A few weeks ago Nancy shared one of her latest writings, What is Strength? She spoke of the very real emotions behind walking alongside me these past five years.
Stop Telling Me
She closed her piece by saying she did not know what strength looked like and wished people would stop telling her she was strong.
Her closing line brought a smile to my face.
I know her to be a person of amazing strength. I have witnessed it for the past thirty-plus years.
Whatever comes her way she finds a loving, graceful way to move forward. That is strength. Her strength is not of her own making, it comes from the Spirit that dwells inside her. The Spirit of God, alive, well, and working in and through her life.
Her closing line made me smile. I wanted to protest, to put some form of disclaimer on her writing letting you all know just how strong she is. It did not feel quite right so I sat still.
What Chip Saw
A few days ago I received this from a good friend of mine. Chip was a member of the youth group at the first church I served following seminary. We are still in touch today. He is a great guy who I enjoy speaking with from time to time. Every now and then he will email me a link to some music video which will send me back in time.
At the end of one of his last emails, he shared some thoughts on strength and Nancy. I smiled as I read them. Smiled even bigger when I shared his email with Nancy.
Chip caught it. Even at 17, he saw a strength in her. I asked permission to share his email with you all.
Here it is. His words…not mine.
To the strongest woman I know.
Lastly, I was just re-reading your blog entry from October, specifically what Nancy wrote about herself. It’s somewhere between gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, and remembering how guarded Nancy could be, it’s amazingly vulnerable. As she clearly states in the last line, while she doesn’t want anyone else telling her how strong she is, I remember December 1998.
Anyone who in the course of a month could run a daycare center, be a pastor’s wife at Memorial, be said church’s Sunday School superintendent, direct the Christmas program (including coaching four of us doing puppeteering), be the mother of a toddler, be your wife (sorry…but you get what I’m saying), total a car, find out she’s pregnant, then help take 40 teens and youth leaders to a youth conference (including having us all loudly herd through her hotel room twice a day for food) during said first trimester, remain calm and friendly and nice, and not have a complete breakdown….even at 17, I couldn’t comprehend how she did it.
You watch someone go through that and kinda hope they’ll never have to go through crazy like that again, but, here she is 22 years later, several years into “new normal”, and I guess I’m even more amazed now. Maybe strength isn’t being strong, but admitting you’re weak and broken and drained and scared and frustrated…and remain solely dependent on God, even when He doesn’t seem like enough. So even though she doesn’t want to hear it, I learned a long time ago how strong she really is. And tell her I’m praying for her.
Thank you, Chip.
Here is your deep thought for the day, again, thank you, Chip.
“Maybe strength isn’t being strong, but admitting you’re weak and broken and drained and scared and frustrated…and remain solely dependent on God, even when He doesn’t seem like enough.”