Friday, January 29, 2016

I Can Do Nothing

12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:12-13 (NKJV)

I know that last verse is one that is seen everywhere and most of us can rattle it off with out a second thought. I do love it. It's not an easy verse though and actually, I don't like to read it without reading the verse right before it.
We struggle.
I struggle. 
We are human and broken and life is hard.
Trying to live our lives with a focus on God and grow your families that way is not the easiest path to choose. Throw in the added challenges that many of us face with our unique children and well sometimes that verse is a little hard to swallow.  
It almost sounds like there is some special strength that God just magically gives us, enabling us to do anything.
I don't have that.
What do I have?
I have that verse in front of it. The one that says I know how to have nothing and everything. I know how to be hungry and full. To have my needs met and to be neglected.
When I read those words, I say, "I am learning...".
I am learning contentment.
I am learning how to have nothing and praise God and how to have everything and praise Him.
I am learning that in reality our weakest moments often come when we are full. 
And I am seeing my faith is worked and strengthened in the temptations of my peace.
I am learning that "my strength" is not mine at all.

We have moved a few times in the last several years. Moving was not anything that I ever wanted to do. I am a bubble person, a cocooner, a deeply rooted "I want to live here forever", I don't like change, I'm afraid to leave...kind of gal.

But bubbles burst, cocoons break open, and roots are unbound...

to expose,

to release,

and to allow for deeper growth.

Once that initial breaking away occurred and we took that first step, as painful as it was at the time, I  began to understand something. I realized that the comfort, security and contentment I felt with my physical location, with my surroundings, our home...even our family, they were nothing compared to the comfort, security and contentment found in Jesus.

It was hard, but I was "strengthened" in the transition. In my weakness God was there, it is that knowledge and experience that strengthens faith and provides contentment.

Those are the things we need for the times when we can't quite see where God is showing up.

My husband and I frequently discuss moving again. He would love to go back to middle Tennessee...I will admit I have no desire to, except to be closer to our daughter, other family and friends. We talk about being open to moving anywhere, and I confess to him that for the most part, I think I could be happy anywhere. My husband, stopped mid discussion once, looked at me slightly annoyed and said, "You know I think you could."

He can be a grass is greener on the other side type person, and I am an eternal, "oh it doesn't matter what color the grass is, it will be ok."

You see, it's not that I want to let life happen to me, to my family, I don't. I firmly believe we have to move, in all areas. We have to engage and make choices...but at the end of the day, I trust God. I trust Him to plan and use and care for us. I trust his provision and I trust his strength in my weakness.

Because I am weak.

I doubt myself and I ask why.

But I am learning and growing stronger in the knowledge that...
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 (NIV) 

Those last words, "apart from Me you can do nothing"...

Dear Heavenly Father,
    We rest in the knowledge that we are weak but You are strong. Our comfort, security and peace is found in the strengthening power of Your word and the experience of seeing Your promises fulfilled. May we have hearts turned toward You with praise, both when we are hungry and when we are full, when we have and when we have not. May we be comforting reminders of your strength for those around us when they are weak. Amen

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