I’m Perfect in Weakness

This chick is a hot mess. 

I had nothing left to give (note the febel attempt at a smile). I traditionally have proven to be an expert at keeping it together for y’all. There is no amount of piss poor attitude, depression, anxiety or hardship that a good foundation, lipstick and extra curriculars can’t mask. Mom dies: get new boyfriend, smile often, don’t cry, experiment with false lashes. Boyfriend abuses you: continue smiling, get hair done, party often, Instagram, buy blush. Diagnosed with breast cancer: wear pink stuff, send photos to family of you smiling wearing pink stuff, go to work the next day, don’t cry, wear eyeliner. As odd as it sounds, these tricks have worked for 30 years of life! Y’all buy into the charades, compliment my strength and my ego remains intact. You leave inspired, I leave with my pride- nobody’s hurt. Boom! *mic drop. 

But, nobody is healed either. 

My spirit wrestlers with this scripture lately: “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 Christʼs power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We get to experience God’s omnipotence, His all encompassing power and ability to do anything, at our weakest moments. For we don’t recognize God’s power of deliverance until we are in the dark places that calls for it. Human nature doesn’t recognize help, unless there is a need. We don’t recognize solutions unless there is a problem. Therefore God’s power becomes undeniably clear when we are in the lowliest of places spiritually, mentally and physically. It is a power reserved for the imperfect, the messed up, the spiritually drained, the weak and the downcast, and therefore there is no one under the sun who doesn’t qualify for His power. 

It’s at this very moment, at my lowliest place, when God is about to unleash His healing power, do I reach for concealer. I’m ashamed at my weakness and must hide behind bronzer. You must leave my presence believing that everything is alright- no mess resides here. I believe this is true for many of us. 

Yet Paul says that he will boast about his weaknesses, speaking with pride and self assurance regarding his afflictions, because he is aware of the power that resides in the weakness and the mess. This is in stark contrast to what I attempt to do through Instagram filters and mascara. Boasting implies speaking and speaking requires vulnerability. Vulnerability. It sounds like a bad word. Like the word “moist”. I want to vomit. 

Yet, I believe this is what Paul may be calling us to, for we will not experience the full weight of God’s power resting on us until we are vulnerable enough to speak on our weakness’, admitting our fragility. “But vulnerability gives way to judgment, which leads to rejection! This I can’t take again!” Yet the testimony covers it! Your vulnerability in showcasing your weakness allows others to witness the glory and power that falls upon you, even to those that wrongfully judged you. You will grant them access into the journey and ultimately into the victory of your deliverance. In our vulnerability we must know that although our weakness may be judged and shamed, God’s power rests on it and on us. 

So when you share with me how craptastic your life is, I’m equally exposed to how God is moving and healing you, which allows me to grow and heal too! It blesses my soul to hear how our God delivered someone out of bondage, especially when we share the same chains! I’m grateful for the testimonies that reassure me of God’s power, grace, attentiveness and love. Over the past month, friends and strangers alike have shared with me their cancer diagnosis, chemo stories, IV and fertility journeys, and thoughts on strength and self love. These transparencies have blessed me beyond belief! This is where the the magic happens; this is the critical space of enlightenment- when I realize that I’m not alone in this large world, that I belong to a network of hurting souls, and that others have found coveted joy. To my friends, family, and village, to fleshly brothers and sisters, we must allow others to heal through our exposure. May we place our fears aside to become vulnerable enough to boast in the weakness’, allowing the power of God to reign over us.  

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for your power which is made perfect in my imperfections (for there are many of them!). Help me to be vulnerable enough to boast and share my weakness and therefore my testimony with others, that you may be glorified. Amen. 

Fertility


I’m the only single person in his waiting room. 

There are two couples in the same room as I, one to my left the other to my right, both holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ear. They could have been cussing each other out for all I know, but all I see is love and hope for a family, and all this perceived love blinds me to their pain temporarily. All I see is bliss. 

The fertility clinic’s website is plastered with photos of babies, families and flowers- all things specially designed to make you ovulate upon viewing. After laying 3 eggs, I scroll through the feed in disbelief that life has brought me to this place. I’m 30, single and contemplating having my eggs frozen because chemo may leave me infertile. Because cancer. 

