Where Do You Find Your Strength? – Shawnee Penkacik

Where Do You Find Your Strength?

Nehemiah 8:10 - The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Strength is something that some days I don’t have much of as I suffer from a deliberating muscle disease. I’m sure some of you can relate to my frustration. Many of my friends have health conditions that keep them from doing the things that they love to do. In having a medical condition that robs you of your strength, you learn to savor what strength you do have. One website calls it to save your spoons.

Maybe you suffer from headaches, diabetes, or another condition that robs you of your energy or strength.

I faced a lot of discouragement in facing this illness. I would see other moms running and playing with their kids at the park and ask the Lord why me? I would feel broken as I was sitting there in my wheelchair and couldn’t catch the baseball with Kiefer or football with Maguire.
I would field questions from my children asking me why I could not run them to the park, play football in the backyard, or bake cookies like Sally’s mom.

Those things made me sad and were a huge blow to my spirit. Deep down inside, I wanted to be that mom. When I had pictured motherhood when I was a young girl, this was not what I had envisioned. I pictured more of fresh baked cookies, PTA mom, always involved in everything my kids were doing. Not the mom who had to watch life from the sidelines. I wanted to be the mom that was in the trenches.

Two years ago, I had the joy of watching my son and daughter compete in Special Olympics after a rough spell with my health. I walked into the stadium, sat in the stands, and later found my children. It took all my energy to be there that day. But I knew that I wanted to for my children.

The joy on Jackson and Carleigh's face when I got to see them compete and win their medals was priceless. They both had a look of sheer joy and happiness knowing that they had a team there to cheer them on.

Later I faced a massive set back and ended up in bed for a few days. It was very hard for our family. I knew from the setback that I had pushed myself too hard.

After that, I learned however to conserve the energy that I did have and to make the most of the moments that I could. It wasn’t easy.
The Lord had to really work on my heart.
Here are the lessons I learned in those moments of rest.

I learned I was enough. I didn’t need to compare myself to the other moms around me. They didn’t have my story. They weren’t going through what I was going through. I had to learn that I was uniquely designed and who the Lord created me to be.
I learned I could do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
No matter what you are facing, the Lord wants to strengthen you. He will help you get through the illness, the job loss, the heartache, and even grief. He will be with you as you walk through the journey. All you need to do is cry out to him.
I learned to offer and receive grace. I love the verse in the Bible that says Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.” The key phrase is my power works best in weakness.

His power works best when we stop trying to do it all. We are ENOUGH in Christ. We are who Jesus has called us to be.

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