“I read the newspaper article and what you said, and I felt like I needed to come tonight. Thank you for talking about spiritual warfare. I am dealing with a major battle right now, and I don’t know who I can talk to about it. I’m afraid people will think I’m crazy to talk to them about how Satan is pushing me down.”
“I am the one who needed to hear your message tonight. I am in a valley right now, and it is so hard. (Tears in her eyes) “
“Your honesty is refreshing. To hear about your struggles makes me feel like I am not alone.”
On the days when I feel like I am being separated more and more from what feels comfortable, familiar, and secure, God gives me moments like these. All three of these were words spoken to me last night after the Night of Worship in Marion, VA where I shared my testimony and songs about the valley I was in, about life, and about my Triune God being my sustenance.
In years past, I felt as if I had to be strong. I had to portray “The joy of the Lord is my strength” in every arena, because I was a Christian, right? If I was struggling, then I couldn’t let it be known. Then I would look weak, my faith would look weak, and people might think I couldn’t handle life.
Then came the valley …. and the liberation.
I have recently learned that people I meet at some of the places where I’ve shared want to talk to me about my story - my story of weakness. It’s so interesting to me that when I share my weaknesses, people seem to react in a way that they feel safe to share their weaknesses, too. Do my weaknesses make me more approachable? Maybe so.
Here’s one: I am being made more aware of how I struggle with lack of control. I KNOW that I need to trust God. I KNOW that He has a perfect plan. I KNOW that He loves me deeply and intimately. How do I get my heart to believe that? Maybe that’s why I know the verse, “I believe. Help my unbelief,” so well. A work in progress. Maybe that’s why God continues to give me new things that I cannot control because I am not equipped or don’t have the knowledge to control. That’s just funny to say. I can hear God saying, “Oh, good grief! Fine, then…I’ll put you into this so you HAVE to trust me, because you don’t know any other way.” Thank you, God, for your patience with me.
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
I could never have understood how someone would boast in their weaknesses a few years ago. Admitting my brokenness, hurt, and deep sadness was and is liberating. Here’s why: because I don’t have to pretend that I’ve got it all figured out. There’s no more “What would people think if they knew that about you?” playing in my head. I don’t have to be the perfect Christian (ha….as if anyone is). I don’t have to portray this strong woman who is the doting wife or the perfect mother. I’m a hard to deal with wife sometimes. My sweet husband would not admit it, I don’t think, but I know I am. He’s even keeled, and I’m the roller coaster, no doubt. As well, I’m not a perfect mother. I’m impatient sometimes, and sometimes I talk back to my kids in the same way they talk to me, instead of being the grown up and getting myself together and modeling good confrontational, conversational skills… because sometimes I do not have the fruits of the Spirit.
The fact that I can be used in this state is just crazy to me. However….Moses was a murderer, but chosen to lead the people out of Egypt. David was an adulterer and a murderer, but was king. Gideon (oh how I feel like I’m Gideon so often) doubted and asked God to prove himself time and again, and in God’s beautiful patience, He gave Gideon sign after sign and Gideon erected an altar - The Lord is My Peace.
So, this evening I boast in my weaknesses, because this weekend, boasting in my weaknesses brought me so much confirmation in being called out - not because of ME, but because God’s power is made perfect in my weakness. When we admit our weaknesses, we point people to God’s wholly working grace in our hearts and lives, and to His power to change us and mold us more and more into His image.