Strength in Weakness

My car died one day after our Babymoon.

I was in such a good mood right up to that point, planning to take a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some vanilla icecream to go with the homemade apple pie that I’d whipped together.  Nate was in the living room, listening to music and putting together the dresser that we had ordered for the nursery.  In fact, I was in such a good mood that I didn’t even care that he was listening to 80’s music!  (Sorry, I just can’t like 80’s music no matter how badly I try).  😉

Everything was just coming up roses, and I was plain happy.

Then I slid into the driver’s seat of my car, pushed a key into the car ignition, turned, and nothing happened.  No purring of the engine.  No groaning.  No putter-putter-kerplunk.  Nothing.  Just dead silence.

I seriously wanted to cry.  Again??  How could my car not work again??  Wasn’t there some kind of rule against this?

So instead of picking up icecream, I scheduled an appointment with our mechanic (who kind of sighed when I called and told him it was me).  I assured Nate that I know that if this repair is expensive, we’ll have get rid of my treasured yellow car, because we can’t afford to put money into it like this anymore.  And I accepted my Dad’s offer of borrowing his car, so that I could get to church the next day (since I’m the only pianist and Nate had to take the Jeep to his brother’s bachelor party).

That night, the head cold I’d been fighting all week hit with a vengeance, leaving me stuffy, sniffly, and nauseous.  Then I woke up to my first pregnancy heartburn and had a midnight snack of TUMS, all while worrying about the car situation.  Those happy roses were starting to wilt just a bit by that point…

When morning came, I tried to keep positive, as I threw my music books into my dad’s car and prepared to drive to church.  But I instantly ran into one little problem…  My dad’s standard is a six-gear (unlike every other standard I’ve ever driven), and I could not – for the life of me – figure out how to get it into reverse.  Somehow, I always ended up in first gear and therefore moving forward.  Little by little, my dad’s car became dangerously close to my car (which was parked just ahead of his), until I couldn’t try anymore.  There was absolutely no way that I was going to risk hitting my car with my dad’s car (which is really nice and brand-spanking new).

(Turns out that you have to push down the shift and then it opens up another gear option, so that you can slide into reverse.  Who knew!?!).

All I know is that – at that moment – I was literally stuck in my own driveway, unable to back up.

My pastor’s wife ended up having to drive to my house to pick me up, so that I could make it to church on time.  Since my mom and sister were at work (and his car was in my driveway), my dad rode his bike – in the rain – to my house, so that he could pick up his car… and then pick me up from church.

(Yeah, my dad is pretty awesome like that).

Oh, yeah, and remember those adorable brown flats I bought the other day, since I can’t wear heels right now?  Well, they apparently torture my feet.  So do the black ones.  I have blisters on top of blisters at this point, and – unlike this guy who we met at a nearby apple orchard – it ain’t cute.

So all this went down, and I suddenly found myself on stage at church, sitting behind my keyboard and preparing to lead worship.  Ironically, my beginning song was He Has Made Me Glad.  It’s not my favorite tune, honestly; but when I put the service together, I had added it for the opening song, since the older folks really enjoy it.  But in that moment, I really didn’t feel like singing it.  It was just too… glad.

Quite frankly, I didn’t feel like singing at all.

I didn’t want to be glad.  I didn’t feel like trying to be happy.  I just wanted to find a lonely corner, where I could wallow in self-pity, sniffle, nurse my sore feet, and freak out about more car problems.

Needless to say, I had to pray for an attitude adjustment throughout the service, which wasn’t easy to do.  Not because I can’t pray and worship at the same time; but because when you have a bad attitude, the last thing you feel like doing is admitting it… and asking God to change it.  And when you’ve come from a really happy place where everything was going well and you were seemingly in control, sometimes it’s hard to admit that you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared, and just plain emotional.

But as I prayed, I was reminded of something.  It’s during those moments of weakness and frailty that God shows us just how big He is.  He reminds us that while we can’t handle everything that’s thrown at us, He can.  He’s bigger.  He’s greater.

And it’s during those moments that we realize that He is God… and we’re not.

