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Monday, May 9, 2011

What is Strength?

What exactly constitutes strength?
 Is it being able to lift large shrubbery? 
Withstand intense pain? 
Hold fast to one's principles? defines strength as:
1. the quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; vigor.
2. mental power, force, or vigor.
3. moral power, firmness, or courage
I've actually always prided myself on being physically strong.  I'm the youngest and the only girl in my family so maybe I felt I had to prove myself.  Growing up I was very insecure so maybe I protected myself by never needing anyone's help.  I will say now that's a lonely, fearful way to live.

I will say that I still love the way my body feels when it is strong.  It's one of the reasons I exercise, I like pushing my limits, seeing how far I can go and going farther than I thought I could. 

But being able to beat my 15 yr old and his friends arm wrestling isn't really what I believe defines true strength.  It is fun though:) 

I have learned much of spiritual strength these past years.  I would say the past year specifically.  When Andy, my husband of over 17 years fell over the edge of reason and took his life, I went into hyper-drive.  In a zombie like state I told my four children their father was dead and by his own hand.  I made funeral arrangements, planned the service, greeted countless people at his memorial service (yet only a handful of the 600 who attended), took over the financial mess that is left when a spouse dies, took my children to swim lessons, went on three family vacations, cleaned out the house and garage, sold all that stuff and...generally "handled it".

I was not alone.

I had help with every single one of those things that "I" did.  I was, in fact, not "strong", I was a mess.  If I had a dime for I was told how "strong" I was/am, I'd have a good start to a college fund:) 

No, what I learned about strength is that it is not a solitary thing.  I am not strong by myself.  I had and still have the invaluable support and help of family, friends, counselors, and the prayers that are heard by God who loves me.  In fact, I firmly believe that the prayers of these faithful ones have held me up and sustained me. The very reason my children and I are able to go on with our lives is because people pray for us.  We are not alone.

I still like showing off how strong I am.  I am prideful and stubborn.  I know this about myself.  I very rarely ask for help and when I do its usually "tell me  how so I can go fix it myself".  But God didn't make us to be solitary beings.  He created us to live together, supporting each other, encouraging each other, loving each other.  But my pride and stubborness can't bring my husband back to us.  No matter how many push-ups I do, I can't change the past. 

Strength, as I have come to know it, is crying as I write this.  Real strength is only putting one foot in front of the other, resting when needed, and getting back up again to continue on. 

So I continue on.  I exercise, I cry, I pray.  I even laugh with my children and friends.   I am grateful for God's true strength in my weakness.


  1. This reminds me of the song by Twila Paris, The Warrior is a Child. Here are the lyrics:

    "Lately I've been winning battles left and right
    But even winners can get wounded in the fight
    People say that I'm amazing
    Strong beyond my years
    But they don't see inside of me
    I'm hiding all the tears

    They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
    They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
    I drop my sword and cry for just a while
    'Cause deep inside this armor
    The warrior is a child

    Unafraid because His armor is the best
    But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
    People say that I'm amazing
    Never face retreat
    But they don't see the enemies
    That lay me at His feet

    'Cause deep inside this armor
    The warrior is a child."

    Bless you. Keep running to the only One that understands.

    Love you.

  2. I am so glad you are keeping a blog. You have MUCH to share and a lot of impact!! I praise God for your incredible attitude and reliance upon Him in all things. Bless you. I look forward to reading your blog!!