I packed up the car with meals for the week and drove to her home. When she answered the door I noticed it. It wasn't the first time. I have noticed it a lot lately...how fragile she is. She is so tiny. She was petite to begin with but these months of struggling with pain and then the fall down the stairs have really taken it's toll on her. She looked a little better this time. Her arm is no longer in a sling and she can walk a little better but she still moves slowly. At times it seems as if it takes all of her energy to do so.
We got in the car and headed to her appointment for the last round of testing to figure out what keeps the pain going. She tells me that the test will take an hour. We make small talk until we get there. I open the car door for her and offer to help her out and she doesn't need it. She smiles and says, " I 'm getting better I can do that on my own". As we wait for her name to be called she happily tells me about her progress. It sounds like small steps to me but for her it's not. For her it is healing and no step is too small because this struggle has lasted five months now.
When her testing is finished we get back in the car and head home. I ask her how it was and she describes it. She didn't know it would be painful in her current condition and wondered if she would be able to endure the whole thing. Then she tells me, "I just kept saying it over and over again, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me' and I thought of all the people who told me they were praying". Her words have captured me the whole day.
She has been through so many trials these past few years and within these past few months they have intensified. I have not once heard her complain. She always finds something to be thankful for. Today she was thankful to get out of the car without help. Others would be tempted to cancel the test for fear of the pain getting worse after it. She chose to endure relying on God's strength. I went there to help her. I look at her physical state and see her as fragile, but she is not. She is strong. She is strong because she is relying on God. She has her moments of fear, of not understanding why this is all happening, but she still relies on Him. She still has faith in Him. She trusts in His goodness.
I drive her home and get her settled before I leave. She hugs me goodbye and thanks me for all that I've done to help. I walk away knowing that what I did was nothing. She was the one who helped. The things I helped with were temporary. There will be more meals to be made, more dirty clothes to wash, and more doctors appointments to drive to. What she gave me is written in my heart and will help me for years to come and that is why I share it with you. She gave me this treasure of watching her live her faith. She showed me that no matter how long or hard the trial, no matter how physically fragile and tired you are, God is there in the midst. He will strengthen you. He will not abandon you.
For those of you who are reading this and don't know how much longer you can last in the trial you are in...don't lose heart. Grab onto God's strength and trust Him even though you cannot see the end in sight. He loves you and He will not leave you ever, especially in the midst of life's trials.