By Simone Graham
Know anybody perfect?
Anyone without flaws, imperfections, weaknesses?
Nope, me either.
I think we all have them, don’t we?
Things we struggle with, our private battles, our nemeses and giants. My giant is no secret – I have battled depression for the past 15 years, and continue to live in its shadow. If you watch me walk through life for long enough, you will notice that I have this “limp”. It ain’t pretty, sure, but a while back I decided there was no point hiding it. Better to say, Yes I limp. Yes I struggle. You’ll figure it out eventually anyway. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Just as the grit inside an oyster shell irritates it, this weakness irritates me. However, like the oyster, an irritation can actually become something beautiful if I let it.
Turn my pain into a pearl.
Turn this weakness into a strength.
Turn my struggle into a story of hope.
Here’s one of my favourite verses, where God encouraged the super-apostle Paul (when he complained about the thorn in his side and begged God to take it away):
Or, as another version puts it: “My power shows up best in weak people.”
It’s the “thorn in my side” that has taught me empathy. It gives me a point of identification with others: If she can do that (and she has struggles) maybe I can too…? God doesn’t use me in spite of my weakness. He uses me because of my weakness. Did you think He is could only use the strong, the confident, the ones who are all-together?
No. The opposite is true. The following verse has been the theme of my life…
“Think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are…”
1 Corinthians 1:26-28
Because I am weak I know I can’t do my life on my own. I know I need help. Today I wanted to share something to encourage anyone who is struggling or feeling like they are useless, hopeless, unworthy.
I was reminded of this post I wrote years ago, Walking with a Limp. As true as the post was then, it is even more true, now. I have continued to walk with a limp. In spite of that God has been gracious; he has taken my weakness, my “limp”, and given me something to share with you all. A way to encourage those on the same journey. He has brought many women across my path who I have been able to encourage and connect with. Not because I am strong, but because I share a weakness. My struggles are not a disqualification; they are bridge to connect me to others.
In the midst of my struggles I can still have a voice.
Even though I am a work in progress, I still have something to offer. God doesn’t wait til I am “all better” – he will take what I can offer him here, now, as I am.
In my weakness he gives me a voice to speak.
How did Jesus feed the 5000? With a little boy’s lunch. He takes the little we have and can turn it into something powerful. He takes the grit in our oyster shell and turns it into something precious.
If we offer it up to Him.
Simone Graham is a mum of three living in Auckland, New Zealand and blogging at Great Fun etc. She walks every day with a limp.