I cannot do this anymore
Last week I wrote about how much I feel paralyzed by the inability to do big things or things I feel I should. Yesterday I was not feeling great, Mark was sick in bed and I was preaching in the morning. I find it hard doing ministry when Mark is not around as the boys still needed walking through social situations (one of our children still struggles with having so many people around in our house and interacting in socially appropriate ways around them - a lot of fun in community living!). In the afternoon it was the first birthday party of our friends' child. I was there at little David’s birth, so it was a significant birthday for me to be at and to celebrate and I wanted to be there. But by the time 5 o’clock came round, the party had started and I was asleep and wiped out! I wanted to attend the party but I also knew that I needed to make the children some food first or else they would just fill up on party food and that would not be helpful for anyone. Believe me.
Oh, another detail: I didn’t have a present for the birthday boy. I felt bad.
So, half-asleep, feeling stressed and the beginnings of a headache, I wanted the day to be over. I wanted to be transported to another planet. Or at least another hour to get myself properly awake and organised. I asked God what I could do. Thanksgiving was what I had preached about in the morning, so thanksgiving was what I tried to practice:
‘Thank you for birthdays and celebrations and your empowering presence. Lord, you know what I need to do to get to this party, and you know that I am the only one who can currently do it right now. I need your strength. Thank you that you will give me strength and wisdom. Lord, I don’t even know what to make the children to eat before we go and we are already late - I feel totally overwhelmed. I am going to look bad and I am not even able to take a present so I don't want to go and I know that is pride and I just need to get over it, but: 'Help!’
And so I faced my stress, my pride and declared that I believed:
‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.’
I reminded myself that I don’t need to do everything - I just had to offer what I could.
I made a sandwich for the boys (why didn’t I think of that before?!) and realized that I couldn’t get a present but I could take photos of the party for the family and I knew they would appreciate that.
I am not even sure whether my hair got brushed, and the boys certainly didn’t get dressed up, but we got there! Piñatas were broken, children filled up on popcorn and jelly (jell-o) and cream-covered cake. Toddlers chased balloons and bounced on sofas. Adults laughed and chatted and rescued the toddlers from eating food or other small objects off the floor. The birthday boy smiled through many photos and snuck the first taste of the cake.
I am reminded this week that God’s grace meets us primarily in our ‘cannots’ rather than in our ‘will nots’. When I recognize that I cannot, and embrace the One who can, His grace flows and empowers.
When I shut down because I am at the end of my strength and hang the ’I will not’ sign on the door of my heart, I also shut down His grace. And I don’t want to do that. I want to live as much as possible in His empowering Presence. I want to live this life out with Him and through Him.
Although it is only 5 years old, Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts is a modern-day classic. If you want to see your life transformed, encouraged and empowered by God's grace, I would highly recommend having a read!
Thank you for joining me today! Some readers enjoy getting new blogposts straight to their inbox. If you would like to join them (I post on average once a week), then please click here.