Always Challenging Us

“…when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10b).

Last week my two youngest daughters, Bethany and Susannah, went off with me to spend three working days at the beach. Our purpose was to focus on some writing projects. My goal was to write as many blog posts as I could. Bethany was wrestling through a revision of the book she is writing for young ladies, and Susannah was finishing schoolwork and writing the speech she is planning on giving at her graduation ceremony at our church.

I had to laugh when I heard all of us wrestling with our tasks. We were all working on projects that are totally out of our comfort zones.

For me, writing blog posts is actually harder, in some ways, than writing a book. A post is much more like the introductory material in our books, and that is the part of the books I always labor over the most.

Bethany is a passionate story writer, but writing a book for Doorposts has been a stretching experience for her. Writing fiction is different than writing non-fiction. She has struggled her way to the point of revising and rewriting after getting feedback from several ladies who read through her first draft.

We asked her to write the book because she loves the Lord and wants to share her convictions with other young ladies. But we also knew she would grow as she worked through the topics that she wanted to include in the book, and as she labored to bring the book to completion.

Susannah is an enthusiastic blogger, but she has never stood in front of a group of people to speak. She decided she wanted to give a speech as her part of our church graduation of seven students. She pondered over a topic for weeks, had a nightmare or two about delivering the speech, narrowed her focus a bit, and, following her brother’s advice, finally sat down and pretended she was just writing a blog post. She produced an excellent first draft and is ready to polish it up and present it Saturday afternoon.

She then moved on to cheerfully help Bethany rethink and revise her book. I was delighted as I listened to her insights. I was impressed with what she was seeing and suggesting, and thanked God for the years of schooling we have all shared together.

A very cute and inspiring place to get some writing done! See the roses in front of the window? One of my sons gave those to me for Mother's Day. Sweet...

I was reminded as we all sat in our cozy little rented A-frame, looking out over the ocean, that God does not let us sit and get comfortable. He asks us to do things that we don’t necessarily feel prepared to do. He lets us struggle, and doesn’t ever leave us with our tasks all mastered. When we learn one lesson, He gives us the next one to learn. He is always growing us, always challenging us, always passing out the next level of test to help us trust Him more. He proves Himself strong through our weaknesses, and glorifies Himself when He produces any good from weak and sinful instruments like us. For that I give thanks.

“And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

 

(Thanks, Susannah, for taking such great pictures!)

 

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4 Comments

  1. I just wanted to thank you for today’s blog. I really needed to hear that this morning. Thank you!!

  2. Thank you for this blog. A man, who may chose to stalk or possible harm my family, is being released this day from jail. I have been asking God to protect and help us, yet have been SCARED. Your word from the Lord, just at the right time, has strengthen me. I shall share it with my children and dh and we will continue to pray for the strength of the Lord. May God’s power and Grace and Strength be shown today and these coming weeks in the word, thoughts and actions of my family. Thanks again for the perfect blog to encourage and guide me.

  3. I was very encouraged as I read this. The past year has been challenge upon challenge for our family. Learning to live without one of your children (our 7 year old met Jesus on June 5, 2010), moving from the desert to the Pacific Northwest 6 weeks after burying our son, and then moving from the Pacific Northwest back home to TX in less than 8 months–challenging! This post gives me hope and a different persepective. You are so right when you say that God doesn’t let us sit and get comfortable. I need to remember and hold onto 2 Cor. 12:9 more than ever in my life. Though I am anything but comfortable in my life right now, I can still find joy in Him! God bless you all!

  4. hmmm. That top photo looks like the spot that I take my morning walk every day. Had I known you were on retreat I’d have invited ya over for coffee. 😉 I identify with Susannah. It is easy for me to write, what has been swirling in my heart all day – first thing the next morning. However, the spoken word seems harder to grasp. I feel the desire to start a homeschool support group here on the Coast – but I know with that idea – comes the need to “stand up front”. And, after 8+ years of home learning co-ops and support groups – I know what that comes with. He has put it on my heart. I will walk in it. Yes, I am in a wonderful retreat town, but it is time to stop retreating. 😉 Thank you for the encouragement.