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Jan 14, 2010

Strength In The Strain ~ originally posted before the diagnosis

~~~~Andrew Christopher Dorsey ~ summer '09 pushing us on the beach swing~~~~

I just re-read what I posted for 8/11...only about 2 1/2 weeks before Andrew was diagnosed with brain cancer. Oh my. If I had only known what was just around the corner. And just because I need to say it often everyday: I love Andrew. I miss Andrew. I can't wait to see Andrew again. Praise God he is in our future!

Aug 11, 2009

Life Lines ~ Strength In The Strain
The past 10 months have been challenging for our family.

Job loss. Job find. Traumatic accident. Drastic paycut blamed on the economy. Waiting. Schooling issues. More waiting.

So many of you could post your own list of challenges that you have been facing as well. But in the current of uncertainty I have to remember what I truly believe: Challenges are opportunities for growth.

I like this quote by John Maxwell: Change is inevitable; growth is optional. In the midst of our challenges, will we look to see how the strain will ultimately be of benefit? Are we on the lookout for new buds of growth?

I've spent my early mornings reading from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. This excerpt from August 2nd has had a profound effect on me. Chambers writes, "God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength."

When I read that quote, I consider the other activity I have been doing daily. A few months ago, I began working out using The 30 Day Shred dvd. In 3 different circuits of the workout I do resistance moves. Sometimes the resistance is my body weight and other moves incorporate 5 lb weights. I can see muscles! I have more tone. I am stronger.
In the strain of resistance I have developed strength. It is not an invisible, intangible strength. With the increase in strength there is a noticeable ease of stooping and rising, in carrying loads and in my level of endurance.

Psalm 29:11 tells us, "The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace."

I consider that God allows certain trials, certain challenges, into our lives as a means of strengthening us. Perhaps the strength we acheive in the strain comes from resisting the temptation to simply quit. To give up on pushing through the pressure of the weight is to give up on what is sure to be the result ~ growth.

As I push my body up from the floor in the strain of push-ups, and as I follow the trainer's instructions for pressing the 5 lb weights, the goal is not to go about my day doing push-ups nor is it to carry around 10 extra pounds. No, the goal is to strengthen me to do real life. James 1:2-4 instructs us thusly, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

You see, the purpose of my workouts is not so I can do push-ups and lift weights. The purpose of my workouts is so that I am made stronger and healthier for life beyond my workouts. When James writes that we may be perfect and complete, perfect carries the idea of being fully developed or mature. Complete underscores the thought of fullness and wholeness.

To count it all joy is not a giddy, emotional reaction rather it is a deliberate appraisal to see the strain from God's perspective.

The strain, the trial, the challenge results in the strength.

"The strain is the strength."

Edited 1/14/09 ~ Currently trying to regain my strength...thankful for your prayers.


  1. Praying that you will rise in strength. Reading this looking back is really amazing. God really does prepare us for life hmmmm.

  2. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Isaiah 40:29

    Praying daily for God to heal your broken heart Melanie.

    Let Him carry you now~


  3. WOW Melanie it's almost as if you were being prepared for what was ahead of you.....I know you are missing Andrew very much, I also know you can appreciate he is pain free in a beautiful place....God's way may be a mystery to us but he has a perfect plan. Your painful experience and your strong faith has lifted so many of us to look up to the heavens and trust God. Always in my heart and prayers....
    .......:-) Hugs

  4. Hi Melanie.....just here to say hi and I pray for you....

  5. Praying strength all over your life sis, love you.

  6. Oh, bless you, Melanie, I bless you in Jesus name! I want you to know that I'll be praying for all of you as you face the one-month anniversary of Andrew's death.

    Missing and loving him with you~

  7. Hey Mel,

    That was an awesome post, a true word from God. I needed to hear that today too. So thankful for your insight to what God needs us to hear and take heed in for this time and hour. We will surely need that extra strength for all that is coming against us now and in the future.
    Always in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Melanie,
    You have strengthened so many through your posts, & I know God is going to continue to strengthen you in His time. As you go through valleys, I pray that you will experience God's peace & not feel "guilty" for those "down times." It is such an encouragement to "see" you recognizing you will one day get to see Andrew again, & how you can imagine him waiting for you & enjoying heaven. We tend to be so earth bound that we forget we are aliens here...
    Love to you & your family!!!

  9. We do know and we do see that God works in mysterious ways. This post was amazing preparation for the biggest trial you had yet to face. I still pray for you and for your family. I'm so glad to know that you have God with you and in you. laurie

  10. Your strength is inspiring...Like footsteps in the sand.x.

  11. Your life has the fingerprints of God all over it...He was certainly preparing you, and enabling you to continue on, and we have been priveleged to witness that in your journey. May the Lord continue to surround you with his mercy and compassion, and fill you with Himself.

  12. Melanie,

    I promise you have been in my prayers - those are not empty words. I have not forgotten to email you and get in touch...I so want to talk and share our boys! We have had my daughter and granddaughter visiting this week and really I've no time for the computer...or me (not complaining). Next week, life will be (too) quiet and I will be in touch. Until then, please know you are prayed for...and sending you a hug!!


  13. Wow Melanie, I had chills as I read this post. Challenges are opportunities for growth. That is what I've been saying lately. But my, to lose Andrew that's something else. My heart goes out to you. I don't know how people deal with loss without knowing the Lord. May He provide comfort to you especially now.


  14. You are always in my heart and in my prayers as you continue "one day at a time". But know, that even in this time, God is using you to bless and encourage so many others.

  15. You are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. Just like in the natural with exercise where all of a sudden, one day, we see our muscle tone, all of a sudden, one day, you will see a change in your strength. You and your family are loved and cared for by so many. Even though many are not physically near you, our prayers are there for you. Thanks for reposting this, it was great for me to read.

  16. You've been heavy in my thoughts and prayers over the past 24 hours. Wanted to check in and simply offer you my nod in your direction.

    Praying for your strength, sister. And peace, not as the world gives, but as our Peace gives.


  17. You were on my mind! Just offered up a prayer for you, dear sister! ~Rhonda

  18. "God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength."
    How beautiful those words are!

    I got here from Free Spirit Haven, and I prayed for Andrew and then for you after he passed away. I lost my daughter 11 years ago, and it was sudden. I'll always miss her and a piece of my heart went with her. I know what you're feeling, believe me. God will see you through and will send all sort of angels to help you as well!

    I can't wait to see her in Heaven!

  19. Hi: I just do not know how you are doing it. I will continue to pray for you. Please pray for me too, I am suffering a loss also. Thank you, Martha

  20. Melanie,
    Sometimes I just don't know what to say. You touch me so. Your strength is truly amazing!!!

    Thank you for sharing your pain with us. It touches me deeply.

    Love and many hugs to you,

  21. Yes and AMEN, dear friend. The strain is the strength!
    And I'm about to head out the door to go visit my favorite personal trainer...I'll keep your words with me. *grin*