That "Sometimes" Strength


“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

Okay so it was 2:45 a.m. and finally I was ready for that much needed, well-deserved, greatly anticipated “sleep time.”

FINALLY!

It had been three weeks since we’d been home (baby and I) and I was weary. I was physically, mentally and probably emotionally drained. Boy, I sure did not expect that! I’d envision motherhood to be filled with nothing but joy, laughter, sunshine, unicorns and dancing puppies! In other words it was supposed to be nothing but happiness!

Instead… There I was, exhausted, miserable and hungry, wondering how can I do this for the rest of my life. Be a mother? Already I felt like a bad parent!

Though consumed by fatigue and not caring about the smell of puke on my already breastmilk-stained shirt, my mind wandered. It seemed like I never got a grip on the advice so often given, “When the baby sleeps, you sleep too!” It sounded simple but in reality it wasn’t. I became a constant busybody; when my muscles or other body parts for some reason stopped working, my brain kicked in and took up the “slack.” My thoughts were so often plagued with worry, planning, day-dreaming and “what-ifs.”

Reminiscing, I thought of my life before pregnancy where I was and what I was doing. Ah yes I remember… graduation was quickly approaching, my dress was almost ready (custom made), and although my grades were not what I wanted them to be, I was still proud. I had “foreseen” a bright future for myself, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to be and achieve.

“Reneika Bradshaw with Upper Second Class honours!” The applause rung in my ears as the announcer called my name. I proudly received my scroll and my smile was genuine as I waved and nodded at the audience. I was proud and so was my family, who were all prepared to support me as I embarked on this new life journey. A fresh graduate desirous of becoming a successful secondary school teacher of the arts, a motivational speaker and happily married (of course post my achievements). I would be travelling the world by age 30, branded one of the best at my school and my ministry would be flourishing by age 35…

My baby’s frail sound jumped me out of my thoughts and just like that, reality oozed its way in again. After checking to make sure that my son was alright, safe from insects, well fed with a clean diaper and snug, I stood over his crib and the dreaded questions, which I’d refuse to answer after this little one’s arrival, came flooding back with force. They were unstoppable this time… Does it end here? What will become of me? How will I adequately take care of him? Will I still be able to achieve my goals and my dreams?

These questions scared me! Why? Because I had no answers for any of them. I couldn’t see past my current situation and I couldn’t see past, the looks, the stares, the gossip from church family, the disappointment in my mom’s eyes when I told her, the feeling of failure and disappointment from those who supported my goals and ministry… I couldn’t see past what I thought was a “setback” in my life.

I was weak, physically, emotionally and most of all spiritually. I was depressed and drained.

Where was my strength?

I still attended church but had no interest in being there, YET I couldn’t stop attending. I was unable to see it then, but I know that that was God working on me. One night during a crusade, if I heard nothing else, I heard the scripture, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10… “But my grace is sufficient… my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Before I knew it, I was at the altar asking God to forgive me for seeing myself and my situation way bigger than my Saviour.

That night, I left feeling refreshed and hopeful, however, believe it or not, that only lasted for about two weeks until I let my circumstances and the difficulty of raising a baby as a single mother consume me again. I hadn’t fully internalise nor apply the scripture, instead I only used it when convenient. I used it sometimes and it became my “sometimes” strength.

Maybe this is you right now or maybe not… but the fact of the matter is that that “sometimes” strength or “quick fix” we tend to rely on isn’t enough to continually sustain us and guess what, although it may indeed be necessary in the moment, it’ll only last and benefit us for a time!

Strength from God comes with consistency; so what I’m saying is, we shouldn’t only quote, read or pray conveniently, instead we must make it our business to spend time each and every day with God. Start and end our day with Him so that our strength can continually be renewed.

I’ve learnt that true and everlasting strength also comes with admitting and repenting of our sinful mistakes, acknowledging our faults and weaknesses and accepting God’s powerful word without all the rationalizing.

Yes I made a mistake, yes I’m struggling right now, yes this isn’t where I wanted or thought I would be but God is a forgiving God and His grace is sufficient!

GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!!!

We must accept God’s Word as it is! If He says He has forgiven you, believe it! If His Word says that He has bright plans for your future, BELIEVE IT and WAIT FOR IT. God cannot and will not lie.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” –Jeremiah 29:11

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”– Isaiah 40: 31

To wait means to leave it up to God, and not take matters into your own hands.

Now I haven’t yet mastered this, but I am excited about embarking on this new daily journey where I completely rely upon God for my strength. Things have been going well so far and I’ve accomplished some of my dreams as I am now a teacher of the arts and I love my son dearly. I’m excited to see what God will do next. I vow to be committed and to continue to allow God to supply my strength. I refuse to rely on that “sometimes” strength! Will you?

“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.”

J.R.R Tolkien

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Reneika Bradshaw Parent Blogger At 24 years old, Reneika has gained a wealth of experience as she traversed through the harsh ‘jungle of life’ throughout the years. Being a young mother and having to learn how to cope day by day, her journey up until this day, has been a bitter-sweet one. With a love and a passion for seeing people succeed, she has no reservation with using her stories to empower those who need to hear.

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