The late humorist Erma Bombeck published a book entitled, If life is just a bowl of cherries then why am I in the pits? In her writings she had a lighthearted way of dealing with the unfair, confusing, satirical, unexpected, and simply crazy stuff of ordinary life and the people that can be responsible for it. Oh to have the gift of humor! Yeah that one eludes me a lot of the time these days when my world does not make sense.
Another author, Sarah Young encourages us in her book, Jesus Calling, to let the Lord envelop our outreach to others when times are tough. His love is infinite and transcends the strength and limited wisdom of our tiny brains, our earthly experiences. This is a better approach and moves me in the right direction.
But perhaps the place to find the best advice comes directly from God’s word. The opposite of weakness is strength. Searching for the word “strength” in the Bible yields 232 references! Wow. Finding this makes me realize that this must be something important to our God. He must want us to seek Him first in dealing with the people and situations we face in our lives or He wouldn’t have inspired men to write it down for us that many times! It makes sense: as Creator of all things He is the ultimate source for the power to overcome the stuff of this world. My favorite verse that helps me in my own times of weakness is Psalm 73:26:
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Today the infilling of the Holy Spirit and His power helped me to do what I could not have done by myself. The task was relatively simple: make dinner for my husband and his good friend. After all, we had made most of the items yesterday and offered to have his friend over last weekend and it didn’t work out. All I had to do was tidy up a bit, set the table, make a salad, and put it all together. The only problem was that my husband called me to confirm that his friend was coming as I was waking up from a recovery nap just after noon. Nope, I wasn’t at church again today. I was feeling very beat up from a total of 11 hours of seizure attacks the night before that woke me up several times overnight and early this morning. My brain was still numb. The number of attacks were too many to count. I had wrenched my back in the process of involuntary shaking; the headache and back pain were piercing my frame. The last thing a gal wants to do when her face is swollen, brain foggy, body hurting and running through hot-n-cold sweat episodes is entertain! But if I did say yes, it would get me out of bed and going for the day. A voice inside me somewhere agreed to the plan. What?
As it turns out, everything came together regardless of how I was feeling. I got to have a normal experience after an abnormal, nightmarish one. I called upon the Lord and He sustained me, strengthened me for the task at hand. The food was great and fellowship meaningful. There was time to rest afterwards and take a call from another dear friend who understands what this journey through chronic illness is really like. After eating lunch and taking two Tylenols, I felt better by about 4:00 p.m. Whew. At least the whole day wasn’t wasted!
The “gentle approach” I usually need is the one I must take with myself. I must gently lay myself before the Lord at His throne of grace and let his love and strength wash over me. When I am weak, when I am unable, when I lack a humorous approach to cope, He is able. He is my Lord this day and always, my Emmanuel. I don’t have to control anything or make anything happen in whatever shred of strength I may have at any moment. He goes before me and it is always good. Today I could even taste it!
As an aside, today is Mother’s Day in the United States. While many call it a Hallmark or greeting card holiday, it was actually signed into law after a woman wanted a woman in the role of motherhood to be recognized within her own family at least one day per year. The Lord did not grace me with the role of “mother.” Technically I am a step mother however that is not a title my husband’s adult children choose for me at this time. They are adults and I am cool with this. Recently I offered to adopt my husband’s grandchild as my own and was warmly received by the parents. I am humbled and joyful for this gift of a grandson! He now has five grandmothers and in time will see the benefits of the love and prayers of all of them. The Lord guided me in not forcing the issue of being recognized as a step mother or grandmother. Here we go again: sometimes a gentle approach is best. To Him be the glory in Christ Jesus when I do get it right. I could not do it without You!