Truth in Weakness

by Tanya (Nicholson) Zelem '96

Several years ago, the Lord allowed me to walk through a difficult season in life. I felt utterly helpless to the circumstances at hand, and the demands that He entrusted me with were downright overwhelming. I was low on sleep, low on stamina, and survival mode was the norm. Because I was struggling just to stay afloat, my reserves were limited — as a wife, a mom, a friend, as an individual. And that is when God began to open my eyes to the liberating truth in 2 Corinthians 12:9 — it’s not my strengths, skills, or competence that He uses, but my weaknesses. And for this recovering perfectionist, that was nothing short of a wild, wild mystery.

Little did I know that He would allow me the opportunity to rest in that particular truth in a very tangible way starting last fall when life took an unexpected turn. A health crisis that began with multiple trips to the emergency room and then being admitted to the hospital left me completely immobile for months on end. I had lost all physical strength, so much so that my husband had to carry me to the bathroom, and at times, feed me because the spoon was too heavy. My senses became overly heightened so, just like a newborn, normal daily stimuli like eye contact or the sound of a person's voice left me so wiped out as if I had just sprinted an entire marathon. I was burning energy in overtime simply by existing, and my weight plummeted to a fragile 104 pounds.

In God's mercy, I eventually began to take baby steps toward healing. But simple things I once took for granted, like having the stamina to sit with my family for mealtimes, became major milestones. And while my limitations regularly remind me that I am still very much on the road to recovery, I am grateful that God has blessed me with good strides, including getting behind the wheel again this summer, and finally gaining back a few of those lost pounds this fall.

This has been a long, exhausting journey for our family, but not one without hope. And not one without all-sufficient grace to persevere through the crisis. I've often been tempted to wait until I have an extraordinary ending to share my story, but God continues to remind me that His presence is what’s extraordinary. And that His power is made perfect when I testify to His goodness in the middle of life's storms, rather than waiting for the storms to pass. My relationship with God is the goal in this life, not my healing.

Leading up to the "anniversary" of this health adventure this fall, I was asking God if there was anything special He wanted me to do on that September date to honor Him. After praying about it for several weeks, He nudged me to start a blog community — something I've considered doing for years, but has always been accompanied by reservations. There was no denying His prompting, and so began Truth in Weakness, a place where we come together in all of our weaknesses, all of our struggles, and are reminded that in Christ, we are completely accepted, unconditionally loved, and fully valued. 

Visit Tanya's blog.