My #Oneword for this year of #Sufficient should have felt like a blessing, but instead I was left feeling that somehow I must not be enough on my own. I felt a yoke of shame when I thought about all of the tasks and labels that used to be part of my make-up. I missed the days of working up a sweat in the garden, and I missed the days of re-decorating my home. Even more, I missed the days of serving and caring for so many different people. Yet when I heard God whisper His Word for me, I knew He was calling me higher, away from my old view of myself.
I knew that HE had bought my salvation at the cross. I knew that HE was the one to work in the hearts of my loved ones. But physically? Well, I did not realize how much of my working had been done in my own strength, until that strength was cut in half, and then in half again, and then I stopped measuring the cuts.
When my Rheumatoid Arthritis medication stopped being effective, and I began the long hunt for one that would work, I thought it might take a few months. I could not have seen that the search would lead me through failure after failure, and through side effects that would leave me reeling. I certainly would not have expected that over a year and a half later I would still be waiting for the right medication that my body could tolerate. But I also did not anticipate the true sufficiency that I would experience.
Have you ever felt the arms of someone stronger carrying you through the storm?
In the midst of the year of medication failures, another storm raged around me: my husband had total knee replacement surgery when a 40-year-old injury finally called out for relief. His recover process brought a pain that was deeper than he had expected it would go. One night in agony, he cried out for me to help, and I could only offer what I had been given: the arms that carried me would stretch to carry him also.
And those arms never let go of us.
When we sat in chairs on opposite sides of the room, each one dealing with a different set of obstacles, I found myself looking up to catch the glimpse of my husband’s compassionate gaze.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, it hurts, but I am okay. How about you?”
“Yes, I feel especially weak today, but I am okay.”
The thoughts in my mind were echoing the Scripture God had given to me to confirm my #Oneword for the year. Those words never felt truer than they had throughout this year. In a place where I knew that I truly was NOT enough, a joy had been gifted to me. A sufficiency beyond our own had carried my husband and me when we could find no other way:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Arms of Grace carried me
When arms of my own had failed.
Strength from above lifted me
When legs of my own were stilled.
Sufficiency poured forth
Now I will boast of my weakness
I will tell of my own lack
For power of God is displayed
When I am filled with Him.
On the day I sat down to contemplate these words, the pain meds were helping, but the RA drugs were still not reducing the disease itself. Frustrated with my weakness, I tried to rush the task in front of me. As I finished the laundry and pushed the closet door, my wrist slammed into the corner of the doorframe. I crumpled from the pain, and looked to see the very joint where the inflammation had settled, was now swelling even more and new bruising was beginning. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I recognized the whisper of my Sufficient One:
Rest in Me, Beloved. You don’t have to rush to carry that name of the “sufficient-task-completer” any longer. I have given you a new name now. You are MY BELOVED: THE ONE WHO LEANS ON ME.
AS I complete my year of the #Oneword of #Sufficient, my heart has found a resting place that feels more beautiful than I could have imagined when this year began. I am glad that I know that I am not enough now. I would not want it to be any other way. HE has become my All Sufficient One.
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You can find Bettie blogging from her home in a small town in southeast Wisconsin - at bettiegraseasons.com, walking forward with Jesus, in the middle of her own pain and weaknesses from multiple chronic illnesses. The beauty of nature is a joy that calls to Bettie, as do her family and seven young grandchildren. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years and take great joy in their weekend coffee breaks together. In addition, Bettie is the Chronic Joy Prayer Pond coordinator.