Strong Enough

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I awake early each morning and follow a routine that rarely varies. I prepare a light breakfast, brew some tea and wander to my sitting room, a place that was meant to be a study. I open the blinds so that I might see the first rays of the sun embracing the earth for one more day of possibilities, and settle in my easy chair with my laptop. I check several newsfeeds to see what has happened during my sleep and then I go to Facebook to find out how my friends and family are doing. It has become a way of communicating with one another that has kept me appraised of the welfare of even those who live very far away. Once I have an idea of the general condition of the world and those that I love I sit quietly in prayer and meditation, admittedly not as faithful and trusting as some of the more spiritual people that I know. Mostly it’s a conversation with God that varies depending on the circumstances of the moment.

On some days my entreaties to the Lord must sound like those of a whining child. I am often overwhelmed by the pain and suffering that I see. I want to be able to help those in need in more tangible ways and I feel a loss of control as though I am plummeting through the air in free fall, terrified by the uncertainty of what will eventually happen to me. I feel weak and vulnerable, two conditions that terrify me and that I mostly eschew at all cost. Sometimes though there is no escape and as I pray I am overcome with the calm that comes from the faith and trust that I am not alone. In those moments of clarity I realize that I have a parachute that will open at the very time that I need it. I realized that instead of fighting I need to relax and float through the air enjoying the view.

It’s difficult even in the best of circumstances for me to be so dependent on anyone or anything beyond myself, and yet I have seen days when my only choice was to plummet to earth in a state of panic or take the hands of God and the people around me to find the help that I so desperately needed. Like every human I have enjoyed blessings both great and small and endured pain and suffering that I thought might break me.

Each of us finds ourselves in situations that threaten to defeat us. Sometimes the hardest place to be is in the role of an observant to someone’s sorrow. It is deeply painful to watch a loved one or acquaintance bearing a weight that seems almost unbearable, especially when they can’t seem to get a break from circumstances that are beyond anyone’s control. Seeing them trying so hard to be strong and watching their efforts be compounded by disappointments and horrors is enough to make us question everything that we believe. It is in those rock bottom times that we have to surrender ourselves and suspend our need to be in charge, a most difficult state of affairs for control freaks like me.

I am all too aware these days of family members who are dealing with the burden of caring for multiple members who are either very ill or disabled. They are overcome by responsibilities that are demanding more of their energy than they ever dreamed they had. I am monitoring the progress of friends who are fighting like warriors to beat dreadful diseases. I am hearing the plaintiff cries of individuals who have lost children, a state that feels unfair and out of sync with the way things are supposed to be. I am observing young people who are confused and consumed with deep sadness. I know of others who have been betrayed by spouses or friends and now feel alone and hurt. I see the pain and suffering that attacks as serendipitously as a hurricane, leaving overwhelming destruction in its path.

A few morning ago I began my normal routine and saw two posts that struck me to the very center of my being. One was from a high school  acquaintance whose daughter died during the summer. She has been mostly stoic about her feelings but on this particular day she allowed those of us who know her to see the depth of her feelings and the hurt that is still so raw for her. She is a beautiful soul as was her daughter and the bond between them is as strong as ever and always will be. While her wounded heart is still far from mending I sense that it is on its way because she had the courage to admit how devastated she is. Being unafraid to admit our pain is so often the first step in healing.

Only a few posts down was another from a work colleague whose baby boy died in her arms eight years ago. She poignantly recounted the day on which her little angel left this earth only a short time after he was born. She spoke of her weariness at that time and how she was listening to Strong Enough on the radio as she traveled to the hospital not knowing that only a few hours later her son would be gone.

I wept eight years ago when I learned that my friend’s baby did not make it and I wept again when I read her story of the moment of his death eight years later. Then I listened to the song that had played on her journey to the unthinkable and pondered it’s message. I understood how the series of events that befell her were linked together in one glorious, mysterious way that brought her the peace and comfort that she needed. Like my other friend she will never understand why she had to face something so unthinkable, but she feels the presence of both God and her beloved child supporting her in ways that can’t be explained by logic but rather by the heart.

Sometimes words fail me and I find someone else’s to fill the void. So herewith are the lyrics for Strong Enough by Matthew West. Perhaps they may help someone much like they did my friend. I know that they spoke to me.

Strong Enough

You must

You must think I’m strong

To give me what I’m going through

Well, forgive me

Forgive me if I’m wrong

But this looks like more than I can do

On my own

I know I’m not strong enough to be

Everything that I’m supposed to be

I give up

I’m not strong enough

Hands of mercy won’t you cover me

Lord right now I’m asking you to be

Strong enough

Strong enough

For the both of us

Yeah

Well, maybe

Maybe that’s the point

To reach the point of giving up

‘Cause when I’m finally

Finally at rock bottom

Well, that’s when I start looking up

And reaching out

I know I’m not strong enough to be

Everything that I’m supposed to be

I give up

I’m not strong enough

Hands of mercy won’t you cover me

Lord right now I’m asking you to be

Strong enough

Strong enough

‘Cause I’m broken

Down to nothing

But I’m still holding on to the one thing

You are God and

You are strong when

I am weak

I can do all things

Through Christ who gives me strength

And I don’t have to be

I don’t have to be strong enough

Strong enough

I can do all things

Through Christ who gives me strength

And I don’t have to be

Strong enough

Strong enough

Oh, yeah

I know I’m not strong enough to be

Everything that I’m supposed to be

I give up

I’m not strong enough

Hands of mercy won’t you cover me

Lord right now I’m asking you to be

Strong enough

Strong enough

Strong enough

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Matthew West

Strong Enough lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

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