Granted, I’d prefer to not have those days.  😉  And I really, REALLY am hoping that the mechanic calls back with good news, because we can’t afford to go shopping for a new car right now.  But I’m also realizing that these difficult moments mold me and help me to be a better, stronger person.  Just as gold must be refined by fire, God can use those difficult times to make me a more beautiful person.

Sure, the other day felt rough and overwhelming.  But it reminded me that I need Someone greater than myself.  And sometimes, that’s a good place to be in!!  🙂

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 —  “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ 

 

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23 thoughts on “Strength in Weakness

  1. Omg amen!! Those days are the worst! Speaking of ice cream, I’ve been craving some vanilla bean ice cream. Well hopefully come deliver day, its not one of those days haha. Would make things so much more hectic.

    • I normally think vanilla icecream is boring, but that’s pretty much all I’ve wanted this pregnancy. Ha, ha. It’s just so soothing, cold, and the perfect sweetness without being too heavy. I’m not going to lie, I had one piece of pie… and since then, all I’ve wanted is the icecream. 🙂
      Oh, my goodness, can you imagine if the delivery day was ‘one of those days’??? LOL! It would make for quite the story afterward though, I imagine! 🙂

      • Haha I have a huge sweet tooth so im used to eating sweets a few times a week. Tisk tisk on me lol. Oh gosh I sure hope deliver day isn’t one of those days haha. But it sure would make an interesting story! 🙂

  2. Oh Nicole I felt your pain as you talked about leading worship. I think it is in those places where we are relying totally on the Spirit for strength to serve and not on any emotional strength that we grow the most . I have many times been absolutely flabbergasted by how God can use me in those circumstances. Thanks for this honest share.

    • “I think it is in those places where we are relying totally on the Spirit for strength to serve and not on any emotional strength that we grow the most .”
      Amen!
      I am learning that to be so true!
      It’s on the days that I feel as though I have nothing to give, that I stop focusing on myself and solely on God… And I find that people often come up to me afterward, telling me that the service was ‘just’ what they needed. AND I find myself growing as well.
      God moves in mysterious ways, and it’s a beautiful thing (even if sometimes it challenges and stretches me). 🙂 I’m definitely still a work in progress, for sure, and I’m SO glad that God is so patient and loving!!

  3. Oh, have I been there- wanting to simply sit and wallow in self pity, knowing I needed to ask God to change my heart, but at the same just not wanting to! God certainly used Pregnancy as a way to teach me to trust Him and also about releasing this notion of “I have control”…it’s been useful in Motherhood as well! He is still teaching me day in and day out this same lesson, and how our plans aren’t necessarily what He has in mind. Loved this post 🙂

    • Oh, I hear you!!! I like to be in control as well, and pregnancy quickly took that control out of my hands. (I can only imagine that being a mom takes that last bit of control away as well). Ha, ha.
      I continuously have to remind myself that His plan is not always my plan… but it’s always better. 🙂 And He WILL work all things for good.
      Thank you for the great comment!

  4. So so sorry about your rough day!! I was even starting to crave your apple pie. I’ve been thanking God that our car hasn’t broken, because when we first got married I swear one of our cars had a problem every 2 months. Instead I get to pray for God’s help with all the hospital bills from my appendectomy when I was 10 weeks pregnant. 😦

    Heartburn…mine has kicked up too. I would highly recommend to you chewing Papaya Enzyme instead of Tums. They taste better, work better, and are pretty good for you to boot. 🙂 I just bought a huge container of them.

    • Hospital bills are just as stressful as car repairs. They don’t go away, and they’re expensive. I feel for you, as I understand; and I’ll definitely be praying that God gives you wisdom (and even financial blessing) when dealing with these invoices.
      I hadn’t thought about Papaya Enzyme, but what a good idea! I definitely like the ‘good for you’ part, as they would be a more natural option for me to take. Thank you so much for the suggestion!!

  5. Ugh. Car troubles are terrible. Growing up, my parents put money into our farm and ranch and NOT into vehicles. We had really old trucks and it seemed like they were always breaking down. That experience instilled in me this tendency to get a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear about someone having car trouble. I so empathize.

