Perfect in Weakness

Oh, the joys of decorating a new home for Christmas! And trust me, I’m not being sarcastic here… okay, maybe just a little. At first, it was a lot of fun. I put up the Christmas tree and hung the ornaments. Then I gathered up all of my lighted decorations and made sure I had outlets nearby or extension cords to make everything light up. Next, I made work of unpacking my holiday dolls and setting them up where my everyday décor had been. Everything looked bright and Christmassy as I tackled the last thing on my to-do list: stringing the garland over the fireplace mantle.
The task proved to be more difficult than I ever could have imagined. I had just purchased the garland, and it was tightly wound up in its packaging. Once I finally began to work out the kinks and get the garland to lie flat, the extension cord that I had attached to the wall would pull the garland off the mantle and everything would land in a heap. Over and over again, I tried to lay the garland evenly over the mantle, but it stubbornly refused to stay in place. At one point, I gave it a good tug to hold it in place, but then something completely unexpected happened. You see, I had a painting propped up on the mantle— not hung above the mantle as I thought it should be. When I tugged on the garland, the painting came crashing down— on my head!
Yes, it hurt, but there was no significant injury… maybe just a small bump on my head. At that point, I positioned the garland as best as I could so it wouldn’t slide off the mantle, plugged it in, and admired my efforts. It wasn’t terrible, I decided, but it wasn’t ideal. So a few days later when a friend called and asked if she could help me decorate, I told her that I had made an attempt but came upon a few issues. So she came in and assessed the situation. She even took time to make sure my Christmas tree and other décor looked good too.
In the end, I was glad for the help; in a way, I wish I had reached out to a friend right away. I thought of the countless minutes I had spent fighting with that garland only to need help with it in the end. But it all turned out okay, and weeks later, the experience with the Christmas décor proved to be a valuable lesson.
On the outside things were looking good. My garland and Christmas tree were glimmering beautifully and battery-operated candles glowed in the windows. Dad had also hung the painting above the mantle so it would no longer interfere with the placement of the garland. But even though things looked festive and Christmassy-perfect, something far from ideal was lurking under the surface.
As you may know by now in reading my other posts, I came down with pneumonia. It was inconvenient timing in that it happened over Christmas and it stole a lot of my independence and joy. I was bored out of my mind and wanted to get out of the house, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to walk anywhere because the cold air made me cough. I couldn’t drive a car, so I couldn’t go for a drive just because I wanted to. I needed to go to the doctor and pick up meds from the pharmacy, so I had to call someone. I hated to interrupt others’ lives as I asked for help. Yes, I was lonely and I wanted to see people, but I didn’t want to bother anyone.
I was pretty emotional during that time. If ever I disliked my disability, it was then. It isn’t often that I find discontent in my visual impairment, but when my pneumonia limited me physically, it brought to mind just how dependent I am on others. Although I hated to ask for help, I knew I had to reach out. I thought about how nice it had been to have my friend’s help with the Christmas decorations so I called on her to ask a favor.
She went to the grocery store and bought the things I needed. She even came and visited me one of the first nights I was on antibiotics. My grandmother and her husband brought me chicken and rice soup. My other grandmother brought me to the clinic and called me every day to check on me. My parents called to check on me as well. I didn’t like to be this needy, but I found comfort and strength in the assistance from others.
I thought about the other times in my life when God had directed people into my life to help me during difficult times. I recalled how Ashley had stayed with me for a week when I was first trying to figure out my allergies and chronic bronchitis. She took care of me when I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that all I could do was pray and cry. I thought of the countless people who have offered transportation assistance or taken me shopping.
I try to be as independent as possible, but sometimes, it’s just not realistic. Since I am visually impaired, there are some things I simply can’t do on my own, and driving is one of them. I’m ashamed to say it, but sometimes when I feel trapped by my disability and held back by my circumstances, it’s easy to forget the times God has provided for my needs in the past. I have found that if I consciously make an effort to consider His faithfulness and the helpers He has sent me when I needed them the most, I am more inclined to find strength and assurance during those hard times.
I always go back to 2 Corinthians 12:9 where Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh and how he prayed that God would take it away. But God makes it clear that His grace would be sufficient for Paul (and for me too), for His power is make perfect in weakness. So in my times of weakness, I need to recognize that with the help of others and His unending grace, I have strength and power like no other. I can endure the challenges, frustrations, and messiness of this world with new hope that I am never alone.

2 thoughts on “Perfect in Weakness

  1. No you are never alone, always remember that dear one! I know the gifts God has given me will never be world renowned or earthshattering but I am happy to use them to help those I love!

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