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I have a beautiful sister-in-law who also happens to be my pastor’s wife. She has struggled with serious health issues for years, and is now confined to her bed or wheelchair most of the time. Christie is only in her 30’s, but she has worked as a firefighter and a paramedic, been a vet assistant, ridden horses and motorcycles, and owned most species of the animal kingdom at one time or another. (Ok, that last one was a slight exaggeration!)

Christie hasn’t been strong enough to attend church for quite some time, but when she was, I would leave Sunday School early to bring her to the morning service. I remember one winter day when I arrived to pick her up. There was no snow (we live in the Ozarks, after all!), but there was a light layer of frost on the deck.

As I helped Christie to the car, I slipped on the deck and nearly landed flat on my face. Why didn’t I fall? Because Christie held me up. She held tight to my arm and wouldn’t let me fall. Christie’s disease has stolen her strength, ravaged her body, and left her a full 50 pounds lighter than me. But still she held me up.

I’m sitting here typing through the tears as I think of the times that girl has held me up. She has prayed for me, listened to me, and encouraged me through some very difficult times. Though her body is weak, her spirit is strong.

You may have reached a time in your life that you feel weak.

Used up and poured out.

Unable to lift a finger to serve God or help others.

Your health or circumstances may be preventing you from doing what you long to be doing to further God’s Kingdom.

Perhaps this season of life has you juggling babies and chasing toddlers, and you are unable to teach Sunday School as you did in the past. Maybe you are caring for elderly parents or an ailing spouse, your time so stretched you can barely make it to church. Or perhaps, like Christie, your body bears the scars of a painful disease.

But please hear me when I say, You are not useless! You have a purpose!

Just as Christie held me up that day, God often uses the weakest and most unlikely among us to do great things.

Busy Mama, you are raising children for God’s Kingdom. Your work is vitally important! We need you!

Caregiver pushed beyond your limits, you will be rewarded for your sacrifice. We need you!

And to you whose strength has been taken from you, please know that our churches cannot survive without you. You may not be able get down on your knees, but you can still storm the gates of heaven in prayer. We need you!

So many things in God’s Kingdom seem upside-down, inside-out, and backwards to our earthly eyes and understanding. God didn’t send His Son robed in glorious splendor into a magnificent palace, but wrapped in swaddling clothes into a smelly stable. God didn’t choose mighty men of stature and status to preach His Gospel, but unlearned fishermen and unpopular tax collectors. And He doesn’t build His church upon the strength of men, but upon those who find their strength in Him.

II Corinthians 12:9 gives us God’s answer to Paul when he begged God to take away his weakness. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength in made perfect in weakness.”

God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.

If you are feeling weak today, don’t despair. Please know that God can use you to do great things for His Kingdom work. And let me tell you a little secret: those of us who look strong? We’re not. We need you–your prayers, your words of support, your encouraging smiles.

Really? If we were all honest?

Our churches aren’t led by the strong, but by the weak. The weak who are supported by God’s strong hand, and by the prayers of those who may be weak in body, but are strong in spirit. We’re really the weak holding up the weak, and we’re all conquerors only through God’s grace and His strength.

 

Christie, me, and my son a few years ago…special times