Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Strength in Weakness

Yesterday, I ran into another person at the grocery store who gave me a bear hug and told me how “strong” I am.

Throughout our family’s life-and-death health crises, loving people have encouraged me by telling me this. Those votes of confidence are helpful and healing… they actually do imbue me with a little more perceived strength for a time. 

But the truth of the matter is that I am not strong at all…. 

just an average quivering mess of doubts, fears, and insecurities.

Surely not physically strong.
Nor emotionally.
Many times, not spiritually, mentally, or morally.

This is very important for me to acknowledge, and for you to understand.

When I was a young mother, I’d occasionally hear horror stories about family tragedies. At that time, I could not have imagined surviving similar circumstances. I thought that those people who ‘carried on’ must be super-heroes of fortitude, faith, and virtue. Or just naturally wired to be brave and stoic.

Not me.  I knew I could never handle it if something awful happened to one of my loved ones. Especially my children.  Just let me jump on the funeral pyre and call it a day.

No, I am not wired to be brave and stoic. I am not a paragon of faith or fortitude. There’s not much super-hero strength to be found around here.

But I know where to get some.

In case you haven’t already heard this, I want to let you in on a little secret:

God does not “help those who help themselves.” He helps those who cannot help themselves.

He helps those who have no strength left.
He helps those who are at the end of their ropes.
He helps those whose faith is weak.
He helps spineless, sobbing messes like me…

when we ask for it.

That takes a bit of humility.

You have to admit that your best isn’t good enough.

You realize, at last, that you can’t go it alone. You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You can’t mindfully ascend to a higher plateau. You can’t just “close your eyes, and think of England!”

You are stuck in the pit, with no way out. Way too weak to climb up.

So you must humble yourself enough to ask for help.

And it always, always comes to those who ask in simple trust.


I have to confess that not a single one of my pregnancies was planned. They were all great surprises. Two out of the three were actively being prevented. The other was kinda/sorta being prevented. (I am a poster child for abstinence before marriage.)

My first two girls were 23 months apart, and as opposite as two humans can be. (Kids are like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re going to get.) They loved (love) each other fiercely, but fought in equal measure. Everyone in our family has a big personality… some have been labeled ‘larger than life.’ Passionate. Loud. Sensitive. Extrovert. Funny. Into everything. And those children were. They were into playing creatively and dramatically and dressing up and hiding in the woods. They were into ballet and gymnastics and theater and choir and a gazillion other after-school activities. They were into fierce fighting and dramatic making up. They were intense. 

I was tired.

When they were 5 and 7, we found out that a surprise was on the way. My husband and I had pretty much decided that we had our hands full with the two large, but diametrically different, personalities God had already given us, so the thought of a number 3 was daunting. It turned out to be the roughest pregnancy yet. I was horribly nauseated for all 9 months. In spite of that, I gained more than twice as much as the previous pregnancy, and developed toxemia.  

I associated every inch of our house with extreme nausea, so my loving husband booked us all reservations at a resort in Highlands, N.C. for a change of venue. 

By Sunday I was vertical, so we decided to go to a local church.

As we were walking in, an older man stopped me at the door, and spoke a ‘word’ over me and our family that unsettled me.

I got away from him as soon as I could, and sat down and prayed: “Okay. I’m a little freaked outWhat does any of that mean, if it means anything at all? Does it mean anything at all?? I'm barely coping as it is.

At that moment, a totally unrelated scripture came into my mind as distinctly as if I’d heard an audible voice:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

It was like a thunderclap. A warm chill emanated from deep within, flowing up into my heart. I knew immediately and definitively that the baby was going to be another girl, contrary to everyone’s predictions, and that her name would be Grace. 

(And she has been. Grace upon grace.)

That scripture has been the key to everything.

When you have nothing left, Christ comes to fill.
When you are powerless, the Holy Spirit sends power.

All you have to do is ask… and believe you will receive. 

(Sometimes, it comes as a gift even when you don’t believe.)

There is much more strength in our weakness than there is in our strength.

For when we are weak, then He is strong for us.

No, I am not "strong" at all.


“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. 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 12:9-10)

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:29-31)

 For I can do everything through Christ, 
who gives me strength.” 
(Phil 4:13)


*For those of you who are new here and wondering who the heck Margery is, I apologize. It’s too long to go into today. This is an old blog of mine that was ransomed by Photobucket, along with thousands of other blogs and websites. Evidently, there must have been a class action lawsuit, because they have removed the huge banner that covered everyone’s heading. In doing so, they have also wiped out all the introductory material concerning crazy old Margery. In a perfect world, I’d hire an expert and create a whole new blog. In the meantime (the name of another old blog I used to have), I hope to occasionally publish some random thoughts on life and faith on this broken little vessel. Which is appropriate in many ways… because we talk a lot about brokenness here!

Thanks for understanding,


Bobbie said...

Oh how I’ve missed your raw sharing and teaching me...please stay:)

Katrina Bowers said...

I enjoy your raw, honest words... and I pray for your family always. God bless you all ��

Deborah said...

Truer words never spoken!!
Your family is on my prayer list.
Love to each of you...
Deborah P.

Mary said...

Dame Julian of Norwich's quote is my all time favorite. It's on my refrigerator and engraved on my heart. Thank you, Kim, for your honest integrity! Joe and I love you all. Mary Berry

Connie Herringdine said...

Your words are so true, and beautifully spoken. Thank you for taking the time to write and share.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your honesty Kim. We admire your strength but know where it comes from. May the grace of God and every thought and prayer that is lifted for your family "prop you up on you leaning side." Love, the Prescotts

oby dupree said...

This is so helpful to me and I’m sure many others.
Thank you so much sweet girl ����!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that.

Unknown said...

Thank you. Thank you. Beautiful and timely as I have had to watch my 31 year old son suffer immensely since Oct of 2018 with an extremely painful case of pheriphial neuropathy. Agony for months. Finally in the last 2 weeks he seems to be moving into healing. Many have been praying! Nothing can make you stand but the Lord when a loved one is hurting or suffering in any way.

Ginny Evans said...

Thank you Kim for your open and direct honesty!!! It is refreshing and I continue to pray for you and all of your family!! Much love!! Ginny

Linda said...

Oh, Kim, I too have missed your musings on faith and life. You are a prolific writer, and I know that is a gift from God you will one day share with the world. In the meantime, you are held by the very presence of God whether you know it or not.

God created us perfect pots. Over time we became cracked by life. All that this broken world has to offer is a ding to our frail cracked pots. You've been dinged a lot. But God made you perfect in Him. His own hands molded you, and His handprints are all over you. What may seem cracked and broken is actually a picture of grace and love given to you by the Father through His son. That's what others see. That's why people think you are strong. You are indeed made strong by our only source of strength -- Jesus Christ our Lord. I pray you feel His feathers holding you. I pray that even when you don't, you just know. We pray for you often. I cannot imagine this hardship. You are a beautiful cracked pot, my friend. So beautiful. Linda Todd

Unknown said...

Your beautiful words are so encouraging and uplifting. You are an inspiration to so many and a gift tomyour family and friends.

Debi said...

You have such a gift with words Kim. Thank you for sharing them with us. On a side note...look at how little James is in your profile picture! Who knew there'd be a John some day too?!