Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Strength in weakness

I don't feel I'm very good at expressing myself about serious, deeper issues in life, so I typically choose to keep things light and fluffy and fun, with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.
But recently I've really been chewing on some things, from past experiences combined with recent events and conversations with women far wiser than myself. So here goes what I've been thinking about, as best as I can say it.

Our world, and especially our American culture has taught us that weakness is shameful and awful, and is certainly something to be hidden and tucked away in darkness where no one else is able to see or find it.

I now know and am convinced more and more through examples from my own life and from others, that this is not only a false belief and world view, but that it is much more serious: it is a lie from Satan. And along with this, I'm beginning to believe that it is one of the biggest, most harmful and destructive lies we can choose to accept.

Our church did something called card board testimonies last weekend, and I was once again amazed at the raw power, glory, and truth attributed to God, as well as the comfort and emotional healing our entire congregation experienced from these testimonies/confessions. People who experienced addictions, abuse, death, loss, doubt and fear, and all kinds of bondage came forward and testified that Jesus Christ set them free. It was one of the most powerful things I've ever experienced. These brave people blessed literally thousands of people by stepping forward in truth. But what really struck me was the fact that they weren't always at this wonderful, rejoicing point of life; they weren't always out on the other side, testifying. At some point, they were lost, alone, crippled by fear, or beaten down and torn apart by the enemy. And God rescued and redeemed them all. But if they hadn't been honest and hadn't stepped into the light, there would be no testimony to give, and most likely no help to be had in a lot of their situations.

I believe more and more that honesty and openness about our weaknesses and struggles is key to truly bonding and growing deeper in Christ, and in spurring each other on toward the goal. Otherwise, we're fluffy, shiny Christians that stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and not much else - otherwise known as "American Christians."

My own personal healing and the healing of my family only came from honesty and bringing things out of the darkness and into the light, asking for help, not being ashamed of the truth of the way things were, and pursuing God's will in our lives. I don't say this to say "Go, me!" because God knows that had I stepped out in truth years earlier, so much pain could have been avoided and that many more people could've been helped, and He alone knows how He miraculously healed us, but I'm amazed, absolutely amazed, at how many other people I've been able to encourage and give strength to, not because I have a lot of wisdom to offer, or because I've got it all together (ha!), but because God makes me strong, and my weaknesses, failures and pain can be a testimony and a source of perseverance for others.

I think it's so important that I know that God can fill me with purpose and a new ministry to others when I've dealt with my own hang-ups and problems.
Being honest and bringing things to light does the opposite of what the enemy lies and tells us it does. It doesn't bring shame and hurt, isolation and rejection. It brings acceptance, encouragement, freedom, and great joy in the knowledge that God is using us to help others.


Bogle said...

Was that not the most awesome display of truth last Saturday night?!?!?! I have heard there is a YouTube video of this somewhere (not done by RHCC but by another church). My world was rocked that night and it was also so super powerful to me. Thank you for writing about this.

You are so right and it says so in the bible. "The truth shall set you free"!!! I am so glad I was there to witness your blessing of truth in your own life. It made such an impact on my life personally. I think God calls us all to bear witness when we have gone through such trials. Thanks again for sharing.


Vicky said...

I think you expressed yourself very well. I can relate to what you are saying. We have had two cardboard testimony Sundays and they were humbling, encouraging, amazing, uplifting, and many other adjectives I can't think of right now. I considered participating, yet I was not quite "brave" enough. My time will come and God will give me the strength I need.

Card board testimonies are more powerful than I could adequately describe.

I also googled card board testimonies and watched several from other churches.

I love you Jennifer.

Kristi Petrak said...

Amen, sister! Oh, have fun in NY! ^_^

mindy said...

My life testimony is filled with peaks and valleys - some valleys that would shock people. But, all along the way, God has walked with me, carried me, loved and forgiven me and healed me. I love your post because it is powerful when we become strong enough to face our weaknesses. Paul said it well when he said..."when I am weak...then I am strong." One of my all time favorites and my motto all throughout my life. I love you so!

Lloyd said...

How's that phrase go... "sunlight is the best deodorant?"

So true. Thanks for sharing, and look forward to seeing more frequent "serious" posts. Good thoughts!