A Thorn in the Flesh

SOMETIMES THAT LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, IS A TRAIN.” – CHARLES BARKLEY

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Months without medication, weeks without nightmares, and not a single debilitating migraine in recent memory. If there was ever such a thing as a “groove”, I’m hitting mine! Yea, I’ve had some headaches, but not the dark bathroom, cold tile, dry heave in the toilet migraines I’ve grown to know. Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress, Disassociation, Addiction…it’s all been made out to be way more than it should. I’ve been working hard at this physically, mentally, and spiritually for the past 2 years and my recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. I don’t understand why it’s harder for some guys to power through it. I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Choo-Choo, Dallas. Choo-freakin’-choo.

 

It’s taken a week for the tsunami of migraines, insomnia, nightmares and anxiety to break me. Most men desire to hold the line until the last possible moment. The consequence however, leaves us falling back to our new fighting position with a sense of urgency and there’s rarely someone ready to meet you there. Being bullheaded the way I am, when I ran out of the medication I needed, I never reordered it. My logic was that you cannot become dependent on something you do not have. With nowhere to turn, it was time to make that shameful walk back to the VA. I visited two centers which highlighted in correspondences of “Unless you’re having an “episode” or your about to hurt yourself, you’ll just have to tough it out.” And “Are you alright? You’re not gonna jump out my window are ya?”

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Severe and debilitating migraines are common among veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury

Waiting in the lobby I tried to figure out where I went wrong. What was I doing to cause this to all come rushing back. Maybe it was too much stress or not enough sleep. Maybe I had been thinking too much about lost teammates. I have an old habit that seems impossibly hard to break. When things go wrong, I eventually try to figure out what God is punishing me for. Not only is this the complete opposite of His nature, it’s exactly how the enemy would have me view Him and our relationship. In that moment God reminded me that in our suffering He offers us comfort and through our suffering he invites us into a closer relationship. Waiting in the lobby at the VA I prayed, but not to speak, just to listen.  Then a whisper, “A thorn in the flesh”.

 

 

“TO KEEP ME FROM EXALTING MYSELF, THERE WAS GIVEN ME A THORN IN THE FLESH, A MESSENGER OF SATAN TO TORMENT ME—TO KEEP ME FROM EXALTING MYSELF! CONCERNING THIS I IMPLORED THE LORD THREE TIMES THAT IT MIGHT LEAVE ME. AND HE HAS SAID TO ME, “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR POWER IS PERFECTED IN WEAKNESS.” MOST GLADLY, THEREFORE, I WILL RATHER BOAST ABOUT MY WEAKNESSES, SO THAT THE POWER OF CHRIST MAY DWELL IN ME. 10 THEREFORE I AM WELL CONTENT WITH WEAKNESSES, WITH INSULTS, WITH DISTRESSES, WITH PERSECUTIONS, WITH DIFFICULTIES, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE; FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.” 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10 NASB

 

 

Like a freight train those words barreled into me. How convicting yet still comforting at the same time. God has given us all a unique testimony and from it comes our unique sphere of influence. He knows where my heart is and knows those that I desire to serve. On countless occasions, I’ve prayed that I would remain dependent on Him and that I would be humbled. What I see now, is that He is answering my prayers. My words wouldn’t hold weight if I didn’t deal with the same trials as the men I walk with. My story wouldn’t hold any humility if I didn’t share the weaknesses inside it. There is no room for Him, if I make it all about me. So today, I am well content with weakness, because His grace is sufficient.

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