2 Cor 12v9

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Strength



I cannot thank everyone enough for the amount of support we are receiving. As I put on Facebook last week, it feels like we’ve fallen off a platform but are crowdsurfing instead of hitting the floor. The messages that people are sending, publicly and privately, are incredible. I don’t always get chance to reply to them straightaway depending on what’s happening, but each one feels like another hand upholding us. As well as the commitment to pray for our boy, I have been amazed at the lovely things people have said about us too. One phrase in particular has been running through my head this week and as I thought about the concept of being seen as ‘a strong person’, I was hit by the inverted reality of that concept.

The truth is, I am not what this world would see as a strong person. I am an extremely weak person – not a fighter, but a flighter. When troubles come, my first instinct is to curl up into a ball and go to a happy place in my head until it passes. This is why I love to read or watch stories, from books to blogs to TV series – it takes me somewhere else. Some women, when troubles hit, go into overdrive. Their anxiety drives them to clean, organise and get a stranglehold on every aspect of their lives in order to get some kind of control. I know this can be as much a form of denial as crawling into bed early and watching a movie, but I really wish that was my default position instead. At least I would be falling apart in a tidy environment instead of a messy one.

It is my obvious weakness – very obvious to anyone who has been to my house in the last few years – that drives me at some point nearly every day to throw up my hands and say ‘I can’t do this!’ I have no illusions whatsoever that I am the sort of person who can handle a tragedy on this sort of scale at all. As each week rolls around, and new depths of circumstances are plummeted, and we see our boy getting worse instead of better, and normal life seems to be slipping further and further from our grasp, I give up over and over again. Some weeks almost every morning I wake up and say ‘I can’t do this today.’ I’d rather get the children in my bed and let them watch CBeebies for two hours than let my feet hit the floor and have to face life AGAIN. I’m taking the ‘not-a-morning-person’ to new extremes. In fact, if my children were tall enough to safely make a cup of tea for me, I don’t think I’d get out of bed till lunchtime on those days.

Although I’ve usually got myself into some sort of better shape halfway through the morning (not due to my own strength but due to the energy, fun, and new challenges thrown at me by the children), I still struggle with the everyday decisions. The post through the letterbox normally throws me off because I never know what to do with paperwork; I move too quickly from one activity to another without leaving time to tidy up inbetween; I start jobs then realise there was something else more urgent that needed doing so I leave things half done; if we have to leave the house for something we are inevitably late and leave a trail of mess behind us.

And I can’t claim that I was on top of all this before Scooby’s illness, because I really really wasn’t. I was already unreliable and disorganised. It’s just magnified all the weaknesses that were already there.

I am not strong.

But I do follow an extremely strong God, and He has this amazing knack of turning things upside on their heads.

He doesn’t need me to be strong, because He is strong.

He doesn’t need me to be capable, because He is able.

He doesn’t need me to have it all together, because He will hold me together.

He doesn’t need me to show the world that I can cope (and hey, I could post pictures of my kitchen if it would prove it to you). 

He wants me to show the world that He provides me with everything I need when I feel like I have nothing left to give, and that although I give up countless times, and prove myself unreliable, unwilling, unworthy and often rebellious in my attitude towards Him, He NEVER fails, NEVER runs out and NEVER gives up on me.

2 Corinthians 12v9 has been at the top of this blog for a while now: 
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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I could definitely boast about more weaknesses than the ones above. They are just a small part of a very long list, and one that started a long time before I was able to play the ‘sick child’ card to get me out of my responsibilities. I struggle with some things in life that seem to come so easily to other people, and consistently infuriate myself by repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again.

So it is only by God doing His thing and allowing His power to work through my inability, that He does the perfect thing at the perfect time through the most imperfect situations and imperfect subjects. The broken surface of my life somehow seems to give Him more angles to be able to reflect His light from.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

If God was in the business of using the strong, I’d be outta here by now. But I’ve got a whole lot of weak, and if He’s willing to use that, I’m willing to continue giving up every day in order to know fully what it’s like to be daily picked back up and placed on my feet again. 

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful description of a difficult, heart breaking situation. People sometimes tell me I am strong. When they do my mind cackles like a witch and I think, sarcastically, 'Yes, of course I am.' When my life has got tough I eat....I eat food I dont like, even food that is way past any sell by date etc etc. We all deal with things in a different way and I dont think there is a right or wrong way - its just OUR way.

    My best friend has started to go to church. She doesn't lie about her motive for going. She is trying to get her lovely son into the best High school in our area and that involves going to church. On Sunday it was family service. The vicar sent around the congregation a 'prayer'teddy bear. She told everybody to hold it and say prayers. My friend said the bear was passed to her and she prayed for Daniel. I was so shocked, but through tears she said 'All the children just had a cuddle of the bear but I knew exactly what I was going to do.'

    Your precious boy is working little miracles and making people realises just how lucky they are to have their children well.

    Thinking about you all constantly xxxx Love Shabbs xxxx

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  2. And this is just one of the many many millions of reasons that I love you xx

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  3. Esther - your blog is such a blessing to us. We don't know you but we have come to love Daniel and you as a family - we start each day praying for Daniel and for you all as a family. We pray very specific and BIG prayers to our Heavenly Father. Your words highlight and remind us of the precious and most important things in life and your honesty makes me feel so normal as a mother. We think of you throughout the day...checking for updates...asking others to pray.....sharing you blog with non believers as well as they are often touched and moved by your story. Bless you Esther xxx

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  4. Thanks, Esther, for being so 'real' and honest.
    Our God surely is an Awesome God!

