Tuesday, October 16, 2012


From Jenny Sue Got Married, originally posted on September 15, 2011.

Ever since Al's stroke in January, I've had people occasionally say to me, "You are so strong, Jen".

Weird, because I feel so weak. Perhaps the thread I'm hanging by is exceptionally strong, but I myself do not feel particularly strong. Tenacious, maybe. I'm not giving up on my husband. I'm not giving up on my family. I might give up on the dream of sanity on occasion. . . .

The first thing that comes to mind is "The joy of the Lord is my strength." Strange, but true: I have experienced an incredible increase in joy since this all began. For the first several weeks, I was sustained by grace - completely and utterly lifted up by God's grace and the prayers and service of people who love us. I experienced the presence of God with me in such a profound way that I couldn't help but be joyful.

Once I was able to stand on my own two feet again, it's not as if I launched into a wonderful prayer life. I had many weeks off from work and I *could* have spent a lot of time in prayer: time interceding for Al, time praying for wisdom and insight into why God was allowing us to go through this and what He wanted us to learn during this time, time doing Scripture study about the purpose of suffering. Instead, I slept a lot. When Al first got home from the hospital, I put a portable intercom in our bedroom, another in the living room, and a third upstairs so that he could buzz me if he needed something while he was lying in bed. It turned out to be more often the case that I would be sleeping and he would buzz me from the living room, saying, "I'm getting hungry." (this would be at 10:30, and he hadn't had breakfast yet.)

However, God didn't give up on me. He knew my family needed me. And He knew I needed Him. So He answered my prayers and gave me a growing desire to worship Him. So, I've spent a lot of time in worship, saying to the Lord, "This is Your life. This is Your plan. This is Your will. I will cooperate with You and trust in You no matter what." This is essentially what worship is: professing who God is and what a mighty God He is. He is God, and I am not. There is something about worship that gives me far more peace than does begging and pleading for my prayers to be answered, for my own will to be done.

I am also reminded of Paul's thorn in his flesh: "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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." (2 Cor. 12:8-9) I know just how weak I am. I don't like having to work hard. I just want things to be easy. Well, life certainly hasn't been easy since Al became disabled, but again, there is an almost tangible grace that has lifted me up time and time again. I've had the strength to run one more errand, to help Al with one more exercise, to go to work one more day, to have hope for one more moment. . . .all because of God's grace.

So, friends, while I'm flattered that you think I am so strong, I really am not. It's all the Lord. The Lord is my strength and my song.

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