    YOU did awesome persevering through though. And the sun will shine again.

    • Cars are such stressful things, really. I keep joking to my friends that I want to run away to Amish country, so that I can have horses instead. Ha, ha. I feel as though cars used to be much more dependable than they are now, but – these days – they seem to constantly need repairs.
      And, YES, the sun will come back out for sure!!!!! The goal is definitely to learn how to keep smiling and to keep a good attitude even on the rainy days… and then to truly be thankful for the sunny days that are sure to come around again. 🙂

    • Thank you, Britt, for always bringing a smile to my face. Your blog posts are always so encouraging, and I feel as though I learn so much through them. They always make me so excited to become a mom to a little boy. 🙂

  6. Loved this. Also, this is why I don’t ever pray for patience. Ha! And that same verse has been brought up several times this week….hmmm…maybe that’s a sign I need to pay attention!

    • HA! Same here!! My mom used to always tease us about praying for patience, but I definitely think she had some wisdom there. 😉 In order to get patience, you have to learn how to be patient… and – well – that’s never fun. LOL!
      And I love it when a Bible verse that speaks to me comes up several times in the course of a day or week. It always feels as though God’s giving me a hug and saying, “Hello, this is just for you right now!” 🙂

  7. Clearly, the cause of this whole kerfuffle was the 80s music.Nothing good comes out of 80s music.

    . . . granted the whole situation that you went through sounds terrible and must have been so frustrating. I like how you always seem able to spin shitty situations into a learning experience or something you can deal with rather than throwing your hands up in the air and giving into anger. I don’t know whether you’re able to do that in the moment or that state of mind comes to you retrospectively when you write your blog posts later, but either way it’s amazing to have such optimism in the face of adversity.

    • Ha! Thank YOU! Finally someone understands where I’m coming from when it comes to 80’s music. LOL!!
      And thank you for that compliment! Granted, there have been a few times that I’ve written a post that didn’t have a positive spin on it (I’m sure that when Nate was assaulted, it took me months to find the positive. But I still felt the need to blog about it, because it was such a huge, life-altering event that there was no getting around talking about it once I was ready to share). That being said, a general rule of mine is that I don’t blog about a rough situation until I can see the humor or the positive. I mean, we all have tough things that we’re facing, and to just read about someone else’s problems doesn’t usually help. (Although sometimes it can be helpful to know that others are going through similar situations, I suppose)!! But all that to say, sometimes I can see the positive or humor quite quickly… and other times, it takes a whole lot of deep breathing, praying, and reflecting!! 😉 But more times than not, I DO learn a lesson. Or I do find the capacity to laugh. And that is when I feel as though it’s a positive thing to share, because what I learned may help someone else out there. 🙂

  8. Wow. Your dad is The Man. What a fantastic father he is!!

    Hope you have gotten good news about the car since writing this. And I hope things have turned around for the better. When it rains, it pours, eh? Maybe you’re just getting a few bad things out of the way so everything can be smooth sailing when Brady comes! Or is that wishful thinking?!

    • My dad really is the man! He’s one of those people that EVERYONE likes. I’m not even kidding, everyone respects and loves him. He’s just such a great guy!
      And, yes, here’s to hoping that the bad things are now out of the way! Ha, ha. I’d take that!!!

  9. Oh Nicole, I’m so sorry! I saw on FB about your car situation. I know how frustrating that is. We went through that with my old car. We kept fixing it up and then it finally got to the point to where the last time it broke down, if we were to fix it, it would mean that we’d officially have spent as much FIXING the car in a year as we had buying it in the first place. Anyway, I HOPE you get great news from the mechanic! Hopefully your little car can make it just a little longer. 🙂

    I love what you wrote about how God is greater. How HE is God and we are not. I have definitely had a couple of those moments where I realize that and wish there had been an easier way to come to that realization. I hope the cold is at least beginning to go away!

    Also, your dad is amazing. Seriously. I want to grow up to be a parent like that. So self-less and loving. That’s awesome.

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