For a woman who lives a fairly simple, small life out in the middle of next-to-nowhere, I am kind of astounded at the number of amazing people I've known and who have plowed themselves into my life.
Consider one such remarkable woman...
When we lived in Millington, I looked forward each month to getting together with the Fray-Mill homeschool moms for food and fellowship. We would stay up until the wee hours of the morning, and although my body would definitely be a bit weary the day after, my heart would always be encouraged, my mood brightened. How I loved being with those ladies!
One woman - a bit older and much wiser than myself - always blessed me, and I loved to "sit at her feet." Not so much because she had all the answers, but because she always reflected Christ to me. Rather than denying the difficulty of this life, rather than giving me "Ten Steps to Being a Perfect Mom," she communicated truth and grace - "Yes, this is a really hard labor. But it is worthwhile. We need Jesus if we're going to be faithful to the task He has given us. You need Jesus, and I need Him, too...let's go to Him together!" So often, this dear sister exhorted us to run to the cross, to lean hard on Jesus. I told this friend once that when I spent time with her, it was as if I could hear chains falling off, falling to the ground. No wonder I felt lighter, brighter!
Funny thing is, this lady doesn't see herself as a "giant of the faith," as someone who has it all together. She is quick to testify that she is a sinner, that she is weak in body, and that she often must fight hard for joy and for greater faith in the midst of pain and trials. In fact, if I wrote her name here, she would be mortified. Yet, her life and example are paying dividends in the lives of others that she can't imagine.
Another friend (Hi, Jenny!) posted this quote from Christ in the Chaos' Facebook status this week: "The worst first impression we can make on other moms is that of appearing to have it all together. Be weak and let them be impressed with His strength."
Steve asked me once, after a Fray-Mill dinner, "What is it about L---- that encourages you so much?" I think that quote Jenny posted sums it up: L---- has not been ashamed to be weak, to be seen as needy, to live as one who daily depends completely on Christ for life and hope and strength and wisdom. In walking a path of humility, however, she has become a beacon of Christ's strength and glory.
We all have weak places, broken places, fears, huge battles we are fighting that we seem to be always in danger of losing. Me, I want to conquer some weakness, slay a particular sin, stand triumphant over some trial in my life, and then - maybe - as a victorious, puffed-up, has-it-all-together soldier I will share with you the struggle I once had, but that is now behind me. Let me master this, and then I will tell you about it.
I usually don't want to share what I'm going through right now. Not while I'm in the midst of it. No, let me see the whole reel first. I may need to edit some scenes, censor some dialogue, do a little photo-shop magic before the tape is "released." Want to be sure to present myself in the best light, right?
But that attitude robs me of so much...the support and encouragement of my brothers and sisters in Christ in the midst of my struggles. And it robs them, too. Robs them of the joy of working out the love of Christ in their ministry to me, and of the blessing of seeing Christ's strength made sufficient in a weak sister.
What supernatural power it takes to live a life of humility and weakness! I pray today that, like my friend, I will live honestly, transparently. That God will give me the grace to admit my frailty, that His strength might be displayed the more.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
2 Corinthians 12:9