©2020 Gladly By Karissa Barker

  • Karissa

The Shell


I sat in my husband’s office chair with my head laying on his desk. For the second time in my life, I thought “I hate my body”. I had driven my daughter and myself to church for Sunday service that morning (AKA my husband’s work). It was a huge accomplishment; the first time that I had done so in almost 8 months of my chronic migraine.

I have been able to go to church a handful of times over the past 8 months, but every time my parents had to drive me, and most of the time had to half drag me out. I made it five minutes in the service before the lights and noise escalated my migraine, despite sitting towards the back with super strength ear plugs in. So, I stumbled out and made my way to my husbands office.

Alone in his office, I didn’t even complete the “I hate my body” thought before I remembered the last time I had said it. I had been sitting in my husbands office crying, unable to go to service or walk out of church by myself. I was humiliated, worried, and confused as to why my young, healthy body refused to work.

I remembered the last time in my husbands office six months before, looking at my parents crying with me and telling them “I hate my body”.

As soon as the last word escaped my lips, I said out loud “I’m sorry God, I shouldn’t say that. Thank you for my body.”, and cried more. This time, though, I found myself saying “Thank you for my shell.”. I had no idea why I said it; and then it dawned on me that slowly over the past eight months that is exactly how I had begun to view my body: as a shell.

 People often ask me how I have not gone insane, in kinder terms of course, and this is why. I am not my body. I am connected to it, dependent on it, but I am a soul living inside of a shell. My body is being afflicted unceasingly, but my soul remains untouched.

 Are you suffering in a body betraying you? Are you riddled in pain? If you are afflicted in your body today, remember, it is a shell. You are a soul and a beautiful one at that. You are living inside a body that is dying, yet your soul will live for an eternity.

This is how you can make it through your suffering. This is how you have hope. This is how you can thank God for your body while you are bent and gnarled in pain. Because your shell houses your soul, and in Christ your soul will remain untouched by disease and affliction.

If we focus on God, he will renew our strength and give us meaning when life seems meaningless, and hope when life seems hopeless. This is how I am not going insane struggling to take care of my two-year-old every day and confined to my house. My shell is constantly in unspeakable pain, pulling at my brain. I am dizzy, confused, and unable to remember things.

Yet the suffering in my shell will not touch my soul in a dark way. It will bring more light because that is what Christ does with our suffering when we are in him. That is what Christ did with his suffering on the cross. My cell is afflicted and suffering but I count it as NOTHING compared with eternal glory in Christ Jesus.

Shell Image from https://7-themes.com/6809262-seashell-wallpaper.html