Friday, February 13, 2015

Strength in Weakness

We were in church, singing this song which I have sung hundreds of times before ... and we came to this line:
I will find my strength in the shadow of your wings
I don't know how or why things sometimes evade me, but eventually, at the proper time, I have an "aha" moment and I see something I never saw before.  That's what happened in the middle of our musical worship.  As I sang that line, I saw myself, running into the shadow of His wings and I saw, clear as day, that He was hiding me in shelter, protecting me with His goodness and care.  It hit me then, that "my strength" IS HIM.  It won't ever be that I find my strength, like a car coming to a filling station and leaving to zoom around without the nozzle of gasoline pumping in.  I find my strength right there - in the shadow of His wings.  Near Him.  Under His care.  Fully connected.  Utterly dependent.  This is where I am strengthened because He is my strength.  

I think that up until that moment I never fully realized that the only thing I bring to the party is weakness.  I won't ever bring my own strength.  I will heal, yes, and I will find strength, yes.  But I will never be strong without Him.  Quite frankly, I wonder why I ever wanted it that way in the first place.  With him is so much infinitely better. 

I'm not saying we have no goodness within.  God made us all in His image - that means we are precious, unique, special enough to die for and beloved enough to indwell.  Despite that goodness, on my own I am weak and broken.  What is good in me was there by design or redeemed by His hand and even that is weak without Him. 

You know how God tells us in Romans not to be conformed to the pattern of this world?  Sometimes that pattern is so imperceptible.  We don't see how we have swallowed the culture around us and made it a part of who we are.  All around us messages clamor telling us to be strong and self-sufficient - sometimes even in our churches.  We come to believe we are supposed to overcome sin by our might.  We are saved by grace, but get out of the way sister, we've got this sanctification thing covered, thank you very much.  Yet, God is mindful of our frame.  He knows we are but dust (Psalm 103).  He doesn't expect more from us than is humanly possible. 

Instead of expecting us to muster our own goodness and strength, He is telling us, "Run to Me - find your strength in Me."

There's a line in another song we sing as Christians, starting in preschool Sunday School: 

Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong

Those little ones, arent they all of us?  We are weak, but He is strong.  Why do we resist the truth of our own weakness?  I think it is because we fear.  We fear God will be like others who have hurt us or expected too much from us.  We'd rather clean up first and then approach Jesus than to come as we are and risk rejection or disappointment.  I spent years in the faith wondering why God seemed so far off when I was really just too hesitant to approach Him fully and freely.  My wounds kept me stuck.  My perfectionism blinded me to His abundant love and grace. 

The Apostle Paul boasts about God, "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for strength is perfected in weakness' ... therefore I will boast of my weaknesses ... for when I am weak, then I am strong."  Paul found the secret.  When we let go of trying to achieve perfection, we are open to receive the grace of God - unmerited goodness and love freely given; we are free to be just as weak as we are.  Like a child in the safety of their loving parent's arms, we can relax and trust.  Ironically, this is when amazing things begin to happen.  From the ashes of our weakness, He brings inexplicable beauty. 

In the process of growing into trust, I have been led to encounter Bonnie Gray and have been going through her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace (as those of you who come here regularly know).  This week I was reading a section of her book called "the Basement" where she recounts early abandonment and the longing for peace.  I had seen around the web this new movement of Bible Journaling.  All of a sudden while reading this chapter in Bonnie's book, I decided to journal about peace - the word Shalom in all its deeper meanings.  As I sat in the corner of a Starbucks, my legs folded and journal open in my lap, verses about peace began to enter my mind.  The process was slow and soothing.  I was worshiping God with my pen and paper as my mind was fixed on Him and His goodness. 

Shalom ... A Deeper Peace ... Real ... Wholeness ... Complete.  

It dawned on me that in wholeness we are lacking nothing.  He, the Prince of Peace, the God of Hope, can and does fill us with joy and Shalom as we trust in Him.  This dynamic healing process in my life has been just that - being weak enough to dare coming unglued in His presence and being filled with unexpected Shalom.  

But, trust didn't come easily or overnight.  As a matter of fact, it is still coming.  I'm a work in process, learning to find my rest in Him and to let Him into every recess of my heart.  So, tonight, I found a verse for us - for me and for you - a verse about the shadow of His wings.  I journaled this verse so we could ponder it and delight in the sweet truth it offers.  

Come run with me, into the safe shadows.  Come dwell in the love we find there.  
Come weak and broken sinners and find yourself singing 
as you dare to trust His goodness.  

^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^

I encourage you to try your hand at scripture journaling or any other creative way you think of to abide in God and His Word.  Please share here or on my Facebook page.  I'd love to see your worship in art (which does not have to be Pinterest worthy at all).  As always, I'd love to pray for you - especially those of you longing to grow in trust and in coming to Him just as weak as you are

Linking up with 

Faith Barista (Bonnie)
Christian Mommy Blogger


Kayla G said...

Isn't it amazing how He is sufficient for our needs, whether that is strength or Someone to trust? He is trustworthy! And so is His Word. Now, if we could just retrain ourselves in His ways -- as He has laid them out in Scripture -- so that we don't fall in line with the world's ways so easily!

Great post. I love your Scripture art; I may have to try my hand at it! Stopping by from Fellowship Fridays. :)

HeartsHomeward said...

I hope you do allow yourself to try the Scripture Art. You can look up Bible Journaling on the web to see amazing things people have done - with a wide range of skills. It isn't to make a masterpiece, but to abide and create and express and internalize the Word and His love.

It is tempting to want to train ourselves. When we are, we can remember what He says in the context of that Romans verse, "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." We are transformed as we allow Him to renew our minds. You know how you become like the people you hang around? That's the way it is with Jesus. We need to abide so His ways rub off on us.

Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts here. I'm so glad you did. You are welcome back anytime.

Barbie said...

Beautiful words, beautiful art. I've tried scripture art before and just cant' seem to do it (to my liking anyways). But I love to get my hands dirty with paint and canvass and am thankful for a church community who allows me to express myself in that way during worship. You've seen my art. I don't think I need to share. ;) Love you friend.

HeartsHomeward said...

Thank you! Your art! It IS Scripture Art ... Holy Spirit art. You know I love it because I chose it for a give-away. The invitation is to create in response to Him and you do that with love and creativity and heart. Share your art here whenever you want. I love it.

I'm so glad you came over. You are so faithful to me. I love you, friend.