"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength"
That was a quote I "stole" (again) from Facebook (thanks to Paige this time!).
It's a quote that makes me think . . . and I LIKE it, but I would like to add that the "true strength" has to come from the LORD! The funny (?) thing is that so many people "think" that I should be falling apart; rather than seeing the strength that the Lord has provided, they wonder WHY I'm not giving up/falling apart. I KNOW full well that the strength that I have is NOT MY OWN and it comes from the LORD and HIS love for me.
When I initially started blogging, a friend said to me, "You have no idea how many people you have brought closer to God". To which I replied, "That's why I'm doing it - then Rick's death will not have been in vain". She assured me it wasn't - which was very encouraging and why I have continued blogging. If you read here regularly, or are just checking it out for the first time today, I want to be sure that you know that I'm not doing this for anyone to point to me and my strength. I want them to see PAST me, and even my circumstances, to the LORD! Today, I was talking to someone who we had sent our CHRISTMAS LETTER to. She told me that she had given it to someone who had lost her son this past summer and it helped her to "get over the hump". Someone else told me that she was moved after reading here and is at peace (she is going through a very difficult time herself). That's it, that's why I'm doing this, partly just to put my feelings "down" so I can look back at them and see how the LORD has worked in my own life, but also to show others the HOPE that we have in the Lord!
Today's devo started out: "I am preparing you for what is on the road ahead, just around the bend. Take time to be still in My Presence so that I may strengthen you." I don't know if you remember the "word picture" I wrote of awhile back, but it was EXACTLY about that - what is just around the "bend" and how HE lights our path - just one step ahead, and then last night, I posted about how HE is already in my tomorrows! It's still AMAZING to me to see God working in all the "little" details, including when I read Facebook posts and devotionals! It is AGAIN proof to me that no detail of my life goes unnoticed to my Lord!
Today we went to the orthodontist then on to Appleton and back to Green Bay to do some Christmas gift exchanging (buying gifts for teen-aged girls isn't easy!) and some after Christmas bargain shopping with gift cards we received. We listened to the radio and the girl's iPods as we drove. Several times we heard Matthew West's "Strong Enough" . . . it's a beautiful song with words that ring SO TRUE:
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
for both of us.
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
So, there it is, in the lyrics of a song....I'M NOT STRONG ENOUGH, when I'm BROKEN and down to NOTHING, I can still hold on to ONE THING . . . HE IS GOD and HE is STRONG when I am WEAK . . .
Philippians 4:13: "I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME."!
So as we "wind down" from the busy-ness of the holiday season and the days become more "normal", the hole in our lives left by Rick becomes more glaringly evident (November & December are BUSY months and also "hunting" months - so we were used to Rick not being home during this time - he was typically at camp much of November, and December brought muzzle-loading season and late bow season along with always being hectic due to Christmas "festivities"). In these days where reality seems to "sink in" more, I will continue to lean on the Lord. Letting Him be STRONG ENOUGH for both of us! As I send all three girls off to Winterfest at Bible Camp, I will be THANKFUL that they are all attending - and getting to spend time with the great friends they have made at camp. I will take the time to enjoy the "quiet" of the house and will pray that the girls will draw even closer to God during these days. It will be a different "quiet" at home, but I'm actually ready for it - it will be good for me! It seems another thing that people have a hard time understanding, but honestly, I WILL be O.K.! I will continue to hold on to the ONE THING, that HE is GOD and HE is STRONG when I am weak. He has proven Himself faithful to me over and over and over again, and I know that He is always in my tomorrows, always that one step ahead of me, preparing the road, just around the bend. I WILL be STILL in His Presence so that He may strengthen me!