Thursday, December 10, 2015

Not What I Wanted to Hear!

Earlier this week I mentioned that Paul was in the darkest place of his life when he wrote 2 Corinthians. He gives a rather detailed list in chapter 11 of the many things he suffered as well as the load of his responsibilities concerning the church. Moving on to chapter 12 we get a small glimpse of some type of physical ailment he was suffering. He says he had a thorn in the flesh most historians agree it was some sort of physical difficulty. It must have been lingering and nagging as Paul says he asked God three times to be relieved of it. I'm like, three times? That's it?  Maybe he gave up on asking and maybe he was content with the answer he shares with his readers in the verses following.


As caregivers it's tricky emotionally asking God for relief. It's not that we mind taking care of our loved ones - we are honored to do so and we are fueled by love for them much the same way as the force of love held Jesus to the cross for us our love holds us by their sides. When we get into that overload mode and know we need a break but no break is in sight - we don't even know how to articulate a prayer that makes any sense. But our heavy heart cries out before our God seeking refuge in Him. And we likely get the same answer as God gave Paul: My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness.

My first question of course, is how does that work?  How can power be perfected or matured in the midst of weakness. Do you often have people tell you they admire your strength? I have sometimes and it's usually at my lowest most wiped out moments. I feel anything but strong. Well, it's not our power that matures in our weakness - it's when we are weak that we get out of the way and His power can work in us and for us. Paul goes on to explain in verse 10 that when I am weak, then I am strong. On one hand, that makes no sense at all - how can I be strong because I'm weak?

When I become so weak I cannot carry on - He carries me. Our own weakness gets us out of the way so His strength can manifest in us. In verse 9 Paul says I will rather boast in my weaknesses (notice that is plural) so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. As caregivers we soon find out we don't have time or strength to waste putting on a show for God or man. Our weakness strips us down to who we really are; to our bare reality. And then God's strength has full reign because we are out of the way.

Many days, okay most days, I need Him to carry me. But some days I think I am big enough and bad enough to do it on my own. (I'm sure that's just me, right?) But even on our weakest days caregivers are found just rolling up our sleeves and getting in there to get things done. The need for caregiving doesn't take a break - when you are caring for someone else you can't say I'm not doing this or that today - I just don't feel like it. So we can slip right into zombie mode where we continue to get things done but really aren't feeling it.

These times are when He undergirds us with His strength and carries us through - our weakness has gottten us out of the way so His power can work in and through us.So today - instead of waiting until I can't take another step - I'm just going to admit I'm weak. Like Paul I'm going to boast (or be proud if you will) in the fact that I really cannot do it without Him. My meditations will be on how His Spirit puts strength in me today - and I am empowered simply because He lives in me. (Ephesians 3:16) Today I'll be glad I am weak - so others can see His strength at work in me. This will be my meditation for today. Will you join me?






2 comments:

  1. Thanks Jeanie, as I read your devotional I am thinking man she gets it and I guess its true the only people who do get it are other caregivers and specifically caregivers of traumatic brain injured loved one. Our caregiver duties are very similar its the emotions that are I suppose are a little different, because its my wife and not my son. I think I commented before thanksgiving the kids where coming. It was a blessing to have family in for a few days . After they left I sank even lower in my feelings of being overwhelmed. and so very weak. Had all these extra things coming at us and it seemed to be piling up higher and higher until I just wanted to scream enough God I have had enough.

    Today thankfully is good day. God is faithful to carry me when those dark exhausting days have overtaken me. And like you said that's most days for me as well. I read with a smile when you asked "do you often have people tell you they admire your strength" ? What I get is people saying what a great guy I am for sticking by my wife, or some other compliment. All I can think is ,what kind of person leaves their wife after they have been injured. And I ALWAYS tell them they didn't see the 20 years my amazing wife took care of me. My Proverbs 31 wife.

    Thanks again

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I agree that our emotions are probably very different - child vs spouse. I totally understand being in that place of totally being overwhelmed and just not sure you can take one more thing big or small. So far we have gotten through those... but boy are they rough when they come around. I wish I could say there'd be no more - but I know that's not true at all...

    Thanks again for sharing and for reading!
    Jeanie

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