When they took my Titus to another room to insert the feeding tube, I felt flush all over, green. My milk wasn’t enough. The food wasn’t enough, and so they called it “starvation mode” and “failure to thrive,” his one year old body the size of a 4 month old. My tiny buddy came back with a puffy, sad face covered in tape.
After having 3 sons before him, I had decided to really do it right this time. I ate and gave only organic foods, and I wanted to nurse him for as long as I could. The truth is that my list of how to do it the right way has grown very long, and the longer that list gets, the worse I am at doing anything well. All the homeschooling, gardening, nursing, and playing in the world wouldn’t add up to enough for me.
In the hospital, I had to hold Titus’ feisty arms down so he didn’t pull out the tube. We had an intense and demanding job in that little room, and suddenly we were the needy ones. We couldn’t care for our other boys. We couldn’t water the tomatoes or go make a pot of coffee. We didn’t have any meals for ourselves or for our children at home.
And how could I ask for help, when I’m positive that I’ve failed at being a giver. One of the things I’ve been asking from God is that He would make me a servant. It’s one of those prayers I say, “I want to be better. Make me better.”
Then He answers this request in the funniest way. He allows me a position where I’m able to do nothing. Then He surrounds me with dearest friends and family, some of whom have the very least in time, physical stamina, sleep, emotional wherewithal, or material possessions. He shows me how they stop and sit with me and my children in their not-enoughness. It seems to me that those who have the very least were the greatest givers.
One friend laid next to me on the hospital bed for a while. I had no idea at the time how just having her sit right next to me helped my heart. I look back and remember our legs right there together, backs against the pillow. We were laughing. She has no idea. None of them know.
Sometimes I think about Paul’s thorn, how he must have thought to himself, “if only it were gone, I would finally be enough.” If only my milk were better. If only I read more. If only my kitchen were bigger or we made more money. If only I were better with people or were more loving or wasn’t so selfish …
But God’s response? “My grace is sufficient for you.” When He says this, it’s the same as saying, “Don’t give me your excuses,” while simultaneously saying, “You’re not the one doing it anyway.”
I suddenly feel so free to shirk the pretense that I could possibly have anything together, and I’m learning that boasting in this weakness – it’s the gospel.
When we boast in our weakness, our hearts hurt for the struggles of others, and we are more willing to share even in our little. A sufficient grace makes our weaknesses our power. The accomplishments of others begin to seem right, and whatever I receive, I accept it with gratitude.
My temptation is to say that if I nurse him more or read the Bible more or pray harder, I’ll be enough. Our temptation is always to say that our works are sufficient. But for me, let me tell you now, my marriage isn’t sufficient and nor is my house. My kids, my friends, and my insurance plans aren’t enough.
So when the mighty fall, when the rich go bankrupt, and the greatest dreams land broken, we can say to ourselves and to all the world what is true. His grace is sufficient. Power is perfected in weakness. Only after our deaths are we resurrected.
By: Amber, The Run a Muck