“But the Lord 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
The first part of this well-known, beloved Bible verse could serve as one of the prime descriptors of our family. My husband and I are raising three boys. This involves a lot of prayer and a lot of patience, as any child rearing does, but neither of us practices the patience part 100 percent of the time. Often we find ourselves locked in wide-eyed stares with each other as the overwhelmingly noisy chaos ensues around us.
Sometimes this chaos is caused by sibling rivalries and on-the-floor wrestling matches that lead to injuries and the – so typical – “It wasn’t me!” guilt-evading game.
Other times, this chaos is caused by the stubborn and unrelenting acts of a certain child that leave one parent’s patience meter lacking, to say the least. An exasperated reaction leads to yelling and the child’s slouched shoulders and sad eyes.
Weakness. It can take a strong hold of us and direct our actions. But in our home, this is absolutely when God’s power is made perfect.
God’s power brings us to our knees and aligns our posture with that of our child and the hard conversations of repentance and forgiveness begin. And when the child’s face lifts to meet ours, the life-giving message of grace repeats and repeats and repeats.
A few nights ago our middle boy was really handing it to me – reason after reason of why life is so unfair because his older brother gets to stay up 20 minutes later than he does on school nights. And on this particular evening, he had been so engrossed in creating football pads out of his underwear to stick under his shirt, while also cutting and taping paper to fit as a helmet around his head, that he forgot to have his bedtime snack.
When it was time to go off to bed, the tears flowed, and his anger rose. I sat on the highest stair near his top bunk bed trying to read to him and pray with him, but he kept the snide remarks coming. So I gently closed his book and told him I was leaving to take a shower, to sleep well and have good dreams, and that I loved him.
I went ahead with my shower – and as most moms know, these are rarely private events – and when I opened the curtain, that same child, so quietly, was sitting on the toilet seat with a sheet of paper covering his face that read, “I am a bad boy. I am a stoopid child. I am bad and stoopid.”
My heart broke.
With an edge of force, I took that paper from his hands, and I knelt down on my knees with my towel wrapped around me and my wet hair dripping to a puddle on the bathroom floor. I told him he was not bad, he was not stupid; he was our beautiful boy, full of joy and sunshine, momma’s breath of fresh air, and a pivotal member of our family. I told him to never think those things of himself because he was divinely created, a beloved child of God.
And I asked him, “And who loves you even more than momma can and believe these things of you even more than I do right now?”
“Jesus,” he said.
His tears faded, and this son of ours spent the next 30 minutes writing me love notes that repaired my broken heart well beyond what it needed. One even called on the family to buy me a dolphin, because dolphins are my favorite sea animal.
Grace. It’s sufficient for our daily lives. It’s enough to get us through the valleys and help us find a hilltop. Even in these smallest of instances, it lays a sure foundation.
God’s grace. It is absolutely sufficient, for his power is lifted high in our weaknesses. So yes, I, too, will boast of my weakness, of our weaknesses, so that God’s grace through Christ can live in me, in us.