Because waiting seems to be the name of this high-low game.
But back to what I said - I "used" to lament this low. I don't lament it anymore. At least, I don't wish it away or beg God to replace it with a low of a different color. I've learned that God uses my low to show His height. When I become this weak He always shows up to show me how strong He is. As difficult as these times of life are they have turned out to be seasons of deep intimacy with God and beautiful insights into who He is. He has used my lows to show up and show Himself and remind me that I am not wasting away into nothing, that He has me in the palm of His hand and somehow, miraculously, He will sustain me. And He has. He has this whole time.
If you were to have me step on a scale my weight would shock you. I'd even bet that you'd be trying to get me into the nearest car, bound for the nearest hospital. But I would use what little weight I have to fight back against any such transportation to any such destination. Because I am already under the care of the Great Physician. I know that to the outside world that might sound crazy and I must admit that sometimes it sounds crazy to me, too. How can this be care when I'm suffering? Maybe Paul asked the same question of God when he had a thorn in his flesh. But did that mean God wasn't protecting and sustaining Paul? Of course not. God carried Paul through hostile territories and saved him from prison and dictators who wanted him dead. And God did it all while Paul had a thorn in his flesh.
Far be it from me to tell God what I can and cannot handle. He knows me better than I know myself. I would have never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) imagined that I could be alive and even somewhat active at this weight. If someone would have told me six years ago that this would be my weight today and that I would be able to run and help prepare Easter dinner for my family and volunteer at the City Mission every week I would have told them they were crazy. "At that weight I'd be dead!" I'm sure that would have been one of the forms of my response. But I'm not dead. I'm alive. I'm alive because God is sustaining me for a purpose. He has not brought me this far for nothing. He has not kept this tiny little being going for kicks! I was created with love and with a reason for being. God has a big plan for this little woman. The smaller I get, the bigger the plan because there will be more glory for God.
What glory is there for God if man never needed God's help? If I weren't dependent on God what testimony would that be to His greatness? To be of use to God I must be in great, dire need of God. And Heaven knows I am. For my every breath I am in great need. I am in dire need of God to show up every morning or else I don't believe I will be getting up. Apart from God I am literally nothing. Even when I am in these states of low I am being made stronger by being brought into a deeper dependence on God. I am learning how to lean entirely on Him. I have no where else to lean. I can't depend on myself. I can't even make my body absorb its food! I am helpless. But I am in the care of the Great Helper, Sustainer and Friend. God has taken care of me for almost twenty five years and He isn't done yet. These days I might be feeling low but I am resting in the peace of the Most High God.

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