Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Perfect in Weakness


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.
- II Corinthians 12:9
I've read this verse a hundred times. But while reading it again last night, a lot of things I've been wanting to say suddenly coalesced.

In my pre-divorce life, I privately despaired that I wasn't like many of the other Christian women I knew. We're all sinners and no one truly has it all together, but they seemed much more together than I. The things that came so easily and naturally to them - marriages that measured up to Biblical standards, husbands who wanted to spend time with them, babies conceived easily, job flexibility (including the option NOT to work) - just were not happening for me. I assumed something was fundamentally wrong with me or with my faith walk because I couldn't achieve, or God wouldn't grant me, these simple, basic things. I didn't fit in the Perfect Southern Christian Woman box, OR the Radical Missionary to Africa-type box. I was in a messy, struggling, non-conforming place in the middle. I didn't see how that could make God look good, or how He could use it. And since my greatest desire was and is to glorify God with my life, I felt like a failure on the deepest level.

I no longer believe these differences to be failures. I'm learning that God gives us unique paths on purpose, and that being different from the norm doesn't make you better or worse - just different. But that's a post for another day.

Whatever our weaknesses are, and whether they're real or perceived, I think most of us consider them hindrances. They're the things we need to fix before God can use us. Even if we're comfortable coming to Jesus in our mess, we don't believe He'll actually be able to do anything with it as is. You'd think He'd want to fly through like Niecy Nash and clean our "houses" in one swoop, turning us into perfectly polished trophies ready for display. But He's been showing me that our mess, our weakness, is what really allows Him to shine. It reminds us of our dependence on Him, so we'll turn to Him constantly and grow closer to Him. It refines and matures us. It also gives God the opportunity to show His strength and do big, miraculous things in our lives. What's more inspiring and attention-getting: a life in which everything runs smoothly and according to earthly plan, or an unexpected life full of big and small triumphs over adversity? God LOVES to triumph over adversity. It's kind of His thing (which, incidentally, is never more evident than during Holy Week).

Sometimes I get bogged down by my personal weaknesses, and the major imperfections of my life situation. I feel like the deck is stacked against me in many ways. But I try to remember that where I'm weak, He is strong. I know in my heart that God's purposes are being accomplished in my life, and my experiences make me more useful to God, not less. And odds mean nothing to Him; He's Lord over the odds. I hope for all of you to have that peace too, if only for a moment. I'd like to have it for longer than a moment!

I labored long over this post, and even now am not satisfied with it. But I'm letting it stand as further support of my point. :)


  1. I think this is wonderfully put and a constantly good reminder. Recently, I read a Lysa TerKeurst book (Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl) and did a study with some women from our church. One of the points she made, with which I became captivated, was that "I am not equipped to handle what (she) has, both good and bad." It is easy to look at the seemingly put-together or easy lives of other women and to want what they have; however, every life has its challenges and it's hardships.

    God prepared me for the joys and the trials that I have in my life and not for those in others' lives. My weaknesses are mine and are meant for me to wrestle with, to trust God with and to work through based on the skills and experiences He's given me in my life. And so are my strengths! :)

    Aside from the poor grammar in this comment that I'm too lazy to fix, hopefully some of it makes sense.

  2. This is a great comment! Thank you. :)

  3. This post really grabbed me! I think you hit on something that many people experience, but are afraid to admit. I also look at people who I think are better Christians, and seem to have the all the answers and it begins to generate a panic within me, and I worry that maybe I'm not saved, or I'm doing something wrong. It doesn't help that I work in an environment filled with type A personalities who also happen to be complete heathens, and that adds additional burdens. This leads down all sorts of roads that can prove very unpleasant, but you hit on one, if not THE solution, which is to not only stop comparing ourselves to others, but we have to lean on Him. He wants our humility and humiliation, and there is a purpose behind all of it.