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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Monday, May 7, 2012


"What doesn't kill you... makes you stronger."
"God doesn't give you anything He knows you're not strong enough to bear."
"The trees with the strongest roots are those that have weathered the worst storms."
I'm sure there are plenty more sayings in relation to this topic, but I think you get the point.

My last post was titled "Strong Enough? Strong One?" and it referenced both a song by Matthew West and a short anecdote by Suzie Eller. I included the link to the story behind Matthew's song Strong Enough because the girl in the video said something that made me chuckle. In response to her mother saying "God doesn't give you..." she says, "Well, He must think we're pretty freakin' strong!!" Actually, the first lines of the song itself made me chuckle when I first heard it. The words are: "You must think I'm strong to give me what I'm going through. Well forgive me if I'm wrong but this is more than I can do." I wasn't amused because either of those things are funny but because, interestingly enough, one was about the other and they both reminded me of my usual comeback whenever anyone says ANY one of the three quoted remarks I listed above...

For YEARS whenever anyone has said one of these to me in reference to the hardships I've encountered, be it illness, infertility, or the little man's special needs, I have ALWAYS responded by saying: "Then I don't want to be strong! Let me be weak but let me live in peace!" People laugh when I say that, but it is the absolute truth. One of my favorite lines in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is that by Gandalf they Grey and it's exactly in reference to this type of situation. Here is the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=vrlTeoFcf-Q&feature=endscreen

God surprised me with Matthew West's song when we went to see Casting Crowns in concert. Matthew West was one of the opening acts. I knew of Matthew from his work with Operation Christmas Child. Meeting Matthew at the 'meet and greet' was such a treat! He was so nice and so down to earth. He joked that he wished he had a "tough" name like my husband's...my husband replied with his usual, "Yeah, I wish I had a normal name like Matthew." But it wasn't until we saw and heard Matthew on stage that I realized what God had in store for us. He shared a little bit of the background for his new album "The Story of Your Life," how he'd retreated to a cabin in the woods to work on this project. He'd asked folks online to share stories of their lives in hopes that these would inspire him to write. He was so moved by these stories that in addition to his album, he published many of these in his book Story of Your LIfe. But of all the songs, STRONG ENOUGH touched me the most.

You see, way before our son was diagnosed our children's pastor, Jonatan Toledo, preached a sermon that to this day is etched in my heart. He spoke of the word "Shema" in Hebrew from the book of Deutoronomy (ch. 6:4-9):

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deut. 6:4-9 (NKJV)

That very day I decided that my house and my own body would be adorned with words from Scripture. I got artwork proclaiming God's promises, I got throw pillows for my bed to remind me of His word, and I got jewelry with scripture inscribed to wear as often as possible. Like the Lord's commandment to the people of Israel, I wanted my son to see the words we, as a family, were choosing to live by. Here's where it comes back to the night of Casting Crowns and Matthew West. Inscribed on my jewelry and on my artwork was Philippians 4:13... the verse on which the song "Strong Enough" is based!

So, you see, way back then God knew what we know now. He set things in motion knowing the long-distance view. I am blessed. Truly, truly blessed to know His voice. So... "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12:10

In that concert hall it hit me like a ton of bricks: I DON'T have to be strong enough. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me... for when I am weak, then I am strong!


Meeting Matthew West
Lyrics to Matthew West's song Strong Enough:

You must, you must think I'm strong to give me what I'm going through
Well forgive me, forgive me if I'm wrong, but this looks like more than I can do... on my own.

I know I'm not strong enough to be everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up, I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me, Lord, right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough, strong enough for the both of us

Well maybe, maybe that's the point to reach the point of giving up
'Cause when I'm finally, finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up and reaching out

I know I'm not strong enough to be everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up, I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me, Lord, right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough...
'Cause I'm broken, down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God and You are strong when I am weak...

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be... strong enough...
Video for the song with lyrics:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBJwA0I8P-4

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