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 My Weakness ~ His Strength

Ever since I was a tiny little girl I tried so hard to be strong. I had an extremely strong survival instinct as a child, and often found comfort in telling myself that whatever happened I would survive. I would not need the things I did not have, and no matter what happened I would still be fine. I would just keep right on going the same as always. I was absolutely determined to. In my childish foolishness I thought my own will to survive was stronger even than death. I would make it through anything!

What I did not realize is that through the suffering of life, I was already slowly dying on the inside. Even though I tried so hard to meet the pain that came my way, with my chin up, and a tearless, cheery smile, I was more and more broken and scarred all the time. All my self confidence was evaporating. At some point through all the haze of anguish, I realized that instead of survival being my highest goal in life, it had become my deepest fear. I felt like an old, broken, worthless piece of trash, and I dreaded the thought of surviving. I could see the great change that had taken place inside of me in just a few years, but I was powerless to do anything about it. And it was then that I realized just how very weak I was. I had to admit to myself that I really couldn't handle everything just because I was determined to. In fact I felt utterly unable to cope with life at all.

I turned to Jesus then, because I had no where else to turn. When I gave Him my life, I was so exhausted and heartbroken I just wanted Him to take me home to heaven. Instead He gave me His strength to go on.

* I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

It has not always been an easy road since then. I have had severe struggles, been through a frightening break down, and have cried more tears than I would ever care to count.

I have also wasted much time grieving my own weakness, and trying to be stronger. I had tried so hard to be strong and it seemed like instead I ended up weaker than everyone around me. It could be so frustrating to me that I was having such a struggle just to face each day, and I would wonder what in the world happened to that strong little girl. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I cope with things better? Why did fear and depression overwhelm me with every tiny change in life? Why was I crying all the time? But trying to snap out of it and lecturing myself about it only made me much weaker instead of stronger. Then I was crying even more, because I was grieving over the fact that I had been crying! That is horrible when life is already such a struggle because the days that are a little better are spent fretting over and mourning all the tears of the day before.

Through the years I have slowly learned to be at peace with my own weakness. Jesus does not need my strength but I desperately need His. He has healed me beyond what I thought was possible and given me great joy in life, but I still feel very fragile emotionally.

* Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I no longer have any ideas of surviving anything in my own strength. I have learned to accept the fact that there are days that are difficult for me to cope with. There are times when I feel so intensely lonely and sad. The aching longings can be overwhelming. I struggle to meet the normal changes of life without extreme anxiety. Sometimes I feel like I have been dropped into a deep, dark valley, and I don't always find my way out immediately. But I have learned (not perfectly---I often still have to remind myself!) not to fret about my emotions or tears, but to draw very heavily on my Heavenly Father's strength moment by moment.

God's promise is not freedom
From trials in the race,
But power to transcend them
Through His sufficing grace.

Not strength instead of weakness,
Not smile instead of tears;
Not peace instead of conflict,
Not song instead of fears.

But weakness filled with power,
And tears with radiance spread,
And peace amid the battle,
And song e'er fears are fled.

by Norman F. Douty

On days when my heart aches fiercely He gives me the strength to reach out to others, and I find deep joy in that. When I feel anxious and overwhelmed with the changes of life, He holds my hand and gives me the strength to take the next step. When painful memories haunt me, He gives me the strength to hug the children tighter and make doubly sure that their little hearts are filled with love and comfort. On nights when I cuddle my pillow and sob, He gives me the strength to get up and face the next day with bright smiles and cheery words for the children. And He gives me strength to go on in peace, instead of fretting over my weakness and tears.

I find immense comfort in the fact that His strength is made perfect in weakness. Would I be better off if I had so much more strength of my own, and so much less of His? I have already seen how my human strength crumbles to dust in the pain and tears of life. But His strength is vast and unmeasured, and it will never give way no matter how strong the storms of life are. When I am the frailest, and the weakest and the weariest, that is when He will give me His great strength in all of its perfection.

* The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:7

2004 A Sister In Christ

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