Tag Archives: weakness

Hope That Sprouts Peace

I’ve never been one to pick a word of the year. Not that I have a problem with it, but my tendency would be to feel like I had to stay camped out on that word even if God was moving me toward something else. If that makes sense.

What I have been doing though is using alphabet building blocks to spell out a word or phrase as a visual reminder of a specific truth. I’ll call these “here and now words,” since they are simply whatever God is impressing on me for now. It’s amazing since paying attention how frequently in Bible study and everyday life the present word or theme crops up.

My first word, after being given the set of blocks was “weakness.” If you read this blog regularly, or follow me on Instagram, you may remember I wrote a couple posts about God showing me weakness is strength since it is in our inability and need that we see his power and might. Well, I’ve seen my need alot lately. And seeing who he is for me in my weakness, it is now “hope” that I’ve adopted as my “here and now word.”

I first encountered “hope” as a recurring word at Christy Nockel’s Night of Hope Christmas Concert. She likened her story (and song) of the Amaryllis, a flower that blooms in the winter when everything is cold and dark, to God’s love breaking into the sin and darkness of this world in the person of Jesus. The Light of the World who came to give hope.

After the concert I listened to the Amaryllis song over and over again so it’s no surprise really that when the handmade Christmas card (pictured above) arrived, “Hope” jumped out at me, There it is again. Ever since clinging to hope seems indirectly related to what I’m reading, my conversations and circumstances. Like I said, “It’s amazing since paying attention how frequently… the same word or theme keeps cropping up.”

So to realize in picking back up 1 Peter (which I literally started reading in September, but put down for a couple months until last week) that it’s all about living hope is not random.  In fact it seems the reason I never fully got through it in the fall is because this message is what God wanted for me now! How cool is that!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus ChristThough you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

This hope is not found here, but assures us of something so much greater. This hope reminding us to keep an eternal perspective can change the way we view things now. This hope we are called to by the God of all grace and is met in Christ who himself will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish. This hope does not disappoint!

Therefore, as Peter concluded his letter, “Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” Peace. Perhaps my next “here and now word.” What about you? What’s your word, or what inexhaustible truths are you seeing in his word?

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Weakness Is Strength

As I came out of my class at the Y the other day, I saw what looked like a large coin hit the ground. I asked the lady walking toward me if it had fallen out of her bag. She said, “No” and kept walking so I stooped to pick it up and saw it inscribed with “Wifey.” That seemd like an odd word to carry around, plus it was kind of beat up so I tossed in the trash can on the way to the water fountain.

But as I was filling my water bottle, I thought to myself that I should have turned it over to the front desk not thrown it away. Before I could go retrieve though, I heard a lady ask the front desk worker if a coin had been turned in.

My ears perked up, and my heart beat faster. It was the same lady’s voice who said it wasn’t hers. Yikes, it was afterall! Not wanting her to see me I snuck around the wall out of sight, but within ear shot. Once I knew she had headed back down the hall to class, I went back to the trash can. My plan was to grab it out and turn it in thinking she woud stop back by after class to see if it had been turned in. But the coin was gone. (Don’t worry the trash can was mostly empty minus a gum wrapper and plastic lid resting atop a discarded flyer so I didn’t have to dig deep!)

I assume the woman got it from the trash can herself, but I I felt awful for deeming it worthless and then hiding instead of running to tell her where it was! Who does that?

I’ll tell you. All of us, starting in the Garden when Adam and Eve hid from God after eating the forbidden fruit. This is when God came calling after them, “Where are you?” But clearly he’s God, he knew where they were, and what they had done. What he was really asking was, “Why are you hiding?”

Like Adam and Eve and all of humanity since, we have hidden in shame, trying to cover our sin and pridefully – rebelliously – acting as if we are innocent. Today we do this by wearing the mask of perfection to appear as we have it all together. We do this by covering up with the “fig leaf” of performance so no one will suspect we aren’t as “good” as our behavior begs them to think. And, by living out of our own strength, we deny our weaknesses, suppress our sin, and fail to see how needy we really are.

But not living weak and needy is to live not needing Jesus. Because who needs Jesus if you are strong and perfect on your own?

Lately, God has been showing me weakness is actually strength! What’s funny is I’m reading for the 4th time Barbara Duguid’s book Extravagant Grace with the subtitle: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness, but I’m hearing in a new way Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

That means I can be honest about my sin, without fear. I don’t have to hide – behind a wall, my “good” behavior or pride. I can go freely  – not shamefully – to God with all of my sin, and in all of my need for the only suitable covering there is – his righteousness.

Do you know Grace like this? Do you give it to yourself? Do you extend it to others? If you don’t, I hope you will begin seeing the key to drawing nearer to God is not sinning less and less and getting better and better, but becoming weak and dependent. His power – his strength – perfect in my weakness.

 

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How Parenting Out of Weakness Strengthened My Relationship With My Teen

“Can I talk to Dad now?”

Right in mid-sentence, my college daughter interrupted me and asked for the phone to be handed over to my husband. She had called me – upset and stressed out – needing someone to talk to, but then abruptly decided my husband was actually the one she preferred. While not easily offended, I would be lying if I said this didn’t bother me at all. I’m thankful she likes to talk to her dad, but what about me? Couldn’t we just all be on speaker?

I desperately wanted to know what she was thinking, experiencing, and doing, but every time we talked it felt like I was walking a fine line, not knowing what question or comment would push her too far and cause her to retreat. Even before that night I had sensed her shutting me out, and I couldn’t figure out why.

To find out why, and how it has led to better communication with my daughter follow me over to Rooted Ministry here.

 

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