“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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.- 2 Corinthians 12 8-10
Strength is something that my family knows especially on my mothers side. My great grandmother had to raise her daughter alone while she was crippled and unable to work. My grandmother was a vivacious and one spitfire of a woman her entire life, where she had to be strong with no father and coming out of a life of poverty. My two aunts and my mother have been through their share of hard times from a hard life growing up on a farm, to marriages that suffered to several other private struggles that I wont share. The women in my family from all the way back have been strong emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually. However their flavor of strength is that demonstration of strength: the stiff upper lip, jaw clenched, head tall and shouting at the world. They claim their hill of ‘strength’ with swords, spears with blood and sweat from their brow.
Being away from my family in Kentucky has led my mother to raise Hannah and I away from the intensity of such an impressive displays of aggressive strength. My mother is the most amazing woman I’ve ever met, and not just because she raised and loves me unconditionally. She is amazing because I believe she is one of few in our family tree to ever have and to teach my sister and I what it means to have strength from a broken place.
I’ve had a list of traumas in my life which very few will ever get to hear about. There are some that I reveal to everyone and I’m comfortable sharing, and my parents divorce is one of them. The very idea of a sacred covenant being broken sickens me to the core and always has. The months of heartache, tension, frustration and pure bile leading up to my parents going to court was tangible in the home. Months after the move and settling in on our own I don’t even remember. What I remember is that there were years where my mother cried herself to sleep and yet she still loved my sister and I and she pressed on.
Ive heard numerous people reflect on their relationship with God in the midst of crisis and ask him “Where were you God?” Of course most worked out their faith and were able to see the bigger picture of the tapestry that God was weaving, all of the tiny strands come together. I’ve heard how most people despise the trimming process and where the pressure is on and very uncomfortable. However in my few epiphany moments that I’ve had there was a tangible feeling of complete brokenness.
I’ve been suicidal before however the reasons leading up to and details I’ll omit simply because they aren’t relevant. The point is that I’ve had those thoughts in my past. I’ve been spiritually suicidal to the point I was screaming at God to show me he was real. And after I was done the screaming I felt Him throw the doors of my heart wide and almost shout “honey I’m home!!” Wave after wave of just being filled and filled with more of him made it so intensely difficult to drive!
In the middle of a crisis I’ve had people point me to Jesus every time and eventually you become taught to lean on Him when there’s nothing else and no one else left. When I stop trying to take care of the problem and I let God take care of things is when victory takes place and the seas become calm. He told me once that when I am most broken is the time where he finds me most beautiful. My heart becomes willing to align with His will and I finally stop trying to be ‘strong’ enough to do it on my own. Jesus takes such delight and wants to help, to get his hands into the middle of our dirty and broken mess. Tears are falling down my face and I have no idea what to do and that’s where the strength comes pouring in.
Gods taught me a new way to be strong, how to be strong in the weakness. Not knowing what to do, where to go, the next steps in life. For times when I’m angry, insecure and broken hearted. There is nothing better than just drawing on God for everything when you have nothing left. In those moments you peer into the abyss of how deep his love and truth really is to carry you through.