God’s Strength In My Tourettes

Those who knew me when I was in my teens knew I struggled hard with Tourette Syndrome. Tourette syndrome is not the stereotypical cussing and shouting that Hollywood and culture has made it out to be. It is a neurological misfire in the brain.

And so I suffered with “tics” which came out in twitching, sniffing, vocal sounds, and eye blinking that made me considered “weird” or “unpredictable” to many. I suffered in school, home, and at church. Family members and church friends thought my Tourettes was a matter of demon possession.

You could say I myself, at such a young and impressionable age, going through so many changes already, was a little confused and lost. Did God reject me because of it? If not, then why did so many people who should love me, not? And if I was supposed to be healed in order to be in God’s will, why wasn’t I and what was I doing wrong?

Through many years of searching, crying, suffering, praying, and running, my quest for peace in my sickness came down to one beautiful passage.

The great Apostle Paul suffered with an ailment that was brought on by Satan and though he asked God to heal him more than once, God’s answer was no. Did God reject Paul? Was Paul unfit for ministry? No.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (1 Corinithians 12:7-10)

 The Lord did not reject Paul by “allowing” Satan to afflict Paul as he had done to Job in the Old Testament. God was teaching Paul that it wasn’t by great “five fold gifts” that God’s power was being shown through him. It was by inability and weakness.

This hit me later in my Bible reading as I learned to tune out many other voices and listen quietly to the scriptures that clearly teach that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

God has blessed me with the most amazing person, my wife! She not only accepts me with Tourette syndrome, but loves me through it and helps me when I am having bad days. She has never looked down on me for it. She has had her moments with it, but never given up on the person behind it all.

And though much of my Tourette syndrome has subsided into my mid-twenties, I do still have good days and bad days with it.

But what I really want to encourage the reader with is the truth of God’s Word that promises you that you are not “weird” or “cursed” because of an illness, trial, or problem that you either have or are going through. God is not a grumpy father who is frustrated that His children can’t get it right. He knows where you are and pursues you the way you are. Not only that, but the problems that you may be ashamed of are being used to show His power through you. Jason Gray has a song called Nothing is Wasted that says “What if it’s in the deepest wounds that beauty finds a place to bloom? What joy will grow!”

God’s grace is sufficient for me. God’s grace is sufficient for you. So let’s learn to suffer well on this earth and understand that our home is not of this world. Let’s learn to praise God and bless others by using our God-given ailments to praise and glorify Him.

Let us not complain that we are unable but let us praise God with joy that He is able in our weakness!

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