Monday, December 11, 2017

How A Lady Said I Was Strong (When All I Feel Is Weak)

A post wrote a post last week (When You're a Low-Energy, Easily Tired Wife and Mother) has resonated with a few. And I'm thankful. It is so helpful to be honest as Christian women. I don't believe in sharing everything, and especially not to be negative and degrading... But, to be honest so that we can share one another's burdens, or to give a little joy or hope to another...That is so encouraging.

Since writing that post our week has been so busy. We have celebrated a wedding, and grieved the death of a church family member. I have shared my husband to our church for three nights in a row, and we have had a Christmas picnic with his work. I have also run a book study for the mother's group at church, as well as helping my husband lead our own house group.

At said mother's group, as I was finishing the photocopying for the book (this one by Elisabeth Elliot), a lovely lady mentioned how I didn't often come to the mother's group. Feeling a little embarrassed (as I always do when I reveal I am not perfect in the way I wish I was), I said,

 "No...I have to be so careful with our weeks for my mental health." And then I added, "I feel rather like a weakling, really." 

To my surprise and encouragement, she said, "Oh no. To me, that just makes you a strong woman."

I felt so lifted in that moment. Taken aback. But mostly thankful that in God's currency, being weak is what makes His children strong. It all filled me in that moment. I sensed God's care for me and His acceptance of me...just as I am. I knew that He didn't hold my weakness against me.

Just a few days later, as I was listening to a good friend fill me in on her week and all the things she and the kids had been doing...and I felt my heart sinking with shame. Not because she was gloating or anything at all. Instead, her family were so incredibly busy and thriving. Her capabilities and strengths in those areas far exceeded my own. I imagined myself in her shoes and felt anxious and exhausted just thinking about it.

And just momentarily, I thought to myself, What a weakling you are...

"Therefore, I shall boast about my weaknesses..." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9b

Boasting? About what a weakling I am? How I often need naps? Or how I always feel behind or useless as a housewife? Or how I have a baby belly that I can't lose? Or how I struggle with gentleness with my children? Or how I can be so unfaithful to the Lord?

Paul, in his great many weaknesses, said that he could boast in them to people for two reasons:

1. Because of God's grace.
2. Because of the power of Christ.

God actually spoke to Paul that His grace was all that Paul needed in his weakness. Paul wanted victory, or healing, or a sense of mastery over his weaknesses/sins/failures. But God said, "No". God wanted Paul to continue on as a weak human being so that His beautiful, wonderful, life-giving grace would abound all the more in Paul.

And God wants the same for me. And you.

As Paul remained in his weaknesses - whatever they were - abiding in God's grace, the resurrection-power of Christ would rest on him. That power would enable Paul to continue on, to accept who he was and what he was weak in, and know God's love and care. More than that, God would help Paul be used in his failures for God's glory. 

Therefore, Paul said, he "delighted" in it all: weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, difficulties. He didn't reject them. He didn't allow himself to feel ashamed. He didn't try to push himself onwards to conquer those aspects of his life. He delighted in them that Christ might be forefront in his heart and to other people watching him.

So when I am tempted to shrivel inwards with shame or the sense that my weaknesses are something to conquer...I need to turn my eyes upwards. To Him who wants me to abide in His grace and to His Son who wants to give me the power to glorify God in my humanity. In this way, my weaknesses become my strengths...God's strength in me. And you.


  1. I love how God's strength is found in our weakness. It's such a beautiful truth, thank you for reminding us today!