Originally published Tuesday, 18 October 2016.
Jesus turned this world on its head. Things people thought they knew crumbled in light of His teaching.
The first are the last.
The greatest is the least.
The rich are the poor.
Life is found in death.
Strength is found in weakness.
Second Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” You see, our weaknesses do not negate our strength. It's not about ridding ourselves of all our weaknesses, but allowing our weaknesses to become our strength. Allowing God to become our strength.
I still have weaknesses. LOTS and LOTS of weaknesses. And for a while there, I think I was trying to make them go away. I had mistakenly thought I had to be or feel strong in order to accomplish anything significant for the Kingdom of God, but I was wrong.
I've shared bits and pieces of our adoption story with you already, so I won't bore you with more of the details now. But I will say this: I was called to leave my entire world behind, including my wonderfully awesome and amazing husband and two daughters, to take a one way ticket to Africa when I was at my weakest. I felt weak emotionally, physically, and mentally. But what scared me most was that I felt weak spiritually. I can't even begin to tell you how this baffled me. Why, I wondered, in all these years of waiting, does it have to be NOW?
But then I got it.
My time alone in Africa was ridiculously beautiful in so many ways, but it was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. I wrestled like never before. I cried buckets of tears for so many reasons, but through it all, I learned a valuable lesson. It’s okay to be weak. Weakness draws us to our ultimate source of strength. And it is in Him alone that we find true strength.
We were never created to do it all or to be it all but were created to know the One who holds all things together. The One who is ALL.
I came home from Africa broken, elated and blessed beyond words, but broken. And for the first time, I just sat in it. I wasn’t trying to make it go away, and I wasn't scared of it because I think I knew for the first time that I had been broken for a reason. And there I found strength. True strength. I learned I didn’t need to be strong because He was. He is my strength and my shield (Psalm 28:7).
And here's the thing. Our brokenness does not disqualify us from living victoriously and making an impact with our lives. In fact, it's the very thing that qualifies us. It puts us in the race. It gives us a platform to speak into others’ lives. It gives us skin in game. I mean, after all, we can’t make an impact in a broken world without having been broken ourselves, right?
Used to think I could be strong and resilient if I could just conjured up enough strength within myself to overcome whatever life threw at me. To pull myself up by my bootstraps, so to speak. But I don’t believe that anymore. Instead, I believe true resilience and strength comes from knowing God. Knowing His heart toward you, that you are loved beyond measure by the Creator and sustainer of all things. Knowing who God made you to be, that there is a purpose for your life that is beyond your wildest dreams. It comes from a place of healing or working toward that end. A perspective of your past, present, and future that is rooted in Truth. The belief that God has good things planned for your future. And a connection to people who spur you on toward being the person you were created to be.
True strength is rooted and grounded in Jesus. He alone has the strength we need to not only endure the ups and downs of life but to thrive in the midst of them.
Any thoughts? Share in the comments.