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  5. You are one of God's diamonds Esther :) You may feel like you have a broken surface of life now but when I think of something breaking it sounds more like it was an accident or a faulty item. Though you feel broken at times, know this is not an accident or a fault. It is the PERFECT plan of God meticulously crafting the surface of your life. So His light reflects from that surface not broken edges :) and in the process He is continuously filling you with everything you need. You are a diamond - keep shining JESUS to the world!! I love you :) xxx

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  6. You are a blessing and God will continue to show himself through you! I wish I knew you so I could help in the mundane chores.
    We are indeed a fading flower and you are focusing in the eternal :). Dont ever be disheartened.
    Gaby

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  7. How do you know me so well Esther - you just described me so eloquently!! - Love and prayers to you all xxxx YOU ARE SUCH A TREASURE AND AN EXAMPLE TO US ALL!!

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  8. Hi Esther,
    Wow! What an amazing truth you have taken hold of there! I couldnt think of a better way of describing what it means to be 'living the gospel', that there is power in weakness and life in death. It reminds me of the shamelessly honest prayer by St Francis of Assisi
    "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
    Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
    Where there is injury, pardon.
    Where there is doubt faith.
    Where there is error, truth.
    Where there is despair, hope.
    Where there is sadness, joy
    Where there is darkness, light.
    Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console.
    To be understood, as to understand. To be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

    I think of the seven of you constantly and my heart goes out to all of you! And I will continue to pray that God will answer our desperate cry for a miracle healing! Above all though, how great to know that ultimately after all, his ways are higher and his will for us good and perfect! Though obviously not under the best circumstance, me and Dave have recently really enjoyed seeing more of Richard and the kids; hope to see you again soon as well!
    Lots and lots of love
    Mel xxx

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  9. Heroes can be difficult people to live with and are often unteachable (Like Samson). Peter thought he was strong but, unlike Judas, he embraced his weakness and allowed it to change, rather than break, him. People we think strong are often brittle and when they break, sharp pieces of them hurt everyone around them.

    A karate chop doesn't require the hand to be firm and resolute but to be relaxed so that it can absorb the impact. It would seem you are able to absorb more pain than you imagined you could but God knows how 'weak' you are. He loves your humanity and will honour your willingness even when you feel unable.

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  10. Thank you for your honest post. Just want to let you know once again, how much we love you guys and that we continue to pray for Daniel. May the Lord be your strong tower, your very present help in this time of need.
    Carlos and Deinis (Panama)

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  11. We are all parts of one body all with a different job to do, there are lots of Bible references about helping each other and being a different bit of the working process. I live too far away (unfortunately) but I am sure that there are body parts near to you who would be thrilled to be able to sort your washing, do your dishes or mop your floors for you. If they haven't thought about it yet can they take this as their hint.
    I would seriously love to be able to come and help you with your household stuff it would make me feel useful and help me to think I was doing something practical.
    But my lovely ,lovely lady please don't feel bad about the chaos I tell my daughter all the time that her home is a reflection of the turmoil that is going on in her head and so it is with you.
    Your strength is in being a wonderful mum, a witness to others, a fighter, an encourager, a completly sold out child of God, a wonderful wife, a juggler, a woman with real struggles that is not afraid to say "I can't but my God can", a friend, an inspiration, and much much more.

    While I was just writing all of that I got distracted by a picture in my head that I feel God has given me of you. You are standing but you are washed out, drained and feeling usless and you start to collapse and you fall backwards but as you fall a large pair of hands come up behind you, catch you and just cradle you there. I can hear the words "I WILL NEVER YOU OR FORSAKE YOU" I am sure that you have experienced that several times already but I think that you need reassurance that it is for real God WILL catch you when you fall no doubt about it. But that reminds me that I have had incredibly sad times in my life when I have wept buckets but I have also known that God has been right there with me. It doesn't mean that saddness won't hit just that you will be held throughout it. All stuff you know but it helps sometimes to be reminded.

    Love you so very much

    Doreen & Terry

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  12. Being strong isnt about being tidy or organised. You still get up everyday, you love and care for your children. You are in such an emotional and difficult time that non of us would wish upon our enenmys. However, you do rise each and every morning, you deal the bes way you can with everyhing each day brings you to the best of your ability. You don give up and for tht you ARE strong. Yes you have a strong god showng you the way. It takes strong being to believe and carry on. So for goodness sake woman, realise how wonderful you are, you are strong, amazing, loving and caring and dont you ever doubt it again!

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  13. The next time I can't find my kitchen under the mess, I'll pray that someone comes along to find yours for you. The next time my kids run out of clean underwear (again) I'll pray that you find a clean, folded pile of laundry with exactly the items you need on top. The next time I run out of milk, I'll pray that the bit you have left does the drink you urgently need and the cereal bowls too.
    And the next time I feel weak, I'll remember that's the best possible place for me to be, because then I'll rely on Jesus.
    Thank you.
    Love n hugs, DL xx

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  14. when I am weak, then HE is strong.

    Yes, Jesus loves me!

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