Tag Archive | strength

I Don’t Want to be Strong

I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want anyone to tell me to be strong. I don’t even want anyone to tell me that I am strong. In my experience, if that character trait is being mentioned, and I need to muster courage and resiliency to get through a situation, then something must be difficult. And distressing. And quite possibly, wrong.

Certainly there is a well meaning encouragement behind the words. An offering of support. Perhaps even given as a compliment. Or a reassurance of hope and the calming of a storm.

Early in my recovery from sexual betrayal trauma and the effects of my husband’s sex addiction and intimacy anorexia, I was tired of holding it all together. I didn’t know how to. And the thought of fighting the destruction was exhausting and overwhelming.

Hearing the exhortations to be strong made me want to scream “But I don’t want to be strong!” I just wanted to be. Whatever that was, I just wanted to be. I wanted someone else to be strong for me. Or better yet, to not have to be strong at all.

If my husband wasn’t a sex addict, I wouldn’t have to be strong. If I hadn’t lived in a sexless marriage devoid of love and affection for twenty years, I wouldn’t have to be strong. If I remained silent and willing to live in an emotionally abusive marriage, I wouldn’t have to be strong. If. If. If.

I thought I had to be strong. And I couldn’t do it. I felt defeated. I remember waking up in the morning already beaten down by the fog of a day covered in pain and uncertainty. My prayer before I arose from bed was not a petition for God to provide me with strength and courage to tackle my day, heal my wounds or save my marriage. My prayer was much simpler, honest and broken. “God, please hold me today.”

God, please hold me today. And He did.

I didn’t have to be strong after all. In my brokenness and weakness, God was more than able to step in and be strong for me. And what I found was that as I ceased fighting, and rested in God’s arms, He began to infuse me with His strength. It just came because it wasn’t mine. I didn’t have to put on my big girl pants because God put His armour on me instead.

God made me ready for my battle of restoration. My Defender. My Protector. The Mountain Maker. The Ocean Tamer. The One who put my life back into place when I thought it was falling apart. The One who showed me that He really does bring beauty from the ashes.

This would be a nice, tidy ending to the story now. But……that’s not how it always works. At least not for me. Sometimes I forget and try to do things on my own strength again. Someone may tell me that I am a strong woman, and that makes me feel proud of the recovery work I have done. I feel affirmed that someone has noticed the changes in me. Sometimes I forget that it wasn’t my own strength that brought me to this place of healing and restoration. Or worse, sometimes I don’t forget, I just don’t acknowledge the One who carried me through and lifted me above my circumstances.

Recently, as my husband and I have committed to improving our emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy, I have found myself once again relying on my own strength. And that isn’t working very well for me. I am struggling. Doing the one step forward, two steps back dance. I pray. But sometimes it isn’t with all my heart. Sometimes it isn’t with a surrendered heart.

God’s grace is sufficient for me. If I let it be. His power is made perfect in my weakness. If I give Him control. But I am still a teeny bit scared of trusting my husband with all of my heart and body. Which also means I’m not trusting God to protect me either.

I have the same power living in me that rose Jesus from the dead, and yet I stifle that power even when God has proven Himself faithful over and over and over again. Even when the battle has already been won.

Now, it is time for the tidy, happy ending, but I don’t have one to this part of my story yet. But it is coming.

God, please hold me today.

O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. Isaiah 33:2

The Lord is My Strength and My Shield

When God sets our feet on a new path, He will never leave us directionless to flounder on our own. God has provided us with His glorious love letter, the Holy Bible, to teach and guide us, encourage and lift us towards Him.

God has the amazing ability to lead us to the exact words of truth that our heart needs to hear from Him. Whether it be tender whispers and promises of love, healing, grace, peace, redemption; the nudges and conviction of confession, forgiveness of sins, necessary change, the testing of our faith; or the inspiration and joyful celebration of abundant and everlasting life, God will find a way to speak those words into our thirsty hearts.

I am continually in awe at God’s creativity and persistence in revealing His words to me. And a little embarrassed at how often He needs to bonk me on the head so I pay attention. Sometimes it is opening the Bible to the perfect passage, a devotion sitting in my inbox waiting for the right day to be opened, someone’s Facebook post, a friend just wanting to share a verse with me, a fridge magnet…….

It was in the rawness of my pain, as my marriage and security crumbled, that God planted Psalm 28:7 in my heart. Our tears mingled together to water the seeds. And throughout my recovery, we have watched them grow and blossom into a beautiful miracle.

