A Strong Weakness

I remember telling someone how I was entirely insufficient for the context and situation we were in. We had just arrived home from the hospital. Our family of 7: the 3 year old new double amputee, the brokenhearted Dad, the postpartum Mom, the newborn baby…all of us back home with the other three children, each of them hurting and needing attention too. I knew that I wasn’t enough. I think I must have stunned the person with my bluntness. They attempted to give me a pep talk, wanting to wash away my difficult statements with positive thinking.

 


 

Weakness is a funny thing. It isn’t very popular. Who wants to be weak? Yet, it’s necessary. I’m thankful that I knew that I wasn’t enough, that I knew I wasn’t able to meet all the needs, that I was going to need help. No need to keep on fooling myself, right?

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It’s an honest, realistic evaluation, and I’ve had lots of reality checks over the last two years. I’m always brought back to weakness.

I know, I know. This isn’t a “believe in yourself” pep talk. I’m out of step with our culture.

Good.

At some point weakness finds us all.

Theologian J. I. Packer says:

When the world tells us, as it does, that everyone has a right to a life that is easy, comfortable, and relatively pain-free, a life that enables us to discover, display, and deploy all the strengths that are latent within us, the world twists the truth right out of shape. That was not the quality of life to which Christ’s calling led him, nor was it Paul’s calling, nor is it what we are called to in the twenty-first century. For all Christians, the likelihood is rather that as our discipleship continues, God will make us increasingly weakness-conscious and pain-aware so that we may learn with Paul that when we are conscious of being weak, then–and only then–may we become truly strong in the Lord. And should we want it any other way?

Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength, J. I. Packer

 

Greg and I have said over and over again to each other, to friends, to strangers, to any media: we have been given a platform of weakness to show God’s strength.

When we’re sharing our story, we’re sharing our weakest moment in parenting.

We’re sharing our financial weakness, our physical weakness, our spiritual weakness.

We’re sharing how we’re stumbling through bouts of depression, anger, and paralysis by way of being utterly overwhelmed.

We’re sharing how our marriage, bank account, bodies, and children are feeling the strain and tension from what happened two years ago.

If Greg hadn’t backed up the mower. If the kids had been inside that day. If I had stayed on the swing with Jude for just a few more minutes…

Weakness, weakness, weakness. We start there. We’re still there.

We’re not perfect parents. Exhibit A-Z. We could give you a full run down. Weak, imperfect. Our hope? Christ.

The truth, however, is that in many respects, and certainly in spiritual matters, we are all weak and inadequate, and we need to face it. Sin, which disrupts all relationships, has disabled us all across the board. We need to be aware of our limitations and to let this awareness work in us humility and self-distrust, and a realization of our helplessness on our own. Thus we may learn our need to depend on Christ, our Savior and Lord, at every turn of the road, to practice that dependence as one of the constant habits of our heart, and hereby to discover what Paul discovered before us: “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength, J. I. Packer

We return, again and again, to the Gospel. We’re weak. We’re helpless. We need to trust ourselves a little less. To be human is to be limited. But Jesus is our sufficiency.

The only true rest we have is in a sovereign and good God that is somehow working all this pain and heartache out for our good and his glory. We said that at the bottom of this pit, and we’re still saying it as we make our way out. 2 years. Today. 2 years.

I’m not overflowing with lots of wisdom, emotion, or lofty thinking today. I feel a bit weary, honestly. My body may be trying to get sick. I probably look like a deer in headlights. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. I am increasingly aware of the weakness that is in me. In turn, I’m seeing how my weakness is worth boasting in as I know that God’s strength will shine forth. We need that strength even more today than yesterday. He has been and is faithful!

With that, I have some brief updates:

We returned home last week from a trip to Oklahoma. Jude competed in the 2016 UCO Endeavor Games, track and field. He brought home five gold medals in the 20m, 60m, 100m, 200m, and long jump. More importantly: he had FUN. It was deeply encouraging for all of us. We met new people. We wore ourselves out. We visited family and friends. We checked out everyone’s legs all weekend long. Ha!

In a few short weeks we will be headed to Chicago for a new round of feet makin’. Jude the Dude is growing! He’s losing teeth and getting new feet.

Jude will also be getting running blades soon. He’ll have options! He told me he’ll “probably want to wear the blades the most though.” I’ll share more about these running blades soon. It’s a big deal! Something worth celebrating.

 

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a few links

My time slot to write is past. The day is starting here at the Hill home!

But real quick…

We’ve had a fair amount of traffic on here, especially considering this space is brand new! I recognize that some of our visitors are coming from the Peoria Journal Star article. Welcome! Some of you are coming from Jude’s CaringBridge. Thank you for sticking with us!

The Peoria Journal Star’s Laura Nightengale recently wrote up a story about Jude that we’re excited to share with you. Andy Abeyta has some great photos and a video to go along with Laura’s article.

You can also check out Limbs Matter to view the PSA that we participated in last July. See if you can spot Jude the Dude! It was an incredible group of people that were a part of that weekend last summer. Please share this website on your own platforms. Spread the word!

The local paper in Germantown Hills wrote this article not long after we went to Orlando last year.

Marvis Herring from WMBD checked back in with us around the same time.

A good friend wrote about our story at her popular blog Messy Mom.

So, yes, I’m letting all these other people fill you in for now!

Jude jumping

From our platform of weakness

There’s much to say. As usual!Judestandingonbike

For those that may be new to our story I hope you find this space to be an encouraging testimony of faithfulness. God has been faithful. We’re simply on the receiving end of his great mercy. Our family has weathered a storm, and in some ways the storm just keeps raging. Yet God has given us his strength to endure the rain and wind again and again.

We want this space to simply be a means for us to communicate God’s continued care for our family. Judah & the Lion has a lyric on their most recent album that says “I want to sing about hope in desperate situations,” and I’ve sort of clung to that as a mission statement.

Quite honestly, some days it still feels like we’re still in a desperate situation. We’ve weathered additional storms this past year that have left us even more exhausted. Yet there’s a certain hope that keeps us going.

Greg and I often refer to the platform of weakness we’ve been given. This is how we view all that has happened. Our family’s darkest hour has served to spotlight some really incredible attributes of God. We’ve been given a platform of weakness to show God’s all-sufficient strength.

Jude’s CaringBridge gave us a space to update family and friends about Jude’s recovery. We’re hoping this space will serve in the same way…while also inviting other people into the story that God is writing.

Thank you for being a part of our community. Stay tuned for further updates about Team Hill!