For anyone that's followed my personal journey over the last few years (find me on IG @carlaarges), you know that I suffer from mental illness.
Bipolar and Borderline Personality to be exact.
I have spent the last year becoming more stable then I ever have been by finding the right medication, undergoing intensive trauma therapy and really digging into my identity in Christ.
But like diabetes, this isn't an illness with a "cure". So while I am more stable then ever, I still struggle.
I was hit with one of these struggles this past week, as the wave of depression swept over me, threatening to consume me.
During these struggles it's hard to imagine that I can be a person of impact. It's hard to believe in my value, worth and purpose.
As I wrestled with these lies God was so good.
He lovingly reminded me of Paul's story.
We read in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 that Paul was afflicted with a thorn in his flesh. We aren't given much detail as to what exactly this thorn is or how it manifested in his life. But we know it wasn't pleasant.
Just think of a time where you have been pricked or pierced with an actual thorn. It didn't feel good. And Paul was plagued with this metaphorical thorn on an ongoing basis.
In fact, he prayed multiple times to be delivered from this pain. This struggle. But God, in his infinite wisdom and grace, elected to allow the thorn to stay, saying "My Grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness".
Despite this thorn, Paul went on to create unimaginable impact for the kingdom as he surrendered in obedience to his purpose - to bring the gospel to the Gentiles.
My very own salvation can be traced back to Paul's ministry. Across thousands of years and millions of miles.
That's generational, life changing impact. Relying not on himself, but God's sufficient grace to carry him through time and time again.
And that promise of grace is for you and me too.
God has chosen not to deliver me from my illnesses; but he has also chosen me to be a change agent for the kingdom. Just like he's chosen you for that role in your own way.
As I pulled a card from the Who You Say I Am affirmation deck this morning, God confirmed all of this for me with this card:
I Am Planned With Purpose
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11