 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my hearts trusts in Him and I am helped.” Psalms 28:7

 Oh how these simple, straightforward, magnificent words broke through the emotional and mental fog of my anguish to bring me assurance of hope and healing. With only a few repetitions they became easily imprinted in my wounded heart and readily available to fortify me at any time.

The Lord is my strength.  Yes, God provided me with His supernatural power to get out of bed every morning and face the uncertainty of my day and future. Today He gives me the strength and courage to leave the pain of my yesterdays in the past in exchange for hope in all that lies ahead as I embrace the hard but worthwhile work of recovery.

And my shield. My shield. These words deeply resonated with my battered spirit. And still do. The Lord is my protector, defender, security. My personal warrior taking the brunt of the assaults and deflecting the attacks against me. Absorbing the pain and damage intended for me. Guarding my heart, spirit and body from further injuries allowing healing to occur.

I have a beautiful image of my mighty God tucking me closely in beside Him, secure under His strong yet gentle arm. He holds a brilliant shield in front of us. We walk steadily across the battlefield, arrows falling at His feet and being crushed beneath them. Nothing can get in the way of my Abba Father triumphantly leading me to a blessed place of safety and rest.

My heart trusts in Him and I am helped. In giving my brokenness to God, offering Him whatever flicker of hope I regain, He will help me. A promise of restoration for today, tomorrow, the next day. The moment I trust God with my bruised heart He will tenderly hold it in His hands, caring, protecting, healing and breathing new life into it.

The Lord is my strength and shield, and He also wants to be yours.

“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”       Psalm 3:3

Moving forward….


As the end of 2014 comes to a close my thoughts get reflective. Although I am not one to write New Years Resolutions (I gave that up years ago because usually by the end of the first week I have failed to keep them)  I do choose however to reflect on the past year and then ask the Lord for a word or Scripture for the new year and our journey ahead.

Sometimes I get a word, and sometimes I get a thought or a sense of direction Him.

As I’ve been contemplative these last few days I came across these words by Emily P. Freeman and wrote them in my journal:

“Hope isn’t about knowing how things will come about. Hope is about envisioning the future and choosing to enjoy that now. Hope is really about rest. Resting in the imperfections of today because you believe that tomorrow there is possibility. Sometimes the hope isn’t for the change as much is it is for the change in me.”


HOPE. Yes. This.

The most revolutionary thing I can do is choose to see the fullness instead of the lack, no matter where life has me. 

It was in the early morning, when light was making its way to the horizon and as my husband poured me a cup of steaming coffee, that I came across these words from Ann Voskamp.  I had just been pondering the highlights and the not so great highlights of the past year when I read her words.

Please take the time to read Ann’s blog entry…..


When I finished reading and as the tears formed in the corner of my eyes and made their way silently down my face I knew God was in this (thank you Ann)….I knew He was speaking….words my heart needed to hear…..there amid the many words was one word my soul needed, no, make that longed to hear….”forward”…..I needed to fall forward….to move forward….


As Ann said: The moving forward always happens in this relief that all our guilt is covered by His grace. What sweet relief to hear that my New Year doesn’t need to-do lists like it needs to-God-be-the-glory lists! YES!!!

To know that my weaknesses, failures, and sins are the places where I am learning that I need grace too. It is there, in those dark mercies, that God teaches me to be humbly dependent. It is there that He draws near to me and sweetly reveals His grace. Paul’s suffering (2 Corinthians 12:7) teaches me to reinterpret my thorn. Instead of seeing it as a curse, perhaps I can see it as the very thing that keeps me”pinned close to the Lord.”
And my heart, like Ann writes, is to keep beating its brave yes to that one invitation:

forward 5I believe that this thought of a New Year and a new start is God-given, it resonates in the human soul doesn’t it?
It’s true, we know instinctively that the beginning of a new year is not only a great time to reconsider our goals and priorities, but to recognize our own sins and follies as well. When life becomes too much of my own self-reliance, turning my heart toward the new year proves pivotal, it becomes a time to understand my very real need for divine grace.
What I am talking about is much more than New Year’s resolutions. Because truly, the language of resolutions is, in a way, humanistic. It assumes that the only thing I need to do is make a few better choices this year and I will be fine.

