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May 21, 2016

The Mother’s Day Gift I didn’t Ask For

By Annie Garman

The following is a journal entry that I wrote a few Sundays ago on Mother’s Day:

Today was Mother’s Day and I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.

After using all my energy to sit up, I asked my nine-year-old if she’d be willing to bring me cereal in bed because it was–after all–Mother’s Day. “Mother’s DAY?!” She had apparently forgotten. I reminded her that she had made me a card earlier in the week that was waiting—unopened—on my dresser.

Her panicking subsided, and she brought me Rice Chex and a card.

We made it to church and I settled into the Kindergarten grade classroom where I was serving that day. “Are you feeling okay?” my friend whispered as she dropped her child off. “Not really; there are SEVEN things that are wrong with my body right now.” I proceeded to list off my ailments: a mouth sore, a throbbing hip, and everything in between.

“I’ll pray for you,” she mouthed as sixteen other children filed into the room.

The other teacher was set to teach that morning, and I glanced down at the curriculum to see what we’d be talking about: Gideon: God used Gideon’s weakness for His glory. I smiled. It only seemed fitting.

We reviewed the previous lesson, played some introductory games, and then shared the lesson about Gideon.

Gideon had been the youngest, weakest family member from the weakest tribe of Israel. Despite this fact, God called him a mighty warrior. As the Lord selected Gideon’s army to fight the Midianites, he purposefully widdled it down from 32,000 to 300 (Judges 6-8).

While we were munching on pretzel fishies at the end of class, I asked the children what they had learned. A sweet little girl in a purple dress and silver tennis shoes shot her hand up. “It’s better to be weak than to be strong.”

I started to correct her line of reasoning, but before I said anything, I paused.

Was this seven year old actually right?

I just stared at her, and she stared back, waiting for my response.

“I mean…I guess.” Clearly, I was wrestling with this theological truth. “I mean, we should try to be the best that we can be…but…” I was stumbling. I didn’t necessarily like where this was going.

I had, after all, been praying to feel STRONGER for the past ten days.

But, if this was true, then why was I resisting it? After all, didn’t the Lord say to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee. For my power is made perfect in weakness?” Paul had asked for his troubles to be removed so that he could be stronger…and the Lord responded with a no.

Paul concluded, “Most gladly therefore will I rather GLORY in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I TAKE PLEASURE in weaknesses, in injuries…for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, than am I strong.”

Paul seemed to find contentment in the fact that He was weak.

So, sitting here seven hours after Children’s Church has ended, I think I finally agree in one sense with that toothless little girl.

God’s glorious power is most evident when displayed in weak vessels. Because of this, we should rejoice when we’re brought to our end. God, not us, will get the glory because His strength will be so obvious in our weakness!

So, this weakness; I see it now. It’s a gift.

And of all the gifts I was given today, I have to say…this one has been the most surprising.

***

“Now we have this treasure in JARS of CLAY so that this extraordinary power may be from GOD and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annie Garman

Annie B. Garman is a pastor’s wife and mother to four excitable girls, and author of Unexpected Grace: When Your Child is Born With Half a Heart. She and her family serve at Pillar Church in Northern Virginia where the traffic is thick, but the church planting opportunities abound. Their network of churches is attempting to plant a reproducible gospel-centered church at every Marine Corps base around the world (praetorianproject.org). Her biggest passion is to know Christ and make Him known in whatever situation she finds herself in. Annie shares her thoughts on motherhood, mayhem, and the meaning of life at anniebgarman.com.

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