Finding Strength in Weakness

In the Bible, Paul asked three times for a certain affliction to be taken away, to which Jesus responded, “My grace is enough, because my strength is perfected in your weakness.” In a way I think He was saying, “Hey buddy, you’re going to be weak because I want to be your strength.” That’s what He’s been saying to me lately anyway. But being weak is hard…it’s admitting self-defeat, which I’m pretty sure Jesus is in favor of me doing. When I’m forced to be weak, there are only two choices, as I see it…to kick and scream and try to claw my way to independence and miss seeing all that Abba is doing in the middle of it…or to accept my weakness as a gift, knowing that Abba is working some greater good, scraping off a little more of the gunk of life, more of the selfishness, more of the greed that’s become encrusted over my true self…the person Jesus is in the process of making.

Last semester, I had a life of relative ease. Well, as much ease as a person who has 5 children can have. I had ten hours a week all to myself, to do whatever I wanted while all the kids were at school and Jeremiah was at preschool. But all that changed right after Thanksgiving. Jeff had a teacher quit, the one I had been subbing for every Wednesday morning. So I stepped into the 5th grade position two weeks before Christmas break. I should have known back in October that I was in for something when I was in the class picture, which seemed very odd to me at the time, but Abba’s sense of humor and foreshadowing is always really funny to me. I love my students, and I love the people I work with, and I have a serious crush on my boss Jeff. My son Jonah is in my class as well as my nephew Eli. But, honestly, working full-time was kicking my butt with our family of seven. Many nights, I came home and went to bed with Julia and Jeremiah around 8, never to get back up again until the following morning. But I knew that that was what Abba had called me to do, and somehow he was giving me the strength to do it.

A couple weeks after Christmas break was over, there was a situation at school where we felt Abba was leading us to provide a temporary home for a couple of the boys in the school which was, I might add, way, way beyond our comfort zone as a family.  And not only that, but one of these children has diabetes, which requires counting carbs and giving shots after each meal. Honestly, for two weeks, I cried every day I was so overwhelmed with all the stuff that had to be done. I’m such a low maintenance person that this was way beyond me and my capacity to cope. The funny thing is that I would usually start crying out of frustration and selfishness and just general pity-party kind of junk, but my cries ended up as a sacrifice, in a sense, that I offered up to Abba each day, throwing my hands up, admitting my weakness and begging for His strength. And in the process I found Him unbelievably strong. One day, He told me, “Get on your knees now.” I refused for a little while, trying so hard to hang on to my own strength, but when I finally gave in, I dropped to my knees and my junk erupted out of me, like a volcano spewing lava. And then there was a calm again, because I had once again been emptied of myself.

The phrase “God won’t give you anything you can’t handle” makes me guffaw and almost fall in the floor because I’m laughing so hard. I mean, who came up with that anyway? Apparently that person was either delusional or lying. Why wouldn’t Abba give us more than we can handle? If He never gives me more than I can handle, then that makes whatever I am given in life do-able. So, then, who really needs Jesus anyway?

I’m hear to say that God gives us way more than we can handle and then some, and then sometimes, gives some more. But Abba keeps reminding me that this is not a time to endure but rather a time to embrace and to love…love the people and the life I’ve been given…even on those mornings when I think, “I really don’t want to do this today…any of it.” But admitting it, embracing Him, and moving on in His strength is when I realize He’s right there walking this path with me. He created it for me. Two weeks ago, the day the two boys came to live with us, I was driving Jonah to choir practice, and in front of me there was a car with a license plate that said, “Unity 9.” For me, Abba couldn’t have been any more lovingly clearer.

“To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And He’s holding out His hand…”


7 Responses to “Finding Strength in Weakness”

  1. 1 Regina Childers
    January 27, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Dear Kim,
    You have made this time in my life seem so clear by reading your blog today. I am so happy that you have cried out to Abba and admitted your weakness. That is exactly what I have needed to do as well. As a mom I feel like if I don’t show that I am superwoman I am failing, but I know God does not see it that way. He wants us to totally depend on him. Having 3 little ones and being pregnant is hard, but the circumstances that come along with it are just too much sometimes. It has been 6 months since Scot has been in Jackson, and I don’t see an end yet. Then on top of that, being Diabetic and having the energy to deal with the children. But day after day of checking blood sugars and 10-12 shots a day, it’s hard to not have a pity party. My heart goes out to your circumstances, and having to care for the 2 boys and the diabetes. I will be lifting you up in prayer, and I wanted you to know despite your circumstances you have blessed me today! You are doing a great job!

  2. January 28, 2009 at 8:26 am

    This is so good Kim…I think 9 is a great number!!! I hope we get to meet them on our way home! By the way, I know the verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” may seem trite, but it is so simple and yet so true! I catch myself singing the little tune that Mrs. Brown taught my K-5 kids (motions and all)!

  3. January 28, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Thanks, Regina! I remember those days with 3 little ones, but I wasn’t pregnant with Julia until after Jake was out of diapers…and then to have diabetes on top of it all…and to not have Scot around…wow! Girl, you have my prayers!

    When the 3 boys were litte, I didn’t understand that I had to cling to Abba…I didn’t really even know Him that well, so I just tried to escape reality much of the time by living in my own little fantasy world.

    Three things that I often come back to are that Abba is absolutely in control of everything (I’m not big enough to mess it up), He is good, and He loves me very, very much.

    So I’m praying you have a day where you feel our Father’s embrace, where you know you’re walking in His plan, as crazy as it may seem at times (and, boy, does He come up with some wild ones), and have His peace that truly does pass all understanding! Love you, girl!

  4. 4 Britt
    January 30, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Hey Kim, your blog is so pertinent I often don’t want to read it…..sometimes part of you knows the grace is there but you can’t feel it at all. I’m having trouble accepting the sorrow I know is mine, and seeing the love in it all.

  5. 5 elizabeth K
    February 24, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I was reading something recently that hits right with the saying, God won’t allow what you can’t handle. I had never really thought about it, simply heard it and believed it. But I think you are so right and stated that so well. I do wonder who came up with it! 2 Cor 1:8-10 talks about the affliction that came to Paul and describe it as, burdened excessively, beyond our strength, despaired even of life, having the sentence of death … in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but GOD who raises the dead! I don’t think they could handle it. But it continues with God who delievered us, who will deliver, and who will yet deliver us
    You do such a great job of wonderfully expressing the truth.

  6. February 25, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks you guys for your comments! They hit me right where I need it.

    As an update, we no longer have the two boys with us. We ended up having them for only three weeks, which brought sadness but also relief, as only those who have been placed in similar circumstances can understand.

    We certainly don’t understand Abba’s timing and His ways but know that He is always good, always in control, and loves us very much!

  7. 7 lhug143
    March 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Kim, all I have the energy and strength to say to this is “ditto”, i can so relate! I love you girl!

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