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".
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. . . .
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.
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.