Written by Abby Larsen
Edited by Amber Crafton
I am self-sufficient. I am independent. I am strong. I can handle this on my own. I have described myself this way since high school.
My writing assignment was on being thankful, and in my independence, I had decided to write about being grateful through pain. (It was going to be good, too . . . real good!) But God graciously pulled back the pages of my past to show me that through all my hardships, trials, mountains, and valleys, He was teaching me to be dependent on him. He was trying to write a beautiful story, and my independence and self-reliance kept getting in the way.
I am smart, but I struggled to make good grades. I want to be a writer, yet I have a learning disability that affects my ability to process language, especially in written form. I wanted to be a mother, and I painfully walked through infertility. I want to be the active, fun mom who participates in my kiddo’s life, but I have lived with chronic pain ever since his birth. As I write this all out, I wonder how I missed all these connections for so long. In every one of those situations I needed outside help. Help from other people and, ultimately, help from God.
Recently I was reading 1 Corinthians 15, trying to make sense of my chronic pain. Starting in verse 42 the Word says,
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body . . .”
“It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.” This brings me to tears. I feel so weak some days I can hardly breathe, much less confess my weakness. I used to consider the old me and long to get back there, to that version of me. I looked up to that girl. She was strong; she could handle anything. But the Lord is transforming my mind, heart, and soul. The old me couldn’t admit she was weak, that she needed help; the new me knows she is inadequate, frail, and broken, and she is pushing nearer to Jesus for strength, healing, and grace.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12,
“Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses . . . with difficulties for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
These words, ones I have heard a thousand times over, strike me differently and deeper this morning. I can’t say I am well content yet about my difficulties, but I’m seeing a specific purpose in them. My heart is inching closer to a grace-sufficient life and further from a self-sufficient life. And for that, I am thankful.