Thursday, April 22, 2010

In My Weakness His Strength is Made Known

I have a circumstance in my life that I wish was different. I have had it for years. I wish it would go away, but it won’t. It’s a circumstance over which I have no control. I’ve tried to ignore it, hoping it would go away. I’ve even tried to run away from it. But both of those options only made it worse. So I set boundaries around it, yet it remains.

I’ve prayed many, many times for this circumstance to be lifted. I’ve wept bitter tears over it. I used to be so sure that God would remove it and I waited for that because I just knew that God didn’t want me to suffer like this. I prayed Psalm 6 over it. “How long, O Lord, how long,” I asked. Yet the circumstance remained.

Finally, I started attending a Kay Arthur Bible Study, and what she said stunned me. In one of her videos, she said something like, “What if your circumstances never get any better? What if things never change?” I had never even considered that possibility!

At first I didn't like what she said. I didn't want to consider the possibility that my burden might never be lifted. But eventually Kay's teaching became a turning point in my faith walk--a milestone. Because she went on to say, “God’s grace is enough for you, not only in eternity, but also in the here and now.” Wow, I always knew God’s grace was enough to save me from my sins so that I could go to heaven. But I never considered that I could trust His grace for life on this earth (or even need to.) I guess I expected God to make life on earth easy, and never thought about needing His grace now.

Oh, I’ve come a long way since those days of expecting God to make life easy. He loves me too much to allow me to be lazy. He loves me too much to let me live without needing his grace. He loves me too much to let me wallow in my weakness. Instead, he uses my weakness to make his strength known.

Because of that one Bible study lesson, I quit waiting for my circumstances to change and finally began living. I stepped out in faith, standing on 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I knew how weak I was, but I also knew I needed to quit using that as an excuse.

So, my circumstance remains. I wish I could say that I never let it bother me anymore, but I can’t. I continue to struggle with it. I continue to lay it on the altar, only to find that days, weeks, or even years later, I’ve picked it up again. But every time I realize that I’m carrying it again, I run to the altar, lay it down again, and with every bit of determination I can muster, I say, “I trust You, Lord, I trust You.”

What’s your circumstance? Is it a wayward child? Is it physical pain? Is it an addiction? Is it grief? What do you need to lay on the altar? I encourage you to do it today. Quit asking and waiting for God to remove it. Lay it down and with every bit of determination you can muster, say “I trust You, Lord, I trust You. Your grace is sufficient for me. Not only for eternity, but also for today.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Placing My Burden on God's Very Capable Shoulders

My last blog was March 20. Today is April 8. It's been a busy couple of weeks! Easter was huge at our church since it was also the first day in our newly built Worship Center. Moving to this state of the art building from a building that has housed our congregation for over 100 years took us to a whole new way of doing worship in just one week. It was a tremendous amount of work for a small army of servants. But the best part about it was that once all the physical work done, God showed up to perform the real work.

Now the sun has barely set on Easter, and the next Big Event for our Women's Ministry looms largely on the horizon, less than 2 weeks away. We barely have time to regroup. My mind is moving so fast, I must find time to slow it down.

With all this going on, the wheels of the adoption process are finally starting to turn. We've waited so long for this and it's finally happening. Last summer would have been a much more convenient time, God! But here we are, and this adoption is my main focus.

So now, we must prove to authorities that we are capable of raising our granddaughter. We are being asked questions that probe deeply into who we are and what we feel and believe. We are being asked questions about our marriage relationship and how we feel about parents who refuse to parent their children. We even have to answer questions that don't apply to our situation. It's all to get at the root of who we are--and it's exhausting.

Today, we go to the doctor to have him verify that we are healthy enough at the age of 49 to care for a toddler until she's an adult.

This is our granddaughter, for goodness sake! I hate that outside agencies have to be involved in this very emotional family situation. We've only had our granddaughter for eight months but we have become a family. Our hearts are broken for our son and our granddaughter's mother, but this little girl cannot wait for them. She's growing up before our very eyes, and they are still stuck in the same place they've been for several years.

To think that anything could break up our little family of three right now makes fear rise up in me. My face gets flushed and my heart pounds. I try not to go there, but I'm continually faced with questions that probe much deeper than I've taken time to probe on my own. I wonder if my answers are "right." Will my answers reveal something in me that could disqualify me from being a mom? Will the doctor find something that would disqualify me or my husband? What if, what if, what if????

I've got to stop that! I've got to trust that God's plan will be fulfilled--no matter what. If I am disqualified (and I don't believe I will be) it's because God's got something better for this precious little girl--and that is ultimately what I want anyway.

What a relief when I move from the "what if's" to God's plan for my granddaughter's best interest. The pressure and the burden move from my shoulders to God's. And I need to leave them there. I need to quit taking them on myself. Our future and our granddaughter's future are in God's hands and He is perfectly capable of carrying that pressure and burden.

...And that is my unswerving hope!