I like to think I’m capable. That I’ve got things under control.
Often, I think that’s why God gave me six children. So I would need Him. Daily. So I would feel overwhelmed and incapable and needy. So He could be my strength.
In the early weeks of my pregnancy with Jackson, Number Five, I was sick. So, so sick. At the same time, Lauren and I were beginning our fist official year of homeschooling – Kindergarten. A couple months before, our roof had started leaking. We’d had soppy carpets and wet walls, and our tiny dining room had become a breeding ground for flying ants. After working everything out with insurance, which proved to be a lengthy task, we had hired a contractor to repair the roof and add a room onto our small house. They began at the end of the summer. Right when we were starting school. Right when morning sickness kicked into high gear.
I had a five year old, a four year old, a two year old, and a one year old. And contractors walking around my roof. And kindergarten to teach. And I needed to lie very, very still in a horizontal position or else the room started spinning and I started losing my saltines.
Looking back on those weeks, I think that is when life really started unraveling. I went into a sort of Survival Mode. The house got messy during that time and stayed messy for a few years. The “new” room would remain unfinished for more than three years. It was all just more than I could handle.
That was the turning point for me. My schedules and systems and plans were not enough. One of me was not enough. Honestly, that was the beginning of my being undone, when I began to fall into Grace.
But I am a slow learner. Evidently, learning this lesson once was not enough for it to seep deep into my soul. Over and over, I learn that I am not capable, that I am not enough.
I learned it then – lying on the couch, a toddler sitting on my legs, a textbook propped on my nauseous tummy, my kindergarten student kneeling beside me, men stomping on my roof, pounding, pounding, pounding.
Some three years and a few months later, I would learn it again – lying in a hospital bed, head spinning and stomach revolting from Morphine, a dear friend grabbing a bucket as I wretched then helping me brush my teeth, a simple, basic task I could not do on my own.
More than two years later and again and again for months on-end, I would learn my own weakness, my own inability to handle everything – standing by a hospital bed, wanting to be in two places at once, my heart torn in two, struggling to trust, fighting off worry, friends and neighbors taking in my children, taking out my trash.
And these past few weeks, I am relearning this, my life’s lesson. I am not strong on my own. I am not enough. My calendars and chore charts and organizational tactics are not my strength. I cannot rely on my own planning and strategizing. In the midst of a lingering sickness, I am weak. I cannot do all that needs to be done. The children and husband pick up the slack. And there is much slack. And what they don’t pick up remains undone. And the world does not end. I nap and lie around, feeling guilty and useless, or trying not to feel guilty and useless, hoping these weeks are not wasted, that these long hours of fending for themselves in the kitchen and caring for each other and bringing Momma trays of bland food are being used for good somehow. Some way.
As I lean against my stack of pillows, hoping the morning biscuit stays down, feeling the millstone weight of my limbs, there is no illusion of self-strength. That has fallen away. Again. I am weak. And the Spirit whispers to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And that Word washes over me. Suddenly, I am a small child in His mighty presence. I am weak but He is strong.
And it’s going to be alright. I have been here before. Weak, undone, incapable. Every time, His strength has been made perfect. In the midst of a messy house, dirty dishes, piled laundry. In the midst of bored, arguing children who come to lie beside me to talk or snuggle, children who see that sometimes Momma is not enough. He is enough. He is strong. His power is perfect.
So I rest, weak and needy, in His strength.