He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

March 21, 2011


I got ambitious and added jogging intervals to my workout today. It was sooner than I'd planned to; I planned to just walk for at least another week before starting to work up to jogging, and by the end of my workout when I stumbled into the house and collapsed on my yoga mat, gasping for breath, I thought that I probably should have stuck to my original plan. But I needed to do something a little more aggressive than just walking--yeah, I've got just a little bit of built-up aggression that needs working off, go figure. Also, when I set out to walk there was an extra spring in my step. Just a tiny one, but it was there. I think that spring just might be spelled H-O-P-E.

I feel like I need to be careful about writing things like that down or speaking them out loud, like I should whisper them or just keep them to myself, lest the powers and principalities of the universe catch wind that I'm starting to improve and send out a bulletin: "HEY, Y'ALL, JEAN'S EDGING TOWARD HAPPINESS AGAIN! BEST STIR UP SOME MORE MISERY FOR HER! HOP TO IT!"

I think I get the whole suffering thing, at least from a Biblical perspective. I understand that it serves a purpose, that it's building me up for the Kingdom Age, that this life is my only opportunity to be an overcomer, apply scripture to my life and exercise my faith. I get it! And most of the time, I take comfort from it, and the fact that the Word promises that God won't allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear. But sometimes that makes me view God as a sadistic personal trainer who, just when I'm about to give out under all of the weight I'm holding up and I think surely he's about to take it from me and tell me to hit the showers and get some rest, instead he adds a little bit more and says, "See? You can do it! You're stronger than you think!" and I know he has my best interest at heart but I want to drop the weights on his foot and kick him in the shins and go sit in the jacuzzi until I can move my arms again.

A while back, my regular Bible study group covered Phillipians 4:13. The usual English translation is something like, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." My pastor at these sessions always goes back to the original languages to get at the heart of the meaning of scripture, and a more literal translation of this verse from the original Greek is, "I am able through the one who enables me." I don't know why I find that translation more comforting and empowering, but I do. I AM ABLE, you guys. God knew before I even existed that I would be dealing with this stuff, and he made provision, through the power of the Holy Spirit, for me to be able to handle it. It doesn't always feel like I'm handling it. Sometimes it feels like it's breaking me. But I'm not broken yet. Whether it's jogging one more block or surviving miscarriage or settling a deceased parent's affairs or anything else I have to do, I AM ABLE, because God made me so.

That doesn't mean I want to keep testing the extent of my ability, though. Seriously, Lord, isn't it jacuzzi time yet?

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