The End of the Rope...

“There’s somethin I learned when I was homeless:
Our limitation is God’s opportunity.
When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain’t nothin you can do, that’s when God takes over.”
~ Denver Moore~
Same Kind of Different As Me
(co-written with Ron Hall, with Lynn Vincent) 

I'm going to start this post with a bit of a disclaimer.  I probably shouldn't be attempting it right now because (a) I'm in a great rush due to really trying to stay *somewhat* on schedule during our 30 Day Challenge month and this morning has not quite gone as planned (when do they ever??), and (b) it's foggy today.  Actually, it's a beautiful sunny day outside, but my brain is foggy this morning...one of those days when I thought of two things I needed to write on my list while I was in the kitchen, and by the time I had walked the 15 steps to the dining room to add them, I had already forgotten what they were.  (And I've now spent an hour trying to figure them out, to no avail! :))  So...clarity in writing is probably out the window. 

I started not to even attempt this post, but every time I think "I'll wait and do my IOW post later...", it doesn't get done.  And I did have some thoughts on this quote, chosen by today's In Other Words hostess, Miriam Pauline.  So, I'm going to try to toss them out, rough and unedited, and hope something will make a bit of sense!

The first thing that came to mind when I read this quote was the story I've told many times about the phone conversation I had the day before my water broke at 30 weeks with Ammah Grace.  Here it is, copied from a post last month...

Six years ago Wednesday, I uttered the infamous (and theologically incorrect, btw...) words to a friend: 
"I know God won't give us more than we can handle, but I have told Him this week that I am there."
The next evening I was in the back of an ambulance being rushed to Little Rock in a snowstorm because my water had broken at 30 weeks.  Three days later, Ammah Grace was born. 

And then began 6 weeks of  NICU in a city 2.5 hours away from home, with three children 6 and under at home.  Talk about more than I could handle!  I learned during that experience that my statement *was* theologically incorrect.  I posted that whole story in a previous IOW post. God showed me through the intervening months (and years, actually) that it isn't about what *I* can handle, but what *HE* wants me to depend on Him to handle for me.  

The second, related, thing that came to mind when I read this quote had to do with our greatest fears.  I've never been homeless.  But I have experienced my greatest fear coming true.  Everyone, I think, has "the big one"...the thing that worries you more than anything else in the world, the one thing that you would do *anything* to keep from touching you or your family.  For some, it may be homelessness.  For others, terminal illness.  It could be bankruptcy, pregnancy/birth complications (that was second on my list before Ammah Grace...), or fire.  The list goes on and on.  

When Billy and I got married, we actually had the same "greatest fear".  The good news, for us, was that this was a fear that we knew would *never* happen to our family.  You see, we had the background and the knowledge and the determination to protect our family from this threat.  There were many other things we couldn't protect our family from, but *this one*, we had covered.  We had met, after all, in court, both working in different areas of Child Protective Services, and if there was one thing we could do, it was protect our children from outside threats (kind of like a firefighter *knowing* he can protect his family from fire...).

We've learned something in the past few years.  God is the only one who can protect our children.  And sometimes His definition of "protect" and ours are not the same.   And even in the areas in which we think we have the most control, we are actually totally helpless.  "Helpless" is not a fun place to be.  There isn't a crowd waiting for their chance at "the end of the rope".   But when God finally gets us there...where we realize that we *are* completely helpless and unable to *fix* any of it...then we are in the perfect seat to watch His power at work and show His majesty and glory in unbelievable ways.

We're still watching.  We've experienced His faithfulness in ways we could never have imagined, and we've seen our own unfaithfulness raw and ugly as we've never seen it before.  There are days, after all we've seen Him do, that I still fall into the pit of doubt and despair.  But He always picks me up out of the pit, reminds me of His love, sovereignty, and goodness, and tells me again to "Wait" on Him.  

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and His understanding no one can fathom.

  He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.

  Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

  but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.

~Isaiah 40:28-31

For more on today's quote, please visit MiPa's Monologue.  



Debbie said...

I so agree with you when you wrote "it isn't about what I can handle, but what HE wants me to depend on Him to handle for me."

That's worth the whole post and very timely for me.

We all have our greatest fears and yet we have access to the One who can handle even our greatest fears. What a privilege and a blessing.


MiPa said...

I am so glad you joined today's conversation! This is great! When we have to face our greatest fear, he is the only one that can do that for us.

(oh, and I know that feeling of believing that we can protect our kids because of what we know...when I was standing with my 14 month old in emergency needing stitches I kept thinking 'what story would I have believed as a CPS worker--it is different when you are on the parent side even for something minor. Never say never.)

janet said...

"...it isn't about what *I* can handle, but what *HE* wants me to depend on Him to handle for me."

...sigh... yea, that preaches, alot in fact. Sometimes I wish I could catch a break from this. But I realize the more and more I'm blindsided and pummeled with things, the more others ask how I remain calm and strong. In turn I get to tell them why and Who keeps me calm and strong.

Karen said...

That was really good, I like the scripture from Isaiah you threw in at the end to add the icing on the cake. Thanks for sharing today.

Denise Hughes said...

"God is the only one who can protect our children. And sometimes His definition of "protect" and ours are not the same."

Oh boy, I know this is so true, yet it is still so hard to "let go and let God"! Thank you for sharing your birth story. Very inspiring.

Blessings to you today.

Tami Boesiger said...

He always picks me up out of the pit, reminds me of His love, sovereignty, and goodness, and tells me again to "Wait" on Him.

I'm so glad He does. Thanks for a beautiful picture of His love for us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. Such good thoughts.