The Year of Weakness

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. {2 Corinthians 12:8-10}

When a child made some poor life choices early in the year, I thought, "Well, that's going to be the low point of the year. Glad we got that out of the way early." And then when my elderly mother fell and fractured her hip, I thought, "Lord, I'm not sure how much more of this I can take in 2022." And recently, when another child decided at Easter that Christianity and Jesus rising and us spending eternity somewhere other than a box in the ground is all a hoax and not to be believed...I felt like "What have I been doing the last five and a half years?"  

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Even though I knew better, there was a part of me that thought 2022 would be the year I'd finally have it all together. I'd be on the ball with homeschooling (reality: I'm barely keeping my head above water as I juggle four grades and five kids); I'd get it together with time management (reality: the kids don't coordinate their needs with my neat schedule, and I consider it a win if I get a solid 5 hours of sleep); I would have more time to spend with the Hubs (reality: he changed jobs, became self-employed, is busier than ever, and all of my time is spent with the five kids who need me MORE, rather than less, as they get older). Rather than having it all together, I look far more like the LegoⓇ woman above - broken up, scattered, and utterly helpless. 

When my mom broke her hip, I had a few minutes of being alone in my car as I headed to pick up a child who was late for a Bible study she was supposed to start that night. As I drove the curving mountain roads from my parent's home, I found myself slamming my hands against the steering wheel and crying. Why God? I cannot take any more. I cannot do this any longer. My life is already full. I'm already tired...WHY? WHY? WHY?? Okay, so it was more like a whine than a cry (although there were tears of anger and frustration as well). And it was while I was wiping away the tears that the verses above came to my mind. His power is made perfect in my weakness. 

As I continued to drive, I asked God, "How? How am I supposed to BOAST in my weakness?? I don't know how to do that. I don't know why I would do that. I don't like weakness...and You want me to BOAST in it? Fine. [Insert a snarky, "challenge accepted" attitude here] I will boast. Teach me how to boast in my weakness." 

And God did just that. I instantly knew that if I couldn't boast in it, and if I couldn't rejoice in it, then I was going to miss the lessons He wanted to teach me. The tears dried up, the anger dissipated, and I was able to grip the wheel and say out loud, in the quiet of my empty car, "Yes, Lord. Okay. I see it now. I am weak. I must be weak if Your power is to rest on me because otherwise, it's all about me. And I'm missing the point. So...thank You. Thank You for this opportunity to lean into your power and rejoice in my weakness. For when I am weak, then You are strong in my life.

When we realized that a child we thought knew Jesus really didn't...it was a blow. And when another child cornered me for two hours in a car and unloaded her concerns about her siblings, I thought, "Wow, if we come out of this with ANY of the kids following Jesus, it will ONLY be through the power of God, for His glory...not mine. Because right now my parenting batting average is taking a massive hit." And you know what? That's exactly where I needed to be. Because let's face it...I'm not amazing. If the kids all graduated magna cum laude and went on to successful careers, and proved to everyone that I was an incredible parent and nurture was, in fact, stronger than nature...then the praise would fall on me. So, as hard as this is to say, I would rather we not look successful in the eyes of the world, if all - or some - of these kids God placed in our lives eventually fully surrender their lives to Jesus and the world sees His power and He receives all the glory for a life or lives well lived. 

You would think that getting this lesson that day in the car, things might begin to turn around. But as the year has progressed, it hasn't gotten easier. And why would it? I still have more to learn.

When the phone call came in that the child had spun off the road and totaled her car (but walked away unscathed)...

When the x-ray showed two level-three sprains resulting in a boot (again)...

When the Hubs is always busy but the paying jobs are not always forthcoming...

When I am outbid by the editing competition and start second-guessing my proposal rates...

When my Facebook feed is filled with smiling, happy couples on vacations in exotic locales while I am sitting at home, cleaning out my freezer and answering the same question for the fourth time...

I am learning to sit in my weakness and find reasons to be thankful. And no, that doesn't always look the way you might think it should. The other day, while I was driving to pick up a kid and stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle, I suddenly found myself yelling. I was angry. I thought I was angry at a child, or maybe just the poor driver who was slowing me down, but as I yelled, I realized...no, it's not the child or the driver...I was angry at God. I was angry that this is the life He gave me. I was angry that things and situations aren't being "fixed" in the ways I think they should be (or not that I can see at this moment). I was mad that I am stuck here, angry at the current circumstances, and generally frustrated by the inability to make any headway. This anger lasted about a mile...and then I found my reason to be thankful: I serve a God who is big enough and loving enough and gracious enough to love me in spite of my anger. My God knew I was angry with Him before I did, and in His mercy, He opened my eyes to see His love. 

Twenty-twenty-two has been incredibly challenging, but it has also been the year that in my weakness, His strength is being made perfect. I am thankful for the year of weakness, and even though I'm mentally, emotionally, and physically ready for a break in the waves...His strength is sustaining, and I'm leaning into it. I'm not sure what your year has looked like, but if you're feeling weak, congratulations...you might be right where God wants you to be. Welcome to the club.


  1. Carrie, I have been that angry with God. My beloved Daddy died 1990 and my mother died 1991. I felt like I was way to young (36-37) to be an orphan. I was so angry with God that I could not even read His Word. My dear Hubby had to read the Psalms to me every day for weeks, while I sat on the side of the bed weeping. His Word, my Hubby’s love and understanding finally brought me out of the deep hole of grief. In the Psalms, my Hubby pointed out that David was often angry with God and questioned Him. However, every Psalm where David questioned God, the Psalm ends with David declaring God’s glorious attributes.

    1. Thanks for sharing. The Psalms have been a particular comfort to me, not just now, but several years ago when I was in a season of anxiety and panic and depression - and David's cries to God resonated in all new ways with me. God is so good to walk with us through each season, just as He did with David. And I am so grateful to have His Word to rely on!

  2. Totally with you in this, friend, as I walk through my own season of loss and weakness. I am so grateful for your reminders to be thankful... they are needed often and much. Praying for you, always!!

    1. And so grateful for your friendship and prayers, Elizabeth!


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