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Alison Sheffield

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can live in me. For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NCV


Lying in bed, hearing the constant beep of the monitors, barely breathing because any slight movement meant blinding pain, listening to the dull hum of the lights and surrounded by mumbling voices, I’d never felt more alone. Pain has a funny way of isolating you, if you let it.

I was newly 16 years old when I had my first spinal fusion due to an aggressive form of scoliosis. Just a week before I had been ballet dancing full time. After surgery, the stark change in my abilities was difficult to accept.

The next few months of agonizing recovery left me addicted to pain medication and honestly, really lost. Was His grace enough? Would it fulfill me and sustain me for the multiple decades of daily chronic physical pain? Would He heal me? I wrestled with these questions, and if I’m going to be real with you – I responded in anger and resentment for a long time.

Months had passed. My incisions healed as thick scars. All the while, my heart had hardened. My mind had not changed since waking from surgery. In those many moments of intense pain, God was with me. He pulled me from the depths of despair and pain, and He gave me the verses Paul, who gave thanks amidst intense suffering, penned so many years ago. When I read them, the word “grace” leapt off the page. In ballet, grace is something we worked on all of the time. God’s grace, His favor, isn’t something to work for, it’s a gift.

I finally had enough. Enough pain, enough pity, enough resentment and anger, and enough focusing on myself. When I allowed God to change me, for His strength to fill in, to sustain me, and to give me hope, I finally realized that His favor was enough. He was enough.

Now I can look at my long and numerous scars that cover my body and appreciate the gift. I know my pain serves a purpose.

The scars are a reminder of being rescued from the pit.

Some days are much harder than others, and when the pain comes, I press in to our Father. His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

He is enough.

Is God enough? Are there areas in your life where you can boast in your weakness?

Lord, you give us hope and purpose. You will never leave us. Thank you for being strong when we are weak. Your favor is enough, and we are so thankful.

About the Author

Alison is the wife of nearly 15 years to her very best friend, Cratin. Together, they have three passionate and loving children ages 12, 6, and 2. Alison has many passions including education, reading, dance, theater, connecting others, and consuming coffee.

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