Being a single parent when my son was young was difficult on many levels. Most of the time I felt tired and overwhelmed by all my responsibilities. There
was no one to share concerns with—no one to worry with, plan with, or give a bath to my son when I needed a break. To make matters worse, we lived in an upstairs duplex. When my son was a baby, it was a challenge getting him, his diaper bag and the groceries upstairs at the same time. I didn’t want to leave him in the house or the car alone so I piled on the items. Once I climbed to the top of the stairs, my next challenge was unlocking the door with my arms filled to overflowing. Most days I felt like the whole world rested on my shoulders. While I tried to carry the load, I was too weak. It was crushing me, and yet, I continued to fight. I tried harder. I had to. I had to be strong. If I put down the load, who was going to pick it up?
One day, I came across what the Apostle Paul said: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a) Hope awoke in my heart when I realized my situation was an avenue to experience God’s strength. I didn’t have to put on a brave face, or pretend to be made of steel. I simply needed to surrender my weaknesses to God in exchange for His strength. An interesting way to view His power is by taking a look at this verse in its original Greek. The word “rest” literally means “a tent or covering.” Christ’s power over our circumstances and in our weaknesses is a shelter in which to rest, take refuge from the storms, and is our protective covering.
When I began praying to God about my situation asking for help, my circumstances didn’t change right away. But I had a renewed sense of God’s presence and power in my life, and no longer felt alone. Through the assistance of others, I began to see God’s activity in the life of my son and me. He had always been there offering help. I just needed to swallow my pride and receive it. When I let my friend cut my grass and the teenager next door play with my son so I could do household chores, I felt equipped to press on with all the other challenges of daily life.
That’s not all. Paul not only surrendered his struggles to God, but he had a positive attitude as well: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b). Looking for and acknowledging God’s strength in my weakness was better for my attitude than grumbling. Complaining was a dead end. However, boasting in what God can do in me infused my faith, causing me to depend on His strength more and more. His promise became a reality in my life. For when I am weak, He is strong!
In facing our struggles and fears, it’s vital that we yield completely to God. When we do, God can use our burdens as an avenue for His power and grace.