One of the first things I quickly learned in chemo is that my own strength was not nearly enough to get me through the day.

I wanted to be a “great patient” – you know, the one that either didn’t have side effects or was strong enough to muscle through without giving in to the side effects.

That was a nice idea.

The truth about chemo (that your doctor doesn’t tell you) is that you do not have enough will-power to overcome its side effects. You can do everything you can to prevent them – take your medication regularly, drink lots of water, try not to lose weight – but you can’t completely overcome them. At some point, you will just have to give in and realize that life will not go on as normal, at least for a little while.

You will be tired. You will be sick. You will be in pain. You will lose your hair. You will have mouth sores. You will have all sorts of weird things happen to your body that you weren’t expecting.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 16:1-3

But even through all of those things – awful enough on their own, terrible when all mixed together – I learned that God really was my strength. I prayed for encouragement, and He gave it time and time again, through His grace and peace, and through the helping hands of His people.

Whatever our trials, God gives us strength for today, and that is enough.

Are you facing something that seems too big, something that is asking you to be brave? God will give you strength. Ask Him. He is your strength, and He is your provider.

Do you have a friend who needs strength today? Reach out to her. Send a text, make a call, mail a card. Find out what she loves and buy it for her. On a day that I was feeling particularly discouraged and could not leave my house, a sweet friend brought me a goodie box filled with all sorts of pretty things, but the one thing I will remember most is that she had learned that I was craving glazed doughnuts, so she went to the best doughnut shop in our city and bought me a bag full of those sweet treasures.

Those doughnuts let me know I was loved, cared for, thought of, especially on a day when I felt particularly lonely. Ministry can be as simple as a glazed doughnut, a bunch of daisies, or a pretty card.

When God asks us to be brave, He is our refuge and strength. He provides all we need, even on the hard days.