Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Re-defining STRENGTH

Most everyone has their own opinion/ definition of strength and to be honest I was one of those that thought strength was all about the muscles in your body.  Matter of fact, back in the day, I worked out 6 days a week, kick-boxed, had a personal trainer, ran, and worked my butt off to be in my prime physical condition. I remember the day I weighed 124 pounds, I had gained 9 pounds of muscle working so diligently to build my body.  I was so excited!  I was strong!  At least that's what I thought then...before I buried my son and had to face life with disabilities.  

Suddenly strength had a much deeper definition to me.  Strength was  no longer the face of the most muscular person lifting the weight of a small village upon his/ her shoulders.

Strength was the face of the cancer survivor, the mother by her child's grave or the person in a wheelchair...

Strength was surviving and living after loss and tragedy...

I had to have a come to Jesus moment (or three or fifteen) when I had to let go of what and who I was physically before my injuries and learn to love who I was now.  I had to learn to love the weakness in my body, because there I would find strength.  Strength I needed to believe I was worth fighting for and that this new body of mine was still good and a treasure.  I had to learn to look at Matthew's grave site and cry out loud.  (For any of you that may think that crying is a sign of weakness, go ahead and leave this page now, I am not the person for you to be reading about).  I had to learn admitting my weakness was my biggest strength!

I had the muscles before...and I could run with the best of them...and I did for a season...and I am glad I did. But the woman I was then is nothing compared to the woman I am now.

In my weakness, his strength is always perfect, always has been, always will be.

If I looked at a picture of me "then" and me "now," and had to choose which one was stronger, I would *without hesitation* choose the me "now" photograph.  

I don't see weakness when I look in the mirror anymore- I see a survivor.  I see eyes that have known sorrow and joy, fine lines that show evidence of tears and smiles.  I see grace.  I see a miracle in my reflection.  I see hope, even in the scars that are remnants of my broken body and my son's death.  I see a picture of strength, not in the muscle tone of my legs like I used to, but in ways I would have never dreamed... 

I SEE BEAUTY IN THE ASHES and that my friends is the most perfect description of strength that I can offer...

I hope whatever you are facing today, that you too, can see beauty in the ashes when you are looking in the mirror and that you will find great strength in that! 

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