The Hidden Strength of a Weak Woman
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The Hidden Strength of a Weak Woman

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By Hannah Waddell

Last year, on January 1st, I had a few blissful hours alone on the beach to spend time talking to the Lord. I jotted a prayer for myself on the back page of my Bible, asking for more of God. I prayed for a truer intimacy with Jesus from a heart hidden in him and a spirit refreshed by him. I cherished those words all year as I traced God’s faithful hand and marveled over the ways he clearly and graciously answered that prayer.

As God would have it, this year has not begun with one prayer written in calmness, but with daily pleas to the Lord spoken in weakness. My life has never been more full of joy or purpose than it is right now. With my three little ones needing all of me, all the time, I am keenly aware of my greatest need—the every-minute ministry of my Maker.

I have prayed for peace over a crying baby in the dark hours of the night and for patience to embrace my daughter’s many questions. I have pleaded for self-control when the day spins out of control into a toddler tantrum (or perhaps when my spirited son flushes my key fob down the toilet!). I have called out, “Help me, Jesus!,” countless times and cried out when I didn’t have words. I have asked God to clothe me in humility as I tried on clothes that no longer fit my postpartum body. With tears of mingled wonder and exhaustion, I’ve whispered simply, “God, you’re amazing,” under the night sky as I stared up in a moment of quiet awe.

Most every time, I have felt depleted and desperate for the reminder that if God holds the universe together, he will hold me forever as he has promised.

In this particularly demanding season of motherhood, I recognize my shortcomings and sins every day, multiple times a day. Pride, selfishness, anger, and idolatry - just to name a few - often creep up and out of me as I react to my circumstances. I am burdened with brokenness. But Jesus, in his compassion, does not leave me alone in the midst of my brokenness. He offers me a way out through trusting, repenting, learning, and, ah . . . blessed resting.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew‬ 11:28–30‬)‬‬

Jesus does not spurn my weakness. The Bible says he is well acquainted with weakness and completely understands it. In fact, God welcomes my weakness over my self-sufficient illusions of having it all together.

This verse has been breathing new life into my prayers:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews‬ 4:15–16)‬‬

Because Jesus was tempted in every way but did not sin, he alone is the spotless, sacrificial lamb worthy to blot out our sin-stained record. In doing so, Christ became the door to the throne room of God that we who trust in him may receive unimaginable moment-by-moment mercies.

My desperation is the gate to his grace and my weakness, the window to his glory. When I collide headfirst with my limitations and smallness, I am then able to receive and perceive his unlimited and vast love.

There are lots of ways to say it, but God, the author of salvation, says it best when he declares, "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.‬ 12:9‬a).‬‬

God’s grace is sufficient for our every weakness and need because his power is made perfect when our imperfections drive us to the cross. When we believe and surrender to Jesus, the very same power that raised Christ from the dead becomes alive in us by the gift of the Holy Spirit. That very same power is available to us through the privilege of prayer!

I don’t know about you, but I am tempted to look too often to my plans and then evaluate my progress. Yet, as a believer, I press on for a higher calling than self-improvement—I am pursuing godliness. I want to be closer to my God through prayer, and I have seen for myself, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth (Ps. 145:18).

In temptation and limitation, let us still “make no provision for the flesh” and instead “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14), resting in his provision—the persistent and proven power to fight sin and live a godly life.

But let us be grateful for the weaknesses and deficiencies that lead us closer to Christ.

As we see ourselves more clearly, we trust God more fervently, igniting the power of the Holy Spirit that brings authentic change in our lives. Trust over toiling. Abiding over striving. Rest in God’s will and relinquish our own.

This year, let us pray for others and believe for ourselves:

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24)