This was a discussion and a journey I was suppose to have with my husband, and in some odd way I feel as though I’m steeling that from him, like I’m envisioning our children way too soon and inadvertently leaving him behind. It’s a carriage before the horse situation, and I feel forced into it. Robbed of the “natural” process. I realize that this may be a feeling that I should get use to, and perhaps embrace. 

While waiting between love birds in the waiting room, my mind swirls around the oddest thoughts: 

– I would never freeze my baby, so why is freezing my eggs okay? 

– Can you freeze chicken eggs? 

– I wonder who’s sperm will eventually fertilize these things? 

– I wonder if a doctor has ever dropped someone’s eggs on the ground. I’d be so pissed. 

– Is there an expiration date on eggs? God I hope it’s longer than what’s in my fridge ( which is currently spoiled I’m sure). 

– Can they accidentally squish an egg when harvesting them? Is so, could that produce a lumpy headed baby? I mean, I’d love him anyhow. 

I watch couples leave the waiting room to meet with doctors and find myself alone with my thoughts for a while. I use this time to dream, to hope, to pray. I vividly imagine having my own family- a husband, 3 girls and a dog. I’ve always had an unexplainable desire to have children, to have a full family, to be a wife and mother. I can get lost in these dreams for hours if I allow myself too. I do. 

It wasn’t until one of the couples who moments ago had looked so joyful, walked back into the waiting room in tears, was I pulled back into reality. It was then that I realized that this is simultaneously a place of hope and shattered dreams. Everyone is here because it didn’t work, something went wrong and there is a heart wrenching desire to fix it. Some leave in joyful anticipation of newborns, becoming parents and developing family. Others, like me, have their dreams deferred. I feel foolish for my envy and bitter thoughts towards them. They’re hurting as I am. 

The doctors prognosis is bleak- a combination of Sickle Cell Anemia and Cancer makes my chances of having children of my own small. The doctor forces me to think about fertility treatment, egg harvesting, sperm donors and surrogates- a conversation he starts within the 15 minutes I have with him, and doesn’t have the time to finish. As I’m processing all 245 of my options, I’m told that it’s somewhat of a moot point because I must wait 5 years after remission to have children (provided that I can). Five. Years. I quickly crunch the numbers in my head- I’ll be 36 before I can consider having children of my own. At this very moment in time, I give up. This was the icing to my crap cake. It is now abundantly clear that the narrative of my life isn’t and will never be described as normal, predictable, explanatory, “natural”, simple, “correct” or any other peaceful adjective. My life is quite the contrary: unpredictable, unrelenting and messy. At this moment I’m forced to drop any fantasy of life becoming simple and reconcile with these truths: you’re 30, single, living with your sister in an apartment, in the second year of your career, with breast cancer. It’s an odd and striking reminder that you didn’t fall in love with your college sweetheart, get married, buy the house, pet the dog, climb the career ladder, and have the beautiful children by the time you were 30. That didn’t happen. It won’t happen. 

It’s clear I’m like a unicorn- special and a little off. I make the decision to embrace this. 

Naturally not immediately. I left the clinic feeling destroyed. The labored conversation around my eggs, uterus and lack of sperm has left me disappointed and drained. All of the options the doctor presented to me isn’t for me. A viable option for someone but not for me. It’s hard for me to explain exactly why. I just know that my spirit is resolved to stop this fertility journey here, for now. So I cry. I cry from Dallas to Arlington where I find cute earrings to make me temporarily stop crying. They’re really cute so they get me to shut up for the rest of the day. 

The next day I make the decision to embrace my life in the package that it’s in, to fully be content with how my present came to be and how my future will unfold. It’s all trivial, compared to the life I know Christ has for me, the life I believe He is preparing me for. Because Jeremiah 29:11-12. Because what could man possibly say to me that would shake me loose from the goodness, grace, love and kindness of God? What diagnosis could snatch away hope rooted in Him? None. Because Jesus.

These two things remain true:

God is Good

God will receive the glory