Wearing Weak to Grow Strong [and more gifts]

My sister-in-law voiced a word that rubbed me raw a week ago. She had no way of knowing it would affect me the way it did, but like nails running across a chalkboard, the despised verb set my nerves on edge.

The word? Convalesce.

Dare I Admit Weakness

Dare I let it pass my lips? She spoke it in all innocence. I cringed and gently informed her I indeed was not doing that!

In the week since our conversation, I’ve pondered deep why I would have that reaction to such a benign word. Con·va·lesce,: To recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness. (Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate). It could actually be construed as a positive word, uplifting even—suggesting healing is taking place.

Could it be its offensiveness lies in a deep-seated insecurity I have harbored since childhood? Is it possible my aversion reflects a fear of being vulnerable?

Accepting the word convalesce or convalescence, would be like putting on the cloak of weakness for everyone to see. And in my mind, weakness equals vulnerability, the taking away of my control.

Being Strong in Christ

However, isn’t that the crux of being a Christian, giving up control to follow the plot of the Author of our lives? There can’t be two drivers at the same time. Either we do the steering or He does.

The crux of being a Christian is giving up control to follow the plot of the Author of our lives. There can’t be two drivers at the same time. Either we do the steering or He does. Click To Tweet

Will I give up control? Will I wear the cloak of vulnerability?

But in the dance of daily life, it is so difficult. I am empowered by vigor. In my humanness, I always want to be seen as strong. The one who can face the hard and come out standing, but who does God use the most?

“… God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

And, even the strong must grow weak in their own power to do mighty deeds for the Lord:

“He [Samson] called out to the Lord: ‘Lord GOD, please remember me. Strengthen me, God, just once more. …’ He pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders and all the people in it. And the dead he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life” (Judges 16:28, 30).

Even the strong must grow weak in their own power to do mighty deeds for the Lord Click To Tweet

Long have I held onto my love of strength. However, effectively serving God really comes down to one question. Which do I choose: To be strong in my power or to let God lead me through convalescence so I can grow strong in His?

Effectively serving God really comes down to one question: Which do I choose: to be strong in my power or to let God lead me through convalescence or weakness so I can grow strong in His? Click To Tweet

I want to do mighty for the Lord. I want to let go of the steering wheel and give up more of me to have more of Him.

Hmm,  perhaps I’ll try on that cloak of convalescence again. This time it just may fit!

Thanking God for the hard eucharisteo of convalescence.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Reflections: I would love to hear of a word or words that raise(s) your hackles. Have you figured out why it rubs you wrong? Perhaps, like me, you may need to clothe yourself with the word to loosen its hold on you, to make you fully available to God.

Today I am linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience to record

Jump over and be blessed.

More than a month’s worth of gifts recorded (322-462) (view all my One Thousand Gift posts here):

  • (found at 11:30, 2:30, 6:30): my husband; sweet helpers; caring hearts
  • 1st luv note 24 years ago from then hubby-to-be; living, breathing Word; precious notes from children
  • (stitched, hammered, knit): favorite jammies; cozy barn; scarf knit in love
  • (found outside): full moon; light reflecting off the lake; possum on the deck
  • (red gifts): favorite water bottle (it doesn’t leak!); sporty car; check out link to those bright 
  • (broken, fixed, thrifted): insurance/provider communication; my perspective; friendships
  • (surprises): post that touched home https://www.incourage.me/2012/02/5-ways-to-fight-through-to-a-loving-marriage.html; time it takes for an MRI; number of good speaker/writer conferences
  • (times hearing laughter): Teasing peanut-girl; Goofy boys; Apparently hilarious T.V. show–evidence carrying thru vents
  • (found in working): sense of accomplishment; blessing others; being part of community
  • (hard eucharisteos): upcoming surgery; letting others serve me (ouch!); discussing future plans for daughter with intellectual disabilities
  • (found behind a door): unexpected encourager; welcome-home light; my bed
  • (feel luv of God): thru family, church home, gifts from loving hubby and children
  • time to connect w/ children; endless opportunities; son accepted to college of his choice w/ nice scholarship!
  • words from an encouraging heart; offering of community; husband’s sacrifice
  • (found giving/serving): encouraging teens; silent blessing in my life; glimpse into young hearts
  • safe travel for so many; reconnection; speech opportunity for son
  • (gifts that changed today): hot soup choices—yum; singing praises; understanding heart
  • local coffeehouse; precious 3rd graders eager for help; a son’s compassion
  • Sons joking about sibling rivalry; sons displaying God-given talents; 1/2 Babe Ruth just when needed
  • Dad–82 yrs young today; celebrating my bday w/ a meal out w/ my favorite people: hubby and kids; shooting hoops w/ youngest
  • opportunity to impart wisdom from God’s grace over years of living to teens; morning peace that seeps into souls; simply being
  • 45 amazing years of life; sweet (in)RL and online friends’ birthday wishes; scrumptious bday cake
  • clean bill of health for a boy; winning joshrosenthal album download–thanks!; an unexpected evening home
  • Sharing my little girl’s beauty w/ a stranger; 1 step closer to a new communication device for Rach; A caring doc
  • extending grace when I didn’t feel like it; watching LOTR3 w/ older boys and hubby; fresh growth peeking up
  • (gifts wearing): wedding ring declaring luv & commitment; mother’s ring–reflecting a mama’s heart; arch-hugging sox
  • awesome high school jazz; visiting w/ a “sis” of the heart; winner of (in)RL @incourage giveaway
  • Beth Moore bible study; bro & family driving 1 hr to bring food to soon-to-be cripple; clean(?) porch
  • A question posed to me: Would you rather be working in your first career choice?; 60-plus degrees; stretchy pants
  • (in kitchen) delicious aromas; Nutella!; a “Hunny” hutch homemade
  • less pain than planned for; husband’s unselfish serving; sharing God’s love through visits and food!
  • being loved well; keeping food down; visit by my next BFF
  • (water, wind, white): washed hair!; blowing away clouds, ushering in bright sun; white warmth of hospital blankets
  • oldest son singing praises in an African lang. during a solo; outside w/ no jacket, warm breezes thru open windows
  • (hard eucharisteos)daughter’s strep, blessing to comfort her; ACL surgery–time to appreciate; messy house—really!
  • (given away) kisses to daughter so sweet; special time to online friends at inRL party incourage; attention to son
  • (3 silent) being heard w/out saying a word; alone working; a touch between friends
  • son’s flu—more hard; 1st shower since surgery—bye, bye sponge baths!; eyes turned
  • the sweetness of my girl concerned; laughing with boys in the sun; bedtime reading with youngest two
  • hard eucharisteo of convalescence

