When I am weak…

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

      James 1:2-4
God is teaching me patience and perseverance.  And he’s using my 5-month-old to do it.   
My first son, Samuel, began sleeping through the night at a very young age, so I wasn’t prepared for the many months of sleep-deprivation I’ve faced with Elias.  He consistently wakes up every two or three hours throughout the night.  I swear I feel like a mommy-zombie!  Only parents who have experienced their own long-term sleepless babies and hours of brain-splitting screaming can truly understand how exhausting and demoralizing it is to have a baby who refuses to sleep.
I think it’s partially his temperament and partially my coping techniques, but together we’ve set up some pretty bad sleep habits that are proving to be very difficult to break.  Every time I think we are making progress, it’s like taking two steps forward and one step back.
This weekend was particularly frustrating.  With family activities scheduled Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, we were very busy.  And Eli became very over-stimulated by the noise and craziness of his cousin’s birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese on Saturday, causing him to have two of the worst days and nights of sleeping that he has had in months.  I feel like I am starting over at square one all over again.
I feel discouraged.  I feel weary.  I feel weak.  But maybe feeling weak is part of God’s plan for me right now.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
      2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I confess.  I am so easily tempted to rely on my own strength, my own thoughts, my own abilities and talents as I go through life.  For one of the first times in my life I feel completely and totally incapable.  For someone who thrives on accomplishing things, feeling incapable is not a fun place to be.   
I know that God cares more about my character than my circumstances.  He is teaching me through this challenge to rely more and more on Him.  As Nate and I prepare for full-time ministry to the students on the Disney College Program, I know I will need to rely fully on God and not my own abilities.  And even though it is not fun, I’m sure that’s why I’m having to learn this lesson now.
I just pray that I can learn quickly.  And I am clinging to the promise that Jesus made that He will give rest.  
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
      Matthew 11:28-30 
Lord Jesus, I come to you broken and exhausted and incapable of doing anything to change my situation.  I confess that I have tried everything in my power to change my circumstances and have not truly relied on your power.  Fill my heart, Holy Spirit, and lead me.  And please Lord, grant me the rest and peace that you promise in your word.  In your name, AMEN.

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