AWOL Chapter Four Blog Post
"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)
Hello, sweet readers! I hope you enjoyed chapter four! We were introduced to Mrs. Lennington, the mayor’s newlywed wife, who has moved to Grace Meadows from New York. Mrs. Lennington is quite a lovely lady (well, in her opinion at least :D), but she has a little problem at the beginning of the chapter: she loves to brag. By the end of the chapter, our dear Mrs. Lennington has a change of heart and sees that the only one worth boasting about is Christ…the One who gave His all so that we could find our all in Him. Every talent and good thing we have is from Him, and He is the one deserving of our praise.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about a different aspect of boasting in Christ: what it means to boast in our weaknesses. 2 Corinthians 12:9 has caused me to think a lot about my story of encountering God’s sufficient grace, and I want to share it with you. This will probably be one of the most personal things I write, and I’m kinda nervous about it. But I’m going to step out in faith and boast in my weaknesses so that Jesus can get all the glory! And I pray that Christ will use my story to be of some encouragement to you.
I am a very passionate individual by nature. This can be a blessing in many instances. If I ever put my mind to something, I go all out. Yep. If I’m at an all-you-can eat buffet, you can expect to see me at the buffet-line quite often. I passionately take the ‘all-you-can-eat’ to another level. HAHA!
Jokes aside, you probably understand what I mean. You may be an overly-passionate person yourself, or know people who are. For me, what comes along with being passionate is the tendency to be very emotional. When I’m happy, I’m super happy! (For those who may get worried as they read on, I am happy the majority of the time…maybe a little too happy :D). When I’m sad, I’m super sad. And when I get mad, I sometimes fly off the deep end. I have a fiery temper, and I think my greatest weakness is saying things in the heat of the moment I deeply regret later on.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve cried myself to sleep growing up. It seemed I always hurt the people who loved me most dearly; the people who I loved most dearly. I would get angry, and beyond horrible words would fly out of my mouth in an instant…things I always thought I was incapable of ever saying. In the lonely hours of the night, I would cry and cry and cry. I wouldn’t be able to stand myself. I wished to be anyone but me. What kind of person could repeatedly hurt those who loved her so dearly? I wanted so desperately to be someone who brought others happiness…and my words so often divided, wounded, and discouraged. Why couldn’t I just be a better person?
When I surrendered my life to Jesus at the age of thirteen, I discovered through Him a gift He placed within me: the gift of writing. I became passionate about writing songs, musicals, stories…anything that could be used to point others to my awesome, wonderful Savior! I poured my heart into writing, for I found an unspeakable beauty in words. It could be used to encourage, uplift, and bring life.
It was during this time when, one night, I had a strange dream as I was sleeping. I saw myself speaking before a group of people. I couldn’t really hear what I was saying, but for some reason, I was confident that I must be quoting scripture. When I woke up, one thing was engrained in my mind: Jeremiah 1:9. I knew it came from my dream, though I can’t remember now whether I visibly saw that reference in the dream, or heard a voice say it. I told my mom about my dream, and she immediately took her Bible and flipped the pages to Jeremiah 1:9. I read the words on the page and felt distinctly excited and startled at the same time, as if they were spoken directly to me: “Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” Though I was certain in my heart that God had spoken to me, I didn’t really understand what exactly He was telling me.
As the years passed, I continued to write, and God gave me countless opportunities to share my gift with others, and in doing so, lift up the name of Jesus. He enabled the musicals I wrote to be performed for shelters, children’s homes, and churches. Through the musicals, I had the immense joy of sharing the truth of God’s word and reminding God’s children how valuable and special they were to Him.
One day, as I reflected on how the women and children at a shelter soaked in, clung to, and were visibly touched by the scripture proclaimed during a performance, it hit me. God had chosen to use my greatest weakness area to show His strength. So often the words of my mouth had driven me to despair; and now, Christ was using that same mouth to proclaim His word and bring everlasting hope. Though I was and am still so unworthy, He is unchangingly, amazingly gracious. His grace is sufficient for me. Even after surrendering to Christ, my battle with hurtful words did not disappear. It’s a battle I continue to fight. Each day, I have to make a conscious effort to surrender my mouth to Christ. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail…big time. But my story is one of victory, not because I ever reached perfection but because my God is making His strength perfect in my weakness.
I hope my story’s been of some encouragement to you. None of us are perfect, but God is not waiting for us to be before He uses us. In fact, our greatest weakness is the perfect stage on which His perfect strength can be showcased. Dearest friend, surrender your weaknesses to Him, and don’t be afraid to boast in them so that Christ can get all the glory! It’s hard, but Jesus is so worth it!
Here’s a poem God placed in my heart as I wrote this blog post. I hope it blesses you!
We live in a world where perfection is strived for,
And human strength is always better,
Yet I have learned it’s worth so much more,
To admit you’ve never had it all together.
For how could one in perfect health,
Experience the cure of the doctor,
How could one with riches, wealth,
Find the one treasure his soul longs after?
Could he who’s always been a free-born man,
Find salvation from sin, the worst captor?
Only a prisoner who is born again,
Finds freedom through his soul’s new master.
Could the perfect, sinless defendant,
Who faces no charge of death, know,
That through one perfect, sinless advocate,
There is eternal life alone?
Could the rich man who sits in the lap of luxury,
Dressed in robes so fine,
Ever experience the beggar’s joy at Calvary,
Where he’s clothed in Christ’s righteousness divine?
Is the vessel that’s always been perfectly whole,
Really filled with much,
For if it were never broken, had no holes,
How could it be made whole by the potter’s touch?
Perhaps the greatest treasure,
Is found in knowing not what I have, but what I have not,
And knowing what I lack is possessed by another,
Who gives Himself and all He has to me…what a wondrous thought!
For only when I realize first,
That on my own, I am insufficient,
Can I be drawn by my soul’s great thirst,
To Christ’s well of grace so sufficient.
To boast in my weaknesses, I must you see,
For if I don’t, I won’t have much of a story,
Christ is shown to be all He is truly,
When His love is displayed to a wretch like me.
If you didn’t know my greatest sin,
How could you praise such great a forgiver?
If I never shared the mess I’ve been in,
How could my scars point to a wondrous healer?
Indeed, I’ve never had it all together,
And I still do not, you can be sure,
But I have something far much better,
My Jesus, my Lord and Savior.
It’s time for me to tell my story,
My mistakes, the foolish things I’ve done,
And of the great victory,
I have over them, through the Father and His Son.
I do not wish to be thought of as great,
So I am ready to share my every failure,
But on them also, do not concentrate,
For then you miss the bigger picture.
Let my every shortcoming,
Point you to Him who meets us where we are,
And let my every failing,
Show you my redeemer’s heart.
I will gladly give up the respect and admiration,
That come from a flawless public façade,
If it means that through my story of redemption,
You will more greatly love my faithful God.