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By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

6 comments on “Wearing Weak to Grow Strong [and more gifts]
  1. Julie says:

    Thanks for your sweet post–in order to “grow strong” again, we need to acknowledge our position of weakness. Believe it or not, my word is homemaker. I struggle in a similar way as i acknowledge that this is a position of weakness–of dependence on my husband to be my provider, of submitting to my sisyphean tasks, of fighting the lie that I am not making the best use of my college degree, etc. I pray that I would grow in seeking only my Father’s approval through Christ as I cheerfully wear the “mantle of motherhood.”

    • juliesunne says:

      I love your word, Julie! Sounds like we are kindred spirits. Finding the daily joy in our current calling as mother and housewife may boil down to realizing we can bless others (and be blessed) more in our perceived or real weakness, in the seemingly mundane and unglamorous tasks of doing laundry, scrubbing pots, and cleaning toilets. We are God’s instruments of blessing right where we are. Blessings to you, my friend, as you pursue the joy of homemaking!

  2. Kim Nealson says:

    I enjoyed your post ‘growing strong’….I was just dealing with one of those words today. It’s not a word used in reference to me but my daughter. My daughter has special needs and many challenges in her little life. All of her doctors and therapists talk to us in conversation and assessments about her ‘disabilities’ or her ‘inabilities’….it makes me cringe that that is the word most commonly used when someone has challenges in their life. No matter how different someone may be they still have ‘abilities’ on some level and are just challenged to what degree at which they can achieve their own abilities. I guess I just personally prefer the term ‘challenged’ and I feel a word like disability blankets individuals as being weak and unable. But I do understand that the word ‘disability’ is an umbrella term and means different things for different people. I feel that using the word ‘disability’ puts my daughter in a position of weakness to others as opposed to focusing on a more positive term and bringing out her abilities. But I also feel I have a position of weakness in dealing with the word in the fact that someone can add a ‘dis’ my child’s blessed and hard earned abilities.

    • juliesunne says:

      I’ve been where you are, Kim. “Disability” used to raise my ire. I still try to be sensitive to words I choose, but I’ve come to realize we are all disabled in some way, so it doesn’t bother me as much anymore. In fact, we were all created to be “differently” abled; that’s what composes the symphony of life. Our beautiful “challenged” children play an essential part in that symphony. Lifting you and your precious child up in prayer today!

  3. Cristal says:

    Admitting our weaknesses so Christ can take control — did you read my mind? That is my struggle. Pride raises its ugly head so often that I’ve become comfortable with its presence and complacent about its deeds. God is showing me just how often my pride is interfering in my walk with Him. Ouch! 😉

    • juliesunne says:

      Self-control and self-trust are huge barriers to having peace and joy in life, Cristal. Something I struggle with daily as well. Letting Christ lead means dying to myself. I’m reading a book about how a more vibrant prayer life can help me give my life to Him. But even for that 80-plus-year-old grandmother author, it is a daily giving. Praying for your surrender, with blessings abounding!

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