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Weakness

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's 3:37am.  A freakish probably-brain-damaged meerkat squirrel just woke me up from the middle of my sleep.

I just had this dream that this meerkat squirrel was in my house and was going to hurt me.  I tried to find whatever I could to kill it.  But all I could find was this tiny wooden ruler.  I got a few good wacks to the back of his head and thought I had at least caused it some brain damage.  But it kept coming back like it was rabid.

Just as I thought the meerkat squirrel was dead, it popped out right from underneath me causing me to completely wake up from my sleep.

They say dreams are our body's way of working through the days events.  My dream is probably a good image of what life has been like for us for the last few days: Scary things popping up and our having little ability to do much about them.

We have felt a bit unprepared for emergency room visits and a 2-day admission to the hospital in addition to three out of the four of us having compromised health...(these colds are baaad!)

Last night, as Brian and I climbed into bed super early, I told Brian that I was waving a white flag of surrender.  "No more," I told him.  "I give up.  I surrender.  I'm down for the count."  Things went south on Tuesday.  I was coping on Wednesday but was struggling on Thursday.  I did better on Friday.  But by Saturday, I just felt completely defeated.

Before falling asleep, I turned over and asked Brian what he thought God wanted to teach us through this whole process - a process that has seemed to suck every bit of emotional and physical energy from us both.

It's nice to have a PhD Theology Student for a husband when I have questions about God.  Brian reminded me that God doesn't necessarily allow things to happen to us just to teach us something.  But he agreed there is always something to be learned from everything we experience in life.

We discussed the idea of suffering and what it means - how it reminds us how little control we have and how it causes us to hold onto God tighter...how suffering builds perseverance (Romans 5:3-4) and makes us hope for heaven.

Through this conversation, I began to recognize the one thing I am walking away from this experience with most is the awareness that I am not self-sufficient.  This week, we needed friends.  We needed family.  We needed compassion.  We needed encouragement.

Right now, this time in our lives, we just need more than we ever have before.  The brokenness of Bennett's body means we, as his parents, have to offer him more.  And that means that we have less to offer others, including ourselves.

As we have had less to give, we have needed to receive more.  And that can be hard to do.

We haven't been able to volunteer with our church's nursery at all this winter since, each week, we take turns caring for Bennett in a room away from snotty noses and junky coughs.  We haven't been able to offer up meals to friends who have been having babies because we ourselves have struggled to get meals on our own table nightly.  We haven't been able to reach out to potential friendships we'd love to see grow because our need has been to keep our marriage intact, Brian's schoolwork on course and our children on schedule.

We have not been able to give as much as we want to give.  And have needed to receive more than we have ever before.  And that feels like a loss of control sometimes.

But I am learning to appreciate the gifts without feeling guilty...to recognize that people want to help and feel good to know that they matter (which they do!).  I am learning how to say yes, when friends ask to come visit us at the hospital...or how to say yes, when neighbors offer a meal.  I am learning how to say yes when a parent wants to offer me a few hours of rest by caring for my oldest child away from home.  I am taking seriously the offers of places to stay or fulfillment of needs should we find ourselves in a similar place again.

I realize that our needs will not be forever (although with Bennett, it may be for a while).  I believe there will be a moment when we can give back, at least more than what I can now.

But I am choosing to take away from this week the acceptance that I am not self-sufficient.  As a Christian, I am broken and am in need.  I am helpless.

As an American, it's a hard concept with which to come to terms.  But I realize that when I accept what others offer, I ultimately accept what God offers me.

My hands have been made open in the last few days.  And I have fallen on my knees purely out of weakness.  I have wanted to give up numerous times.

But this is a good thing.  As I sing the words to 'Jesus Loves Me' with Oliver each night, "They are weak, but He is strong."

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
 

One Response to “Weakness”

  1. Well girl, you've done it again. You have lifted me up from the despair that I feel. I definitely feel week. My husband has been working out of town for 6 month now. I haven't seen him since Christmas. My parents are on the other side of the country. Doing this alone has been so challenging, I wonder how I get up again in the morning. Or in the middle of the night (love the beeping pump at 2am).

    It has been only recent where I feel like I know now that I have no control over CF. If suffering builds perseverance, and in our weakness, He is strong, then we must be very strong indeed!

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