My intestines won’t stop moving. I feel like a punching bag. The sides of my stomach hurt. I have no idea why. Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is debilitating.
The first time IBS found me was in elementary school. I remember running around the house, clutching my stomach, screaming. My parents didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do. A few uncomfortable medical procedures later, nothing.
High school was an IBS nightmare. The thing about IBS is that it can sneak up on you in a moments notice. Forcing you into an immediate posture of porcelain throne worship. I remember a friend telling me that it was all in my head. That I was the one causing it.
I remember a distinct feeling of wishing I could transfer my IBS to someone else. If they could only feel what my body does to me, they would know that I am more of a hostage to something far bigger.
The Apostle Paul talks about a thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians. I have always related to that.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
I have wondered if God gave me IBS as a way to keep me humble, focused on Him. In times of an attack, I pray for God’s strength to get through those moments.
My thorn in the flesh is not visible nor is it logical. I can’t tell when it is going to come and visit next. But I have learned to notice when my body is tightening up; I have learned that exercise helps reduce stress. God has taught me to rely on His strength when I have none. I just need to rely on Him when I am running at full capacity.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10
Game on, dear friends. Game on.