Blessing in weakness…


She felt the familiar tightening in her chest.

Her breaths came in uneven and difficult gasps.

Her blue eyes were fearful and frantic.  She looked around her as she tried to breathe slowly and evenly.  But the tightness did not subside.

She took a deep breath from her inhaler and attempted to quell the thoughts of death that were gathering rapidly- involuntarily, in her mind.  She grew more panicked. The inhaler seemed to have no effect on her breathing.

Realizing this, she quickly put the nebulizer pieces together and turned the machine on. The nebulizer droned sullenly, methodically.  Her mind raced.

She was filled with shame.  And guilt.

Her scattered thoughts were not at all comforting.  Why am I so weak?  Her thoughts violently rebelled against her struggles and her suffering.


She was young, passionate, and full of aspirations, yet here she was, trapped in her own body.  All her desires and hopes had seemed to fade around her.

Almost instinctually, her thoughts drifted towards God. The thoughts were undeveloped, yet, she was turning to God.  She was praying, though no words were ever formed.


She breathed slowly and deeply.  She felt a wave of peace through her.

She understood that her suffering would never completely dissipate, but she felt a sliver of hope.  She smiled, though somewhat sadly, realizing resignedly that this is who she is- weak and delicate, but not hopeless.

She knew God would provide, though sometimes she would not feel his presence intensely.


Sometimes his voice would simply be a feeling of peace or hope, helping her in her time of need……..encouraging her to go on.

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”    -Philippians 4:6-7

6 responses »

  1. Asthma, the constricting of the airway made worse by panic, is such a perfect spiritual picture of our helplessness before God. We want Help! And we want it Now! And yet God waits. “Help me God” degenerates into half tantrum, half mindless mantra. And God rarely seems to come running with that instant miracle of peace, at least in my experience. He lets me cry it out. God is not Xanax (popular tranquilizer). I’m going to read this once again because your girl doesn’t indulge in magical thinking. She accepts herself as fragile. She trusts in God even in the face of death. That’s faith. Thank you writing a story, that is so insightful.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I’m too guilty of giving in to self-pity during my weakest moments. Such a refreshing reminder.

  3. Your blog is so beautiful! Strength through weakness is a favorite topic of mine and in reading your story it made me think of Sr. M. Emilie, a Schoenstatt Sr who gives me great strength when I struggle with my own illness. There is information about her and the movement on line, but just felt called to share a bit about her below with you so this is obviously more than just a comment. There is strength in weakness. Keep up the good fight. and God Bless.
    An Encounter with Sr. M. Emilie

    A young woman who encountered Sr. M. Emilie once wrote:

    “My first thought was: Here is a person who radiates God’s love, kindness, and beauty. Here is a new person who is natural and supernatural at the same time, a complete person whom you can love and revere. The longing to belong to this community was strengthened in me. I certainly wanted to become such a happy, relaxed, and deep person myself.”

    Wouldn’t you also like to have such an encounter? We invite you to do so! A little booklet entitled “Sr. M. Emilie Engel, Schoenstatt Sister of Mary,” which includes a short biography and a novena to her, can be just such an opportunity for you. If you would like a copy, we will be glad to send you one! For now, we include a day of this novena as a short ‘encounter’ with Sr. M. Emilie.
    Ninth Day: To be a Path

    God, what do you expect of me? What is the meaning of my life? Often I simply can’t find the road Are you the only one who can ultimately give meaning to anything because you have called me? Would you show me the path on which I will reach my goal?”

    “God calls and attracts us. A free ‘Ita Pater,’ ‘Yes, Father,’ must be the human response; then we must courageously and energetically take the path shown us by God.” (Sr. M. Emilie)

    Every person has a task to fulfill in the world. To some, the saints in particular, God gives a special mission. They become paths for others.
    The founder of Schoenstatt was convinced of Sr. M. Emilie’s mission particularly for the people of today . . . God had given her superabundant gifts. She found her way out of fear and compulsion into the father heart of God. However, the great gift she had received became a task: to lead others out of distress and fear and give them a home in the father heart of God. Her path should also become a path for others.

    Fr. Kentenich had given her the task to embody “a very simple path to holiness” for her community. Her path to sanctity was actually a very simple one. She knew she was living under God’s loving eyes, she heeded his call, his invitation, and in the light of his love, was able to make everything transparent: people and things, happenings and suffering, and even her limits. And then she answered with a heartfelt, courageous “Yes, Father.” That was, so said the founder, the secret of her life. It was a secret in which the person no longer longs to do anything but answer the call of love every moment, sanctify the simple things through love, and please God . . .

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment! I’m glad you like my blog. Its easy to get discouraged and think no one cares about what I have to say. Sr. Emilie sounds like a wonderful woman, that I would like to imitate. I really like simple saints who use their suffering to become holy. St. Therese is one of my favorite saints.

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