I never thought I was a stranger to weakness.
Plenty of days find me inadequate for the task at hand. Weary. Wanting. But I’m pretty good at MacGyvering a solution. My fingers know the feel of my own bootstraps.
But this week, this day, and the utter and abject helplessness I’m feeling is a whole new thing. It’s like before ALS, Steve had weak days or sick days or unmotivated days, but he couldn’t possibly know how it felt to live inside a body whose muscles had called it quits. He constantly finds new tricks to get his arm to move his hand to lift his fingers to scratch his nose. Now he knows true weakness and all other weak days look powerful in comparison.
Forgive the analogy, because I know that Steve’s struggle cannot be compared to my struggle, but this is me today. This is what I mean when I honestly admit: I have no strength for this. I have no more tricks up my sleeve. I’ve swept the corners of my trembling soul for any remaining crumbs of grit or gumption and I’ve come up empty.
Maybe my own feeble condition is not news to you, but it came as quite a shock to me yesterday, as I struggled through a morning at work. Struggled to stay focused and keep moving. That’s when I realized: I’ve never been here before. I’ve been an ALS wife for three years, but I’ve never been to this level of Without. Never needed Jesus more. Never loved sorrow less. Never faced a giant this foul and foreboding and I am turning over the couch cushions searching desperately for five smooth stones or three or even just a shoe to throw at him and….nothing.
Here’s where I tie this all together with something spiritually significant, right? This is the part where I tell you how I found just the right verse and I used a gum wrapper and paper clip to connect it to my heart and I am READY to face surgery in Portland. This is where I say, Bring It ALS! you got nothin’ on me!
Except it’s not. Because when I said I have no tricks up my sleeve for facing the road ahead, I meant it. No tricks. The past three years have sapped my strength, but the past week? I can’t even explain it.
So I’m walking into the biggest week of our lives in my weakest condition ever. And I’m not feeling guilty about that or even sad, really. I think this is where I get to live for a bit and I also think this is where you come in, because we were never meant to be strong enough to fight alone. Would you pray for me? Pray that in my weakness, He will become abundantly, outrageously strong? That He will be my hope and health, my sigh and song. That in my role as Steve’s advocate, I would have ears to hear the whispers of His voice and the courage to obey it.
Pray for Steve. He is feeling good and – ironically – strong. Pray that his breathing will be supernaturally sustained through the surgery and that his heart will be held in grace.
Pray for our kids. They are hurting.
We love you more than words can say – those we know and those we don’t who make up the Army of Awesome that has fought for us all these years. We are in your debt and will join your army immediately should you ever need one.
And now to the One who is able to keep us from falling: endless, eternal praise.
P.S. I SO believe in the power of the Word of God – so if YOU have a verse you feel would encourage us today and tomorrow, would you be so kind as to write it out in the comments and I will read them to Steve before we go to sleep tonight? Please write the verse out and not just the reference. THANK YOU for loaning us your sling shot and your arsenal.