7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
It’s been building for months–the perfect storm of inconveniences. Our girls are all in school this year, I started teaching part-time, Hubs’ job has had ultra-stressful days and weeks, and our Boy is smack dab in the middle of the terrible two tantrums. Our predictable family routine has changed…dramatically. We’ve gone from homeschooling to out-of-home schooling. We no longer have an adult at home all day to take care of the details of our life. Togetherness isn’t something we can take for granted and we have to fight tooth and nail to maintain the values and belief system we feel called to. It’s been…hard.
And I know that God has been building us, strengthening us, preparing us for this season. All those sleepless nights with colicky babies, all the potty training, all the disciplining, all the juggling of temperaments and tempers…and we’re still learning. We are not in this season completely unprepared. We are stronger because of this decade of parenting. I know that God is working in and through us and has so many more blessings for us as individuals and as a family.
But this season is still hard.
I cannot count the number of nights that I’ve begged God for help: Help us, Lord. Give us strength. Give us Your peace. Help us to love each other better. Help me to understand…give me Wisdom. Give me JESUS… To be completely honest, I’ve also begged God to make things different: Let me bring the girls back home. Release me from my responsibilities at school. Let me go back to focusing solely on my family. Can I sleep in just one morning?!
I feel so weak, so lacking, so impoverished in spirit. I know how to mother as a stay-at-home, homeschooling, diapering, dish-washing, laundering, mopping mom. I don’t know how to mother as a caravaning, hyper-scheduled, multi-tasking to the hilt mom. This feels like a desert and sometimes I wonder if we would all be better off back in Egypt–though we certainly weren’t slaves:)
So back to the begging and pleading… It’s probably come mostly in the form of a complaint. Not a lot of gratitude, but a fair amount of attitude. God is faithful to listen and remind me to be grateful for all that I do have. He has also pressed this question into me: Am I enough?
Is He enough? If I never really get comfortable with our new schedule and routine, can I be comfortable in Him? If I never learn how to get the kids to school on time without losing my temper, can I continue to learn patience from the ultimate Long Sufferer? If my son throws five tantrums a day for the next year, can I use my lips (and this keyboard) to bless and praise the Lord? Is He enough for me?
I love the verse above. I love that God wanted us all to know that even amazing, teaching, preaching, missionary Paul struggled. He felt weak. He begged God to relieve him from a thorn in his side. And what was God’s answer? God is sufficient.
He is everything and anything I need or will ever need. He. is. enough.
Paul came to praise God for His weaknesses because in the weakness of who he was, a failing human, God was made greater. God’s strength becomes so obvious when our weaknesses are exposed. Look at what Paul lists: infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions, distresses. I can think of at least one thing for each of those categories in my own life! Rather than complaining and dreading the “inconveniences” of my present circumstances, I should be rejoicing! Why? Because as Paul says, in my weaknesses, in my lacking, in my poverty of spirit–Christ is exalted.
So tomorrow will be another challenge. I will most certainly fail in a variety of areas. I won’t have enough energy, time, patience, talent, or ability to get through the day. But I know a wonderful Father-God who does. I know He is enough. For me, for my husband, for my children, for friends and family, for every situation I encounter.
He is enough.