Words flew yesterday. Angry words, cutting my heart like a knife. Finding the chink in my armor, the soft, vulnerable part of me. Those words pierced deeply, further entrenching my feelings of failure and insufficiency.
The words came from several of my kids in several different conversations, but they communicated the same thing: Mom, you’re lacking. You’re not good enough, inadequate.
I’d be kidding you if I said I was able to rebound quickly. No, the reality looked a lot more like the following:
- Forget this. It’s not worth it. I’m done.
- Will anyone really care if I just disappear?
- Why do I bother?
- Where do I sign my “Mother Resignation Letter”?
- What if I just refuse to talk to anyone ‘til they leave home?
- How much longer ‘til they leave???
One of the offenders even texted me to apologize. I ignored it. Then he extended an olive branch. Wanna watch Survivor together when you get home? Again, no response. The reality was I wanted him to hurt. I wanted him to feel as badly as I did. I wanted him to suffer. That’s the ugly, nasty truth.
Even my car ride home was laced with an angry and hurtful conversation with God. I thought You were my Shield! Why didn’t You deflect those angry words so they didn’t have to hurt me?
When I got home, I retreated to my room, too upset to talk or smooth things over. But then something remarkable happened. Something I didn’t want to do. I called the worst offender to my room to talk. (Because two years is a long time to avoid someone.)
I confronted. He acknowledged. I questioned. He answered. And then I heard it. I heard the pain leaking out of the chinks in his armor. He’s hurting, scared, overwhelmed, so he lashed out at me. We talked and prayed. Eventually I forgave him.
I share this, not because it’s a beautiful story with a sad but sweet ending. I share because of what I learned in that moment between avoidance and encounter. I recalled a verse I’d read earlier that morning, one I’ve read numerous times, but this time I couldn’t get past it.
My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
~2 Corinthians 12:9
I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses…
What? Who does that?
Well, certainly some people boast about their weaknesses. I’m so impatient. You don’t want to make this woman mad! This kind of boasting, though, is not one where change is desired. They are proud of their flaws and weakness, and everyone else better just get used to it, dadgummit.
But the kind of boasting that Paul is talking about is not a laughing, prideful response. No, this is a boasting in which we recognize our shortcomings as opportunities to point others to Christ. So that Christ’s power may rest on us. In our own strength, we wouldn’t be able to do x, y, or z. So when others see us do x, y, or z, they know it’s Jesus’ power that is accomplishing it, not our own. There’s no doubt.
And that’s exactly what happened for me yesterday. I was incredibly weak, incredibly sad and hurt. There was NOTHING in me that wanted to reconcile with my son. NOTHING. And yet, remarkably, God’s Spirit overcame me and prompted me to start a conversation. His power rested on me and I was able to do something that I didn’t even have a desire to do.
Now that’s a reason to boast! His grace IS sufficient!
Where are you weak and need to see God’s grace show up?