Rather, what I am talking about as I look back at the past year is the need for true heartfelt repentance and the need for a new heart that deeply desires to make better choices….a heart fully surrendered to Jesus Christ….a heart that accepts His grace for my failings to love….my failings to speak with both grace and truth….a heart that accepts His forgiveness and love…..a heart that responds….a heart that desires to move forward despite at times wanting to withhold, to hide or to run away.
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining FORWARD to what lies ahead…I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
~Phil. 3:13-14


Setting our hearts on pilgrimage-Part 2

If you read my one of my previous posts Setting our hearts on pilgrimage you will know that my husband and I took a trip to England in September. And if you read the post then you will know the significance of this trip for me, it was a journey to discover more of my roots.

My dad was a Canadian soldier in World War 2, and while there he met a young English woman. They got married while he was stationed there, and after a few months he was sent home, my mom followed shortly after.

Little did anyone know that she would die at the young age of 34, leaving behind a husband and 4 children. I was the youngest, just 6 months old, and for reasons I’ve never fully understood I was taken from my father and raised by my aunt and uncle.

I grew up not knowing my dad but I did know most of the relatives on his side of the family. But it was my mom’s side of the family that I never knew.

You know how we have the habit of saying, or at least I have said it to my husband, “you sound just like your mom” (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong)….or you look in the mirror one morning and say, “I am my mother” (at least my daughters have told me they’ve said that!!)…..well, I could never say that because I never knew my parents.

As a little girl I would often cry myself to sleep longing for my mom….even as a young girl I knew that someday I was going to go to England, the country of her birth. And so this past September my dream came true.

I knew my uncle, my mom’s brother, through letters, emails and phone calls….he did come to Canada 16 years ago for a short visit….but I still had lots of questions, as well as relatives there that I’d never met. I went not knowing if they would be like the Waltons or the Adams family…thankfully they were not like the latter!

I spent many hours with my uncle pouring over photos, asking questions and learning more about my mother and my heritage. I learned what kind of woman she had been, and I knew that even though I didn’t know her, I carried some of her traits. One afternoon while going through photos my uncle stopped and looked at me and said: “do you know that today would have been your mom’s birthday” coincidence? I don’t think so….

During our time in England we took a tour to the southern part known as the English Riviera, while there we took a boat across the bay to Dartmouth. While on the boat I looked back at the shore line and thought about my mom…how she must have felt leaving on a ship with other war brides headed for Canada. Looking back at her country did she wonder if she would ever see her homeland or her family again. Did she have any idea what the Canadian prairies during the harsh winter months were going to be like?

That day on the boat, lost in my thoughts, what I sensed in my spirit was that my mom was a woman of courage and strength. And this is the common thread that I have seen handed down through the generations, in the lives of my daughters and just like it took God’s courage and strength for me to face my painful and abusive childhood and find healing.

I don’t know why my mom had to die at such a young age, I have learned not to question my heavenly Father but to trust Him….and I have learned that it is all about the journey-and His presence can be found in every step.

As God writes the stories of our lives he uses our past to open up our future. God reveals himself to you, and to others, through the story He has written in your life.

God gave me two Scriptures when I became a Christian at age 22, one is Psalm 16: 6: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” And another Scripture, Joel 2:23-24 says: So I will restore the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust and the chewing locust. In this passage we find there are 4 different kinds of locusts, one takes the flower, one takes the stem, one takes the leaf, and one takes the root, so when they are done there is virtually nothing left. Yet, God’s promise to me was that He would take the heart of a bruised and battered child, who suffered in silence, and heal and restore her again.

These two verses have been such a source of strength and encouragement in some of my most challenging and darkest times.

God took a broken little child and restored her……He took a wounded young girl and offered her healing….and He took a woman, filled with shame and promised her life!!

The Lord doesn’t reclaim the years of the locust….He restores them! He restores them to demonstrate His grace, to bring praise to His name, and to reveal His power…..How can we not Thank HIM!!

Today, I can testify that He has indeed given me a delightful inheritance….and as Psalm 78:4 reminds me; “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord and His power, and the wonders He has done.”

And I am thankful beyond words…..when I was on the plane watching England fade into the distance, the tears softly flowed….not tears of grief, but tears of deep gratitude, because God had answered the prayers of a little, abandoned girl so many years ago, and gave her the connection and family she’d always longed for

….no I never knew my mom or my dad, but I’ve known and tasted the goodness of my Lord, and to Him I am forever grateful!