Earlier this year, at the beginning of 2015, when the content editors, Anna Radosh and Judith Nyirenda, and I were planning out this blog?s content calendar, we came about with a main theme ? ?Stronger Together? ? and then we broke it down even further into 12 sub-themes:
1. A Strong Woman? seeks strength from God
2. A Strong Woman? builds meaningful relationships
3. A Strong Woman? focuses on God
4. A Strong Woman… lives boldly for God
5. A Strong Woman? recharges alone and together
6. A Strong Woman? cares for and encourages herself
7. A Strong Woman? loves others
8. A Strong Woman? knows her purpose
9. A Strong Woman? is not afraid of starting over
10. A Strong Woman? knows her Beauty inside and out
11. A Strong Woman? seeks help when she needs it
12. A Strong Woman? lives joyfully and intentionally
When I read those sentences now, my initial feelings are that they are describing someone, but it?s certainly not me.
Lately, I have felt anything but strong. My Dad has nearly died twice in front of my eyes in the past few weeks. He has advanced Parkinson?s Disease and has difficulty swallowing food. Twice, my husband had to save him while I called the ambulance. The second time my Dad choked on some food, I thought he was not going to make it. I braced myself, preparing for whatever the outcome would be. Earlier this week itself, I spent over 9 hours in Accident & Emergency with him as he was in extreme pain having fallen over a number of times the day before.
I am a working mother with two young boys. I have condensed a full-time job into part-time hours in order for me to be able to be there for my children before and after school. I lead The Newbold Sisterhood. I am an elder at my church, a leader of my prayer group, a daughter to elderly parents, a wife, a sister and friend. I have a lot on my plate and most of the time, I can guarantee to you that I do not feel like a strong woman.
In the last two weeks, I have railed up my hands up against the skies and indulged in a couple of wallows of self-pity.
Somehow this little gem of a text found its way to me?
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 (KJV)
If God is my strength and my salvation, why have I been afraid? Well, I suppose it?s because I?m human and have been trying to handle it all on my own.
My Dad has said to me that he knows that when his time comes, he will be ready. At the age of 53, he was diagnosed with Parkinson?s disease. For over 21 years, I have seen him physically change as his body progressively worsens and does not listen to its mind telling it what to do. Yet, throughout this most frustrating period of his life, his faith has become even stronger. To me, he has lived out what it means to ?trust in God?.
This morning as we were waiting for him to be discharged from the hospital having been given the all clear, he asked me to read him a passage from his devotional, which simply was about how God continues to love us and has loved us from the very beginning despite how it has been twisted to make it seem the opposite. I looked at my Dad’s face as I was reading and it was so peaceful.
In his experienced and weathered face, I saw that his strength and peace was coming from a perspective that my Dad has always had ? which was to focus on Him. I did not see this when I was being introspective. When I changed my perspective and started looking at Him too, I began to understand where my Dad finds his strength.
When we don?t feel strong enough, we have the option of reaching out to Him and passing over our burdens to the ultimate Burden Carrier, Jesus Christ. Get encouragement from anywhere you can, but ultimately, strength comes from trusting in God. There I was feeling sorry for myself because my Dad had nearly died. I even forgot to consider my Dad who had nearly died and how he was feeling. But he never needed me in the first place, because his strength and resolve was not coming from me. Thankfully, it came from his intimate and lasting relationship with his personal Saviour.
If you feel that it’s all getting quite heavy and you would need support either in person or by prayers, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can arrange for this to happen. You are also very welcome to drop in for additional support at our Newbold Sisterhood Sabbath School class which takes place on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month in Committee Room B, 1st Floor, Salisbury Hall, Newbold College.