I want to be strong. Lean. Fit. Powerful. Toned.
But I have a pear-shaped body, a love of salty and sweet, and a series of minor injuries that have made it hard to stick to an exercise regimen.
So that picture of strong is not part of the current chapter of my life.
I want to be strong. Successful. Wise. Influential.
|Maya Angelou via www.eurweb.com|
|Sting via uthmag.com|
Well, I've got a master's degree. I can help my kiddos with their math homework. But successful? I'm not even sure how to measure success in motherhood, church work, and substitute teaching with a side of tutoring. My kids haven't broken bones or been suspended from school. I've got enough work to keep me busy and out of trouble, and I truly enjoy what I do. Influential? Judging from my inability to get my kiddos to pick up their shoes off the mudroom floor... Um. No. And I definitely don't have the recognition of Maya Angelou or Sting.
So that picture of strong is not fully clear in this stage of my life.
I want to be strong. Resilient. Ready to handle whatever challenges come my way.
But there are days I end up in tears, dialing my Mr. for empathy and support. There are days I detest the way I parent, feeling crabby to the core and leaving a legacy of frustrated fuming. There are days I just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. And some days I actually do.
I know this: I'm not strong enough on my own.
Thank the Lord I don't have to be strong enough on my own. My strength starts and ends with God. When I quiet the voices of fear, breathe deep past my weakness, and become still in God's presence, he provides everything I need.
I lift my eyes up to the hills — from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
The very same God who created heaven and earth, all the goodness we see, watches over us and lifts us up. The very same God who kept the Israelites strong with manna through 40 years of wandering in the wilderness — he will keep us strong in our faith and through our earthly trials. The very same God who gave Paul the ability to find joy in his many trials and imprisonments, he will buoy up our spirits so we can rise above our troubles.
We can lift our worries up in prayer, we can leave our fears at the foot of the cross. God will be our strength and our help in times of trouble. The only strength we need is the muscle and will to look up to our Lord, the power to stretch out our hand for his help.
The Lord is with us, wherever we go. God will lead us to and through whatever he has planned for us. He doesn't just promise to be our strength and our help, he commands us to trust in his powerful assistance to the point where we clothe ourselves in his strength and courage.
And when we pull on God's strength, when we adorn ourselves with God's dignity, we can not only weather our trials and troubles, we can laugh at them and through them. That's my favorite type of strength — a sense of humor that holds us up when the world seems like it is going to pull us down.
I want that kind of strength. Trusting courage that laughs in the face of adversity. Fearlessness that allows me to look up and look on the lighter side of things. Strength and lifts me up to a place of spiritual joy. Because this world, in all it's wonderfulness and worrisomeness, this world's got nothing on me and my God.
Won't you join me in praying for and praising God's powerful, joyful strength?
Words cannot express how grateful I am that I don't need to go it alone. I don't need to be strong enough. I don't need to be strong at all. You are my strength, through thick and thin, now and forever.
All I need to do is turn to you, to hand my worries and fears over to you. You will take them in your powerful grasp and squeeze them into dry dust. You are bigger than any fear or worry I will ever encounter.
Thank you for infusing me with your strength when this world drags me down and demands stretch me thin. Thank you for gifting me with the ability to breathe deep through my battles, to laugh in the face of my fears.
When I elevate to your perspective, when I rise up on the wings of your strength, my outlook lifts. I can weather anything and everything. Mountains surprisingly become molehills. Groans ridiculously become giggles. It makes no sense, and it makes all the sense in the world. Because you've got the whole world in your hands, and at the end of the story we'll be holding hands in heaven. I look forward to the joy we will share that day.