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.