Embracing my 70th Year with His Strength & Grace!
I was asked to reflect on the key words for each decade of my life for two celebrations this past weekend. The simple exercise gave me a quick overview of my life and all I have to say is, “WOW!”
Decade #1 – Swimming – water skiing – moving! (Honolulu to Southern California to Atlanta to New York to Chicago)
Decade #2 – Horses, horses, and more horses.
Decade #3 – Hollywood – Scientology – New Age – birthed 2 boys at home with no drugs (!)
Decade #4 – MLM success – Jesus – Point Man Ministries – co-founded WinePress Publishing
Decade #5 – Pioneering indie publishing movement – deception comes knocking – I opened the door to spiritual abuse – lost everything.
Decade #6 – Delivered from deception – Restoration of all the enemy stole – Redemption Press – the perfect husband for me.
The trajectory of my life is a series of ups and downs, trips around the mountain, loss and gain. The last part of Decade #6 has been more of a struggle than I expected, which is definitely why God gave me the word STRENGTHEN as my word of the year for 2023.
Moving into my 7th decade is proving to be a challenge on so many levels and from so many aspects in my life … but God. He reminded me (again!) this morning in my quiet time that He doesn’t just make everything good and happy and convenient. And He also doesn’t waste it.
As I read 2 Corinthians 12 in full, verses 7b through 10 jumped out at me as never before. I thought about the insight He has given me from all the spiritual abuse and loss I’ve encountered and the importance of accepting responsibility for our part (when it exists) in that abuse. He has entrusted me with an understanding of how our untended wounds make us vulnerable to deception. And has shown me the parallels of guerilla warfare of the Vietnam war to the strategies and tactics used by the enemy of our soul. These are some pretty extraordinary insights that sometimes, honestly, I just kinda wish I didn’t know and wasn’t accountable for!
But I cannot remain silent and must be faithful to what He has entrusted me with. So, considering all these truths that demand my transparency and integrity in presenting, this scripture meant even more.
7 Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; 9 but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength]. (AMP)
Drilling down on the sufficiency of His grace, the Blue Letter Bible the Greek root said:
My grace is sufficient for thee, namely, to enable thee to bear the evil manfully, there is, therefore, no reason why thou shouldst ask for its removal.
In other words, we have the power and grace to defend and ward off the evil coming at us to avail.
Dictionary.com says AVAIL is to be of value or profit.
Yep, that means all the evil we are faced with, weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties, will be of value … profitable even, as we admit and embrace our own weaknesses so that His power can rest on us.
WOW. That’s a whole different way to look at this laundry list of offenses!
So, should we think Paul is the only one that received a thorn in his side to keep him humble and boasting in his weaknesses so that Christ’s power could dwell in him? Of course not!
Whatever God has allowed you to experience in this life, the good and the bad and the ugly too, He is developing a story of redemption and restoration that only you can tell. And it won’t be easy! But every struggle will be worth it as we boast in our weaknesses so that His power strengthens us.
As I consider this next decade and all that God will do, I only ask to be pliable in His hands, yielding my will and any high thoughts of myself, so that His power might dwell in me as I experience the grace that is sufficient no matter what I face.
How have you experienced His grace as sufficient in the midst of your weakness and/or a considerably difficult circumstance? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for spending some time with me today!
Welcome, I'm Athena!
I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.
Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!
The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.
Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!