Kathyrn Graves

Strength Source

Trouble. “How are you doing with cutting out gluten?” the doctor said.

Busted. I had to admit the truth. “Terrible.”

“I know it’s the holidays, and that makes it more difficult, but there are lots of good products on the market now.”

I agreed. But that did help what I’d already bought and stashed in my kitchen.

“Well, you definitely have some inflammation, so you’ve got to eliminate it,” she insisted. “If that doesn’t help, we’ll look for other causes. But my guess is that gluten is the culprit.”

I knew she was right. I’d successfully cut it out all last spring. Then, when summer travel season came, I fell off the wagon. And I just couldn’t seem to get back on. Oh, I’d do okay for a few days at a time. But then we’d go out to eat with friends or I’d make cookies with my grandson, and there was cake from our son’s wedding. Lots of wedding cake! With the Christmas party season in full swing now, I’m not sure how it’s going to go.

The Strength Source. Then I remembered a verse I taught to my ladies’ class just last week. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Paul was under house arrest when he wrote those words. The only food he ate was what friends brought to him. He said he’d found the secret of being content no matter his circumstances, whether he had much or suffered need.

I suffer from having much. Too much. The strength I need is to make wise choices and push away from excess. I feel strength in a physical way as I type these words. My muscles are unwinding, the tension is ebbing. My confidence is rising. I can do this because Christ will help me.

Trouble. Many, including our family, are suffering emotional need right now. The Christmas season is a minefield for those who have faced loss. These sorts of circumstances are also the kind Paul meant, I think. He wasn’t a woman, but I’m guessing his emotions were all over the map as he thought about the help he’d expected to receive and hadn’t from those who were supposed to be his friends. As he thought about what his sentence might be–maybe death. As he longed to see some of his dearest friends and worried over their fledgling faith. Christ offers emotional strength in the form of grace. We need to reach for it. Accept it.

Strength. The way we appropriate the strength of Christ is to concentrate on Him and on scripture. Find a verse that speaks to you, like I did. Then work on memorizing it. Write it on Post-it notes and stick them all over your office, car, or wherever you spend a lot of time. Set the alarm on your phone to remind you to stop and think about the verse throughout the day. Research the word meanings. Focus on application to your life.

You’ll find, like I have, amazing power from meditating on God’s word. His message to us. Now, where is that bag of chips . . . so I can send it to the office with my husband.


Photo/Kathryn Graves

Kathryn writes “On the Other Side of Comfortable” at www.KathrynGraves.wordpress.com and www.KathrynGraves.blogspot.com.


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