In My Weakness, He is Strong

By Lindsey Snader
PC: Unsplash

With anticipation of a natural birth with baby #2 in January 2017, normal labor quickly turned into an unexpected and frightening emergency c-section. Baby girl was finally born and perfectly healthy, but I was unprepared for the challenging recovery ahead. The weeks following required a lot of pain medication, I needed an adult with me every day for 6+ weeks, and I felt like I couldn’t adequately take care of my toddler and infant. Emotionally, I also tried to let go of the birth I hoped for and just be thankful that she and I made it through. Nonetheless, I felt so tired and weak—physically and emotionally. Worship song lyrics often played in my mind, “Lord I need you, oh I need you”…“I’m tired, I’m worn.” Thankfully, by summertime, I started to feel a little more like myself.

Then, near the end of summer, I got poison on my hands. Poison led to steroids and antibiotics, meds led to a terribly itchy rash on my hands, the rash led to more meds, more meds led to rashes on many areas of my body, and more rashes led to stronger meds. After every round of meds, the rashes would disappear just to reappear worse than before.

Some nights I laid on the couch with ice packs on my neck and stomach to numb the itching in hopes I could get some sleep. After two months of meeting with doctors that didn’t seem to know what else to do expect prescribe more meds, I threw in the towel. I was convinced there was something deeper going on that needed to be fixed rather than given band-aids. I was not going to settle for taking steroids the rest of my life.

I started researching. All. The. Time. I made changes to my diet and started trying any other natural things I read about to try to “cure myself.” After Thanksgiving, I hit my worst point. After having a flare up that turned my hands into swollen red boxing gloves filled with cuts and an oozing, itchy rash, I needed another plan. I wanted to cry every time I had to use my hands to change a diaper, and my outgoing normal self switched to hibernating at home because it was too painful and embarrassing to go anywhere.

I met with a naturopathic doctor in early December and began the journey of naturally healing from the inside out. My gut and liver were not in good shape. The further I moved in this slow healing process, the more I realized the ups and downs that can come along the way. My symptoms got worse before they got better. Rashes broke out from head to toe, I had severe stomach and liver pain, and I could not bathe myself with my swollen stiff hands. Touching water was so painful, I wore rubber gloves to shower for 6 months once I could bathe myself. I wore cotton gloves to sleep so my oozing hands wouldn’t ruin the sheets and itching wouldn’t open all the sores. I was frustrated that despite my efforts toward health from little on up, these were the cards I was being dealt. I felt so weak, fragile, and incapable (in all facets of the words). I knew the only possible thing pressing me forward was the power of Christ. 2 Corinthians 12:9 became my motto— “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

As I racked my brain about how I got here (all the meds post c-section and poison, the c-section itself, stress, a combination of all of them?), in early 2018, God mercifully caused my perspective to change. 

The cry of my heart became Natalie Grant’s lyrics—“Help me want the Healer more than the healing.” 

It hit me that I am not entitled to answers to all my questions or a beautifully planned out life with no struggles. I am not the author of my story…God is. Nothing gets passed an almighty, sovereign God (Proverbs 19:21). I knew he could take this from me in a snap if he wanted to, but he wasn’t. If he was having me walk this, he had a reason for it…and I needed to find it! 

I started turning my questions from “why?” and toward “how?”—How is God using this to change, teach, use, equip me?

As I continued to press on, the natural healing process at times felt like one step forward and two steps back, but every struggle was another reminder of my finite self and my constant reliance on the Lord. The longer the journey continued, the more God revealed. I realized the foundation I was setting my identity and worth on were things that I felt I created and could control—parenting, work, health, my future... There were walls of pride and control that needed knocked down. During this time I also felt God leading me to resign from my full-time Health/PE job that I loved in order to stay home. In a year’s time, I had reminder after reminder that God occupies the driver’s seat of my life, not me.

In Laura Story’s book, When God Doesn’t Fix It (highly recommend!), she writes, “Like any good parent, God fully understands the pain we feel, and he is with us in it, but he allows us to go through it because he has a greater good in mind…It is through our brokenness that God is the hero of our story.” Not us! We often don’t understand what God is doing or why, but when we cling hard to trusting in his sovereignty, he can help us crawl out of the slimy pits (Psalm, 40). 

Two years later, I am still on my healing journey. I need to make a conscious effort each day to choose to live with joy and gratitude for how much physical progress I’ve made, and more importantly, all God has graciously taught and continues to teach me. May our trials give us even more of a reason to shout of his power and goodness.

1 Peter 5:10-11 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power and glory forever. Amen.”

Lindsey is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom of her two young girls, Carley and Eden, and has been married to her husband, Jordan, for 8 years. She lives and attends church in Lancaster County where she likes to connect with others through a ladies workout class she leads, bible study groups, and singing on worship team. She also enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, the outdoors, and cheering on Penn State and Philly sports teams.


Andy said…
Lindsey, my wife and I saw your Mom at Shady, she filled us in on your journey & this blog. I appreciate you sharing, "iron sharpens iron". We pray you & your family continue to grow in Christ. You have caused us to give thanks once again for God's soverign goodness. I saw this in my reading today, Psalm 5: 11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;let them ever sing for joy,and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield. Thank you Lindsey. Andy & Liz Mancuso

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