Discipling my four children is possibly the most challenging (and certainly the most humbling) experience that I have ever had. Because they share a house and most of the day with me, they know me and my faults better than anyone else. How many times have I questioned the wisdom of this arrangement? Did God factor in who I really was when he put these little disciples in my home? Yet there they are, day after day, with no place else to be but under my care and discipleship… watching, watching, watching me. And (gulp) imitating.
A few years ago, I decided that, for better or worse, I was going to try to do something with this little mission field God has given me. I thought, “God put them here. It’s his business what he wants to do about the fact that I’m not qualified for this task.”
Somewhere along the way, I began to discover that there were other mums who were like me: unqualified yet committed. I started encouraging them from God’s word at meetings that we jokingly refer to as ‘pep rallies’. Pep is what we all need. Spiritual energy to keep on telling our kids who Jesus is in spite of our own frequent (and obvious) lapses in resembling him. I decided right at the beginning that if I was going to bring any pep to these tired women it was going to have to come from the source—which is not me.
Over the past year and a half I have been particularly energized by an idea I’ve been calling ‘the blueprint of power’. The Bible is stuffed with teaching and stories that show that all power comes from God, very often displayed despite of or through human weakness. Those given power in the form of money, authority, strength, wisdom, or skill are to use that power under God for the purpose of serving and blessing those below them. There is no human power without God’s granting it, and for this reason those with power must remain submissive, dependent, and needy before him who gives to all.
Among other things, this rich discovery has empowered me to work at being a better wife and mother, as well as giving me a clearer vision of Jesus. I chose this topic of power to speak on at our last pep rally. But as the date got closer, I began to second-guess myself. Would the other mums think God’s blueprint of power was as terrific as I did when I discovered it? Would it speak into their world of laundry and dishes and dirty diapers? I started wondering if it might be a bit too theoretical… too abstract… irrelevant…
I know what Paul means when he says:
But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9a)
Weakness—now that’s something I have to offer! The weakness of sin, of limited time, of being isolated from the outside world. These weaknesses require me to rely entirely on the word of God and his Holy Spirit for my ministry. Any pep I pass along to others at this stage in my life has got to come from him.
He knows what he wants to accomplish through me. And it has everything to do with what he is already accomplishing in me. I can trust the Holy Spirit to make his own living word ‘relevant’ to people. I can trust him to apply it where and how he knows it needs to be applied—in a hundred unique ways, perfectly customized to each person listening. I can rest assured that if a particular insight from his word has lifted me up out of the doldrums, it will lift others, too. By his power.
It turned out that our morning ‘pep rally’ continued well past lunch and into the afternoon as we wiped away tears and discussed the ways God’s power could change our daily lives and character.
Unsurprisingly, God’s power applies at home as well as in ministry. But I only get one shot at this, and if I want it, the job is now. My kids aren’t going to wait around for me to get my parenting PhD. Once they’re all raised and gone I’ll probably finally know what I’m doing. Then God will call me into some other ministry where I’m weak again, and he’s still strong.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor 12:9b)