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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One thought on “A Strong Weakness

  1. Your story is so heartwarming, heartbreaking and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it, even through the toughest moments. I can’t even imagine the journey you have traveled, but I am confident you are inspiring plenty. I actually ‘refound’ your story today through Facebook popping up a ‘memory’ from 2 years ago when your accident had happened. I had just seen it in my FB thread and reshared it as a prayer concern, as well as, a caution for parents. I am so glad to read of your son’s recovery, all of your continual healings (inside and out), and mostly, of your desire to share your ‘God story’ with everyone you can. Wow. I have been blessed to read about your journey. What a challenge and a victory for God’s kingdom to see the impact your honest and positive perspective has on so many. We will continue to pray for you and your family. God bless you. 💕

    Like

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