As we have been getting ready to move, we have had the unique opportunity to receive cards, emails, and words that express the gratitude that people have for us. This could easily become an area in which pride could rear its ugly head were it not for a recurring theme in many of the encouraging words. One of the things that I have heard repeatedly is that people are thankful for my weaknesses.
For the times that I have sinned or made mistakes.
For my transparency in life and for being real.
Who would have thought that what God would use most in the minds and hearts of those around me are my weaknesses?
At times, I have desired to be good at something. Really good. There are people who are musically talented. There are people who are amazing with words and can write beautifully. There are people who are talented in everything they do. And then there are people like me. It seems like I have to work extremely hard to be semi-good at anything! And yet, God has not seen fit to use any amazing talents or brilliant things that I have done to encourage those around me.
God has used the times that I was near the point of giving up, throwing in the towel, and deciding that ______ (you fill in the blank: life, ministry, serving, good stewardship, loving others, working on relationships) just wasn’t worth the trouble that they were causing in my life.
And I have been open with many people. God has used the times when I had a bad attitude in youth group (could my heart possibly be so ugly when I didn’t get what I wanted at the white elephant gift exchange?) or when I was impatient on a mission trip (aren’t we supposed to be on extra good behavior on missions trips?).
God has consistently brought me to conviction and repentance in the relationships in my life, and this has seemed to encourage others.
When God kept me and was faithful to me when I didn’t want to be faithful to Him anymore, God not only changed my heart, but He used my weakness to change those around me.
When I desperately wanted life to be different or to have a baby or to have ease and not hardship and I thought my life would have been better had I just died when I had my stroke, God graciously stopped me from continuing down that path. He used my wrong attitudes and thoughts to show me I can do nothing good without Jesus and He used that to teach others the same lesson.
So, for those who have shared that they have been so very thankful for being able to see the intense experience of sanctification in my life, I am grateful.
By God using my weaknesses rather than strengths (what strength do I have without Him anyway?), people have been able to be pointed to the perfection of Jesus Christ and not to me.